By Kevin Flynn, Shuswap Regional District of Columbia
If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that we have to be ready for anything.
This summer’s wildfire season had a major impact on the District of Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).
I have had the opportunity to visit the Emergency Operations Center several times during this challenging summer, which is concentrated in the boardroom of CSRD. As a politician, I always say that in matters like this, the best thing I can do is stay out of the way of experts – and bring donuts!
However, on a serious note, it was heartbreaking to have signed so many evacuation orders as the Chairman of the CSRD Board. It has always been in my mind that behind every emergency order are people whose lives are being dramatically affected and who need our support.
In the end, we evacuated about 5,000 people at different times during the summer season, affecting 3,440 properties. It was a huge undertaking.
Kudos needs to be given to the Shuswap emergency program, firefighters and dedicated volunteers with emergency support services. These are remarkable people who do wonderful things in extremely stressful situations.
Since the summer, the Shuswap emergency program has become busy again with emergency support services, operating a reception center to assist the more than 500 families evacuated from Merritt.
But emergency work is only one component of CSRD’s efforts. This year the record breaking work continued at the Development Services Department, where employees have worked diligently to keep pace with the number of development and building permits.
Work continued on major initiatives at CSRD such as the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail, the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study and the Golden Aquatics Center proposal. Electoral Region E Official Community Planning and Zoning Bye-laws are in the final stages of approval.
While it may not be the headlines, the day-to-day work of maintaining the infrastructure continues. Water systems provided a safe, reliable supply of water to the residents they serve. Parks were created for the enjoyment of residents and visitors, and improvements were made to the trails, parking lots, and sports courts. New firefighters were trained and prepared to respond. Improvements were made to various landfills and some recycling programs were extended.
And all this was done with the constant challenge of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am extremely proud of these efforts as we approach 2021. I wish you all a safe and prosperous year ahead.
Kevin Flynn is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
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Shuswap Regional District of Columbia