Secure funding needed for SAR

North Okanagan-Shuswap residents have come to expect that local search and rescue members will drop everything during an emergency.

North Okanagan-Shuswap residents have come to expect that members of Vernon and Shuswap Search and Rescue (SAR) will drop everything during an emergency.

Many of the most recent rescues have taken place in recreation areas, like Owl Head in Sicamous and Crowfoot Mountain in North Shuswap, which are very popular with sledders – both residents and tourists.

But imagine what would happen if the volunteer unit wasn’t there?

Who would spend hours looking for lost snowmobilers in the backcountry? Who would help look for a missing child or someone who fell off a boat? Who would help the RCMP gather vital evidence during a case?

The reality is that the North Okanagan-Shuswap, and communities across the province, benefit directly because of the civic-minded spirit of SAR volunteers.

“Within ground  search and rescue there are roughly 100,000 hours of volunteer time  donated to searches (provincewide). To replace these would cost more than $5 million annually in direct salary dollars,” said Todd Stone, transportation minister.

That’s why the government’s announcement of $10 million for SAR training, administrative support and equipment upgrades is welcome news.

It will take considerable pressure off of the units who have largely been left covering the cost of their activities.

Instead of fundraising, more time can be directed towards training and ensuring equipment is in top condition.

However, while Victoria’s assistance is positive, it’s only one-time support. Yes, it’s $10 million but it won’t go far among 80 units, particularly given the expense of equipment.

As Stone pointed out, the SAR volunteers save all of us about $5 million a year. If we had to pay staff for search duties, it’s unlikely the service would exist.

One-off funding is great but more needs to be done to ensure the long-term viability of our search and rescue teams.

-Vernon Morning Star

 

 

Just Posted

Salmon Arm makeup artist adds new sparkle to industry

Missy MacKintosh launches her own cosmetics company with the release of biodegradable glitter

Blind Bay shooter changes story about accomplice

Jordan Barnes tells the court he was sole person responsible for death of Nicholas Larsen

Okanagan realtors add voices to anti-speculation tax coalition

This speculation tax is likely to harm the very people the government is trying to protect

Askew’s owner objects to underpass

Downtown Salmon Arm voices its support for project, which will go to referendum in October

Column: No last name required for Mayor Marty

I was saddened by the news of the death of former mayor… Continue reading

Your April 24 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out on ‘malign’ behaviour

Cosby jury to decide: Serial rapist or con artist’s mark

Bill Cosby is at the courthouse Tuesday morning ahead of closing arguments in his sexual assault retrial.

Trump: ‘Our hearts are with the grieving families in Canada’

U.S. President Donald Trump is offering his condolences to Canadians

Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless,’ says no apparent terror link

Officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ after Toronto van attack

Arresting officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ in the wake of Toronto van attack

Painting of Enderby landmark finds home in Victoria

Royal BC Museum adds, from Grafton Tyler Brown collection, work of Enderby Cliffs

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Okanagan Lake levels stay steady but snowpack is growing: officials

Whether or not the tributaries and creeks flood depends on how suddenly the snowpack begins to melt,

Most Read