Creston Town Hall is located on 10th Avenue North.

Creston Town Hall is located on 10th Avenue North.

Preparedness vital in emergency situations, Creston town council told

Web Lead

  • Jun. 16, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Members of Creston town council got an eye opener on June 9 from a presentation about emergency preparedness.

Alanna Garrett, emergency program co-ordinator for Creston, Salmo and Regional District of Central Kootenay Areas A, B, C and G, gave the relatively new council an overview of the various states of emergency communities can face. At the top of the list, not surprisingly, was wildfires.

Fires are a probability if weather is hot and dry this summer, she said, with snowpacks in Southeast British Columbia ranging from 30 per cent of average in some Kootenay areas to zero per cent in the Okanagan. Water storage levels in the Columbia Basin could also be influenced by droughts in the United States, which will increase demand and put pressure on Canadian supplies.

In the Creston Valley, Garrett said, emergency services bring together a dozen agencies, including police, ambulance, fire departments, search and rescue, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, YRB highways maintenance, Interior Health and the hospital, the Town of Creston and RDCK and Area A, B and C directors. Each plays a role in planning and response.

“We look after ‘human consequences,’ ” she said.

Evacuations present a need to provide 72 hours of essential services to those affected. Food, clothing, lodging, personal services and pets are the focus for residents who are forced to leave their homes.

Garrett also reminded council that individuals need to take responsibility in planning for emergencies.

“We recommend having food, clothing and water ready for at least three days for families and pets,” she said.

People should keep copies of prescriptions and have medications and eyeglasses in an easily accessibly place in case of evacuation. Garrett also suggested having originals of important documents safely stored, with photocopies of insurance papers, bank cards, driver’s licences and out-of-area contact information in their emergency kits.

“Taking photos of your house and property is also recommended in case emergency claims are needed,” she said.

Keeping all information in electronic form and storing a copy on a thumb drive is also important, she added.

 

Council Briefs

•A letter requesting better access for motorized devices along Railway Boulevard was referred to staff for a report. Currently people with mobility issues who live south of the railroad tracks have difficulty getting to Northwest Boulevard and the downtown core safely, the letter said.

•A $350 donation to Erickson Elementary School’s fundraising efforts for earthquake victims in Nepal was approved.

•A request from the Creston Valley Community Housing Society for the donation of pit run and crushed gravel was received for information.

•Councillors were asked to submit suggestions about which cabinet ministers they would like to meet with during the 2015 Union of BC Municipalities convention.

•A letter of complaint about traffic activity in the alley between 11th and 12th Avenue North was referred to staff.

•Coun. Joe Snopek said he plans to seek election to the UBCM executive at the fall meeting.

•Mayor Ron Toyota and Coun. Kevin Boehmer will be the town representatives on the Creston cemetery select committee, which was approved by council.

•After hearing no objections, council approved a development variance permit that will allow owners of a property to construct an attached carport with a 4.2-metre front yard setback rather than the 6.1 metres normally required.

•Three readings of the revitalization tax exemption bylaw were passed.

•Approval was given to the Creston Wave Swim Club request to allow self-contained camping units to park at the community complex for an annual swim meet.

•A letter of support for a grant to build a new “destination playground” at the community complex was approved.

•A $300 anonymous donation was received for the plants and trees at the new Pine Street intersection.