As communities across B.C. have been dealing with evacuations from floods and fires for weeks, the provincial government announced new funding Wednesday for dozens of local emergency operations centres, including several around the Thompson-Okanagan region.
Close to $3 million of new funding through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund was announced for local governments and First Nations throughout B.C, for purchasing and installing equipment and supplies to maintain or improve emergency operations centres, as well as training and exercises.
EOCs are activated during times of emergency, to help coordinate response and recovery actions and communicate information to the public and media.
A similar $2.2 million funding announcement was made earlier this year, but a spokesperson with B.C.'s Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness confirms Wednesday's announcement contains all new funding.
Locally, the Central Okanagan Regional District received $28,090, the North Okanagan Regional District received $30,000, Penticton received $29,200, and Kamloops received $30,000 for local emergency operations centres and training.
“Our community shows up in a crisis, especially the emergency responders and volunteers, who have helped save so many lives here in the Okanagan by putting themselves at risk," said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, in a press release.
“This funding will help make sure that in the face of disaster, our local Emergency Operations Centre is even more ready to respond and, our incredible emergency responders will get the resources they need to keep people safe.”
The Town of Armstrong will also receive $30,000 to fund equipment, supplies and training for a new, permanent emergency operations centre.
“The Community Emergency Preparedness Fund has enabled the City of Armstrong to enhance its emergency preparedness, response and ability to recover by enabling us to build capacity through the purchasing of equipment and by providing training opportunities,” said Armstrong Mayor Joe Cramer in a press release. “The contribution of $30,000 will make a significant impact on our community for years to come.”
A list of Thompson-Okanagan communities that received new funding can be found below, while the full list of all funded B.C. communities can be found here.
- Armstrong: EOC equipment foundations and training ($30,000)
- Barriere: EOC enhancement project ($30,000)
- Central Okanagan Regional District: EOC and training 2023 ($28,090)
- Clearwater: North Thompson area winter exercise and training ($29,950)
- Columbia Shuswap Regional District: Testing communications ($29,980)
- Kamloops: 2023 EOC training, supplies and modernization ($30,000)
- Lower Nicola Indian Band: EOC program support 2023 ($30,000)
- North Okanagan Regional District: EOC and training 2023 ($30,000)
- Oliver: Enhancing Oliver’s internal emergency response capacity ($22,000)
- Penticton: EOC 2023 ($29,200)
- Simpcw First Nation: North Thompson area winter exercise and training ($30,000)
- Sun Peaks: Virtual EOC development, training and EOC laptops ($30,000)
- Thompson-Nicola Regional District: Enhancement project ($30,000)