A rift in Kimberley Search and Rescue

Two groups vying to be sanctioned as new Kimberley Search and Rescue

The City of Kimberley is trying to decide what to do about Kimberley Search and Rescue.

Coun. Kent Goodwin updated Council on the situation on Monday evening. The Kimberley Search and Rescue Society was dissolved by the Province late last year, Goodwin said, for failing to provide proper documentation.

“Two different groups are incorporating to provide search and rescue,” he said.

These groups are both made up of former, trained members of the previous Search and Rescue Society.

Council received a letter from one of the groups, which has incorporated as Kimberley Search and Rescue Society. In the letter, the new Society’s president, Pamela Nevlud, requested access to search and rescue equipment.

“It is our understanding that many of the vehicles and much of the equipment from the former SAR group may have been transferred back to the City ownership upon dissolution,” Nevlud wrote. “We would like to assume stewardship of any facilities, vehicles and equipment that had been previously granted to the former SAR group.”

With two groups both vying to be Kimberley Search and Rescue, Council was at a loss as to what to do.

“Why are there two groups?” asked Coun. Bev Middlebrook. “Is there conflict?”

“I think there might be,” Goodwin said. “Right now the group that has access to all the equipment is still going out  on calls.”

Nevlud said in an interview with the Bulletin that there were two groups looking to provide search and rescue services.

“There is a bit of a rift and it has created two groups,” she said. “We’ve sent a letter to Emergency Management BC (EMBC) and the BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) seeking certification.  I don’t know if the other group has. As far as I know, all insurance under the former group was cancelled when the society dissolved. We contacted the insurance providers and were told you have to have EMBC sanction before you can get insurance. So until we are endorsed, there will be no practicing or call outs.”

Council has decided to seek guidance from Emergency Management BC, which governs search and rescue groups.

“We don’t know which group EMBC will choose but we want them to make the decision, not us,” Goodwin said.

“The City’s role has been as one of the funders,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “It’s EMBC’s call as to which group to sanction.”