BC SAR teams asking for annual government funding

BC SAR teams asking for annual government funding

Three models of funding are proposed with up to $10 million a year for SAR teams in BC.

The BC Government announced $80 million in funding for increased public safety in British Columbia Wednesday.

It includes money for flood protection and prevention, seismic safety, fire prevention and local government preparedness.

However it did not include the big funding announcement the BC Search and Rescue Association was hoping for.

“The British Columbia Search and Rescue Association and SAR members in BC are still waiting to hear from the provincial government on the alternative support model which is a sustainable funding package we put forward to the government” said North Vancouver Island BCSARA spokesperson and Campbell River Search and Rescue manager Grant Cromer. 

The funding model application submitted to the Province last year would provide regular, reliable, annual funding for BC’s 80 SAR teams and 2500 volunteers who currently rely on local fundraising efforts for equipment, training, rent on buildings and even the heat inside them.

“Most SAR groups are funding their own vehicles, the insurance, their halls, the heat, the rentals, cell phones, sat phones, purchase of rescue equipment, training is very expensive so there are a lot of expenses related to running a sar group. It’s very similar to running a business” added Cromer. 

He says the average sar group in BC spends a minimum of $100,000 a year to operate.

The Minister of Emergency Preparedness BC Naomi Yamamoto says the province does contribute already.

“What we do is cover $9 million worth of operational expenses so whether it’s gas for vehicles, equipment that they need or use during a rescue or in fact helicopter, fuel costs, all that’s covered by the province, it always has been” she said. 

She added the province also gave a one time injection last year of $10million for sar teams.

Campbell River purchased a new truck with their portion, but it’s still not an annual budget they can rely on say SAR managers like Cromer. 

“A lot less time writing grants and applications and standing out with a can rattling for quarters and more time to train and equip our members to provide a better service for people we’re looking for and rescuing” he said. 

He’s still hoping for an announcement before the provincial election in May.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!