Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice visits the completed Woodworth Dam project on Oct. 15 with members of Prince Rupert City Council and contractors. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice visits the completed Woodworth Dam project on Oct. 15 with members of Prince Rupert City Council and contractors. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice supports State of Emergency in Prince Rupert

Govt. and industry partners action needed to assist with infrastructure failures - North Coast MLA

Actions from higher levels of government and major industry partners are needed to assist Prince Rupert after a local State of Emergency was declared, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice stated on Dec. 19.

Rice, MLA for the North Coast, is backing the State of Emergency Prince Rupert City Council declared on Dec. 17.

In a Dec. 19 social media statement issued by Rice, she stated that proclaiming a state of emergency was the right call for the city to make as city staff are being tasked at all hours of the day and night to keep the water systems flowing.

“The water service lines are increasingly weakening … this is not sustainable without more support and contingencies put in place,” her statement reads.

Prince Rupert City Council declared a local state of emergency due to the aging infrastructure of the city failing, leaving some residents and businesses without water. Three breaks from midnight on Friday to the Saturday 4 p.m. emergency council session left city crews overwhelmed with repairs.

“These recent events are significant and they demonstrate the need for higher levels of government as well as major industry partners to step in and assist with the basics if they wish Prince Rupert to survive, let alone thrive,” Rice said.

With the potential for more water main breaks and extremely cold weather conditions forecasted by Environment Canada due to an Arctic outflow, the state of emergency is a responsible step in taking extra precautions, the MLA stated.

Rice has been working closely with the city, provincial regional emergency management staff, the deputy minister and the Minister responsible for Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR), Bowinn Ma.

The province and the city are working closely together, Rice said, with the province prepared to support the City of Prince Rupert during the challenging time and in the future as needed.

“As your MLA, I have been advocating for Prince Rupert, seeking every possible opportunity for our community, sourcing funding streams and telling our unique story to decision-makers,” she said. “The BC NDP government has been supporting our community with significant infrastructure funding grants. Prince Rupert has received nearly every infrastructure grant they’ve applied for during my time in government.”

Rice said the provincial government has already provided $10 million to the city’s water infrastructure — money that went toward the dam replacement and sub-marine water line that service the community.

“We have provided significant funding toward water treatment,” MLA Rice said.


K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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