Tŝilhqot’in to undergo extensive feasibility study on emergency infrastructure
June 22, 2023
By Avert staff
The B.C. government is putting $5 million into an extensive feasibility study for the Tŝilhqot’in National Government to find out what emergency infrastructure is needed in their territory in Central B.C.
The funding is part of the Collaborative Emergency Management Agreement (CEMA) established by the provincial, federal and Tŝilhqot’in governments in 2018 and renewed last year. CEMA is designed to enhance the role and capacity of Tŝilhqot’in peoples in emergency management, including an infrastructure, operational requirements and other capacity needs review.
“The Tŝilhqot’in peoples were severely impacted by the Cariboo and Chilcotin wildfires of summer 2017,” Bowinn Ma, B.C.’s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said in a news release. “This funding and partnership is in keeping with our government’s commitment to advance reconciliation and improve emergency management for Indigenous Peoples and is another step in solidifying our long-term and growing partnership with the Tŝilhqot’in National Government.”
Other funding to support CEMA includes $2 million from Indigenous Services Canada for co-ordination and planning of the emergency centre, community fire-safety assessments and fire-services equipment, more than $1 million from Natural Resources Canada for the Tŝilhqot’in National Government Emergency Management – Wildfire Capacity Building project, and $1 million from the B.C. government for governance and operations to support the next four years of CEMA.
Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Joe Alphonse of the Tŝilhqot’in National Government said in the release “groundbreaking agreements” like CEMA are needed to ensure First Nations have an active and leading role in emergencies.
“The history of wildfire management in the province has shown us that First Nations are often at the front lines and need to be empowered to manage emergencies on their land. We know what is best for our people,” Chief Alphonse said. “We have to change the way we approach wildfire and how we fight it. The climate crisis is taking all hands on deck. We are proud to say that we are making progress in the infrastructure needed to be resilient during this crisis.”
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