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North Shore residents say B.C. should have given more warning of flooding, landslide danger: poll

Earlier and more widespread alerts could have saved lives, say readers
Monday November 15 mudslide Duffey Lake Road Highway 99 between Pemberton Lillooet BC floods
Pemberton Search and Rescue crews respond to the scene of a mudslide along the Duffey Lake Road portion of Highway 99 on Monday, Nov. 15.

November's series of "atmospheric rivers" brought unprecedented flooding and damage to homes, properties and major highways in B.C.

Landslides north of Pemberton resulted in the deaths of five people while others caught in slides on Highway 7 between Aggasiz and Hope narrowly escaped with serious injuries or waited hours, cut off, for rescue. Others in communities near Merritt and Spences Bridge were cut off from essential supplies for extended periods of time.

As the province begins extensive mop up and repair in the aftermath of these disasters, questions have been raised about whether British Columbians should have received earlier and more widespread notice about the scale of the potential disaster that unfolded and whether such alerts could have saved both lives and property.

According to a recent poll, North Shore readers feel strongly that the province should have done a better job of warning residents of danger. Just under 54 per cent of local readers who responded to the online poll said if the province had warned people to stay off the roads and issued broad flood warnings, danger and damage could have been minimized. About 28 per cent of local readers had sympathy for provincial officials, however, saying nobody could have predicted the scale of the disaster.

North Shore News polled 1,517 North Shore News readers and asked the question: Should the province have issued an alert for flooding and dangerous road conditions sooner than it did?

The poll ran from Nov. 18 to Dec. 3 on our website. Of the 1,517 votes, we can determine that 668 are from within the community. The full results are as follows:

Yes. If the province had told people to stay off the roads and issued broad flood warnings, damage and danger could have been minimized. 53.59% local, 53.79% total    
Maybe. It's true that B.C. hasn't issued alerts as often as other provinces but local authorities are in the best position to understand conditions. 17.96% local, 16.41% total    
No. Authorities couldn't have predicted the scale of disaster that unfolded. Hindsight is 20/20. 28.44% local, 29.80% total    
  Local   Total

Results are based on an online study of adult North Shore News readers who are located in North and West Vancouver. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 2.51%, 19 times out of 20.

North Shore News uses a variety of techniques to capture data, detect and prevent fraudulent votes, detect and prevent robots, and filter out non-local and duplicate votes.