As Vancouver cleans up from the worst storm in a decade, the question now is how to prepare for the next one.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson:
“Extreme weather is the new normal. And every emergency like this is a test.”
Robertson says he’s proud of the city’s response, fielding over 1,800 calls to it’s 311 service and running its emergency operations centre for 35 consecutive hours.
Robertson says part of what allowed 311 to be effective was the city’s ability to activate extra staff by remote, who logged in and took calls from home.
But he says the storm did highlight problems, and the key question going forward is how agencies can work better together.
“We have to figure out more resiliency between the city, BC Hydro, the province’s emergency response system… When we’re dealing with a big crisis we need to use all the tools we have accessible.”
Sadhu Johnston, the city’s deputy city manager says for Vancouver says there are concrete lessons for the city to draw from the response.
“What we’ll do coming out of this event, is we do a a debrief. We’ll be interviewing staff, we’ll be interviewing some of our partners. And from that debrief we’ll update our plans.”
Those plans include a set of initial response guidelines – how the city reacts in the first hours to a storm – and an extreme weather plan. Johnston says they could start seeing a facelift in as early as a month.
Meanwhile, cleanup continues with the goal being to clear the last of the city’s streets by midday tomorrow.
No word yet on the cost of the storm.