Campbell River, BC – The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is excited to announce that they have received $394,000 through the Union of BC Municipalities FireSmart Economic Recovery grant to fund wildfire risk reduction activities. The intent of the FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund is to support immediate job creation in order to build local wildfire resiliency and assist communities in recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“An interface fire is a severe and likely threat regardless of which community in the SRD that you reside in, and I know decreasing wildfire risk is a top priority of our residents. While SRD was the lead organization on this grant, this was a regional application in partnership with six First Nations, three member municipalities, the South Quadra Island Improvement District and the Cortes Island Fire Fighting Society” said SRD Board Chair Brad Unger. “Resilience is the ability of a community to not only withstand and bounce back after a disaster but also to adapt to the new normal a disaster brings with it. This grant will increase the resiliency of our critical infrastructure to withstand a wildfire and we would like to thank the Province of British Columbia for making this funding available.”
A large portion of this grant is devoted to funding FireSmart renovations for community buildings such as installing tempered glass in all doors and windows, enclosing the side of buildings with fire-resistant material, replacing wood stairs with steel stairs, and installing a metal roof. These buildings include Camp Homewood, Gorge Hall, Linnaea Farm Education Centre, Nuchatlaht First Nation Administration Building, Sayward Valley Firehall, the Quadra Island Bible Church, Whaletown Firehall and the Zeballos Community Centre.
“Aside from holding a special spot in the cultural context of the communities, the SRD has Memorandum of Understandings in place with the non-profit owned facilities mentioned above to support Emergency Support Services during a disaster” said Shaun Koopman, SRD Protective Services Coordinator. “For many years, these organizations have been incredible supporters of our regional emergency program through hosting training sessions and engaging in numerous emergency planning conversations. It feels great to be able to provide them with meaningful funding to decrease the wildfire vulnerability of their facilities.”
The Villages of Gold River, Tahsis and Zeballos as well as Ehattesaht/Chinehkint First Nation, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nation, Klahoose First Nation, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, and We Wai Kai First Nation will receive FireSmart Critical Infrastructure Assessment Reports on both their community buildings and infrastructure. This report serves as a prerequisite that can then be used to apply for future FireSmart renovation funding. In collaboration with the Cortes Forestry General Partnership, the grant will also fund a 4-hectare Wildfire Fuel Treatment on Cortes Island through activities such as pruning, thinning and removing ladder fuels to reduce both the amount and continuity of burnable vegetation.
To learn more about the FireSmart program and wildfire risk reduction, please visit www.firesmartbc.ca.
SRD Protective Services Coordinator
250-830-6702 | firstname.lastname@example.org