As years go, 2021 was exceptional. Unfortunately, most of the exceptions were on the negative side.
From start to finish, there were ongoing COVID-19 infections, changing health orders and numerous restrictions.
At the end of the year, we have an Omicron variant that seems to spread rapidly and infect those who are vaccinated, along with those who are not. It has led to record daily infections in B.C. Many of those infections are within the Fraser Health Authority, of which Surrey, Delta and White Rock are a significant portion.
The first half of the year was largely a back-and-forth exercise, with changing COVID rules affecting our lives, our ability to see people, our ability to travel and our daily routines.
Then the heat dome hit in late June, bringing record-breaking temperatures to the South Fraser area as well as most of the southern half of the province. A complete lack of preparation by health and emergency officials led to hundreds of people dying. Often they were not even able to contact 911. Many of these people were elderly, lived alone and were totally unable to deal with such conditions.
The heat dome was concurrent with many wildfires – fortunately not in this area – but these fires had a significant effect on travel, just as restrictions preventing people from leaving their health authority were ending.
What this said to many people was, in effect, “Summer vacation is cancelled.”
As things eased back to a COVID type of normal late in the summer, there was more in store. In November, massive amounts of rain in a short period of time led to significant flooding – particularly in the Fraser Valley and southern Interior. This led to every single B.C. highway in and out of the Lower Mainland being closed. Railways and the Trans Mountain pipeline were also shut down for a significant period.
This had a major effect, reducing the supply of gasoline and other fuels, leading to a shortage of some foodstuffs and adding significant complications to an already stressed supply chain.
Gas rationing was brought in for the first time since the Second World War.
These problems were only partially resolved just before Christmas, just as Omicron was wreaking more damage every day, leading to more health orders and restrictions. Then on Christmas Eve, the snow came, followed by one of the most significant and snowy Christmas Days in years.
An old proverb says March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. This entire year is all lion.
Then in Surrey in particular, there has been no shortage of political upheavals and controversies at the local level. An unexpected federal election in September also added unnecessary political stress.
With all this in the recent rear view mirror, it isn’t surprising that many Surrey, White Rock and Delta residents wonder what 2022 has in store. While we never know what the future holds, the sense of trepidation as the new year approaches is significant.
If the past year has demonstrated anything, it is that people in B.C. are resilient.
That resiliency has come in very handy in 2021, and will likely be needed just as much in 2022.
Frank Bucholtz writes twice a month for Peace Arch News and at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca. Email email@example.com