The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is building up Cortes Island’s emergency preparedness systems and this requires money. They have already received a $65,000 Community Resiliency grant this year. There is more coming. SRD Protective Services Coordinator Shaun Koopman explained that they have applied for another $265,000 of funding.
Received to date for 2021: $65,000
Community Resiliency Investment grant received to:
- -Develop wildfire fuel prescriptions
- -Provide free woodchipping
- -Assess structural protection and wildfire response capacity (report on Cortes Island)
- -Provide Incident Command System and Fire Entrapment and Avoidance training for the Cortes Island Fire Department
- -Hire a professional FireSmart consultant to work with neighbourhoods and develop Neighbourhood Wildfire Threat Assessment Reports with them
Further Applications: $265,066
- Emergency Support Services – (results known end of April) – $5,000 for post-earthquake supplies for Cortes Island.
- Sea Level Rise Mapping – (results known end of May) – on both Cortes and Quadra. Koopman says it is ‘hard to ballpark how much money would go to each island, but you could put $75,000 for Cortes.’ The We Wai Kai and Klahoose First Nations provided letters of support for this grant application.
- FireSmart Economic Recovery – $185,066 for Cortes Island (critical infrastructure wildfire risk reduction and fuel treatment by Recycling Centre)
Where is the money coming from?
Koopman explained that if these grants are approved, most of the money will come from ‘the accumulated piggybank of all the taxpayers in British Columbia.”
The only payment coming from Cortes Island property taxes is about $7,000 for the feasibility study needed prior to setting up a Superior Tanker Shuttle Service. This will be funded out of the Cortes Island Fire Service.
What’s behind the push?
“Ahhh, how do I answer that in a very politically correct manner?” mused Koopman.
“The external grants that are available to local governments and First Nations for public safety initiatives seem to fluctuate depending on the parties elected in our Provincial and Federal governments. How’s that? Bureaucratic enough for you?”
“ … Since these grants started coming out in 2017, the SRD has probably brought in a million dollars a year.”
“It makes sense. Invest $1 in mitigation and you save $4 in response and recovery. Investing in preparedness and mitigation pays off, that is just a fact,” said Koopman.
All the applications are partnerships
He added that all the grant applications are partnerships.
“The 2019 Community Resiliency Investment grant was a Regional grant between the SRD and Klahoose First Nation to update the wildfire plans. This FireSmart Economic Recovery grant is a Regional grant application between the Regional District, as the primary applicant, and the Cortes Firefighting Society, the South Quadra Island Improvement District, Gold River, Tahsis, Zeballos, the Wei Wai Kum First Nation, Nuu-Chah-nuhlth First Nation, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, Klahoose First Nation, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tIes7et’h’ First Nation and Ehattesaht Chinehkint First Nation … So what is that? – four local governments, two organizations and five First Nations. The Emergency Support Services grant that we applied for back in January, which was really more focused on the Seacans and post earthquake group lodging supplies, that was also a Regional application with at least ten very similar partners, “ explained Koopman.
He added that the process is so easy because all the local governments, organizations and First Nations have bought into it.
“I bring an idea to Klahoose. Here’s this grant; here’s what I think we could use it for. Thumbs up, okay, great: band council resolution signed and they pass it off to me,” said Koopman.
“There is never bickering. There is never that kind of ‘territory’ and ego. I have not seen that since I have come here. Our communities work so well together and then our Regional Board does not grill me on this. I bring it to them, thumbs up. ‘Shaun we trust that you know what you are doing and it is paying off: go for it.”
Links of Interest
- (Cortes Currents) SRD seeks grant reducing wildfire threat to community buildings
- (SRD) Grant Opportunity: FireSmart Economic Recovery Program
- (Cortes Currents) Preparing for sea level rise on Cortes and Quadra islands
- (SRD) Quadra Island and Cortes Island: Sea Level Rise Modelling Grant
- (SRD) Grant Opportunity: Emergency Support Services
- (Cortes Currents) articles mentioning Shaun Koopman
- (Cortes Currents)Wildfires on Cortes Island
- (Cortes Currents) Wildfires on Quadra Island
Top photo credit: Hornby Island Superior Tanker Shuttle Service – courtesy Shaun Koopman