Improvements Coming to Essential Emergency Facilities

(Columbia Basin) – People in the Columbia Basin rely on their communities for many reasons, including being able to turn to them for protection during disasters. To boost this ability, 13 projects supported by Columbia Basin Trust aim to help communities be prepared during situations like floods, wildfires or sustained power outages.

“People and communities in the Basin have long been concerned about climate change and its consequences, and these projects exemplify how organizations are being proactive when it comes to ensuring safety when emergency situations arise,” said Will Nixon, Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust. “We’re pleased to support those who are rising to the challenges of climate change and taking steps to ensure the health and resilience of people and places.”

With 23 projects previously supported in 2021 and 2022, the Trust has provided nearly $3 million to help communities strengthen their emergency operations centres and create emergency gathering spaces for residents, with access to necessities like power, filtered air, air conditioning, emergency equipment and emergency supplies.

To view the recent projects, click here. Here are a few examples:

Golden

The Town of Golden is purchasing satellite internet, a battery back-up and VHF radio equipment to be used during times of internet interruption. This equipment will be housed at the Town's Emergency Operations Centre, plus will be portable.

“During emergencies, reliable, redundant, robust communications for the Emergency Operations Centre is a necessity,” said Kyle Hale, Golden and Area Emergency Program Coordinator. “Community-wide power outages are an annual occurrence, such as the multi-day outage in December 2021 that resulted in the failure of portions of the community’s cellular network. Having this equipment in place will help ensure effective response and recovery during major emergencies or disasters.”

Kaslo

The Village of Kaslo is installing a back-up generator, heat pumps and an air filtration system in the local arena, which serves as the community’s emergency reception centre. It is also conducting an accessibility assessment and preparing to redevelop the arena’s kitchen.

“There is a history of devastating wildfires, floods and landslides in the area dating back to the earliest days of settlement,” said Suzan Hewat, Mayor. “The Kaslo Arena will not only serve as a safe haven for area residents during such emergencies but will also allow our community to respond more effectively to disaster situations. By providing a secure space, reliable resources and essential amenities, we can alleviate stress and uncertainty during crises, fostering a sense of unity and resilience among our residents.”

Kitchener  

The Kitchener Valley Recreation and Fire Protection Society is installing a back-up generator in Kitchener Hall and upgrading the kitchen to commercial standards.

“This is so important for our community, to have a safe place to come to in an emergency, natural disaster or extreme weather event, and also for the public and workers that travel through this area and may be stranded,” said Debbie Keirn, Chair. “Our community hall will be able to provide a safe and accessible space with shelter, simple meals and respite.”

Yahk

The Yahk Kingsgate Recreation Society is installing an air filtration system and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the Yahk Community Centre, which serves as an emergency reception centre. It is also upgrading the building’s wi-fi equipment and buying emergency supplies.

“This project will further prepare us for emergencies, providing a safe reception centre that is prepared with valuable equipment and supplies during high-risk events, ensuring the protection of our people and properties and the restoration of community operations in a timely fashion after an event,” said Cynthia Rose, President. “This will directly benefit full-time community members, summer residents and those travelling throughout the year on our local highway.”

Columbia Basin Trust supports the efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.