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Shuswap Wildfire: Rebuilding Update

We continue to field a large number of calls and inquiries from North Shuswap property owners about rebuilding after this summer’s intense and catastrophic wildfire. Given this, and so that we can better assist those who have been impacted by the fire, we continue to take an active roll in our local government’s responses and plans for rebuilding in the area.

Last week, along with other local contractors, we attended a meeting with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) for an update about the current situation. The meeting was chaired by Gerald Christie, Manager of Development Services; Marty Herbert, Team Leader of Building Inspection; and Corey Paiement, Team Leader of Planning Services.

Here’s what we learned. Currently, a moratorium on building permits remains in place for alert areas within the wildfire. There are a number of steps that have to be taken before this moratorium is lifted. The most important of these is a geohazard study being conducted by BGC Engineering. This study, which was needed to establish the slide safety of affected areas, was due to be completed by October the 14th and would then be reviewed by the CSRD. The CSRD informed us that they intend to release this report imminently, and that it should confirm that the vast majority of the alert areas are safe and can be removed from the moratorium. The report will include mapping to show how wildfire-affected areas have been classified. While it’s expected that many affected lots will get the green light, the classification for some lots may require further reports or engineering mitigation.

So for the moment, it’s a bit of a waiting game. We don’t yet know exactly what this will all look, but the good news is that we’re very close to a step being completed that should bring clarity on how you, as an affected property owner looking to rebuild, can proceed from here. The CSRD has also set up dedicated staff to deal with the re-building process and indicated they will prioritize properties which have been burnt down.

Meanwhile, if you’re not sure where to go for more information, here are some links:

CSRD website: www.csrd.bc.ca

Recover Shuswap website: www.recovershuswap.ca

Once again, we urge anyone who is planning on rebuilding to do as much research and preliminary work as possible to avoid delays once moratoriums are lifted. We’re completely up to speed on many, if not all, requirements for rebuilding, along with building practices that will minimize future wildfire threats, and we’d be pleased to answer any questions and help you with your rebuilding plans. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.