The Williams Lake First Nation is one of 54 communities approved to receive a share of $1.8 million in provincial emergency preparedness funding to support the work of emergency operations centres. Pictured is the WLFN government office in downtown Williams Lake. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The Williams Lake First Nation is one of 54 communities approved to receive a share of $1.8 million in provincial emergency preparedness funding to support the work of emergency operations centres. Pictured is the WLFN government office in downtown Williams Lake. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Emergency operations centres in Cariboo-Chilcotin, Nechako Valley receive funding

Mike Farnworth said funding for emergency operations centres is crucial

Several applicants in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and the Nechako Valley have been approved among 54 local governments and First Nations to receive a share of more than $1.8 million in provincial emergency preparedness funding.

The funding will go to support the work of emergency operations centres in their respective regions.

In the Cariboo-Chilcotin, Williams Lake First Nation will receive $24,307 to contribute towards its emergency operations capacity building initiative, while the Tsilhqot’in National Government, Tl’esqox First nation, Tsideldel First Nation, Yunesit’in Government, Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, ?Esdilagh and Tl’esqox First Nation’s EOC equipment project has been approved for $149,932.16.

The Bulkley-Nechako Regional District’s EOC crisis communication equipment acquisition will receive $25,000, as will the Fraser Lake EOC backup power and generator trailer. The Tl’az’ten Nation near Fort St. James has also been approved for $24,900 for EOC development.

The funding is to support eligible applicants to buy equipment and supplies to maintain or improve emergency operations centres and to enhance the capacity of these local emergency co-ordination hubs through training and exercises.

WLFN Chief Willie Sellars said he’s proud of what his community has been able to put together at its EOC, located at its government office in downtown Williams Lake, evidenced by work during recent flooding in the region, wildfires and through the pandemic.

Over the past couple of years Sellars said WLFN has been able to invest into training staff to qualified levels so they are available as soon as the EOC needs to be activated.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, said funding for emergency operations centres is crucial and will provide a boost in their ability to respond.

“Though the approval of funding for these projects has been going on for some time, recent extreme wildfire events demonstrate just how vital emergency operations centres are in responding to emergencies,” Farnworth said.

Since the September 2017 budget update, communities and governments throughout B.C. have received more than $67 million through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF). Successful applicants for the latest round of funding hail from every part of the province.

“Emergency operations centres are the hub of response and recovery in an emergency event,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.

“This is how responders and experts are able to come together day to day and work together to get a community through the worst times and find a path forward. This funding is going to help them improve those operations so they can respond to whatever emergencies come their way.”

The CEPF is a suite of programs designed to enhance the resiliency of local governments, First Nations communities and their residents. The Province provides the funding, which is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and divided into seven streams: flood risk assessment, flood mapping and flood mitigation planning, emergency support services, emergency operations centres and training, structural flood mitigation, evacuation route planning, Indigenous cultural safety and cultural humility training and volunteer and composite fire departments equipment and training.


 


greg.sabatino@wltribune.com

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