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Many in Metro Vancouver in denial about possible natural disasters: columnist

Vancouver's HUSAR team at the Johnsons Landing mudslide in 2012 (Source: vancouver.ca)

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – You only need to turn on the TV for a minute to see the destruction left behind from Hurricane Irma.

But one local columnist says many people here in Metro Vancouver have their heads in the sand when it comes to the possibility of a similarly-destructive natural disaster happening here.

“Living in what many describe as a paradise can easily lull us into a false sense of security. There are far too many people that subscribe to the theory that disasters only happen somewhere else and not in a place like Vancouver,” says Daniel Fontaine, a New West-based blogger and columnist.

“We’re nearby some potential disasters ourselves and yet I don’t think we look at what’s happening in places like Houston and internalize that and say ‘could that happen here and am I prepared to deal with it? How ready are you to live without power and water for five days?’ Very few people I think would respond in the affirmative to that.”

The same goes for the region’s major transportation corridors which could quickly stop working.

“Getting to and from and around this region with so many bridges and so many places that require a vehicle to get to, you’re gonna have to be be prepared. We know from everything that has been reported that we’re going to have some very critical infrastructure collapse. So things like bridges will probably be impassable, some for if not days, months. Some might be permanently closed, places like the Massey Tunnel and the Pattullo Bridge, which we know are very old pieces of infrastructure and have issues with being able to potentially withstand an earthquake,” says Fontaine.

Though he says many of us simply think it can’t happen to us, despite our location a major fault line among other things.

“We live in a very seismically-active place. We’re right next to the border of Mount Baker which is a dormant volcano. We’re right next to massive forests in the coastal mountains which could also catch fire.”

Fontaine says we’re just not ready or we’re relying exclusively on government help.

“If we are hit with a major catastrophe like an earthquake above an 8.0, even the best (government) plans will not be able to prepare us for the fact that we are going to be in a region that will be incapable of moving around and perhaps even turning on our lights.”

Or losing water and sewers for more than a few days.