A group of people working under the umbrella of the Bulkley Valley Research Centre are trying to secure funding to help facilitate discussion on wildfire protection plans for the area.
They had been looking to the Village of Telkwa for a letter of support to receive funding but Telkwa turned them down at their last regular meeting.
Rimas Zitkauskas and Taylor Bachrach voted in favour of the latest draft of their application, which he felt addressed council’s initial concerns from earlier meetings, but were defeated by Rick Fuerst and Carman Graf. Jim Hiltz was not in attendance.
Zitkauskas had been working with the group’s lead, Jay Gilden, to figure out a draft proposal that Telkwa would be comfortable with.
An earlier proposal left the language implying that the group would share decision making on the community wildfire protection plan in Telkwa.
Telkwa’s draft plan has been sent to the government for approval, required before they move to the next phase of the process.
“Council decided it was council’s responsibility to make these decisions and move forward and that the primary focus should be on safety and security of the Village’s residents and properties,” Zitkauskas told The Interior News. “They felt an integrated approach with Jay Gilden’s group would delay the process and perhaps hobble some of the decision making that council might have to take.”
He added, “We’re committed to public input but public input is just one piece that we’ve mixed together with the consultants we’ve hired, Protech.”
Telkwa’s council began this process early in their current term when they took advantage of government funding to conduct the process.