Provincial officials say emergency plan is in place

Contradictory comments from Emergency management B.C. and Qualicum Beach Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer

Emergency Management B.C. wants to assure people they do have a plan.

In response to recent quotes in The NEWS from Qualicum Beach Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer, spokesperson Andy Watson responded that “Emergency Management B.C. (EMBC) released the provincial government’s plan for a catastrophic earthquake earlier in 2015, with an exercise scheduled for June of 2016.”

He provided a link to the B.C. Earthquake Immediate Response Plan, available through www2.gov.bc.ca.

Watson added that the government has committed $1 million to the first ever provincially led, full-scale earthquake response exercise to test the plan next summer in Port Alberni.

“There are existing programs all over the place,” agreed Luchtmeijer. “There are a lot of small plans that ignore the necessity of working together when something happens.”

Luchtmeijer, the council protective services liaison had brought it up originally while reporting on a Union of B.C. Municipalities seminar that he said was the same as one he’d attended four years earlier. In his original report, Luchtmeijer had spoken of the need for a plan in clear simple language that everyone can quickly access. “The whole purpose of the B.C. Emergency Preparedness program is to pull those plans together so that everyone’s working together, that includes Washington State and the big players like BC Ferries and municipalities and regional districts, so it’s a big picture thing.”

He said four years ago “2014 was touted as the big roll out of the fully put together emergency plan for B.C. and that same discussion is still going except instead of 2014 it’s 2017.” He said the fact that EMBC recently hired 12 more people means “someone’s getting serious about it, which is a good thing.”

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