Some things to know about rebuilding after wildfire devastation
FILE PHOTO - This still is taken from a film shot by Mastermind Studios on July 24, 2017 showing the damage in the Loon Lake area from the Elephant Hill wildfire.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Thompson-Nicola Regional District
January 18, 2018 - 7:00 PM
KAMLOOPS – Rebuilding after homes and other buildings were destroyed by wildfire can be devastating, but the regional district has some advice for people facing the challenging process.
“Rebuilding is a complex process, there are a number of provincial regulations that have become enforced since they may have built their original buildings,” Debbie Sell with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District says. “You will have to have a good idea of what you had and what you want to rebuild.”
There were 215 buildings destroyed by the wildfires this past summer, including over 130 primary residences, according the regional district. Residents should know that when rebuilding, it is imperative to obtain proper building permits and ensure the zoning is are correct.
“Some of the cabins were built 50 years ago when environmental regulations and health regulations, and safety and building codes were not nearly what they are today,” Sell says.
Residents who are looking for help on building codes and zoning bylaws should contact the regional district. It is trying to make things easier on residents who were affected by the wildfires.
“Normally if we are asked to do investigation for property owners on what all of their property details are, there is a cost to that. But we are waiving that cost for people if they need to have that investigation done,” Sell says.
Geo-hazards are a risk going forward for residents trying to rebuild. With much of the forest gone, landslides are more of a risk on steep areas.
“Specific reports are to be coming to us because there is work being done in this area by experts,” Sell says in regards to geo-hazards. “We are waiting to see that information ourselves and once that information does come our way we will make sure we can communicate it out to property owners.”
For more information about wildfire recovery in the Thompson-Nicola District, check out their website here.
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