Volunteers filling sand bags for flood protection in Maple Ridge Park. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Volunteers filling sand bags for flood protection in Maple Ridge Park. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Our View: Time to make resilience a priority

Building up our ability to respond to the next crisis should be a goal for everyone in 2022

For 2022, the watchword for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, for B.C., and for Canada has to be “resilience.”

This has been a rough couple of years, starting way back in late December of 2019 when a few health officials and scientists started trying to warn people about this new odd respiratory infection. (We mostly ignored them, or downplayed the possible threat. That went well, didn’t it?)

We have had some challenges major and minor. We have lost people to the pandemic, but also to the opioid crisis and to an unprecedented heat wave. On the minor side, we’ve had buying frenzies on everything from toilet paper to silicon chips, and if we never hear the words “supply chain” again it’ll be too soon.

Overall, our communities persevered.

Sometimes, though, it felt like everyone was improvising madly.

Governments scrambled to get enough PPE, to fling out emergency benefits, to reorganize schools, to decide on how strict or how loose to make restrictions on everything from gathering in church to going to a casino.

We saw the same issues with heat and floods and opioids, which have wreaked a terrible toll on our communities, at both the personal and the infrastructural level.

The work to repair damaged highways was heroic, but it would have been better to have had less damage in the first place.

You can’t plan for every crisis, and you can’t fortify against every disaster.

But we could do better than we have.

We need a culture of resilience, from the household level all the way up through to Victoria and Ottawa. We’ve had it pretty thoroughly driven home that there’s a lot of bad stuff just waiting to smack us around, and we’d better be prepared for it.

On the local level, there are institutions that can help us, and they aren’t, for the most part, governments.

Everything from school PACs to Scout and Guide groups, streamkeepers to places of worship to neighbourhood associations are going to be the basis of a truly resilient Canada. It’s at the community level that we start building our capacity to endure a crisis.

But we can’t do that without support from on high, and that means Ottawa has to get on board.

The next time something bad hits, it would be nice if our leaders could say “Actually, this time we listened to the warnings from the experts, and we have equipment and training and a plan.”

Making Canada more resilient would be a pretty good resolution for 2022.

BC FloodCOVID-19Editorialsmaple ridgePitt Meadows