Sorrento Centre in the CBC News

Below is an excerpt of an article published to CBC News website earlier today.


Major economic losses in B.C. Interior as wildfires snuff out big events

Karin Larsen · CBC News · Posted: Aug 22, 2023 2:00 PM PDT

Michael Shapcott doesn’t know if his log cabin home on the Sorrento Centre grounds is still standing, nor how much of the picturesque Shuswap Lake acreage and conference centre he oversees has burned.

But still, he’s feeling a sense of gratitude for the way his community has responded to the wildfire calamity in British Columbia’s Shuswap region.

“There are so many acts of kindness from people,” he said. “It’s not turning the fire around and it’s not rebuilding the houses that have burned down… but it is affirming that kind of human dignity, which at these times is really comforting and valuable.”

The non profit Sorrento Centre, located in tiny Sorrento, B.C., around 60 kilometres east of Kamloops, was gearing up for the most lucrative two weeks on its annual calendar — a bluegrass instruction and music festival called Nimble Fingers that attracts over 1,500 visitors and guests and generates many hundreds of thousands of dollars in the local community. 

The cancellation of Nimble Fingers is a major blow to the local economy, according to Shapcott. Adding to the losses is $35,000 of food brought in to serve to guests that’s now been thrown out after the centre lost power a number of days ago.

All staff and town residents have been evacuated and with the wildfire only half a kilometre away, at last check, the future of the centre itself is as unclear as the smoky skies that surround it.

“[Monday] morning we had our first face-to-face staff meeting and we were just sharing stories about the kind of harrowing escape because some people literally could see the flames as they were loading their cars and heading out,” he said.

“So, quite terrifying. And now what?… It’s just too volatile to make any predictions at this point.”

In Penticton, the situation is less dire …


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