The provincial government has announced that it will provide funding for nine community risk-reduction and climate-adaptation projects throughout B.C., including a six figure project in the Nicola Valley. 

More than $2.3 million will soon be disbursed to local governments and First Nations projects in B.C. through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) under the Climate Risk Reduction-Climate Adaptation stream. The province said the new funds will help communities reduce risks from climate-related emergencies, such as the floods and extreme heat seen in recent years. 

The Coldwater Indian Band, along with regional partners Shackan Indian Band and Nooaitch Indian Band, received $105,685 for a project called ‘Nicola Valley Rain Gauge.’ The funding was received under the program’s non-structural activities stream, which includes dollars for land-use planning, community education, and purchase of eligible equipment. The Herald has reached out to Coldwater Band for comment on the project. 

“From floods and wildfires, to avalanche and landslides, we’re seeing first-hand the impacts that climate change continues to have on people and communities across B.C.,” said the province’s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, Bowinn Ma, in a press release. 

“By supporting local governments and First Nations in getting better prepared for emergencies, people and communities across B.C. will be safer and more resilient in the event of an emergency.”

Funding administered under the CEPF is divided into three streams:

  • Category 1 (C1): Foundational activities (risk mapping, risk assessments, planning)
  • Category 2 (C2): Non-structural activities (land-use planning, community education, purchase of eligible equipment)
  • Category 3 (C3): Small-scale structural activities

The fund is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities and supports projects that strengthen the resilience of local governments and First Nations to extreme weather events, such as the November 2021 floods that devastated the area, and the recent Cache Creek flooding event. Cache Creek will receive $284,890 for priority 1 flood mitigation projects under the new announcement. 

The CEPF program began in 2017, providing more than $118 million to 1,500 climate preparedness initiatives across B.C. In February, the province provided $180 million in additional funding to CEPF, bringing the total provincial investment in the program to $369 million.

“As the climate change continues to amplify extreme-weather events and increase the likelihood of wildfire and flooding, it is critical for communities to be prepared to respond to local emergencies,” said Jen Ford, president, Union of BC Municipalities. “These funds provide critical investments to support communities to improve local risk assessment, amend land-use plans and upgrade equipment.”

The province noted in its release that it also recently established ClimateReadyBC, a new funding initiative which provides hazard and mapping tools, risk data, and resources to help communities better prepare for disasters and climate emergencies. The current intake of its Climate Risk Reduction-Climate Adaptation stream is open until October 6, 2023.

For more information about the CEPF, visit www.ubcm.ca/cepf.