A Williams Lake city councillor says there should be financial incentives for residents to fire-smart their properties.
“It’s the idea I hear suggested the most often when I talk with people,” Coun. Jason Ryll said. “At a recent wildfire protection meeting I learned that most of our land base is tied up with private owners. There has to be some incentive to help recover the costs or qualify for a rebate.”
With the large number of fires that impacted B.C. in 2017 and the prediction fires are likely to reoccur in the future, Ryll said he asked city staff to prepare a report on the issue for consideration at the committee of the whole meeting taking place Tuesday, June 19.
The report includes a proposed resolution for the upcoming Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference in September that calls on the federal government and the Insurance Bureau of Canada to provide incentives through one or multiple options.
Incentives could include reduced home insurance rates, a tax rebate in connection to the amount of fibre removed from a property or a reduction in property tax rates, Ryll said, noting the property owner would have to achieve adequate fire smart certification to qualify.
“I’m taking it through government channels because I am hoping we can get some action,” Ryll added, noting he is confident that other communities will come on board. “Financial incentives would go a long way to give us tools to make public safety our goal.”
If council accepts the resolution should be sent to the UBCM, it will have to go forward to a regular council meeting for adoption.