Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond released the following statement on the flood threats facing several regions of B.C.
"Our government is actively engaged with municipal authorities and First
Nations who are preparing for, and responding to, real and significant
"We are supporting them as they implement flood emergency response plans. Provincial staff are monitoring water levels, and together with local
government officials they are assessing the risk to the public, to vital services like roads and power lines, and to the environment.
"There are teams of experts working across the province to provide the best support possible during flood events. Over the coming days and weeks, we urge residents who are impacted to follow the advice and instructions that are provided by professionals. Failing to adhere to an evacuation order can put you and your families or others at unnecessary risk. Our primary focus is the safety and security of all British Columbians.
"We cannot predict or control Mother Nature, so the time to prepare for these events is now. If your area is at risk, pack an emergency grab-and- go bag in preparation.
For a list of important items to pack, visit: http://www.pep.bc
"In the coming days, weather and flood situations may change. To stay up- to-date on all alerts and public safety notices, go to: http://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/
"The government of B.C. places public safety at the forefront of its agenda. We want to mitigate risk and loss of homes, businesses and public infrastructure, but our number-one priority is safeguarding British Columbians."
Government of B.C. responding to increased flood threat
* As a result of forecasts of prolonged weather systems bringing rain and increased snow melt to regions where water levels are already high, the River Forecast Centre in B.C. has issued several advisories and warnings that are available at: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/
* Local authorities are the legislated lead in an emergency, but the B.C. government provides assistance through Emergency Management BC's (EMBC) co-ordination role that helps communities connect with the resources they need (ie. hydrologists, engineering contractors, large machinery rentals), and connects with stakeholders for broader consultation.
* In addition to hosting regular co-ordination calls, EMBC has been connecting with over 20 local authority and First Nation leaders and has senior provincial emergency managers and experts deployed to the regions.
* About three km of gabions have been deployed to Prince George where 1.5 km have already been pre-deployed, and eight more km are situated in Chilliwack.
* There are two million sandbags available in the provincial stockpile. About 700,000 have been deployed in past month and some of the roughly 1,000 specially trained wildfire management branch fire-fighters are already lending a hand with sandbagging in communities.
* Seasonal Readiness Workshops and spring co-ordination calls were hosted to connect local authorities with technical experts prior to the onset of freshet, but regional staff work closely with communities year-round to ensure that relevant information, training and work is delivered to help prepare, prevent and minimize potential impacts of flooding.
* When an emergency is declared, EMBC will assist with the funding of some emergency services (ie. approved emergency-related construction, evacuation costs, temporary lodging through ESS, etc). This funding has strict guidelines provided to local authorities in advance of emergencies and reiterated during an event so that there is clarity on what exactly are, and are not, covered expenses under the Emergency Program Act.
* In a proactive measure, the provincial and federal governments partnered to provide $33 million for urgent flood mitigation in 2007. The Flood Protection Program (FPP) that provides at-risk communities in the province with funding for flood mitigation works was established in 2007/08 to administer the B.C. government's commitment to provide $100 million over 10 years.
* In January 2012, 22 FPP projects were funded for 20 communities across B.C. worth $36 million in jointly funded flood mitigation projects; most of these projects are already underway.
* The B.C. government provides alerts and offers information on how to assemble emergency kits, as well as hosting today's technical briefing audio at: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.cawww.gov.bc.ca/connect