The current headquarters for Vernon Search and Rescue is located in Coldstream adjacent to the Regional District of North Okanagan administrative office. Photo credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Vernon SAR seeking a new home

Equipment resources beyond capacity of search & rescue headquarters

Vernon Search and Rescue services have outgrown their existing headquarters on Aberdeen Road in Coldstream.

But the question of where they might relocate in bigger surroundings is a process the society behind Vernon SAR and the Regional District of North Okanagan are now beginning to address.

Leigh Pearson, involved with Vernon SAR since 1987, said the existing building is too small to house all their resources.

“I half jokingly say the boats fit better now that the paint has rubbed off the sides of them. It’s pretty tight fit and there is no room for anything else,” Pearson said.

Those Vernon SAR resources include an initial response truck, a command truck, two jet boats, four ATVs, three sleds and a full complement of various high-angle and water rescue equipment.

Related: SAR score new machine

As such, its rescue personnel are often requested to assist other search and rescue units in a mutual aid capacity.

Vernon SAR was founded in 1960 and considered one of the “anchor” search and rescue units in B.C., with more than 60 volunteer members on call 24 hours a day.

Pearson said the Vernon SAR Society is “just starting to get the ball rolling” on how to upgrade the existing facility or find a new home.

“We will need funding support and it will probably be expensive no matter how we do it,” Pearson said.

“In terms of a timeline, probably the sooner the better but we’ll see what happens.”

Helping guide the society forward is David Sewell, chief administrative officer of the Regional District of North Okanagan.

In response to questions about the Vernon SAR building from Vernon director Brian Quiring at the most recent regional board meeting, Sewell said he is helping steer the process to a point where the regional district can address the funding needs and the society has a plan for moving forward.

“What we are trying to do here is get everyone to the finish line at the same time,” Sewell said.

In a later interview with the Vernon Morning Star, Sewell said there is consensus the current facility is inadequate, but a feasibility study needs to be undertaken on how to proceed.

“We need to look at what is needed, how much it will cost, where it could be located and who participates in the funding process,” said Sewell.

“It’s always a balancing act between what do you want and what do you need. Sometimes there is a bit of difference between those two.”

Sewell said the idea of expanding the existing facility has been negated by environment concerns, as expanding the building would encroach protected wetlands habitat.

“There would be hurdles to overcome to pursue that option and the cost to that would not be insignificant, so when the price keeps going up sometimes it’s better to look at a new location.”

Sewell said the feasibility study would allow an opportunity to take inventory of public land holdings within the regional district or other jurisdictions.

“If you can find synergies where a location could be found it certainly would help defray costs up front by not having to acquire land,” he said.

He said RDNO has not budgeted to replace the facility, so a financial commitment would have to be discussed by the board, and alternate funding sources can be explored, from public fundraising to provincial programs.


 


newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Revelstoke celebrates Remembrance Day

The Revelstoke Legion hosted the annual Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 11. Hundreds… Continue reading

Grizzlies match Princeton Posse 2-2 after double overtime

Their next home game will be Nov. 29 against Sicamous

Commit to living in peace this Remembrance Day: Revelstoke Mayor

This Remembrance Day we acknowledge the 101st year since the end of… Continue reading

Looking back at Revelstoke after WWI

Cathy English Revelstoke Museum & Archives Every year on Nov. 11, people… Continue reading

Jocelyn’s Jottings: No-spend November-Challenge accepted

After years of looking at the bottom line and crumpling up my… Continue reading

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Coquihalla, Okanagan Connector drivers cautioned due to freezing rain

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Summerland council considers change to meeting schedule

Proposal calls for afternoon session and 6 p.m. evening session for regular meetings

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Most Read