Our View: Long-term funds needed for SARs

Okanagan Search and Rescue operations need funds to support valiant efforts of volunteer search crews.

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

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 same could be said of the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue based out of Kelowna.

The North Okanagan, 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, B.C.’s 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 the units which have largely been left covering the costs of their own 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.

 

Just Posted

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Kelowna - Students were unaware of resources on campus

Video: Bulky bobcat goes for a stroll

Bob Lindley shared a video of a sneaky bobcat strolling through his yard in Vernon.

Cops report explosion in number of thefts from vehicles in Central Okanagan

In just the first 2 1/2 weeks of 2018, the number has nearly tripled in Kelowna and West Kelowna

Kelowna and West Kelowna’s unsolved crimes of the week

RCMP are searching for a fraud suspect and vandal suspect in this week’s unsolved crimes

Kelowna’s Ursel to coach host team at Olympics

Bob Ursel is headed to the Olympics with South Korea’s national men’s curling team

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

EDITORIAL: With harassment allegations, students deserve better at UBCO

The lack of communication with students isn’t good enough for the Kelowna campus

Physical altercation turns to online threats in Celista

Police were called to a Shuswap ice rink after a group of men physically fought each other

Arson suspect heads to court

Vernon man suspected of starting a string of 2014 fires in Vernon

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

Most Read