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Hell of High Water…

Well, I guess we know the answer to that question!.
Calgary usually only hits the news when there’s a big oilco merger or sale. Now we have our very own natural disaster. Flood of gigantic proportions raged over the end of last week.
It seems a bit surreal now. The water’s mostly gone. The rivers are still angry torrents but the neighborhoods that were inundated have lost the water [except inside] to a warming sun. What’s left is a layer of mud caking and drying. Some people are inconvenienced. Cancellations, closures. And there are many people whose world has forever changed.
We live on the eastern slopes of the Rockies. When an occluded front backs up against the mountains, it can rain and rain. In this case as much as 200 mm. COMBINE that with the snow melt which has rivers near carrying capacity and the spike is just too much.   Combine that with land that was already soaked and you have conditions for outright calamity.
And there wasn’t a lot of time. Wednesday night it rained. Kept on Thursday. By that time, people were worried. That night, the evacuation of 75,000 people launched. “Get some clothes. You have to leave by legal order. Now!”

Combine that with another small issue. No insurance payout. Most of losses have been written out of home insurance here. So no money to work with to repair/replace.
We live within an assumptive world. We expect continuity of certain conditions that presently hold true in our lives. When that world is destroyed, there is a hell of a reckoning.

We are pretty used to having everything work pretty well. Our pleasant lives lull us. And with shortened attention spans, we don’t generally have much time for the downers conjuring up apocalyptic visions. Cassandras preaching doom. Except we do revel in “reality” TV exulting in superiority over obvious losers who can’t foresee the doo-doo they have stepped into.
When Calgary’s fortunes hit the skids, City folks searched out, dusted off, and activated a plan that had been made in 1985 for response to just such a mess.
In TEC we preach [largely ignored] the value of contingency plans. What if??? and a a reasoned response laid down to be picked up if disaster hits. Not just if the owner croaks – or worse – is disabled. Fire, flood, insurrection, extended power outage. And what about a combination – that’s most likely.   And the first down is often the power. For computers, lights, pumps, the cloud….. Contingency plans. They aren’t important. Until they are.
Hint: make sure it’s printed and on a high accessible shelf in – like, the owner’s home. The idea of preparing these may go through something of a renaissance here…
Fortunately somebody, somewhere had wasted budget money in 1985. That plan sure came in handy – much better than knee jerk reaction in the midst of chaos. Likewise those valued cool heads who managed to help with the hurricane in New York.
One big help is the collective attitude. Something like this brings out the best of our citizenship, our neighborliness. Our Mayor showed himself as a really standup guy.
Now we’re committed to putting on the greatest outdoor show on earth AGAIN, notwithstanding that the Stampede grounds were under water on Friday. The slogan? For this year? They changed it this weekend. Hell or High Water!!! Yahoo! Here we go…


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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