The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has finally released the mass communication system for its residents. The new service is being implemented by the municipalities of Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, Granisle, Houston, Smithers, Telkwa, Vanderhoof and the RDBN to mainly ensure that there is an emergency and public alerts mass communications system in place for keeping the residents informed. The project has been in works for almost a year and will cost a total of $11, 500 per year.
With a lot of residents in the remote Northern B.C. having limited to no internet connectivity, it was getting difficult to send mass communications to people regarding emergency situations or public works alerts. In a 2019 council meeting, the village of Burns Lake decided to send a letter to the RDBN to show their interest in the communication system.
With this system in place, residents can not only download the mobile application, but also choose to get the alerts via SMS, email or even landline. However, only the people registered with the Voyent Alert system would get the notifications so people have to actively register for the service.
“Residents are not automatically signed up for the system. They have to register by calling your municipality or the regional district or visiting your community’s website. We encourage residents to sign up for the Bulkley Nechako Emergency & Public Alerts so they can be informed about what is happening in their community,” said Deborah Jones-Middleton, the director of Protective Services with the RDBN. The service is accessible to all the residents of the RDBN however Middleton informed that those rural residents who may not have access to mobile or internet should call 1-800-320-3339 to register for this system so they can receive information via their landlines.
The service is free of charge and it would let the users add multiple locations such as home, work, kid’s school, etc., to get notified regarding a specific region. Middleton mentioned that although the Regional District had taken the lead on coordinating the project, all the municipalities would be engaged in promoting the service and will be in charge of issuing their own alerts.
“The Village of Burns Lake is pleased that the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako was able to take the lead on this project and coordinate the implementation within our region. Economically it was not cost-effective for each municipality to implement this system on their own. We have high expectations for the system, and we encourage area residents to register,” said Sheryl Worthing, the chief administrative office for the Village of Burns Lake. She also extended her gratitude while appreciating the efforts of the area directors and staff from the RDBN to onboard this system.