As part of its ongoing emergency preparedness efforts, the RDEK is coordinating Regional Evacuation Route Planning in partnership with all East Kootenay communities.
A consultant has been retained to develop scenarios, a regional evacuation plan and specific evacuation routes. “To help the consultants with the data-gathering phase of the project, a resident survey is now open,” explains RDEK Protective Services Manager Fiona Dercole. “The more widespread participation we have, the better the data will be, which will make for a stronger plan.”
All East Kootenay residents in municipalities, rural areas and First Nations are encouraged to participate in the survey, which can be found here. The deadline to take part is October 17.
The regional plan will also include consideration for evacuating into – or receiving evacuees from – Alberta and neighbouring BC jurisdictions. During the summer of 2021, the East Kootenay received evacuees from other areas of BC due to widespread accommodation shortages in the West Kootenay, Central Kootenay and Okanagan.
The draft Regional Evacuation Route Plan is expected to be complete early in 2022.
The RDEK was successful in obtaining $171,720 in grant funding from the UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for development of a regional Evacuation Route Plan. Six municipalities, four First Nations and the RDEK partnered for the grant. In addition, the District of Invermere applied separately for funding and was successful in obtaining an additional $21,920 for the project, for a total of $193,640. The District of Sparwood previously applied for funding and has an existing Evacuation Route Plan that will be incorporated into the Regional Plan.