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General News · 16th January 2023
Shaun Koopman
Cortes Islanders

The purpose of this posting is to provide you with the notes from the November 2022 Disaster Resiliency Planning Committee meeting.

For some background Cortes Emergency Planning Committee would meet quarterly prior to the C19 pandemic, and meetings during C19 were difficult to keep going in an organized fashion despite our best efforts. It was decided that upon the lifting of restrictions that this Committee should rebrand to a ‘Disaster Resiliency Committee’ to better include other stakeholders outside of the traditional emergency response world but that still play a key role in Preparedness on Cortes Island. It was agreed by the Committee that the notes taken at these meetings should be disseminating publicly. The goal of this committee is to return to meeting quarterly in 2023.

In attendance were representative from:
• Cortes Community Radio (CKTZ)
• Cortes Island Fire Rescue (CIFR)
• Cortes Forestry General Partnership (CFGP)
• Emergency Communications Team (ECT)
• Emergency Support Services (ESS)
• Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI)
• Klahoose First Nation (KFN)
• Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
• Strathcona Regional District (SRD)

Regrets (unable to attend)
• School
• BC Ambulance
• Health Centre

• It was requested that Emergency Support Services training be provided for the personnel of the South Cortes Community Association and Whaletown Community Club, since those facilities may be activated to support people if they are evacuated.

• KFN indicated they are pursuing grants to procure mobile trailers to support an Emergency Operation Centre and Emergency Support Services.

• Emergency Communications has been working with CKTZ on Packet Radio and the ‘Radio Station in a Box’.

o Recruiting ‘disaster jockeys’ to support emergency communications.
o Looking for ways to enhance power redundancy and get more ‘crank radios’ in the community.

• ESS is planning to host community workshops such as food preservation and first aid.

• CFGP is undertaking action items recommended in the 2020 Cortes Island Wildfire Protection Plan.

• FOCI is focusing on climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

• CIFR facilitated a discussion on supporting FireSmart initiatives.

SRD Update
• Emergency supplies for seacans
• Status of ESS and Radio Teams
• FireSmart Renovations at Gorge Hall, Linnaea Farm and Whaletown Firehall
• 69 tons
• 6 Cortes Island “neighbourhoods” received their own Neighbourhood Level WTA with 80% of individual properties also opting to receive their own Home/Property FireSmart Assessment.

• Regional Fire Administration Support Coordinator & Regional FireSmart Coordinator

• Cortes Emergency Support Services Activation Plan – team members reviewing Version 1.0

• Intentions - 2023 FireSmart Community and Funding Supports Grant
o Provide Mansons Hall with funding for FireSmart Renovations

Intentions – 2022 Indigenous Cultural Safety & Cultural Humility grant

• Offer Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village Workshops for Volunteers and First Responders

• First Nation lives are intertwined with their culturally sensitive items. Last weekend myself, the emergency program coordinator for the Comox Valley Regional District (Cari McIntyre) and Emergency Management British Columbia’s First Nation Partnership Coordinator (Nicole Norris) attended the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network Salvage Workshop in Abbotsford. While this workshop was focused on the audience of Cultural Institutions (Museums) it was readily apparent that an opportunity existed for the SRD to partner with BCHERN and utilize this grant to develop and bring a one-day Salvage where the focus would be providing First Nations with hands on skillsets focused on salvaging household, personal, community and generational cultural artifacts after a flood or fire. The workshop attendees share their thoughts and knowledge with the trainers in order to allow us to develop future program workshop content/training material specific to First Nation communities. Our title of this proposed workshop is Sacred Belongings Salvage and Restoration Skill-building Workshop

Our primary post workshop deliverables would be twofold:

• The development of a knowledge sharing paper/presentation/video/podcast - grounded in storytelling about this Collaborative journey between community, Nations, conservators and EM professionals at all levels of government.

• Train in-community First Nation curators to spready that knowledge that can be brought into the Emergency Operation Centre during response/recovery and help their community members salvage their priceless artifacts.