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General News · 22nd April 2024
Shaun Koopman
Cortes Island

The purpose of this posting is to provide you with a list of some of the projects being undertaken to protect Cortes Island by building, sustaining, and improving our capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
Successful emergency management occurs when silos are broken down and partners work together. I raise my hands in gratitude to BC Emergency Health Services, CKTZ, Cortes Community Forrest General Partnership, Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association, Friends of Cortes Island, Klahoose First Nation, Linnaea Farm Society, Southern Cortes Community Association, and Whaletown Community Club (just to name a few).
Should you have any questions, comments or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at or 250-830-6702.


Shaun Koopman – Manager of Emergency Services

Emergency Support Services

Our last ESS recruitment session was well attended. There are now seventeen members on the Cortes Island Emergency Support Services team. If you are interested in volunteering to be part of “the heart of emergency response” please reach out.

Klahoose First Nation & 2024 Emergency Operation Centre Grant Partnership

The SRD would like to welcome Adam Smallwood to the new role of Emergency Planning Coordinator for Klahoose First Nation. The Klahoose First Nation and SRD have also partnered on an EOC grant that was recently received. This grant will fund:
• An Amateur (Ham) Radio certification course for Cortes Island sometime in Fall 2024
• An enclosed trailer that Klahoose First Nation will renovate into a mobile command post; and
• A Disaster Communications Technician to provide guidance and training to Klahoose First Nation, the Cortes Island Fire Department and Cortes Community Radio.

Free FireSmart Home Hazard Assessment

Early spring is the time to prepare your home and property for wildfire season. The SRD is offering Cortes Island residents the opportunity to book a free FireSmart Home Hazard Assessment to provide you with education about how to better protect your home and property from the effects of wildfire heat and flying embers. A FireSmart Home Hazard Assessment is a detailed review of your property by the Wildfire Risk Reduction Coordinator Bonnie Logan, who is a certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist. During the 30-90 minute long visit a detailed report will be provided to help you alleviate wildfire risks. Should you have any questions please contact Bonnie at

FireSmart Initiatives 2025-2026

In November 2023 Bonnie Logan was hired as the SRD’s Wildfire Risk Reduction Coordinator. Bonnie is going on maternity leave from July 2024 to July 2025 and the SRD is currently hiring a term position to fill in for Bonnie in her absence. The Wildfire Risk Reduction Coordinator is 100% funded by the Community Resiliency Investment FireSmart Community & Funding Supports grant. In 2023, in order for local governments and First Nations to continue to be eligible for the annual FireSmart Community and Funding Supports (FCFS) grant they must have a (FireSmart) Wildfire Risk Reduction Coordinator Position. This position ensures that the Regional District’s FireSmart activities are supported, developed, and implemented in accordance with Provincial guidelines as well as with the direction and policy provided by the Regional District.

The SRD will reapply for the next round of FCFS funding in September 2024, with that funding expected to be received in January 2025. The FCFS grant has now moved to a 2-year long funding stream, whereas previously it was an annual grant application. The SRD has applied for the following eligible items for Cortes Island for January 2025 to December 2026:
• Enclosed 20’ Trailer for Structural Protection Unit
o The Cortes Island Fire Department (CIFD) currently has SPU equipment (and is hosting a SPU training session on May 3-4) but no trailer to store this equipment.
• More Structural Protection Unit supplies
• Local FireSmart Coordinator – to assist the CIFD with wildfire training and provide public education.

Structural Protection Unit

Structure Protection Units contain gear such as pumps, hoses, sprinklers, water delivery attachments and tools. One of the most important tactics used in structure protection is to create a "humidity bubble" around a structure. This is done by running sprinklers on and around a structure. Adding moisture to the air increases the relative humidity and reduces the chance that embers and burning debris ignite structures within the bubble. In addition to setting up a humidity bubble around the structure, crews can use the hoses and sprinklers to set up a “wet line” to slow or stop an advancing ground fire.

2013 Pierce Navistar Pumper Truck

The CIFD’s current 1986 pumper truck is in need of replacement. The SRD has arranged to purchase a 2013 Pierce Navistar pumper truck with a permanently mounted fire pump, water tank and hose body to combat structural and associated fires. The cost of the 2013 Pierce Navistar is $287,000. The Regional Board has previously allocated $300,000 from the Growing Communities Fund for the purchase of equipment for the Cortes fire protection service.
More information is available at:

Whaletown Firehall Seacan

Fully funded through the Growing Communities grant the SRD will be staging a 20’ insulated shipping container (seacan) at the Whaletown Firehall to stockpile emergency supplies.
Space will be reserved for storage for the Cortes Island Foodbank.

Woodchips – Future Grant Service Offerings

As of the situation right now, do not expect to see the wood-chipping service offered again under the FireSmart Community and Funding Supports grant until Spring 2027 (at the earliest). In January 2024 the Regional Board passed the following motion:
Whalley/Vonesch: SRD 126/24
THAT limitations be implemented to ensure that the wood chipping program can be offered in a way that ensures program costs remain within the financial limits of approved grants.
It is understood that the wood-chipping service is popular, however the FCFS grant funding amount is limited to provide the service as it has previously been done in the past with unlimited wood-chipping available to all road-accessible driveways.
If the wood-chipping service is offered again it will be offered in a way that can guarantee control of costs such as:
• limiting the wood-chipping to only certain neighborhoods
• limiting wood-chipping to a limited signup list
• limiting the wood-chipping to a limited signup list with the prerequisite of having completed the FireSmart 101 course.
These are methods we have seen other communities use to ensure cost control of a service.
Regional Districts are limited to $50,000 per electoral area and the Union of BC Municipalities wants to see applicants using this grant to approach all wildfire risk reduction recommendations in the community wildfire protection plan, not just wood-chipping over and over again.

More information is available at:

Woodchips – Cost Investigation for Annual Service

At the April 10, 2024 meeting of the Electoral Area Services Committee the following resolution was passed:

Mawhinney/Vonesch: EASC 132/24
THAT a report with cost estimates for providing an annual wood-debris removal (chipping) service for Electoral Areas B, C, and D prepared for consideration of the Electoral Area Services Committee.

The SRD will bring back a further report to the EASC for consideration.

Cortes Island Firefighting Upright Skidded Tanks

The SRD has arranged for the purchase and installation of four API 12F 400BBL upright skidded tanks for $130,00. The intention is to fund this cost from Capital Reserves . The purpose of these upright skidded tanks is to assist the Cortes Island Fire Department with achieving their Superior Tanker Shuttle Service accreditation.
Accredited Superior Tanker Shuttle Service is a recognized equivalency to hydrant protection. To be accredited, fire departments must commit to maintaining a high standard of organization, and practice delivering the service regularly. The fire department must be able to show through testing and documentation that it can continuously provide water supplies in excess of the minimum required for hydranted municipal-type water supplies.

To be recognized for Accredited Superior Tanker Shuttle Service, the system of delivery of water supplies must be well-designed and well-documented. The system of delivery must meet all of the requirements specified for Standard Tanker Shuttle Service and must exceed the requirements in several key areas:
o The fire department must be able to prove through testing that the specified requirements of Superior Tanker Shuttle Service can be met.
o For personal lines insurance, the fire department must be able to deliver a flow rate of not less than 950 LPM (200 IGPM) within 5 minutes of arriving at the test site with the first major piece of apparatus (wheel stop).
o For commercial lines insurance, the fire department must be able to deliver a flow rate of not less than 1900 LPM (400 IGPM) within 5 minutes of arriving at the test site with the first major piece of apparatus (wheel stop).
o The fire department must be able to deliver the flow rate which will be accredited within 10 minutes of arriving at the test site with the first major piece of apparatus (wheel stop).
o The volume of water available for fire fighting must be adequate to sustain the accredited flow rate for a duration in accordance with the Fire Underwriters Survey Water Supplies for Public Fire Protection

Radio-Over-Internet-Protocol System

Fully funded through the 2022 Emergency Operation Centre grant the SRD has installed a Radio Over Internet Protocol (ROIP) System which allows emergency personnel to communicate between the following communities:

Campbell River
Cortes Island
Gold River
Outer Discovery Islands
Quadra Island

The ROIP provides a reliable communication path via radio long as the main unit (base station) has both power and an internet connection. The purpose of ROIP is to support emergency personnel by establishing a regional communication link:
• Between an Incident Command Post and an Emergency Operation Centre;
• Between an Emergency Operation Centre and other Emergency Operation Centre; and
• To provide enhanced coverage within Fire Department service areas.

Emergency Services Indigenous Engagement Coordinator

The SRD will be pooling Indigenous Engagement Requirement (IER) funding in collaboration with four municipalities and two First to hire an Emergency Services Indigenous Engagement Coordinator.

The Emergency and Disaster Management Act (EDMA) includes indigenous engagement requirements that promote relationship building across jurisdictions and the incorporation of indigenous knowledge and cultural safety across emergency management practices. All First Nations and local authorities in British Columbia have received between $40,000-$60,000 in funding through the IER grant automatically without having to apply through a formal process. The intention of the IER grant is to support the implementation of the following Indigenous engagement requirements:
• relationship building across jurisdictions through consultation and cooperation with indigenous governing bodies.
• incorporating indigenous knowledge and cultural safety across emergency management practices.
• respecting of the inherent rights of indigenous peoples.
• enhancing emergency management outcomes for the safety of all.
• providing policy improvements that reflect the lived experience of indigenous peoples and address the disproportionate impacts on indigenous peoples during emergency events.
Recognizing that these new regulatory requirements under EMDA requires a long-term strategic approach and additional capacity, the Ministry of Emergency Management & Climate Readiness (EMCR) has agreed to allow the IEF grants in this region to be used to fund a multi-year regional staff position. The objective of this position would be to assist the Regional District, member municipalities and First Nations with meeting the EDMA Indigenous engagement requirements.
More information is available at:

March 2024 Intake of the Disaster Risk Reduction / Climate Adaptation Grant

The SRD has applied for funding under the March 2024 intake of the Disaster Risk Reduction / Climate Adaptation grant to (hopefully) fund:
• A Community Disaster Awareness Assistant. This 2-year term position would ensure that the community education activities pertaining to disaster risk reduction are supported, developed, and implemented.
• Painting of Cortes Island Firefighting Water Tanks. Theme of “adapting successfully to a changing climate” to inspire ingenuity, conversation and hope.
• Cortes Island School Wetland Project - $436,713 was applied for to support the construction of a wetland at Cortes Island School. The wetland project would be designed to provide habitat for a diversity of native birds, pollinators, salamanders, and frogs. The soil around the restored wetland may be planted to attractive native flowering plants to improve habitat for pollinators including hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and dragonflies. Building a wetland at Cortes Island School would provide students with unparalleled opportunities to investigate animals, plants, soils, and water in an ecosystem that is uncommon in the area. The wetlands would provide a hands-on learning laboratory for experiential learning. The habitat would be safe for students to explore and help reinforce basic concepts in math and science.

More information is available at: