LETTER: Flooded, muddy and giddy with pride

Dear editor:

As a result of the heavy rains of Nov. 3, our home, along with dozens of others on the North Shore, was flooded and severely damaged. A hile the rains fell heavily that night, the cause of the flooding for us, as well as a number of homes nearby, was the result of several blocked stream culverts. Our insurers deemed this an act of God, and accordingly, we and many other local families have begun the task of figuring out how to deal with the costs of reconstruction without this safety net. While we wait to hear about our eligibility for limited assistance from the provincial disaster relief program, many of us affected will still be left facing enormous costs to restore our homes.

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Despite the wreckage and the growing dent in our finances, the events of the last month have unfolded in a strangely beautiful way. ore than 120 people turned out to help us shovel our way out of the mud, take down walls, fill bins with destroyed furniture and belongings, dry out some of our mementos and lift our spirits with offers of lodging, food and friendship. People we've never met came by with hot meals, tools and offers of condolence. Teenage friends of our kids from Argyle secondary worked long hours for days on end to help clean up and rip out damaged ceilings, walls and decks. We had a bright moment a week after the flood when we found our passports in the backyard next to the vacuum cleaner. And we enjoyed a dark moment of humour as we walked to our local insurer with a renewal cheque, after receiving their letter of refusal.

These and many other moments in the last month are now part of a kind of growing flood folklore with our family and friends that is clearly bringing our community together.

A month after the flood our neighourhood put on a fundraiser and more than 100 people turned out to drink, dance, bid on donated auction items, to let us know we're not alone.

It felt like a big community hug.

To our friends, event organizers Andrea Newsom, Louise Scott, Elaine Donohoe, Rocio

Lopez Wels, Jeff Musson, Alex Best and Magda Figueredo: we can't thank you enough.

We know that Vancouver can be a lonely place. We've been on the North Shore for 11 years and it took a long time before we could truly say we had some close friends. But if you're reading this and you're new to the community, hang in there: we can assure you that wonderful things happen.

We're proud to call the North Shore our home, to be making new friends, and to see our kids growing, flourishing and developing resilience through this experience.

If we measure the health of communities by the strength of their response to neighbours who've suffered hardship, then our recent family experience suggests our community is in great shape.

Onwards! And thank you, everyone.

Mark Ely and Chris Klar Lynn Valley

North Vancouver

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