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Posted: March 8, 2019

RDEK pushing for adequate SAR funding

The Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors this morning (March 8) took a stand against the provincial government’s lack of funding support for search and rescue (SAR) organizations in its latest budget.

David Wilks

The board unanimously passed a resolution put forwarded by District of Sparwood Mayor and board director David Wilks and seconded by Electoral Area A Director Mike Sosnowski requesting a letter be sent to the Minister of Public Safety and Minister of Finance requesting the province to provide “stable funding for search and rescue units throughout the province.”

Additionally, the board passed a resolution by City of Fernie Mayor and board director Ange Qualizza, and seconded by District of Elkford Mayor and board director Dean McKerracher to be submitted to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) seeking mass municipal support in getting the province to open its wallet.

Mayor Ange Qualizza

The resolution notes the “valuable service in support of police forces, the BC Ambulance Service, the Coroners Service, and local governments in the province” provided by SAR groups and “the costs associated with providing training, equipment and facilities is increasing.”

SAR groups rely on grants “and other time consuming, short term and unpredictable funding sources which do not provide financial security or allow long term strategic operational planning,” the board resolution continues.

“And whereas the province has supported SAR groups with a series of one year grants for the last three years, there is no provision in the 2019 budget for any further financial support for SAR groups.

“Therefore be it resolved the UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) petition the province to implement a consistent and sustainable funding model for Search and Rescue groups to allow them to better provide efficient and effective search and rescue operations,” the resolution concluded.

The board is also hoping the resolution will go before the upcoming Association of Kootenay-Boundary Local Government convention.

Lead image courtesy Sparwood Search and Rescue

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