PENTICTON – Okanagan Similkameen Regional District board members don’t want to see a one-size-fits-all policy used to enforce emergency evacuation orders.
The directors are putting together a list of recommendations and concerns regarding the provincial government’s plan to modernize the 23-year-old Emergency Program Act.
Local and provincial agencies are permitted to declare a state of emergency and issue an evacuation order, but current legislation relies on residents to voluntarily evacuate. The province argues those choosing to remain behind can cause unnecessary risk to themselves and emergency response personnel already burdened in a time of crisis.
The province wants police to have the ability to use reasonable force to enforce an evacuation order. The proposed changes would give police the authority to apprehend those unwilling to comply, in addition to having the person pay for costs associated with police enforcement of the evacuation order.