Nelson Search and Rescue at last has a long-term lease on the North Shore hall and will celebrate tomorrow afternoon with a sod turning ceremony for the addition of a large garage.
“We’re finally getting things moving,” says the organization’s Murray Springman, after the Regional District of Central Kootenay approved the 20-year agreement last week.
The deal will see half the basement converted into an office and training area, the upstairs made available to them a few times a month, and a garage built for vehicles and equipment.
Technically the regional district will charge $20,000 per year in rent, but that money will come from a search and rescue fund recently established by the City of Nelson, Village of Salmo, and four rural electoral areas. It will be used to fix up the hall.
“It’s an old building and needs work,” Springman says. Among the to-do list: replace the floor, windows, bathrooms, and furnace, and add insulation.
Search and Rescue is paying for the garage, but once complete it will be turned over to the regional district to cover insurance and maintenance for the life of the lease. A contractor is expected to begin excavation next week.
“We’ll have five bays for a truck, two trailers, a big rescue boat and two small boats,” Springman explains.
Presently their rescue truck is at the fire hall, the trailers are in the RCMP compound where they’re exposed to the elements, and the boat trailer is in Beasley fire chief Al Craft’s yard. Meanwhile, the rescue boat is kept at the launch club and the smaller boats are stored at member Chris Armstrong’s place.
As for equipment, “I could name half a dozen members who’ve got some in their basements,” Springman says.
He adds having everything in a single location will mean quicker responses.
“Right now if we have a search, you have to think ‘Okay, who’s got this equipment?’ I’ve got to phone him and we’ve got to go get it.”
They also expect to receive about $10,000 per year through the regional district for fixed annual costs, such as insurance and communications equipment.
But the organization, run by volunteers reimbursed only for their expenses, welcomes tax-deductible donations. Their website is nelsonsar.com.
The sod turning ceremony is at the hall is Wednesday at 1 p.m.