The B.C. government announced more than $2.2 million in new funding Thursday to help 57 local governments and First Nations' modernize their emergency support services for people who are evacuated during an emergency. But the Central Okanagan, which has seen its fair share of evacuations, didn't receive any of the new funding.
The new funding from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund will help communities across the province expand their emergency support services through “volunteer recruitment, retention and training, including in-house training, and the purchase of ESS equipment.”
"British Columbians who are forced to evacuate their homes often rely on provincially funded emergency support services that are delivered in partnership with First Nations and local governments," said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.
"This funding will help communities build up capacity to better deliver these supports to people during very stressful situations as we continue modernizing and improving ESS."
Several projects across the Southern Interior will receive new funding:
- Central Kootenay Regional District - ESS Program Capacity Building and Modernization
- East Kootenay Regional District - Regional: East Kootenay ESS Capacity Building Project (Regional Partners: Cranbrook, Fernie, Invermere, Canal Flats)
- Kamloops - 2023 ESS Training, Supplies and Equipment Modernization
- Lower Nicola Indian Band - Program Support 2023
- Merritt - ESS Capacity Building
- Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen - Regional: 2023 ESS Capacity Building, (Regional partners: Summerland, Princeton, Oliver, Keremeos)
- Penticton - ESS 2023
- Thompson-Nicola Regional District - ESS Capacity Building
But none of the new funding will be coming to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan. A full list of the funded projects can be found here.
According to the province, about 30,000 British Columbians use ESS supports every year, but that number rose in 2021 due to widespread wildfires and the November flooding.