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Columbia Basin Trust provides emergency preparedness funding

The Columbia Basin Trust is providing $900,000 to 10 projects to better prepare community buildings for emergencies.

“Basin residents have emphasized the need for their communities to become more climate resilient,” said Will Nixon, senior manager, delivery of benefits, in a news release.

“We’re supporting these communities to be better prepared for events like wildfire or extreme weather. These projects will provide more resources so we can all face the future more confidently.”

The Trust also supported 13 similar projects last year, which strengthen emergency operations centres and create emergency gathering spaces for residents, with access to necessities like power, filtered air, air conditioning, emergency equipment and emergency supplies.

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Nixon said it’s not clear if the program will be back again next year.

Among those buildings being funded are the Ymir Community Hall, which will receive $175,000.

The hall was built in the 1950s and is undergoing several enhancements to ensure it can aid the public in emergencies like forest fires, severe weather and floods.

The Ymir Community Association is improving lighting and accessibility and adding a backup generator, wi-fi and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

“With these much-needed upgrades to our community hall, we will be able to provide a safe and dependable space for the people of Ymir,” said treasurer Tamara Rushforth.

“This main building of Ymir is greatly needed for emergencies of any kind, elections and celebrations. It is very important for all the residents that they have a place to go in case of any situation.”

Elsewhere, the auditorium in the Nakusp and District Sports Complex can accommodate up to 600 people during emergency events.

To serve them even better, the Village of Nakusp is installing a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the building, plus purchasing a backup generator, at a combined cost of $152,800.

“This project will enhance the resiliency of all communities in the Upper Arrow Lakes area, which are at risk from the impacts of climate change,” said Noel Ballard, FireSmart/emergency program co-ordinator.

“It will provide a greater sense of security to members of these communities since they’ll know that there will be a safe place of refuge for them if they require one.”

Other buildings receiving funding through the program include the Vallican Whole ($35,400), the Silverton Memorial Hall ($164,000), and the Burton Hall ($90,000).

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