Telkwa votes to participate in regional communication system

The regional district is looking into buying a system to alert residents of emergencies

The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) is looking into a regional mass communications system and Telkwa council is on board to buy one.

At last week’s regular meeting of council, councillors moved to support the initiative after it was clarified how much it would cost.

According to a letter from RDBN’s Director of Protective Servies Deborah Middleton, the RDBN is considering implementing Voyent Alert!, a Canada-based company that is currently providing the service to other regional districts in B.C.

The system can send messages out through a landline, cell phone, text, email, social media or a dedicated app. The notifications can be a customized to display a map, important safety information, direction from an incident to their address, photos and other information.

The entire system will cost $11,500. At the previous meeting it wasn’t clear if Telkwa would be on the hook for the whole amount or if it was to be spilt across the region.

Council learned recently that Telkwa’s share would be just under $400.

“That is a pretty cheap cost for a regional mass communications system for everything from wildfires, to health events, to derailments, so now that has been clarified ….. at our last meeting we thought $11,000 was not in our budget but $387 to be part of a regional network is pretty cheap,” said Mayor Brad Layton. “I see our fire chief nodding his head so I think he would really like us to be in this.”

The system will allow residents to sign up to receive notifications for unlimited locations. They can also choose to receive messages about optional information such as garbage day changes, snow removal or events near them. A dedicated app would allow residents to receive messages when travelling into or through an area while a notification is in effect.

Once the RDBN receives letters of interest from communities in the region, they can do further research and determine the way in which the program will be paid for and will provide that information to each municipality for a final decision.