Disaster relief funding our duty, RDBN says

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) is considering taking over the administration of some forms of disaster recovery from local organizations.

At its June 6 meeting, the board of directors discussed the Burns Lake and District Community Foundation and its management last year of $100,000 in wildfire recovery aid meant for local organizations.

LOOK BACK: 25 per cent of Rio Tinto’s $100,000 wildfire recovery aid held in perpetuity fund

Rio Tinto gave the money to the foundation, which took 25 per cent for administration, as Mark Parker, Director for Electoral Area D (Fraser Lake Rural) told the board.

“If we have that funding, if we have a trust set up where any donations like that for wildfire recovery come, who better to administer it than us and to be able to know where those funds need to go and not lose 25 per cent off the top,” Parker said.

A total of $70,000, in fact ended up going to community groups.

“Nothing against the Burns Lake and District Community Foundation, it’s a great program. But the fact that, we have a recovery manager right now who is short on funds – we’ve got money to pay the person but we don’t have anything to do to help with the recovery as far as funding goes. That $25,000, if she had that right now would be able to take care of just about every project that’s on her desk.”

Parker was speaking as part of a draft resolution before the RDBN, which states that under the provincial Emergency Program Act responsibility for emergency and disaster recovery is up to local governments.

It also states that the province’s existing policy of providing disaster relief funding to organizations other than local governments is “proving ineffective in meeting the needs of many British Columbians who require such assistance.”

Telkwa mayor Brad Layton said if the RDBN assumes responsibility for disbursing such aid, “We’d end up with more dollars going to where they need to.”

The board supported the motion and its final approval will be decided at the June 20 board meeting.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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