Columbia Shuswap Regional District seeks funding for improved evacuation

Several areas within the Shuswap Emergency Program are accessible only by one route

In the case of an emergency there is only one way out for residents of Sunnybrae, Eagle Bay and North Shuswap.

That is something Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s team leader of protective services Derek Sutherland is planning to rectify.

Sutherland sought and received board of directors support to apply for a Community Emergency Preparedness Fund grant in the amount of $25,000 to complete evacuation route plans for electoral areas within the Shuswap Emergency Program service area.

Related: UPDATE: Theory emerges on landslide cause

“A comprehensive evacuation plan is critical for large-scale evacuations in these areas,” noted Sutherland in his report to the board at its Dec. 7 meeting in Salmon Arm. “A grant of this nature will support a comprehensive emergency planning project for the electoral areas encompassed by the Shuswap Emergency Program.”

Sutherland explained that while the current emergency evacuation plan completed in 2009 has served SEP communities well, it is overdue for review and updating.

“The proposed evacuation route planning project will build on the current plan and will incorporate additional layers of specific resources, communications planning, evacuation route mapping, considerations for aerial and water evacuations, mass transit and personal preparedness education,” said Sutherland. “The plan will be communicated at the community level, as well as with our municipal and First Nation’s partners.”

Related: Updated: Sunnybrae slide area concerning

Sutherland noted the province’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund grants are 100 per cent funded to a maximum of $25,000, although a successful grant application requires in-kind contributions of staff time to carry out the project.

Following his presentation, Area C South Shuswap director Paul Demenok pointed out that mapping studies have been completed by CSRD in collaboration with the Shuswap Trail Alliance and that in the case of a fire or a landslide, there other ways out for Eagle Bay and Sunnybrae residents.

“There are lots of logging roads and while we would probably need permission, they would work for nine months out of the year,” he said. “There may be money needed to improve the forest roads and trails.”

But, CSRD Chair Rhona Martin reminded directors that active logging roads are eventually de-activated, a process that includes cutting out large ditches across the roads to prevent access.


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