Former Shuswap MLA George Abbott is one of the leaders appointed to a review team that will look into how the province handled this year’s flood and wildfire disasters.
Abbott and Maureen Chapman will lead the review which will produce recommendations by next April.
The government is budgeting $900,000 for the review.
“Wildfires and flooding this year devastated many areas of our province, displacing tens of thousands of people,” says Premier John Horgan. “While we work hard to help the people and communities recover, we also owe it to those people to make sure we learn from the events of the past spring and summer.
“What B.C. went through this past year was unprecedented with respect to wildfires and flooding,” says Abbott. “Given the scale of these events and the enormous effort it took to deal with them, this review is an opportunity to take a closer look at what took place and how the government could enhance its response strategies.”
Pictured: George Abbott (file photo)
“It’s important to have an independent team look at this year’s flooding and wildfire seasons with fresh eyes,” says Chapman. “The goal is to learn from those experiences and improve the government’s procedures for dealing with these kinds of events.”
Abbott served as minster of five different ministries for the Liberal government from 2001 to 2012, including the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management from 2004 to 2005.
He was the MLA for the Shuswap riding from 1996 to 2013.
Maureen Chapman is Hereditary Chief of the Skawahlook First Nation and participates on a number of committees with the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
The wildfires and freshet events in 2017 led to an all-out response by the B.C. government, including the declaration of a provincewide state of emergency on July 7 that lasted for 10 full weeks – the longest in the province’s history.
“The BC Wildfire Service evaluates its wildfire response and firefighting operations after every significant wildfire season to determine which practices could be improved,” said Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson. “This year will be no exception, and George Abbott and Chief Maureen Chapman’s review will be a valuable tool to complete that important work.”
Widespread flooding this spring, and a record-setting wildfire season, resulted in numerous evacuations and significant damage to private property, infrastructure and natural resources.