West Kelowna seeks provincial funding for wildfire protection on private lands

The province announced a shift in the cost-sharing formula for operational fuel reduction treatments Wednesday.

A change in the province’s formula of wildfire protection funding is “positive” according to West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater, but he’s still looking for more protection on private lands.

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced a shift in the cost-sharing system for operational fuel reduction treatments Wednesday.

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative will pay 90 per cent of the project cost, with an annual cap of $400,000 for municipalities and First Nations and a cap of $600,000 for regional districts.

The remaining 10 per cent can be an in-kind contribution, such as staff time, or a cash payment from the applicant.

“You couldn’t count your staff time previously as your contribution. That was a real impediment to municipalities to put cash in rather than staff time…so this is positive,” said Findlater.

Previously, the initiative provided 90 per cent of the project funding up to $100,000, then 75 per cent of the remaining cost up to a maximum of $400,000 per year.

Operational fuel reduction treatments can include: Removing dead trees, increasing the spacing between live trees, trimming back low-hanging tree branches and removing or burning off vegetation and wood debris that could field a wildfire.

“This change in the funding formula should encourage more municipalities, regional districts and First Nations to develop community wildfire protection plans and undertake fuel management projects to help protect their communities from wildfire,” said Thomson.

Findlater said the revised formula will be helpful for West Kelowna, but it still doesn’t address the district’s top concern of dealing with forest fire interface on private property.

West Kelowna council successfully passed a resolution seeking a province-wide wildfire protection program for both public and private lands at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria last September.

“Most of the (fuel interface) areas in and around West Kelowna that are problematic are on private property,” said Findlater.

“We were looking in the resolution either for funding to do (fuel reduction on) private land or a legislative piece to allow for enforcement on private land.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

 

Just Posted

Bumper ripped off Kelowna taxi in accident

The accident happened along Harvey Avenue

Lake Country bunny sanctuary needs your help to get hay

The non-profit is in the finals for The Great Hay Giveback

Kelowna offering money for good neighbourhood ideas

City says it has grant funding available for its Strong Neighbourhoods program

Okanagan College dives into cannabis courses

The college has adapted its programs in Kelowna

Mountaineer to speak on challenges and perseverance during film festival in Kelowna

Adam Campbell is speaking as part of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

Man holds newborn son for first time after devastating B.C. racetrack crash

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Smooth start to legal cannabis in B.C., Mike Farnworth says

Online and government store makes 4,000 sales by noon

Kootenkoff: Sexual Harassment at Work

—By Susan Kootnekoff It changes lives. Perhaps it has happened to you.… Continue reading

Shuswap pot shops close as cannabis becomes legal

One marijuana dispensary won’t require city approvals as on First Nations land

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Most Read