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Zeballos residents on their fifth month under evacuation order

ZEBALLOS, B.C. – Several Zeballos residents still have not returned home.

The evacuation order on some of the properties in the village is now in its fifth month. It doesn’t seem like council will lift it anytime soon.

According to Mayor Julie Colborne, the village council still has not heard back from the provincial government regarding disaster financial assistance.

“I would imagine that they’re (the residents) extremely frustrated by the long process that it’s been, as are we at council and everyone at the village,” Colborne said.

“There is still – five months later – no word on the disaster financial assistance fund. My hopes are they’re trying to make that fund fit us, is why it’s taking so long. That’s my hope.”

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Besides financial assistance, the council also wants the provincial government to help the village with risk mitigation.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s taking this long but there has been some forward movement. We are trying to keep in communication with our partners at the province.”

Colborne added that they are in touch with Emergency Management BC (EMBC), and they are helping Zeballos get in touch with the province, as well as process paperwork.

EMBC is funding Zeballos’ recovery manager, which Colborne said is to help ease the impact on the village council staff.

“It’s a staff of three, so not much actual village business is being done. We’re concentrated solely on evacuation and the implications and trying to work with that.”

According to Colborne, the village is also taking on several initiatives as well, including putting up a new weather monitoring system.

“That’s all digital and gives real-time data so if an evacuation order came on and there were parameters for high weather, high rain events or high wind events, then the evacuation (order) would be put back on.”

“We’re just trying to do as much as we can in the background while we’re trying to make decisions.”

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