Twenty-four local governments and First Nations communities have been approved to receive $3.46 million in provincial emergency preparedness funding.
This funding is part of the nearly $69.5 million Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF), designed to help communities prepare for, and respond to, disasters.
This investment through the CEPF will help communities prepare for emergencies by providing funding for flood risk assessment, flood mapping, and flood mitigation planning. The Province is supporting eligible applicants to ensure they have accurate knowledge of the flood hazards they face and to develop effective strategies to mitigate and prepare for those risks. The maximum available funding is $150,000.
The City of Merritt is set to receive the maximum $150,000 grant for flood hazard mapping around the Nicola Valley.
"I have seen first-hand the loss and devastation catastrophic flooding can have on people, families, and entire communities," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "In order to reduce the effect of flooding on people and their livelihoods, we are investing now to support flood risk assessments, mitigation, and planning work. These projects help create resiliency by improving the capacity of local government and First Nations to respond to and recover from severe flooding events."
Will George, Merritt’s Manager of Communications, joined Q101 to discuss the scope of the project.
“It will go towards the work on the Fraser Basin and looking at flood hazard mapping for public safety, development, and mitigation planning,” said George. “It's looking not only the flooding upstream near the Nicola Lake Dam, but also downstream and throughout the Nicola Valley.”
The City applied for this same grant back in 2019 but was unsuccessful.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are announcing 20 new cases, for a total of 3,028 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 175 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,667 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 17 individuals are hospitalized, four of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 982 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,596 in the Fraser Health region, 133 in the Island Health region, 201 in the Interior Health region and 65 in the Northern Health region.
"Starting today, individuals whose primary residence is outside of Canada will be reported separately. As of today, that total is 51 cases.
"There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 186 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest figures of COVID-19 in BC.
(Previous numbers in brackets)
New Cases – 20
Total Cases – 3,028 (3,008)
Active Cases – 175 (162)
Patients in Hospital – 17 (17)
Patients in ICU – 4 (3)
Recovered – 2,667 (2,660)
New Deaths – 0
Totals Deaths – 186 (186)
Health region breakdown; *Number adjusted to show cases from those living outside Canada but detected locally.
Vancouver Coastal – 982 (1,018)
Fraser – 1,596 (1,589)
Island – 133 (133)
Interior – 201 (203)
Northern – 65 (65)
Outside Canada- 51
More to come.
An independent investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in British Columbia's health care system was launched on July 9, 2020, by former judge and provincial child advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
Turpel-Lafond was appointed on June 19 by Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, after highly disturbing allegations of racism in B.C. emergency rooms were reported. She has now assembled her team for the investigation, established her terms of reference and launched a survey to collect and assess the experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people when they access health care.
"Our task is to address the specific incidents that have been reported, as well as to gauge the levels of systemic and individual racism that Indigenous peoples face when using the health care system in general," Turpel-Lafond said. "I'm glad that the minister called for this independent investigation. Based on the emails, calls and stories we have received so far, it is very much needed."
The investigation team includes members with direct clinical experience, knowledge of the health care system and expertise in conducting complex investigations. The review will be conducted in stages, starting with the investigation of troubling allegations that a "game" has been played in hospital emergency rooms, which includes guessing the blood alcohol levels of Indigenous patients. The review will also include a wider look at systemic racism in B.C. health care.
It will also feature a survey of Indigenous peoples in B.C., asking for their experiences in the health care system. That survey is now available on the Addressing Racism investigation website: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/addressingracism/
"I urge Indigenous peoples to participate in our survey so that we can get an accurate picture of how broad these problems are," Turpel-Lafond said. "This is your chance to speak."
In addition to the public submissions, the investigation team plans to survey a wide range of workers in the health care system.
Turpel-Lafond said that racism can often be a barrier to Indigenous peoples accessing health care and that building confidence in the system is extremely important, especially during a pandemic, but also for the longer term. After examining the systemic racism that occurs in the health system, the investigation will make a number of recommendations designed to prompt necessary improvements.
"We want this report to lead to positive change," Turpel-Lafond said. "The objective is to examine what is happening and to work to build confidence in a health care system that supports all people in this province."
In a normal year, visitors would be flooding into Merritt this weekend for Bass Coast, but due to COVID-19, this year is anything but normal.
Earlier this year organizers made the tough decision to cancel the 2020 festival because of the ongoing pandemic but that won’t be stopping the party this weekend as the fest goes virtual.
Bass Coast is pleased to present: Pixel Virtual Festival on July 9-11, 2020. The online programming will take place on the same dates that Bass Coast Festival had been scheduled before cancelling due to COVID-19.
The free to attend event will include DJ sets, movement workshops, panel discussions on anti-racism, workshops on mental health, and more.
“Bass Coast isn’t just a weekend festival, it’s a culture that thrives year-round. With the cancellation of all festivals this summer it’s more important than ever to gather,” says Bass Coast co-founder Liz Thomson. “We thrive on connection and Pixel Virtual Festival gives us a platform to interact with each other online while experiencing the best of Bass Coast: thoughtfully curated music and thought-provoking workshops.”
“We just felt like making a meeting point for our community was really important because it has become an annual pilgrimage that a lot of people make every year,” added Thomson.
Participants will have the option to donate to the BC Civil Liberties Association.
“They’re one of the oldest and most active human rights organizations in Canada. Their mandate is to promote, defend, sustain, and extend human liberties in the US and Canada,” said Thomson.
While this year’s fest is headed online, Thomson is looking forward to returning to the Nicola Valley for 2021.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and 9 Community Futures Offices across the Region have for the first time signed a formal agreement to strike a task force committing to develop an active and meaningful relationship on the path to rebuilding a resilient tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The negative impact of the pandemic on the Tourism Industry has been unprecedented, “ cited Glenn Mandziuk, President and CEO of TOTA. “Building the industry back requires strong and collaborative partnerships that can provide foundational support and out of the box thinking."
TOTA and Community Futures’ efforts and strategies will be focused on tourism growth, development, sustainability, and long-term resiliency. Ongoing exchange and discussion will facilitate further advancement of best practices relating to the development of sustainable communities and destinations. Specific joint strategies will target identification and support of business funding opportunities as well as advancing knowledge on the visitor experience, training, employment, and innovation.
Locally, Community Futures Nicola Valley will be taking part in the task force. Mae Ketter spoke to the importance of the agreement for the local area.
“We are presently working to increase collaboration between TOTA and Community Futures. We will work together to identify and implement projects that will assist tourism businesses. Increasing collaboration, discussing best practices, and lobbying for resources to grow the tourism sector is a win-win. CF Nicola Valley feels that working with each CF office in the region, as well as TOTA who is the Regional Tourism Association will help grow the tourism sector. This increased exposure would support economic development for all businesses including tourism,” said Ketter.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt