Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue carry an injured subject out from Battleship Lake on Saturday. Photo via Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue Facebook page Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue carry an injured subject out from Battleship Lake. Photo via Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue Facebook page

CVGSAR preparing for lack of provincial funding

Provincial funding for ground search and rescue teams set to run out by the end of March

As an injection of provincial funding runs out for ground search and rescue organizations around B.C. – including Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue – teams are preparing to do to more with less.

CVGSAR president Paul Berry said two pieces of funding from the past Liberal and current NDP governments have assisted the 80 search groups from around the province, but with the last bit of funding expiring at the end of this month, it is leaving groups scrambling to prepare for the shortfall.

“There were two injections of funding – the Liberal government gave 10 million to support teams over a two year period and one year ago the NDP government gave an additional five million for one year to tie us over,” explained Berry.

RELATED: B.C. woman lost for three days on trail urges for search and rescue funding

The BC Search and Rescue Association has been lobbying the provincial government for consistent funding for SAR teams on an annual basis since 2013, he added.

While CVGSAR has been preparing for the lack of funding, Berry said the impact will be felt quickly.

“We’re already being cautious … we will have to reduce training, the number of courses (members can take) and evaluate our equipment purchases.”

As one of the busiest teams in the province, CVGSAR has 55 members who are trained in a variety of skills. Annual certification for members who have helicopter training runs around $25,000, and programs such as first aid training and advanced wildness qualifications may be re-evaluated or the number of qualified members may have to be reduced.

Berry added time spent grant writing and fundraising will take away from vital training time.

“Our call volume is complex and the types of operations (we do) sometimes involve long line helicopters or swift water rescue.”

He noted there has been significant lobbying by the BC SAR association, and Mike Farnworth, the minister of public safety for B.C. is aware of the association’s concerns.

Because of the shortfall, Berry is certain rescues will continue to respond as normal, but it may mean members may not have the same level of training as in the past, and “likely shortcuts will be taken.”

Additionally, he is concerned about overall moral for not only his team but for all ground SAR members in the province.

“It deeply affects morale. These are deeply dedicated individuals who go out at all hours of the day and night and don’t ask for any compensation. They want to be valued and respected by the province they work in.”



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Affordable rental housing complex opens in Courtenay

The Braidwood facility will house 34 people at risk of homelessness

Applications open for record bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students can now apply for scholarships… Continue reading

Second Stage Players present laughter and love in We Are Family

Get your tickets early to see the Evergreen Club’s Second Stage Players’… Continue reading

Open house opens access for those suffering from vision loss

Pat Chicquen understands how isolating losing vision can be, which is why… Continue reading

Valley SPCA overwhelmed with 45 cats taken from local property

Many of the cats have never been around humans, or have never been touched or handled.

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

Most Read