Dan Albas

COLUMN: The future of Weather Radio Canada transmitters

The entire Okanagan VHF weather transmitter network is on a potential list to be decommissioned

My apologies in advance, my report for this week may not be of interest to many of you.

If you do not operate a VHF radio, most often found in marine applications, chances are this report will be of little concern.

For those who do operate a VHF radio you will no doubt be well aware that for many decades now, Environment Canada has broadcast active weather reports to VHF radio users 24/7 365 days a year.

These reports can all include severe weather warnings including small craft advisories.

Here in the Okanagan region, there are transmitters that ensure Penticton, Summerland, Lake Country, Vernon, Peachland, Kelowna, Lumby and Douglas Lake can receive these VHF radio reports.

This service is also provided across Canada via 230 Weather Radio Canada transmitters.

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Currently Environment and Climate Change Canada is soliciting feedback on the possible decommissioning of 48 of these 230 transmitters.

The entire Okanagan VHF weather transmitter network is on the list of the potential 48 to be decommissioned, meaning this service would no longer be available in our region.

Other regions in B.C. potentially losing the same VHF weather service include Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley region along with the Kamloops area and will also affect people in Logan Lake.

Obviously much of this weather information can also be obtained through a smart phone, however it should be noted that there are still many areas in our region that do not have a wireless signal available.

I am told this is also a concern for outdoor enthusiasts who use this VHF weather information when engaging in back country activities.

Currently this potential decommissioning proposal is one that Environment Canada is seeking input on.

For those impacted by this potential policy, you can contact Environment Canada directly by email at ec.radio.ec@canada.ca or by phone 1-877-789-7733.

My question this week: Are you concerned over the potential loss of VHF active weather service in the interior of B.C.?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

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