Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue members marshall at the bottom of the Owlhead snowmobile area to search for a group of lost sledders on Jan. 1.(File Photo)

Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue members marshall at the bottom of the Owlhead snowmobile area to search for a group of lost sledders on Jan. 1.(File Photo)

Shuswap Search and Rescue pleased with provincial funding announcement

Search manager says the volunteer group is growing busier, funds will be put to good use

As their workload continues to grow, Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue are pleased to hear they will be able to take advantage of a recently announced $18.6 million provincial funding package which will benefit B.C.’s search and rescue groups.

“We got a lot of our funding through gaming grants and through fundraising. A pile of search and rescue’s time was taken up fundraising when we should be training and doing rescues,” said SVSAR search manager John Schut.

“Taking the fundraising part of the equation out of our everyday lives, because we’re all volunteers, would certainly be helpful.”

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The provincial funding announcement came in the nick of time as $15 million in provincial grants approved in 2016 and 2017 were expected to run out at the end of March.

The new package of funds will be distributed over the next three years. It is earmarked for replacing equipment, bolstering training and assisting the day to day operations of the search and rescue groups.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has pledged to create a committee made up of Emergency Management BC Staff and representatives from search and rescue teams. The committee will be tasked with distributing the funds and creating a policy on future funding.

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Schut said he expects the funding to be doled out based on the activity level and particular needs of each search and rescue group.

He said it is too soon to know exactly how the provincial funds will be used to enhance SVSAR’s operation.

“Certainly it is a welcome thing because it seems that search and rescue groups are getting busier and busier over time and just getting more used,”Schut said.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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