SIFCo RESILIENCY CENTRE
At SIFCo our goal is to contribute toward creating a healthy and vibrant local community, a community built on respect for one another and respect for a healthy, fully functioning ecosystem. We are very aware of the challenges currently facing the human family and are actively building a foundational framework for resilience at a bioregional scale.
We imagine a future where ecosystems and communities are able to withstand rapidly changing conditions, and we are doing the work today to exponentially help our land base become increasingly resilient.
A NEW RESILIENCY CENTRE
During the 2021 Trozzo Creek Wildfire, which resulted in the evacuation of 174 homes between Winlaw and Slocan, it became apparent that the community could most definitely benefit from having a local Resiliency Centre. Members of our local community managed to put an ad-hoc centre together, however, there were many hurdles in their way, which ultimately stalled the time-sensitive process.
Following this experience, we came up with the idea of creating a permanent centre that would be available and ready to go in the event of a local emergency and that could also serve as a year-round resource for the community, thereby improving the overall health and wellbeing of Valley residents.
As a result, SIFCo has entered into an agreement with the Appledale Hall Progressive Association, with the vision of creating a community resiliency centre.
We are very excited to have the opportunity to utilize one of our already existing local community halls to create a space that can encourage and benefit the development of community resiliency.
WHAT IS RESILIENCY?
RESILIENCY - " is the capacity to adapt, withstand and/or recover quickly from difficulties."
Resiliency refers to both the process and the outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences. Being resilient means being able to withstand adversity and then bounce back once the adversity has passed.
WHY IS RESILIENCY IMPORTANT?
Resiliency is incredibly important, as life is full of challenges, some of which can be unexpected and overwhelming.
Without resiliency such adversities can prove to be devastating and can prevent individuals and/or communities from living full, healthy and vibrant lives.
Resiliency is essential in preventing individual and/or collective trauma. Fostering resiliency is, therefore, a key ingredient to recovering and moving forward in the face of hard times.
Here in British Columbia, a prime example of our need to foster resiliency has been our experience with wildfires, especially over the last two decades.
We have witnessed the catastrophic effects these events can have on individuals and entire communities. Entire towns have burnt to the ground over night, destroying homes, businesses, critical infrastructure, habitat, and even resulting in loss of life.
Although the event itself may last just a few hours, it can take a community decades to recover, and in some cases, the recovery does not happen fully or hardly.
Another important aspect of resiliency is preparedness, which involves becoming aware of and educated on potential challenges, followed by preparing to the best of our individual and collective abilities.
Taking this approach reduces stress and anxiety, diminishes the potential damaging effects of the adverse event, and speeds up the recovery process so that those effected can keep moving forward with their lives once the event is over.
Preparedness also heightens the sustained capacity of a community to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity.
FOSTERING RESILIENCY IN THE SLOCAN VALLEY
The Slocan Valley is a beautiful place to live. We are surrounded by pristine wilderness, and we have the Slocan Lake and River on our doorsteps. Living rurally has so many benefits, and yet it does come with its own set of challenges, for example, having less access to community resources and infrastructure. On top of such challenges, we also face the reality that our climate is changing, bringing with it extreme weather events. These events have the potential to bring severe adversity to our communities, some of which we have already experienced due to wildfires. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that we foster Resiliency within ourselves, each other, and our surroundings.
AT SIFCo WHEN WE THINK ABOUT RESILIENCY WE THINK OF IT IN THE FOUR FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:
The natural world that surrounds us is changing fast. We are witnessing this locally and at a global level. Wildfires have become very common in our bioregion, and seasons of drought and extreme heat are a new reality for our Interior temperate rainforest. How do we inhabit a changing climate? How do we prepare as a community for these challenges?
In challenging times one of our best assets is the community that we are part of. There is ample research that shows that having a supportive network in place can make all the difference in whether one recovers from great challenges or not. How do we build relationships that foster trust, cooperation and synergy among us. How do we set the foundation for our collective gifts to be harnessed and shared? How do we truly become a resilient community, a supportive network for everyone?
PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL
Physically, we need to ensure that we have spaces that offer good water, clean air to breathe, wholesome food for the hungry, cool air during a "heat dome", warmth in the cold of winter, and provisional shelter. Psychologically, we need to ensure we have a strong fabric of social connectedness, as well as access to both professional services as well as neighbourhood drop-ins to decrease the likelihood of trauma. Creating a psychological and physical foundation within ourselves and our families in order to be more ready for a world that is changing fast is both a short- and long-term aim.
With supply chain disruption, impact to food supplies and inflation coming at us faster than seen in decades, it is more important than ever that we create the conditions for more bioregional resiliency. Supporting our local economy and becoming aware of the many talents, skills and gifts that we have collectively, our bioregion will be more able to withstand the turbulence and uncertainty of these economic times.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIFIC CHALLENGES WE FACE IN THE SLOCAN VALLEY?
Wildfires have become a seasonal challenge for us here in the Slocan valley, posing a very real threat to our communities.
WHAT IS SIFCo DOING TO HELP?
SIFCo has entered into an agreement with the Appledale Hall Progressive Association with the vision of creating a community resiliency centre.
The resiliency centre will provide community resources in times of local emergencies, for example, wildfires or floods, and aims to enhance the physical and emotional wellbeing of local residents by offering educational, social and recreational activities.
We are currently renovating the hall and will keep you updated as the project progresses.