BC is making history by committing record amounts of money to communities who are becoming heavily impacted by climate change and creating a platform for them to educate themselves about impending disasters.
A new online platform to assist British Columbians with impending climate change related disasters will be developed as a “one-stop” guide to dealing with fallout and $180 million is being added to the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF).
This funding will help local governments and First Nations across Vancouver Island and all of BC prepare for natural disasters and lessen their potential effects. The CEPF has now had $369 million invested since its creation in 2017.
Some of that funding was used in Victoria to create public cooling infrastructure to help people beat the heat of summer during the ‘heat-dome’ as well as a tsunami evacuation structure in Tofino.
“BC has seen more than our share of climate disasters, so there’s urgency to be ready and equipped to minimize damage and recover quickly when the worst happens,” said Premier David Eby.
“New funding for projects in communities, combined with a new online hub of information resources for local leaders, will help us all be better prepared to face emergencies.”
ClimateReadyBC is the new platform meant to provide hazard and mapping tools, risk data and resources to help communities be prepared and ready for future disasters brought on by ongoing climate change.
The website will have resources to help British Columbians learn about hazards their community may face such as wildfires, floods, extreme heat/cold, earthquakes and tsunamis. It will also contain historic data of disasters of the past. Prior to this new platform, this information was scattered across several government platforms and websites.
“Recent extreme weather events have caused a lot of destruction in B.C. and people are looking to our government to help keep them and their families safe,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.
“Through ClimateReadyBC and a historic investment in CEPF, we’re increasing the tools and the resources communities need to prepare for climate-related emergencies.”
The CEFP funding contains seven streams that the government’s investment gets funnelled into. Those streams are: public notification and evacuation route planning, emergency support services, emergency operations centres, disaster risk reduction — climate adaptation, extreme heat mapping and planning, volunteer fire department equipment and training and Indigenous cultural safety training.
The last few years have seen several climate change related disatsers take place throughout Vancouver Island and BC’s interior. Following the 2021 flooding in the lower mainland, the funding for dikes and pump stations in at-risk flood zones has been increased from $2 million to $5 million and after the summer’s ‘heat-dome’ an online portal for local governments to use in extreme-heat events.
Part of the funding is also allotted to First Nations communities. The First Nations Emergency Services Society was developed in 2017 and since its creation it has had over 1,300 projects approved via CEPF.