The province is giving B.C.’s search and rescue volunteers a $18.6-million boost.
“The funds will provide critical core supports over the next three years, while final details are completed in the short term on a sustainable model,” BC SAR president Chris Kelly said to reporters out of the Coquitlam headquarters Saturday.
The money will be used over three years to replace equipment, bolster training and daily operations and is in addition to the annual $9 million doled out for ground crews.
The funding follows pleas from search and rescue members across the province after the association was left out of last month’s budget.
B.C. has 80 search and rescue groups made up of 2,500 volunteers, and respond to an estimated 1,700 calls per year.
Since 2015, the association has been advocating for a funding model dubbed the Alternative Support Model, which asks for about $6 million annually.
— Columbia Valley SAR (@InvermereSAR) March 23, 2019
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province will be creating a partnership committee, made up of Emergency Management BC staff and search and rescue representatives, to create a policy on future funding.
This committee will also be in charge of distributing the new money as needed by the various teams.