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Construction of Shuswap marine rescue base to begin in May

Shuswap Lifeboat Society to host ‘first weld’ ground-breaking ceremony in Sicamous
May 14, 2022 marks 10 years the Shuswap has been served by the Sicamous-based Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 106. (RCMSAR Station 106/Facebook photo)

This May will be an important month for the Shuswap’s volunteer on-water rescue organization.

The Sicamous-based Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 106 celebrates its 10th anniversary on May 14. Bruce Weicker, president of The Shuswap Lifeboat Society, which oversees operations of Station 106, said an event is being planned for that Saturday at Sicamous’ Main Street landing.

“We’ll have the boats on display and different things set up. There’s more information coming about that,” said Weicker.

On the following Wednesday, May 18, the Lifeboat Society will be hosting a ground-breaking ceremony of sorts at Twin Anchors Manufacturing (675 Old Town Rd.) to mark the beginning of construction of Station 106’s new floating rescue base/boathouse.

“We’re dubbing it the “first weld,” said Weicker. “Rob Sutherland, our station leader, is going to do a weld on the beginning of the project, the beginning of the build.”

The Lifeboat Society began fundraising for the boathouse in 2020. On Jan. 27, 2022 the society received a $250,000 B.C. Community Gaming Grant, the final amount needed to fund construction of the rescue base, which will consolidate the operations of Station 106. The balance of the needed funding was raised through donations over the past 10 years, along with recent support from the City of Salmon Arm and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

Read more: Shuswap Lifeboat Society receives grant that’s final step towards building rescue base

Read more: Shuswap’s marine rescue crew reaches milestone, prepares for summer

Twin Anchors Manufacturing was selected to construct the facility and the project is expected to begin in May.

“Our Rescue Base will protect the rescue vessels and permit more rapid response times with a heated ‘ready room’ as well as the needed storage for our equipment and boating safety awareness materials,” reads a recent post on Station 106’s Facebook page.

Weicker said when the base is complete, Twin Anchors will host it at Old Town Bay Marina until the facility can be moved into the channel.

“Because of the bridge construction and all of the construction that will be going on around there, we’re not sure where we’ll be located in that area,” said Weicker. “There are a couple of sites that are being looked at, both of them influenced by the bridge construction. We haven’t got the confirmation of where it will be. The District of Sicamous and the Ministry of Transportation are working through all of that.”

The channel is the desired home for the rescue base, Weicker explained, as it accommodates a quicker response time than Old Town Bay.

“Quicker response for ambulance personnel and our crews getting there, and when we get back if someone is going to hospital it’s quicker access to the highway,” said Weicker. “If we go to Old Town Bay we will need to contend with a train crossing and that could delay our response.”

Design details on the rescue base are just being completed, said Weicker, noting there are still things the Shuswap Lifeboat Society will be fundraising for.

“We’re looking at some environmentally green options for heating such as a heat pump, and we’re studying solar energy as well if we decide to go with some solar energy for heat and electricity – that would be a project we may end up fundraising extra for,” said Weicker. “Once this is built, we’ve got to look at how we maintain and operate it… Perhaps, once we’re in it, adding some interior things such as shelving, storage and the likes of that. Insurance always comes to the forefront. We’ve got to make sure the building is insured. Those are extra costs that we need to look at being able to handle within our budget.”

In the meantime, Weicker said the Shuswap Lifeboat Society is looking forward to construction of the rescue base getting started.
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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