The City of New Westminster will seek answers about why it wasn't notified earlier about the recent earthquake off the B.C. coast.
Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, chair of the city's emergency advisory committee, said the city's emergency management office wasn't informed of the magnitude 7.7 earthquake that occurred offshore in the Haida Gwaii Region at 8: 04 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 and was followed by numerous aftershocks.
"That has really concerned us in New Westminster," he said.
After learning about the earthquake through social media, Puchmayr contacted the assistant fire chief and learned the city hadn't been notified about the earthquake. Given the possibility of rising waters from a severe earthquake and the speed at which a tsunami can travel, he said the city and all cities along the coast should have been promptly informed.
"To not be notified even of the earthquake itself is very troubling," he said. "We are going to pursue that."
Puchmayr and fire chief Tim Armstrong, who oversees emergency planning in the city, will communicate with the provincial government and express concern about the lack of information the city received following the earthquake.
"There wasn't even notification that there was an earthquake," he said. "People were asleep at the switch at Emergency Management B.C."
Emergency Management B.C. coordinates the province's emergency management activities.
Puchmayr said the City of New Westminster has "a pretty good program" in place but needs to be informed so it can take action, if necessary.
"We would have been so far behind if there was actually an issue," he said about a tsunami.
According to Puchmayr, a "mega thrust" earthquake that struck Alaska in 1964 caused considerable damage and caused deaths in Oregon and California from rising water, and affected water levels all over the world.
"If this was an earthquake like that, we could have had severe water level rises, up to 80 metres," he said. "It would be good to get a warning."
Once notified of an earthquake, Puchmayr said the city would consider whether it needs to take action to prepare or to inform residents.
Puchmayr questions whether the lack of notification could be due to staffing cuts in the Emergency Management B.C. and offloading from the federal government onto the province.