Flooding in Grand Forks, May 2018. (Kathleen Saylors/Grand Forks Gazette)

Communities seek reforms to B.C. wildfire, flood response

‘Stay and defend’ homeowners put risk on local government

People who stay and defend their properties and livestock in defiance of an evacuation order should have that right recognized, delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention voted Thursday.

Clint Lambert, area director of the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District, received unanimous support for his call to change B.C. legislation to recognize the choice to defend their homes and livelihood. He was one of the property owners who refused to leave their homes in his rural district around Francois and Ootsa Lake during the 2017 wildfire season.

“They ordered everyone evacuated, and 200 people in my community stayed to protect their homes and livestock and livelihoods,” Lambert said. “The regional district was put in a tight spot. They did cut off fuel and food and supplies for about four or five days, and then they realized that we weren’t going to come out so then they decided they had to help.

“Because of that, we need legislation that takes the liability away from the regional district and puts it on the property owner, because you cannot be gone from your livestock for eight to nine weeks.”

Lambert’s resolution was one of a series coming out of record fire seasons in 2017 and 2018, as well as the flooding that struck Grand Forks in 2018.

RELATED: B.C. residents defy evacuation orders in 2018 wildfires

RELATED: Grand Forks properties to be bought at ‘post-flood value’

Delegates also endorsed Grand Forks Coun. Christine Thompson’s resolutions to make disaster financial assistance easier for small businesses to apply for, and to review insurance rules for communities after a fire or flood.

“This relates to the small business community, who in the face of a disaster had to provide audited financial statements and other information regarding their eligibility to receive funding,” Thompson said. “Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and without them we wouldn’t have communities.”

Delegates also supported Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond’s call for additional staffing for Emergency Management B.C.

“In 2017, over 28,000 people in our regional district were evacuated from their homes, and they went all over the province, to Prince George, Kelowna, they went to Vancouver Island, Clearwater, they went to Abbotsford, they went to Chilliwack,” Richmond said.

“The challenges that we had with that type of level three emergency in the province was a lack of volunteers, and a lack of consistency of information that was received at the various evacuation centres.

“We’re asking the province to take a much larger role in the management to ensure that everyone gets the same information, because when people came home, some received different services than others. That’s not the fault of the volunteers, it’s the fault of poor communication in a time of crisis.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Horgan’s caribou liaison quits

Blair Lekstrom was appointed to ease tension between local groups over plan to save threatened herds

From the archives of the 100 Mile Free Press

34 YEARS AGO (1986): The cost of insurance for the village surprised… Continue reading

Diaries of a City Kid: Siblings

As a child, I didn’t follow in my sisters’ footsteps, I ran… Continue reading

Peter Skene Ogden students let loose during annual Winter Formal

‘We are going to be remodelling the courtyards’

108 Lions prepare for ICE OFF contest

The 108 Mile Ranch Lions Club is currently preparing the annual ICE… Continue reading

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read