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Province invests $80 million in emergency preparedness

The Province of British Columbia has pledged to invest in emergency preparedness for the Kootenay region.

The Province of British Columbia has pledged to invest in emergency preparedness for the Kootenay region.

In total, the Province will invest over $80 million in emergency preparedness and public safety Minister of Energy and Mines and MLA for East Kootenay, Bill Bennett announced, on behalf of Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto.

- $600,000 of this will be invested in flood risk assessment, floodplain mapping and flood mitigation planning in Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford and Nelson. This will be divided evenly, with $150,000 given to each community.

"The Kootenays are a region that has experienced significant flooding in the past, and these funds provide much needed support to local governments to plan and prepare for potential emergencies,” said Bennett. “This, combined with yesterday's announcement, provides greater safety and security for the people that live, farm and do business in the Kootenays. By investing in emergency preparedness, prevention and protection, we are building a more resilient region."

- $1 million will support the Fraser Basin Council in conducting an inventory and engineering assessment of all orphan or unmanaged dikes in B.C. This will evaluate the structural conditions of the dikes and determine the cost to upgrade them to provincial standards, and acquire at-risk properties.

The goal of this is to assess the risks to local communities.

- $100,000 will be given to PEP Air to support capital purchases and recognize the effort of volunteer air search and rescue teams throughout the province.

- $500,000 will go towards deployable communication systems for the BC Search and Rescue Association to assist in communication in B.C.’s vast backcountry.

Another half a million will be given to Avalanche Canada to support public education and avalanche alerts throughout B.C.

- $32 million will be given to the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, to be distributed into items such as $3 million for flood plain and hazard mapping, $20 million to support structural mitigation and $4.2 million in emergency social services.

Since 2008, the Province has committed $182.7 million towards flood mitigation projects in over 200 communities in B.C.

“The over $80 million in investments in community emergency preparedness will help us better withstand floods, fires, or earthquakes that could impact our province,” said Yamamoto. “Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that begins in every home, in every business and across all levels of government. This funding is another of many provincial investments and initiatives to help keep British Columbians safe.”