On Monday, April 11, Mayor Linda Brown is set to meet with the intergovernmental committee on Disaster Response and Climate Resilience. The committee is the governing body in charge of managing the budget of an estimated $5 billion granted to the Province of BC by the federal government.

Although it isn’t clear what the meeting with the committee might result in, Brown is very optimistic it gets the CIty of Merritt closer to the help it needs.

“The good thing is we’re invited to speak on behalf of our constituents and that’s a good sign,” said Brown. “I’m hoping that it gets us one step closer to get housing which is our number one priority here.”

The committee is co-chaired by Bill Blair, Minister of Emergency Preparedness, and Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety. Both chairmen have been made aware of the pressing need of Merritt.

“They’ve got a pretty good grasp on the issue already and they’ve got to be close with the acceptance of our plan,” Brown explained. “However, I think they need to take this up as a committee back to the treasury board for approval so it’s not just that easy.”

In the meeting, Brown intends to emphasize the importance of getting displaced Merritonians back home. Currently there are 270 households that are on evacuation order with residents scattered across Kamloops, Kelowna, and surrounding areas. Some residents are known to be relocated even as far as Nelson and Prince George.

“We need to bring our citizens home,” said Brown. “I’ve stated this to many but right now, they are refugees out of their own home at this point.”

The city has been exploring numerous projects to help citizens both permanently and in the interim. Brown told the Herald that the city is requesting for “approximately $11 million” to fund the housing projects.

“We are ready to go, we are ready for our pilot project especially the 3D printed homes, but also the fact that we have a whole lot of other options available to us.”

Brown explains that aside from both temporary and permanent solutions for housing of citizens, the city is also looking into temporary housing for tradesmen who would be working on the different projects.

“We don’t have enough tradesmen in town in order for us to do what we need to do without having some temporary housing for them as well.”

The meeting is set to take place in Canada Place in Vancouver, BC. Mayors of other disaster affected towns are also expected to be in attendance.

The committee on Disaster Response and Climate Resilience is a joint committee consisting of federal, provincial, and First Nations representatives.

Federal representatives:

The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food;
The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources;
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

British Columbia representatives:

The Honourable Mike Farnworth (co-chair), Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
The Honourable Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
The Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
The Honourable Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
The Honourable Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs
The Honourable Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
The Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
The Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
The Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
The Honourable Bowinn Ma, Minister of State for Infrastructure

First Nations representatives:

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations