David Abbott lived in Revelstoke, B.C., for almost 40 years. When that region lost a town hall to the megafires and a library to flooding, he left to find a home with more natural features, his obituary explained. Those features helped him survive but also made his life way safer.
“Wildfires and floods have a terrible capacity to burn away our wilderness and our sense of place,” Abbott told me. “They’re not pleasant things.”
But there’s hope on the horizon. New and improved infrastructure could offer communities like Revelstoke a lifeline, at least for the moment. If local officials can develop programs to fund more resilience and more public access, they can still build and rebuild. And they can rebuild better.
Now, after a series of forest fires and floods, there is a renewed commitment to building back better.
“We’re definitely coming out of these disasters with a new appreciation of the value of natural assets,” said Harry O’Neil, a leader in the Battle River Conservation Authority. “It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long.”
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