Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors are not sure about buying into the province’s new Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program Victoria says will expand opportunities for local governments and First Nations to reduce the risk and impact of wildfires by applying FireSmart principles. (File photo)

BC’s new wildfire mitigation program raises questions for regional district

CSRD directors want to know more about funding implications

They like the idea of more money, but Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors want more details on Forests Minister Doug Donaldson’s announcement at the recent UBCM convention.

Donaldson said the province’s new Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program will expand opportunities for local governments and First Nations to reduce the risk and impact of wildfires by applying FireSmart principles.

“The CRI will replace the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative with a significant acceleration in the pace of funding,” he announced, confirming $50 million will be made available over the next three years, with $10 million committed for this year.

For 2019, the CRI will have a scaled structure with up to $25,000 or $100,000 available per applicant, depending on demonstrated wildfire risk. Applicants may choose from a suite of eligible activities that best suit their communities’ needs and priorities.

CSRD Board Chair Rhona Martin asked directors at the Sept. 20 meeting in Salmon Arm if they were interested in pursuing funding for fire risk mitigation.

“I’m hearing more and more concern from municipal and rural residents,” she said. “We have two or three forest districts in the regional district; is this program something we want to move forward with region-wide?”

Related: B.C. failed to reduce wildfire risk: communities

But despite the fact the province recognized a funding gap that made it difficult for some communities to take advantage of the previous program has been closed, and successful projects will receive 100 per cent funding with no cost-sharing requirement, the CSRD’s chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton said the program was originally regarded as downloading by the government and should be referred to staff for review.

“This did come up a number of years ago and the onus was on CSRD to keep it up in perpetuity,” said Darcy Mooney, manager of operations management, of projects to reduce forest fuels. “We have a lot of Crown land and, at the time, the board decided to not join but instead get structural protection units. We need to study more to see what’s changed.”

Salmon Arm rep Chad Eliason made a motion to refer the matter to staff. It was seconded by Area C director Paul Demenok, who expressed his concerns.

Related: Salmon Arm looking to be fire smart

“Whether we buy in or not is one thing, but are there other things we can do?” he asked. “Eagle Bay Road and Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road where there were landslides have only one way in or out.”

The motion was passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, Donaldson’s announcement on the community resiliency investment program noted that, for the first time, provincial funding will be available to First Nations for on-reserve fuel management projects. Also, new funding may be used to provide incentives to private land owners to conduct FireSmart activities on their properties.

UBCM will administer the program in collaboration with the BC Wildfire Service, First Nations’ Emergency Services Society and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, assisted by the BC FireSmart Committee.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon Arm RCMP see upswing in thefts of, and from, vehicles

Police report thieves prowling at night, entering unlocked vehicles

Successful Salmon Arm farmer’s market extended into December

Market may switch to indoor venue during the colder months of winter

RCMP investigating thefts from Shuswap mail boxes

Salmon Arm residents with compromised boxes asked to pick up mail at post office

Many medals come home to the Shuswap after 55+ Games

More than 750 athletes from Zone 8 take part in 2019 Games in Kelowna

Quiet times outlined in Sicamous noise bylaw update

Engine brakes and cars without mufflers specifically prohibited in bylaw

VIDEO: Prosecutors to consider charges in human-caused 2017 B.C. wildfire

RCMP forwards results of its investigation into Elephant Hill fire to Crown counsel

Snapshot: Sicamous Eagles give back

Junior B Hockey team escorts care home patients in the Parkinson’s Superwalk

RDOS board remuneration, expenses come to $500,000

Costs presented in Statement of Financial Information

Sagmoen publication ban lifted

The publication ban on the voir dire of Curtis Sagmoen was lifted by Justice Alison Beames Tuesday

Summerland Ornamental Gardens holds fall plant sale

Event will be held Saturday, Sept. 21

Cooperative approach urged to resolve B.C.’s forest crisis

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce calling on elected officials to set aside differences and find solutions

Cooperative approach urged to resolve B.C.’s forest crisis

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce calling on elected officials to set aside differences and find solutions

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Most Read