At the Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey, it’s not going to be fancy, but wildfire evacuees – including any with livestock – will find a temporary home.
Volunteers and staff have been working since late last week to make the Cloverdale Arena comfortable for families, who began showing up Sunday morning.
The Surrey reception centre is one of two set up in the Lower Mainland. The other, at Chilliwack Secondary, has already taken in close to a hundred evacuees. More than 37,000 have been displaced by the wildfires raging through B.C.’s interior. Many have ended up in Prince George and Kamloops but with Williams Lake evacuating on Saturday night, some are beginning to trickle into the Lower Mainland’
And at the north end of the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, crews have been working to provide electric hookups for those who arrive in their RVs.
“It’s the least we can do… put out some power to help out,” fairground maintenance worker Terrence Eytcheson said as new arrivals trickled in trickled in Sunday morning.
One couple, who asked not be be named, were clearly pleased while chatting with Eytcheson, after arriving from Williams Lake via Kamloops..
“We’re lucky we’ve got a truck. We don’t have to sleep on the floor,” said one.
Eytcheson himself said he was expecting his own family members to arrive from Burns Lake in three or four hours.
He noted the facilities included a nearby building that with showers and two full bathrooms, and that housing for livestock was close by.
Over at the arena, a security staff of two guarded the entrance, occasionally approached by community members who enquired how they could assist.
One was told no assistance was needed, while another later had her name recorded and was thanked.
A volunteer co-ordinator told Black Press that photographs were fine outside the doors, but that only personnel and evacuees were allowed inside.