Local search and rescue groups to share in $10 million

The BC Search and Rescue Association is delighted the provincial government is injecting $10 million into ground search and rescue.

The West Kootenay regional director for the BC Search and Rescue Association is delighted the provincial government is injecting $10 million into ground search and rescue services.

“This is a good news story for [member] groups and volunteers around the entire province,” Chris Armstrong said in a news release. “The ground search and rescue community is very grateful for this meaningful funding.”

Last week the province announced the one-time funding to “help bolster training, administrative support and equipment renewals.”

The investment is on top of the $6.3 million the government already provides each year to cover ground search and rescue operational costs for deployment, training, equipment, and insurance.

Eighty groups exist in BC, including Nelson Search and Rescue and several others in West Kootenay.

“This is a very positive step,” Armstrong said. “First steps will be to receive the funds, develop a solid plan, look at a needs assessment with our partner agencies and look at how these funds can have the greatest impact for ground search and rescue services around the province, including prevention.

Armstrong said the BC Search and Rescue Association laid the foundation for the money when it presented theMinister of Justice with a discussion paper in 2013 outlining on an alternative funding model for search and rescue in BC. Their goal was to reduce fundraising and administrative demands on volunteers.

Planning will begin this month for how the money will be spent.

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