By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD
Based on three emergency situations during the past year, a lot of work needs to be done to be better prepared, a meeting between the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc and City of Kamloops councils and staff was told today (Nov. 20, 2017).
The Community to Community meeting was held in Moccasin Square Gardens to discuss issues of mutual concern between the City and Band. Electoral Area P also participated.
Thomas Blank, assistant manager for emergency management at the TteS, reviewed the spring floods, summer wildfires and recent armed standoff at the G&M Trailer Park.
Blank cited instances of confusion and inadequate communication among the agencies involved, especially from the band’s perspective.
He said there was lack of contact from the provincial and federal governments after Paul Creek flooded in May, and that TteS was “very unprepared” for any type of emergency.
During the wildfires, TteS opened the Powwow grounds to more than 1,000 evacuees during a 30-day period. Blank said there was massive support from volunteers and those donating clothing, food and household goods.
Again, his report said, there was no initial assistance or acknowledgement from the provincial or federal governments.
Even after the TNRD and provincial regional emergency operations centre made contact, TteS “seemed to be very much on the outskirts of information channels, assistance or supports,” the report said.
But he said the local PREOC provided the most support and assistance including arranging for some cross training with TNRD EOC and information sharing.
Blank recommended inter-organizational training and greater participation by TteS in regional emergency preparedness training. He said a communications strategy among all regional local authorities needs to be established.
Blank also said the standoff between police and an armed man a few weeks ago involved some lack of clarity on responsibilities.
He emphasized the need for emergency preparedness among all agencies involved before another emergency arises.
Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian assured the Band of the City’s co-operation, saying, “There is no difference from our perspective when people are in crisis.”