Council approves fire department funding application ask
By Nowell Berg
On September 28, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, Darryl Oakley, Sandra Roberts and Mayor Don McCormick were present. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the press and public were not allowed in council chambers.
The meeting streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel. Watch the archive here. Due to technical difficulties, the meeting did not start until 7:20 p.m. The video archive only includes the last 36 minutes or so of the meeting.
Community Resilience and FireSmart Preparedness
Council approved the Kimberley Fire Department’s request to submit an application for the 2021 Community Resiliency Investment Program (CRIP) funding through Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). At this time, no money has been awarded to the city for 2021.
This grant funding will allow the city to continue reducing excessive forest fuel in the Kimberley Nature Park and urban forest interface.
Assistant Fire Chief Will Booth’s report indicated the yearly fuel treatment work is part of a larger “fuel break” strategy. The city continues to work with its partners and stakeholders to prepare the forest around the city for possible wildfire and to reduce worst case negative impacts on the town and contiguous watersheds.
If awarded, the money will go toward “mechanical thinning on the west side of the municipal boundary.” All project planning and execution is done in conjunction with Canfor, Ktunaxa Nation and Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The grant would also include funds for FireSmart education.
Wildfire Mitigation Report
Mr. Bob Gray, Wildland Fire Ecologist, made a presentation, via online, to council updating it on Wildfire mitigation activities around Kimberley.
“There’s a lot that has been going on; there’s a lot that is going on and a lot planned for the future,” said Gray.
First off, Gray told council the fall burning “window” had been missed because air quality in town would be severely impaired. The slash burning in Kimberley Nature Park will be picked up next spring (2021).
While the CRIP limit is $150,000 per year, current planned fuels management projects “eat up” that grant very fast. He added, “We may reach a point where projects may have to be cut in half to get them done.”
Gray told council he is consulting with the Columbia Basin Trust about providing funds for a major watershed impact study. It would look at how wildfire would affect the Mark and Mathew Creeks.
Extensive statistical modelling would provide the city with an understanding of what a “worst case” wildfire might do to the quality and quantity of water available to the city and its residents.
Gray indicated the study has not been funded, but work is being done with The Trust and other funding agencies to secure the necessary resources.
Underground Railway Powerhouse Opening Delayed
The gala grand opening of the Underground Mining Railway Society’s Powerhouse renovation project has been postponed. Celebrations have been rescheduled to spring 2021, with a target for sometime in May.
“It will be quite an event,” said Coun. Oakley. He added, “Its looking good up there, its a great facility and they’ve done a lot of work. It really is fantastic.”
Mayor McCormick queried Oakley about arranging a “council tour” sometime this fall.
Coun. Oakley indicated a request to the Underground Mining Railway Historical Society would be made.
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m. At this time the public cannot attend in person.
The next scheduled council meeting: October 13. It will be live streamed on the City of Kimberley YouTube channel.