The Regional District of East Kootenay is donating $5,000 to the Red Cross to aid the organization’s response to the Fort McMurray wildfire that is threatening the northern Alberta city.
RDEK board chair Rob Gay said the RDEK received an email from Raymond Louie, a Vancouver city councillor who is the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, informing all members of a government matching program for Red Cross donations.
“Red Cross, if we provide money to Red Cross, the federal government, as well as the Alberta government, will match that funding, so for our $5,000 that we committed today will turn into $15,000,” Gay said.
Gay sympathized with the Fort McMurray residents, noting that Cranbrook and the rest of the RDEK haven’t had a disaster of that magnitude, however, local officials are always aware of danger from events such as flooding and wildfire.
“We’ve been close to disasters in Cranbrook, we know fire, we know flooding—we can’t say we know what they’re going through, but it’s obvious that we need to help our Canadian citizens and I think we’ll do more over time.
“Our hearts go out to those folks, for sure.”
Gay added that there is a very real connection from the area to northern Alberta as local skilled workers commute to work for ten-day or seven-day shifts
“There’s a real attachment for much of rural British Columbia,” Gay continued.
Additionally, a few municipal directors, including Cranbrook mayor Lee Pratt, added that RDEK-member city councils are bringing motions forward to make donations to the Red Cross at upcoming council meetings.
Cranbrook city councillor Isaac Hockley has submitted a motion for the May 9th city council meeting for Cranbrook to donate $1,000 directly to the City of Fort McMurray to spend at its discretion to benefit residents in the aftermath of the wildfire.