Stewart family farm almost 100% burried in birken mudslide

Two large mudslides near Birken (northeast of Pemberton) left 276 people without power and stranded hikers and campers. But for one family the result was sheer devastation. On September 20th, 2015 Rob Elliot and Erin Stewart-Elliot, and their 3 year old son, River, escaped the mudslide with their lives but lost their farm, their home, and all of their belongings – and to make things worse the couple’s house insurer will not cover the damages, stating that the slide was an “act of god”.

Related: Mudslides northeast of Pemberton cause evacuation order, power outages

As the family attempt to rebuild their lives from scratch the communities of Whistler and Pemberton are banding together to donate food, clothing, furniture, and money. A GoFund Me campaign has been set up for the family to help relieve some of the financial burden they have been left with. In just 2 days the campaign has raised $23, 538 from 241 people – the total goal is $300,000.

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Communities who band together, stay together

In small communities like ours we all have to look out for one another. So we’ve teamed up with the Pemberton Barn Dance to help raise awareness, funds, and in-kind donations. We have also donated our social media channels to help promote the GoFund Me campaign, we’re making a financial contribution through the Scotiabank Birken Mudslide Relief Fund, and we’re donating unclaimed lost and found clothing, as well as furniture, and bed linens.

Financial donations at the Pemberton Barn Dance

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Saturday September 26th is the return of the annual Pemberton Barn Dance. Set up in 1995 as a fund-raiser for local community projects, it’s fitting that the event and it’s attendees are able to help out with this emergency.

A representative of the Stewart family will be at the event collecting financial donations that will be deposited in to the Scotia Creek Birken Mudslide Relief Fund. If you would like to donate at the event the donation pot will be available when you check-in.

As a separate donation to the Pemberton Barn Dance funds, the Pemberton Lions and the Rotary Club of Pemberton will also be making their own financial contributions.

More information on the Pemberton Barn Dance:

In-kind donations at Pemberton Rona

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The Rona store in Pemberton Valley have kind offered to use their location as a drop-off point for in-kind donations. We spoke with a friend of the family said

“they have had a good response of people donating clothing.  They have a 3.5 year old, so maybe toys for him, maybe a bike.”

Donations can be made to the Rona in Pemberton Valley Monday – Saturday, 9am – 6pm, and Sunday, 10am – 4pm.

The family is currently renting a property until they can begin the process of buying a new home – but who knows when that will be in light of the news that insurance company will not be paying compensation. The land that the the family farm occupied is now condemned due to debris, and making rebuilding impossible. If you’d like to donate in-kind services we’re sure any contracting, building, real estate, or childcare services would be greatly appreciated.

If you’d you think you’d like to donate services of any kind please email: