Changes to CRI grant for 2022

RDBN to reapply; ask for amendment of new stipulation

The RDBN committee will request that certain new stipulations be waived from the UBCM community resiliance investment grant (Eddie Huband photo/Houston Today)

The RDBN committee will request that certain new stipulations be waived from the UBCM community resiliance investment grant (Eddie Huband photo/Houston Today)

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) can reapply this month for to the UBCM community resiliency investment (CRI) grant to support the region’s FireSmart program, but will request some changes to the stipulations.

The RDBN initially received funding for the FireSmart program for 2020 and 2021 for several services including home assessments, public outreach events, and a full-time FireSmart educator. Another big part of the funding was for a rebate program, that provided residents with a 50 per cent refund of eligible expenses to a maximum of $500 for costs related to Fire-Smarting their properties.

The 2022 grant application has new limits on the rebate program however, the eligible expenses that qualify for the rebate are now being limited to five activities; amending official community plans, revising landscaping requirements in zoning and development permit documents to require fire-resistant landscaping, establishing development permit areas for wildfire hazard, including wildlife prevention and suppression considerations in the design of subdivisions, and amending the referral process for new developments to include fire departments and emergency personnel.

A recommendation was made to the RDBN committee by Director of Protective Services Deborah Jones-Middleton to include a letter with the application, asking that the new stipulation be waived.

The reason for the recommendation is partly due to the fact that the previous rebate program was an essential component of the region’s FireSmart program. It also plays a large part in why residents consent to private home assessments and education about fire-smarting their properties.

Another reason that was outlined by Jones-Middleton, is the fact that introducing the new regulations noted above will have a notable long-term budget impact, and residents may not receive them well because they might not be eligible for the rebate. The fear is that public compliance would be low.

“Implementing landscaping regulations as well as development permit regulations on low-density rural residential areas is challenging. These regulations are more commonly and successfully implemented in urban environments and higher-density areas. This grant stipulation seems more appropriate for to an urban context,” said Jones-Middleton in a summary of her recommendation.


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Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
eddie.huband@ldnews.net
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