B.C. communities to benefit from disaster-mitigation funding

by ahnationtalk on April 10, 201852 Views

April 10, 2018

VICTORIA – The Government of British Columbia is improving the safety of British Columbians and protecting communities by investing $6.5 million in disaster-mitigation projects throughout the province.

“Being prepared and planning ahead is paramount to protecting public safety and ensuring the economic health of our communities,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This investment will help make sure communities have the information they need and safeguards are in place, to better protect their citizens, critical infrastructure and livelihoods in an emergency.”

Ten high-priority projects have been approved. They support seismic safety, avalanche risk assessment, flood protection and mitigation, and wildfire preparedness planning at the community level.

“These projects will help us build safe and secure communities and support our goal of ensuring all British Columbians are prepared for an emergency,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.

Funding highlights include:

  • $2.6 million to plan and undertake structural and non-structural flood-mitigation projects in various locations throughout B.C.;
  • $1.75 million to further assess earthquake-related hazards in the Metro Vancouver area;
  • $1.5 million to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) for the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund;
  • $450,000 to the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia to support road rescue, fire safety and prevention; and
  • $130,000 to Avalanche Canada and the District of Stewart to support avalanche reporting and mapping.

“The weather in the Okanagan is changing,” said Anna Warwick Sears, executive director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, about the funding it received.

As climate scientists warn that “extreme fluctuations will only become increasingly common,” she added that the level of collaboration that this project demonstrates – with local governments, the Okanagan Nation Alliance, its member communities, and the B.C. government – is all the more important.

“Everyone is working together, and all will benefit,” Warwick Sears said.

This funding is part of Emergency Management BC’s annual operating budget. Projects were chosen based on hazard risk, how quickly local governments could initiate activities and the benefit to the community.

Today’s investment builds on the $10.7 million in funding announced in February 2018 by the governments of B.C. and Canada to support 30 flood-mitigation projects throughout the province.

Quick Facts:

  • Emergency Management BC is the Province’s lead co-ordinating agency for all emergency management activities, including preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery.
  • April 8-14 is Tsunami Preparedness Week in B.C., which aims to educate British Columbians about their risks and which sections of the coast are most vulnerable, and how to prepare and what to do in the event of an immediate threat.
  • As part of Tsunami Preparedness Week, the B.C. government launched a new earthquake and tsunami guide. The aim is to help British Columbians understand how best to prepare for a disaster.
  • The last major tsunami to hit B.C. shores was on March 27, 1964, when waves hit the B.C. coast, and Port Alberni was inundated with water following the 9.2-magnitude Great Alaska Earthquake. Those living within a tsunami zone need to learn about the risks, and how to prepare with at least 72 hours’ worth of water, food and emergency supplies.

Learn More:

PreparedBC provides resources on how to build an emergency kit and how to prepare your family and community: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/preparedbc

Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmergencyInfoBC
www.twitter.com/PreparedBC

The new earthquake and tsunami guide: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/preparedbc/earthquake_and_tsunami_guide_2018_web.pdf

Tsunami risks, preparedness and information: www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC/tsunamis

B.C. government flood prevention and planning: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-management-bc/flood-protection-and-planning

Earthquake preparedness: www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC/tsunamis

A backgrounder follows.

Contact:

Media Relations
Government Communications and Public
Engagement
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
250 387-1693


BACKGROUNDER

April 10, 2018

$6.5 million to protect public safety and communities

The Government of British Columbia has awarded almost $6.5 million to fund 10 disaster-mitigation projects. These will support community emergency preparedness activities and planning.

The projects include:

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, Western University – Metro Vancouver-region seismic-microzonation mapping and professional practice guidelines – $1.5 million

  • To expand the geographic scope of an existing seismic mapping project to include additional communities within the Metro Vancouver area.
  • The project will enhance provincial understanding of earthquake-related hazards, including slope instability, liquefaction and ground shaking.
  • The funding will allow for engineers and geoscientists to conduct a peer review of project outcomes and create professional practice guidelines to assist professionals to interpret and use seismic hazard maps.

Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) – Flood mitigation – $1.5 million

  • To support local government flood-mitigation projects through the UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund.
  • To assist local governments to conduct flood risk assessments; develop up-to-date flood maps, and prepare flood-mitigation plans.
  • Local governments can apply for funding for these types of projects through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, administered by the Union of BC Municipalities.

Okanagan Water Basin Board – LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and ortho-imagery acquisition for Okanagan watershed – $1.45 million

  • To obtain aerial photos and surface topography for the entire Okanagan watershed. The data will be primarily used to update flood maps, and conduct computer modelling of water levels during the spring freshet.

Central Coast Reginal District – Risk assessment and flood modeling – $500,000

  • To develop a flood risk assessment and to model several flood scenarios in the Bella Coola Valley. These studies will help identify flood hazards, potential community impacts, and infrastructure vulnerabilities.

District of Stewart – Bear River structural flood mitigation – $500,000

  • To structurally improve the Bear River diking system to prevent flooding of the District of Stewart. Structural improvements will include raising the height of the dike.

Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. – Interface structure fire protection pre-plans – $450,000

  • To create wildfire emergency preparedness plans for up to 150 communities, including First Nations. The plans will identify water sources, equipment requirements and strategies to help protect a community from wildfire.

Seismic Resilience Innovation Corporation – Prioritized post-earthquake response (PPR) -$250,000

  • To better understand the effects of earthquakes on critical facilities, including hospitals and emergency shelters.
  • To implement a prioritized post-earthquake response (PPR) system in key critical facilities, including government buildings, hospitals, emergency shelters and other infrastructure in southwest B.C. This will involve installing earthquake sensors and undertaking a series of engineering assessments in order to determine how these structures can be expected to perform in the event of a major earthquake.

Fraser Basin Council – LiDAR acquisition for Lower Fraser and Harrison River channel gravel reaches – $100,000

  • To collect topographic information of the Lower Fraser and Harrison River channel to better understand the impacts of gravel bars on water flows.

Avalanche Canada – Mountain information network implementation – $50,000

  • To develop a crowdsourced public avalanche condition reporting system in regions where avalanche forecasting is sparse.

District of Stewart – Avalanche risk assessment – $80,000

  • To update mapping tools to improve the ability of the District of Stewart and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure avalanche technician team to assess areas vulnerable to avalanches. The aim is to improve public safety and mitigate damages to infrastructure.

Contact:

Media Relations
Government Communications and Public
Engagement
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
250 387-1693

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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