City of Williams Lake Requests $1B in Wildfire Relief Funds
Prince George, B.C. – Forget the studies and analysis, we need cash now.
That from Williams Lake city councillor Scott Nelson regarding this summer’s devastating wildfire crisis.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting council passed a unanimous emergency motion – the Rural Fire Recovery Fund – calling for $1B in wildfire relief dollars from the provincial and federal governments.
“To really assist B.C. communities – including First Nations – impacted by the unprecedented, record breaking fire season of 2017,” he says.
“What we’re asking them to do is to give out that money now and start injecting that cash into these communities, into ranches, out west, down south. We need it now.
“We can’t afford to wait to do studies and analysis. What we need is a real commitment today so that we can move forward with the assurance we can rebuild our economies starting in 2017 and moving forward.”
Nelson adds every sector of the economy is hurting.
“You look at the ranching community for heavens sakes. Some of the ranchers have lost everything – their hay fields are gone, their cows are gone, the fencing is gone.
“Look what’s happened to the tourism sector. The tourists can’t get to rural locations. We’ve got timber issues, we’ve got mining issues. We need assistance. This is the first time we’re saying to the Province – 911! We need your help in rural British Columbia!”
He says the motion will be presented at next month’s UBCM conference in Vancouver (Sept. 25-29).
And should the money come through as hoped, Nelson is confident rural B.C. will rebuild.
“Rural British Columbia is resilient. They’re strong, committed and I honestly believe we’ll be able to make it and even end up further on top but to get their faster is the key. We need that push.”