The new funding will allow Kimberley Search and Rescue to maintain their equipment, such as their truck. KSAR file.

Kimberley Search and Rescue ‘ecstatic’ over funding stability announcement

Provincial government will fund Ground Search and Rescue across the province at $6 million a year

Search and Rescue operations across the province rejoiced last week as the long-awaited promise of funding stability finally arrived.

Last Tuesday, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced that his government will provide annual funding of $6 million to support ground search and rescue operations across the province, beginning in 2022-2023.

“B.C.’s ground search and rescue groups have been calling for long-term, sustainable funding, and we’ve worked with them to meet this need,” Farnworth said. “But funding is only one way to show our support. Search and rescue volunteers take a risk every time they go out to rescue someone, and that risk is heightened due to COVID 19. I’m calling on all British Columbians to be safe and to make sure your family, friends and neighbours are being safe, so we can reduce the risks for everyone.”

Kimberley Search and Rescue President Peter Reid says it’s amazing news.

“It’s an opportunity for stability. It helps us to plan,” he said.

There was a major funding announcement last year as the province provided $18.6 but it was not long term as is the latest announcement.

READ: East Kootenay search and rescue managers welcome new funding

“We’ve done well with fundraising, but this allows us the opportunity to create a strategic plan and focus on training, Reid said.”

Kimberley Search and Rescue has come a long way since it began in 1999 as basically an adjunct to the Fire Department, Reid says.

“Gone are the days when we rolled out of a VW van, in a billow of smoke and said ‘dude, which way did he go?’

“We’ve added so many capabilities to the team. We have five trucks, sleds, a trailer, and they all cost money to maintain.

“I’m just ecstatic because as some point we are going to have to move out of city hall. Now we can focus fundraising on that and not training and equipment.”

Reid says search and rescue organizations across the province have been asking for funding stability for the past six or seven years.

READ: Kimberley Search and Rescue concerned after no SAR funds announced in new BC Budget

“We were the only emergency group not funded. And SAR is relied upon by other emergency services.

“Money will always be a challenge but now we can plan.”

Reid says it is also a recognition that tourism is a huge part of B.C.’s economy, and not just tourism in Vancouver, but the backcountry.

Backcountry access is improving, as snowmobiles can go higher and further than ever, and more and more people want to access remote places.

Since January 2020, ground search and rescue volunteers have responded to more than 700 calls throughout the province.

“This announcement of sustainable funding and support for the 79 groups and their 2,500 unpaid professional members is truly a milestone for the ground search and rescue service in B.C.,” said Chris Kelly, president, on behalf of the BCSARA board.

British Columbians are asked to do their part:

Stay close to home on well-marked trails, while maintaining physical distancing.

Make sure to pack the right provisions and clothing appropriate for the weather.

When going into the outdoors, be prepared to take care of yourself and your family.

Follow the provincial health officer’s directions.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Search and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Compound 1080 confirmed in dog deaths in Gold Creek area

Pathologist believes the poisoning was secondary

Masks4Canada group reiterates call for mask mandate

Walmart Canada and BC Transit have made masks mandatory

Kiakho Lake wildfire being held, Stirton Rd wildfire under control

Latest update on two local wildfires in the Kimberley and Cranbrook area

The Murdochs: Fast Track to Hockey Stardom

Every Canadian hockey story, like that of the Murdochs of Cranbrook, seems to start in the backyard

Farm life: Planning and preserving, a time of transition

Over the coming weeks many plants will be pulled from my garden and replaced with cool weather crops

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read