Quesnel City Council is asking the Provincial Government to change the current model for protecting communities from wildfires.
Mayor Bob Simpson questions why municipalities are required to partially fund planning and fuel management on Crown land.
He feels there is a better way…
“The permanent fix, is to take that responsibility internal to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations or the Wildfire Branch, either/or we don’t care, just take it internal. If they take it internal they have the forestry staff, they have the forest technicians, they have the registered professional foresters, they can do the planning, write the prescriptions and then issue the contracts to get the work done.”
Simpson says the way it works now is they have to hire professionals who then get second guessed by UBCM, who’ve hired their own contractors to get back to the City’s contractors, who then submit something to the Ministry who second guesses it, before it is finally approved….
“So you’ve got four times this thing has to bounce around and you’re losing all of the money that could actually be put into fuel management treatment, by having professionals second guess professionals to finally get to a treatment.”
Simpson says besides not having the expertise, municipalities also don’t have the money to do the fuel management that is needed.
In the short term, Council is hoping to continue the process of going to the prescription stage in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, but it would like 100 percent of the funding to come from the Forest Enhancement Society.
Right now the municipality has to apply to UBCM for funding and the city is on the hook for 25 percent of the bill.