The Regional District of Central Kootenay is looking to establish a Wildfire Mitigation Service for the area and a number of municipalities are currently discussing whether they will be joining the service or not.
The City of Nelson has been handling its own fuel management work for many years and City staff feel it’s the best option going forward. City Manager Kevin Cormack says continuing with the City’s own service allows them to prioritize local projects.
“Those are the challenges you have when you have a regional service. [If] I live Argenta, I might say well, there’s more fires up here we should be doing mitigation up there and we’re going, well there’s actually more damage and impact of what would happen if there was a fire on our doorstep is much greater [sic]; we should be doing that work here.”
Cost is another issue that Cormack highlights. “We just don’t see the city tax payers paying 20 per cent of the whole regional program.”
Although the City has decided to opt out of the program, council has directed staff to meet with the RDCK to explore alternative options to collaborating.
According to the City, over 107 hectares of fuel treatment in and around Nelson has already been completed. The areas include the Nelson cemetery, Art Gibbon Memorial Park and various pieces of city property along the Rail Trail.