Federal government terminates emergency preparedness funding program
The good news: Gabriola already has an emergency generator installed at the Rollo Seniors’ Centre as part of the Regional District of Nanaimo Emergency Preparedness Program.
The bad news: The federal government has terminated the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program for 2013 onwards. This will mean $49,497.95 will be missing from the 2012-13 RDN emergency preparedness budget.
Jani Drew, Emergency Coordinator for the RDN, said Gabriola was the priority when the funding started and was the first of the electoral areas to benefit from the funding being used to install emergency infrastructure.
“In terms of making electoral areas have operational capacity, I put Gabriola on the top of the list – it was always on the top.
“You’re an island, you have to have stand-alone capacity.”
She said all the other programs like the neighbourhood emergency preparedness program and support for training of emergency support services volunteers will be continued and will be in the 2012-13 budget.
“That will not change,” Jani said.
“This [federal] funding was to buy infrastructure. The schedule was established long ago.”
What this will mean for the RDN as a whole is when her staff starts looking at the infrastructure budget, “everything will be juggled forward. If we kept with the same schedule it would mean tax requisition.”
To date, five generators have been installed at RDN emergency reception centres in the electoral areas.
Remaining on the schedule was a generator to be installed at the Cedar Community Hall in 2012, which the federal funding will still help with.
After that, a generator was to be installed at the Gabriola Community Hall in 2015 and at the Coombs Fairground in 2016.
Those will now have to be saved for through the capital reserve.
Jani said the only other impact she foresees from losing this funding will be a regional emergency preparedness event she had been planning for 2014.
But all in all, she said, Gabriola already has its infrastructure in place. The generator planned for the Community Hall will have to wait, but at least there is one reception center with a generator ready to go at the Rollo Centre.
“Being an island helps sometimes.”