The Thompson-Nicola Regional District plans to build a momument at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops to commemorate volunteers’ efforts during the 2017 wildfire season. (TNRD)

Public against wildfire monument in Kamloops

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District announced the monument to commemorate volunteers’ efforts

Questions are being raised in Kamloops over a monument honouring volunteers who helped thousands of people forced from their homes during last summer’s severe wildfires.

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian says residents have been speaking out since the Thompson-Nicola Regional District announced last week that $100,000 will be set aside in the 2018 budget to commemorate the volunteers’ efforts.

Christian says he has also talked to several volunteers who told him they helped because it was the right thing to do, not because they expected any recognition.

The mayor says many recalled a shortage of computers to process the evacuees, and there have been suggestions that the funds could be better spent on computers or other upgrades to emergency services.

In its announcement, the regional district says it hopes the monument can be designed and completed in time for National Volunteer Week in April 2018.

Regional district officials estimate more than 150,000 hours were volunteered within the region to support the evacuees

The district says it hopes the monument will inspire others to consider volunteerism.

“A part of the display being considered is space for plaques to be added, recognizing future events and volunteers’ contributions to them,” the district says in its release.

The BC Wildfire Service estimates more than 12,000 square kilometres of timber and bush was burned across B.C. during the 2017 wildfire season.

A decision for a monument builds on a similar memorial erected in Kamloops after devastating wildfires in 2003 ripped through the North Thompson communities of McClure, Barriere and Louis Creek, destroying or damaging 72 homes.

(CHNL)

The Canadian Press

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