Nadleh Whut'en First Nation Nadleh Whut'en First Nation


Regional Emergency Centre of Excellence 


The British Columbia Floods and Wildfires of 2017 prompted an independent review led by Chief Maureen Chapman and former BC Minister George Abbott.  A comprehensive report entitled: “Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia” provides a total of 108 recommendations and 14 strategic shifts.  Strategic Shift # 2 calls for establishing Emergency Centres of Excellence in Interior locations to support large scale disaster response [1].  The rationale provided for the Strategic Shift is as follows:

“An emergency centre of excellence must be of sufficient size, capacity and organization to manage a large influx of evacuee on a short notice.  Events of 2017 demonstrated the need for such high-capacity and high functioning centres”[2]

[1] Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia, p. 86

[2] Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia, p. 86

 Regional Centre of Excellence in Emergency Management – Project Assessment

There are numerous arguments that supports the development of a Regional Centre of Excellence in Emergency Management as proposed by Nadleh Whutén First Nation, Stellatén First Nation and Village of Fraser Lake, including but not limited to the following:

1.  Communities Experience with disaster management

Nadleh Whutén First Nation, Stellatén First Nation and the Village of Fraser Lake were at the center of the largest 2018 wildfire in British Columbia.  The wildfires 2018 provided our communities with invaluable response and recovery experience as well as a rich experience through the development of numerous partnerships with neighbouring First Nations, towns, villages, BC government departments, academic institutions and others.  Most importantly, the communities reaffirmed the commitment to work in partnership and collaboration through the wildfire response and recovery phases. 

Realizing the importance of both mitigation and preparedness in ensuring the safety and integrity of our citizens and natural environments, our communities decided to pursue the development of a Regional Centre of Excellence in Emergency Management as proposed by Chief Maureen Chapman and former BC Minister George Abbott.  A proposal to conduct a Planning and Project Feasibility Phase was approved by the Government of British Columbia through the Rural Dividend Program.  The communities are currently working towards engaging the support from the Government of Canada so as to strengthen the project and proceed to design and construction phases

Regional Centre of Excellence in Emergency Management– Our Vision

The partners envision a multi-purpose Regional Centre of Excellence in Emergency Management designed to provide various services including:

  • A Regional Emergency Management Training and Educational Centre mandated to provide emergency training and education to all communities located within our regional boundaries;
  • An Evacuation Facility capable to accommodate 1,000 to 1,500 evacuees;
  • A Facility rooted in the cultural values of First Nations peoples with principles of respect for non-aboriginal neighbours;
  • A Facility structured to respond to all types of natural and man-made disasters, working in collaboration with the various governmental and non-governmental organizations and groups involved in disaster management;
  • A Research Centre working in close collaboration with neighbouring post-secondary educational institutions;
  • A Facility that can be used as a provincial/federal model to achieve the strategic shift # 2 proposed in the Chapman and Abbott’s report;
  • A Response and Recovery Research Centre working in collaboration with academia and organizations involved in Response and Recovery Management;

Regional Centre of Excellence – Our Path Forward

The partnering communities believe that our vision for a Regional Centre of Excellence in Emergency Management is shared by neighbouring First Nations and neighbouring towns and villages.  We also believe strongly on the principles of collaboration and project consultation from the very early stages of a project.  As such, our path forward starts by discussing this project idea with all stakeholders. 

The partnering communities will strengthen the partnership with the British Columbia Government and the Carrier Sekani Tribal Organization.  Together, we expect to enlist the support and participation of the Federal Government of Canada.  Once the project idea has been refined by the contributions made by neighbouring communities and various levels of government, the partners will complete a project feasibility report and immediately proceed to project design and construction. 

Centre Component

Status Quo

Our Vision

Education and Training

disjointed and expensive with various organizations attempting to provide similar services. 

National and International educational and training services that are delivered locally will be less expensive and more efficient. 

Evacuation Facility

BC currently uses commercial accommodations and billeting systems which are expensive and culturally inappropriate.

Our Regional Evacuation Centre will provide better, cost-efficient services in an atmosphere of friendship and comradeship.

Cultural Values

First Nation people often experience isolation, discrimination, and racism while being evacuated to cities.

To care for and to protect citizens within their own communities and cultures.

Multi-Emergency Services

Disjointed with various groups and organizations mandated to respond to various types of emergencies.

A facility with all human and material resources under one umbrella Regional Emergency Centre, equipped to respond to all natural and man-made disasters

Research Facility

The available research is being conducted by academics and people working in the emergency response field.

Coordinated research and publications, completed in collaboration with academic institutions and focusing on knowledge development.

Facility Values

Emergency Management led primarily by forestry economic values.

Emergency management that considers cultural, ecological and economic values and promotes partnerships

Model Facility

Response and Recovery organizations which are disjointed and do not directly focus on Readiness or Mitigation

A model Facility that uses the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and focusses on Preparedness, Response, Recovery and mitigation

Juan Cereno

EOC Director/ Project Consultant

Ashley Heathcliff

Community Liaison Officer

250-690-7211 ext. 104