qathet Regional District’s finance committee is recommending the regional board apply for funding for the district’s emergency operations centre (EOC).
At the March 17 finance committee meeting, regional directors reviewed a recommendation to continue applying for the funding, which will provide up to $25,000 toward eligible EOC training activities.
According to a staff report from manager of emergency services Ryan Thoms, the EOC funding is intended to support the purchase of equipment and supplies required to maintain or improve EOCs, and to enhance EOC capacity through training and exercises. Public information costs are also considered eligible expenses.
qRD has successfully accessed Community Emergency Preparedness Fund EOC grant funding in past years to support purchase and installation of a generator for the regional district’s maintenance facility in 2018 and to support EOC staff and stakeholder training sessions, and public information to further understanding of the recently developed regional evacuation plans.
Thoms said this would be the third time qRD has applied for EOC funding through the Union of BC Municipalities. He said in the past, the regional district had received $25,000 for the generator and this current year, for work being done on the EOC public emergency preparedness training.
“We’re hoping to carry that forward with this grant request, to continue building on the evacuation planning and other key emergency public communications we have been working on,” said Thoms.
Finance committee chair George Doubt said more public education on the evacuation plan is always necessary.
“I’m not sure a huge percentage of the population is actually aware of the plans that have been worked on so hard,” said Doubt.
Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall asked about anticipated results if the grant is not secured this year.
Thoms said it would be a challenge for the program. He said the regional district budget shows anticipated grant funding and there are expenses identified if the grant is successful, such as contracted help to bring training, as well as getting out in the public to work with community groups and neighbourhood associations.
“It’s been a little bit of a challenge through the pandemic but we’ve still been able to get out,” said Thoms. He added that if the funding doesn’t come through, the emergency program would have to look at a plan B.
“We’d probably have to shorten some of our aspirations,” said Thoms.