Kelowna city council says it’s time to review how Central Okanagan local governments staff the emergency operations centre.
So Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has agreed to take the issue to the Central Okanagan Regional Board as soon as possible.
On Monday, Coun. Luke Stack raised the issue, saying with the growing frequency that the centre has had to be initiated in recent years, and the huge amount of time city staff help man the centre—especially this year—how it is operated and staffed should be reviewed.
Currently, municipal employees from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country, the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Westbank First Nation rotate in and out of the centre during an emergency, handling the many tasks. Stack said that has resulted in Kelowna city staff putting in a lot of time at the EOC, time taken away from their city jobs.
This year, due first to the flooding that hit this area and then the fires, the centre operated continuously from early May to earlier this week.
Stack suggested a more formal plan be established for staffing the EOC and Coun. Gail Given, chairwoman of the regional district’s board, suggested that be dealt with at the regional level as the EOC is a regional function.
With no active evacuation orders or alerts in the Central Okanagan, the EOC shut down Monday after more than four months up and running.
Local emergency officials say regular updates from cordemergency.ca and social media channels will resume only if conditions change substantially or a new emergency situation requires the EOC to re-activate.
The Finlay Creek Fire south west of Peachland remains an active fire managed by the BC Wildfire Service and supported by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen. For information about properties under evacuation alert further south, visit the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen website at www.rdos.bc.ca.
The Philpott Road fire, east of Kelowna, is now 85 per cent contained and is not considered a fire of note by the BCWS.
Area restrictions remain in effect for all Crown land in the vicinity of the Philpott Road fire and Finlay Creek fire.
The Grayback Mountain fire near Little White is still active at 35 hectares.
Recreational use of crown land is prohibited within the specified areas. The public is advised to check boundaries and learn more about specific access and restrictions here.
Also on Monday, Kelowna Coun. Tracey Gray said the the province has agreed to review how the flooding was dealt with in the Okanagan.
Gray, who is also is also chairwoman of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, said the province has already hired a consultant to conduct the review.
West Kelowna council asked for the review earlier this summer.