District of Fort St. James Municipal Office (Rebecca Dyok photo)

District of Fort St. James Municipal Office (Rebecca Dyok photo)

Community wildfire resiliency plan approved

Mayor and council approve plan Tuesday, Jan. 11

Fort St. James mayor and council recently approved the Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan but not before some discussion.

“The last meeting in December we had a resolution that council ask for a report from the administration and fire chief regarding how it could be implemented,” Coun. Jennifer Howell said Tuesday, Jan. 11, at a regular virtual meeting.

“Council also asked to meet the fire chief to help understand the document, and I haven’t been aware that has taken place at all.”

CAO David Schroeter said they would normally want to have a plan approved before discussing how to implement it, adding he would also like to discuss with council on what an implementation report could provide, that the plan as presented does not provide at base level.

Council was provided with a brief overview of the 90-page report that looks at action the District of Fort St. James and the community can take to reduce wildfire risk by Nicholas Soverel with Frontera Solutions Inc. on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Those actions, Soverel said, are primarily based on the seven disciples of FireSmart, including education, legislation and planning, development consideration, inter-agency cooperation, cross-training, emergency planning and vegetation management.

“This is a lot to take in right now, and I do think the administration and the fire chief can sit down and then come back to us with a list of what could be prioritized now and then in the future,” said Coun. Brad Miller.

Fire Chief Ryan McVey said Frontera identified items directly in his office with him and that they had hiked together in June to Mount Pope and Mount Dickenson.

“There is no way to say what items we would be able to implement right away,” McVey noted.

“This plan is only the first stage of the community resilience investment grant, so simply approving this plan does not mean any or all of them will be implemented.”

McVey said no recommendations were implemented from a previous community plan that was completed in 2014.

“This is simply part of the stage over a multi-year process of grant funding, implementation, planning and working together, and I do agree that I need to sit down with you and say of this of what we did or itemized or recognized in June… I don’t want the confusion of we can’t pass a plan for the future without knowing what or how we’re going to implement them.”

Motion and Miller agreed McVey had convinced them before the plan was unanimously approved by council.

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