The Mayor of Quesnel is a fan of the Provincial Government’s new Community Resiliency Investment Program to help local governments and First Nations to reduce the risk of wildfires.
Bob Simpson says it a much better program than the previous one…
“The last program was really untenable. It took us 18 months to get a Community Wildfire Protection Plan approved. You couldn’t get any money from the program until it was approved, and i tell you it was like pulling teeth to get approval, and that was 70 percent funding, you had to come up with your own money for that. We used Beetle Action Coalition money to provide the additional funds that we needed, and then it’s 90 percent for one part of the program and 70 percent for another. At the end of the day the reality was almost no municipality truly participated. The city of Quesnel had a 10-year community wildfire protection plan in which less than 10 percent of the fuel management treatments that needed to be done got done.”
Simpson says the improvements go beyond the money…
“They want regional partnerships where as before First Nations had to put in their own Community Wildfire plan and the city their own. We can now get together with Lhtako and Nazko, put in a regional plan, we can do treatments on private lands. In the case of the city of Quesnel 60 percent of our Community Wildfire Protection plan area was private land and under the old program we couldn’t provide any incentives for private land owners to treat those and protect our community.”
Simpson says this new program also allows them to leverage the money, up to 100 thousand dollars for individual communities, with other provincial and federal funding opportunities.
The City of Quesnel has a resolution at UBCM that passed at the North Central Local Government Association that called on the province to stop making municipalities pay for wildfire management work on crown land.