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Increased Funding for Fire Centres, More Pilot Training; CRD to Bring 7 resolutions forward to NCLGA Convention

The Cariboo Regional District will be bringing seven resolutions forward to the upcoming North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) convention taking place in Williams Lake from May 7-10.

One of the resolutions approved at Friday’s board meeting includes a better provincial approach to fire-smarting transportation corridors.

“The Ministry of Transportation, Fortis, and BC Hydro depending on where their line allotment is do brushing and they have it on a regimental system when they do it,” said CRD chair and Area H Director, Margo Wagner.

“The issue is often when they do the program they don’t remove the waste, and so specifically when I talked to the Ministry of Transportation corridors is they come along with basically a very large wood lawn mower system that cuts down small trees, but then they just leave it in the ditch.”

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Wagner said when it dries out following the spring freshet, it becomes a real fire hazard, and that the CRD is looking for them to either remove the wood waste or chip it and take it away.

“We’re now at such increased awareness of what happens when a small spark starts in a very dry area.”

Other resolutions include lobbying higher levels of government for consistent access to Emergency Social Services resources; more small aircraft pilot training; increased funding for fire centres; fair cannabis revenue sharing with local governments; additional training programs for arena operators in light of increased ammonia regulations; and the provision of provincial resources to inspect and enforce provincial fire safety regulations.

“There was a desire to mandate regional districts to undertake fire inspections of public assembly buildings; community halls, restaurants, motels, etcetera, and regional districts we don’t have fire departments in most of the areas so we don’t have people in the area who have the training or the expertise to do that ” said Area G Director Al Richmond.

“Majority of the regional districts strenuously opposed taking on that responsibility and appealed to the previous government that it wasn’t practical, but perhaps if some regional districts wished to it where they were a more populated area and fewer distances between communities that perhaps they might consider doing it so they agreed to make optional.”

“The change in government, the office of the fire commissioner, however, once again brought it forward suggesting that they wanted to have this mandated to regional districts to carry out these fire inspections.”

Richmond said a number of resolutions have gone to UBCM and NCLGA over the years opposing taking on this additional responsibility.

“This resolution is again to put it back on the floor of NCLGA and UBCM this coming September,” he said.

“There is a committee of which I’m chairing for UBCM and we’re working with the office of the fire commissioner to identify our real concerns and we’re making some very good progress in bringing forward the points that have been made by our members.”

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