Testalinden Dam donation funds disbursed to Oliver residents

A donation fund has now been fully disbursed to people affected by the 2010 Testalinden Dam collapse.

A donation fund has now been fully disbursed to people affected by the Testalinden Dam collapse.

In the wake of the June 2010 disaster near Oliver, the public donated $43,500 to help people on 26 properties that were evacuated when the dam breached and a wall of mud raced downslope.

The funds were distributed by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, which issued a press release last week to confirm all the money is spoken for.

About $13,400 was handed out in August and September of 2010 in the form of food vouchers, while the balance was tied up during settlement of insurance and provincial assistance claims.

The RDOS was later provided a list of people who still had unmet needs and the final $28,890 was evenly split among 12 parties.

RDOS communications co-ordinator Andrew Stuckey said the last cheque was cut in late May.

A report released one month after the mudslide blamed a litany of errors for the Testalinda Dam breach that caused the massive mudslide. At the time the dam burst it had been the subject of warnings for decades.

Hal Kreiger had been hiking in the Testalinda area and reported something was wrong at the dam site to the Osoyoos Tourist Information booth three days before the mud torrent went down the hill.

The information was relayed to local RCMP via a non-emergency number. A dispatcher contacted the district office of the Ministry of Forests and Range in Vernon, who then left a voicemail with a Ministry of Forests compliance and enforcement technician. The message wasn’t received until after the mudslide occurred.