Segment of building's lower wall

What the FireSmart grant means to Cortes and Quadra Islands

CKTZ News, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cortes and Quadra Islands will receive a significant chunk of the $394,000 FireSmart Economic Recovery Grant that the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) just received. 

Renovations to Gorge Hall – courtesy SRD
Approximate locations mentioned in text – adapted from Google maps by Roy L Hales

Where the FireSmart funds are going

According to Shaun Koopman, SRD Protective Services Coordinator, “So for Cortes Island this is about $180,000 of wildfire risk reduction.”

This money will be used for renovations at:

  • the Linnaea Farm Education Centre and Gorge Hall, which serve as emergency support service facilities in the advent of an evacuation.
  • the Whaletown Fire Hall
  • a 4-hectare Wildfire Fuel Treatment on Cortes Island through activities such as pruning, thinning and removing ladder fuels to reduce both the amount and continuity of burnable vegetation.

About $60,000 is for renovations at Camp Homewood’s residential quarters and  Quadra Island Bible Church – both of which are designated as evacuation centres, should the need arise. 

Full community assessment reports are to be prepared for the Klahoose and We Wai Kai First Nations

“We will be looking at all their critical infrastructure and community buildings, There is a template that you fill out for them and then submit that template to the province for further funding,” said Koopman.  

The rest of the grant funding goes to the Villages of Gold River, Tahsis and Zeballos as well as Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’, and Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations.

Example of window to be replaced at Gorge Hall – photo courtesy SRD

Building renovations on Cortes & Quadra

Koopman went on to describe the renovations that will be carried out at each Cortes and Quadra location. 

  • Camp Homewood – replacing the cedar shake roof with a metal roof
  • Gorge Hall –  fixing gaps on the building; putting up fireproof siding in the lower part of the building; installing multi-pane windows; putting a fire proof partition around the generator 
  • Linnaea Farm Educational Building – replacing the wooden deck and stairs with a metal deck and stairs; installing a fireproof base along the structure of the building  
  • Quadra Island Bible Church – closing in the sides of the building with fire resistant materials 
  • Whaletown Fire Hall – removing some of the outbuildings and a mobile trailor

He said that the SRD has Memorandum of Understandings in place with each of these Cortes and Quadra non-profit owned facilities, to support Emergency Support Services during a disaster. 

Koopman explained, ”For many years, these organizations have been incredible supporters of our regional emergency program through hosting training sessions and engaging in numerous emergency planning conversations. It feels great to be able to provide them with meaningful funding to decrease the wildfire vulnerability of their facilities.”

Holes to be plugged at Gorge Hall – courtesy SRD

Links of Interest

Top photo credit: Segment of Gorge Hall’s lower wall to be fireproofed – photo courtesy SRD

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