- Advocates say the region and Emergency Management B.C. ought to raise funding for prevention and warning tools.
- The objections about the budget come after wildfires raced through the region the previous summer, followed by torrential rains and flooding in November.
A warning system is installed on a slope burned by fire in British Columbia’s Interior, letting an early warning for the citizens below if the deforested hillside gives way in heavy rain.
The $30,000 in a grant from the region for the system in Sicamous, B.C., is what some provincial, regional districts say is much better spent on prevention than spending millions in reaction to landslides, fires, and floods.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is installing the alert system, and Derek Sutherland, the district’s squad leader of protective services, said the price of such projects could be prohibitive.
“They’re not affordable, but in the absence of any substantive mitigating work, they’re a must-have,” he said.
Sutherland said he’s heard from other districts curious about installing preventive or post-disaster systems, but the grant from Emergency Management B.C. isn’t available.
Emergency Management B.C. is a portion of the Public Safety Ministry and coordinates the reply to disasters, including wildfires, flooding, and landslides. “EMBC is struggling with how it’s financing these early-warning systems,” Sutherland said.
In February, the Fraser Valley Regional District called on the region and Emergency Management B.C. to increase the disaster economic assistance cap — which hasn’t changed in 26 years while property values have skyrocketed — to help impacted property owners.
While the FVRD team does not mean that the region underwrites the chance for these events, “$300,000 does not meet the needs of impacted citizens,” reads the motion approved unanimously by the 22 members present at the meeting.
Source – cbc.ca