Members of the Princeton Sierras unit crew pause for a photo during mop up operations on the Elephant Hill fire. Tara Sprickerhoff photo.

District to hire wildfire recovery manager

Intention to present province with ground-up programs to stabilize local economy

The cities of Williams Lake and Quesnel and the District of 100 Mile House have received funding to hire Recovery Managers and the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) has been given provincial money to hire a Recovery Co-ordinator.

Once hired and over the next few months, these people will collect and collate information about the economic impact this summer’s wildfires have had on their communities.

Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says the intent is to begin to understand the commercial impact on tourism, the impact on the ranching and agriculture community, the guide outfitters, trappers, etc. that the wildfires have had.

“So that we understand from the ground, not some provincial process that’s trying to reach out to all of these folks, but someone on the ground capturing those stories and trying to make sense out of what the social-economic impact is in our community.”

The idea is to help an individual be able to ask the provincial government for specific requests.

Simpson says they want to take the challenges that are presented to them and turn them into options and opportunities for city and district councils, the CRD and MLAs to present to the province for ground-up programs to help the communities get back up on their feet.

The intent is to lead to longer-term strategies to get the economy back on track.

In 100 Mile House, Mayor Mitch Campsall confirms the District has recently received confirmation of its funding request to support a Recovery Manager position and the supporting costs.

The co-ordinator will work out of an existing municipal office.

The mayor adds district staff have identified potential candidates for the position and are hopeful a Recovery Manager will be in place in early to mid-October.

Mayor Campsall says he believes Mayor Simpson has accurately summed up the intent of the position and the “go forward” vision.

“Where we see this position being integral to identifying the impacts of the wildfire season across all sectors of our economy, we also see it as an opportunity to identify opportunities and come back bigger, better and stronger as we move forward in the years to come.

“Our first priority is to get our communities back on solid ground. The Recovery Manager is a first step in the process.”

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