Editorial: Looking back on 2017

It was a year filled with disasters, but also with the strength of people and community

Looking back over 2017, it was really a fantastic year.

That might seem like an ironic statement, considering 2017 was filled with disasters — natural and man-made — along with bringing us Donald Trump.

The less said about Mr. Trump, the better — it doesn’t seem like anyone can do anything about a catastrophe of that magnitude.

But without going down the ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ road, it was the human reaction to the disasters the province experienced that lighten the memory of 2017.

We’re not downplaying the tragic losses of 2017, when many people lost their homes to the fires. But if the test of a woman or man is how they stand up to adversity, then the people of B.C. got a chance to show their true mettle in 2017.

In the Okanagan, quickly melting snowpacks started creeks washing over their banks and eventually driving Okanagan Lake to levels that haven’t been seen in three-quarters of a century.

But as homes and property were being endangered by the ever-rising flood, we found countless stories of people and groups doing what they could to limit the damage and divert the water, filling sandbags and placing them, helping neighbours and their communities get through it.

Then, as the flood waters receded, fire became the story, as blazes broke out across the province. Smoke and ash filled the air, even in communities not directly affected and thousands were forced to evacuate, hoping their homes would still be standing when they returned.

Too many came home to find a smoking ruin, but there is also the story of the brave men and women fighting the fires, along with the volunteers supporting them and the evacuees, helping to find places for them to stay, in homes, hotels or the many community centres who opened their doors to the refugees.

Yes, 2017 was filled with loss and hardship, but the people of B.C. rose to the challenge and showed their potential.

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