The Bulkley Valley Emergency Support Services new Mobile Response Unit made its inaugural appearance as part of the Emergency Services food drive for the Salvation Army Nov. 30. (Thom Barker photo)

Council gives thumbs up to application for emergency social services grant

If approved, grant money will go towards computers for ESS programs across the municipality

Smithers Town Council has unanimously approved an application by the Town for a $25,000 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Emergency Social Services (ESS) grant at their Feb. 28 meeting.

If approved for the grant the money will be going toward computers for ESS programs within the municipality. It’s part of a larger move to outfit ESS programs across the province with more modern equipment, said director of emergency support services for Smithers Matt Herzog.

“In 2020 Emergency Management BC is moving forward with the ESS modernization project [where] all ESS teams will be moving towards a digital system,” said Herzog in his report to council.

READ MORE: Recruitment top priority for Bulkley Valley Emergency Support Services

“This digital project will move ESS away from the paper based system and streamline the registration and referral process along with speeding up the reimbursement of ESS suppliers.”

The first step is for various municipalities to get the proper equipment, which is where the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako comes in.

“Due to every municipality in BC needing to get these computers, the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako has offered to prepare a regional ESS grant application to purchase all the same computers on behalf of all municipalities in the Regional District,” Herzog explained.

On top of preparing the grant, the RDBN will also cover the cost of computer replacement when units become damaged or obsolete.

Council also voted unanimously to support the RDBN in grant management should the application be successful.

The grant is 100 per cent covered through the UBCM’s ESS funding.

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