COVID-19 fallout doubles cost of Arrowsmith SAR hall

COVID-19 fallout doubles cost of Arrowsmith SAR hall
WatchThe original budget for a new search and rescue hall already under construction at the Qualicum Beach Airport was $700,000 but now the cost has increased to $1.3 million.

Construction of the new Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (SAR) hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport is now well underway. Footings and foundations have been poured and the outline of the much needed new facility is taking shape.

“There are going to be four truck bays. These truck bays are going to be long enough that two vehicles will be able to drive in and park in each bay,” said Ron Tamblyn with Arrowsmith SAR. “They’ll be able to come in the back and drive out the front.”

Arrowsmith needs the facility because it’s outgrown a building it shares with Coombs Fire Rescue on Highway 4 in Coombs.

“The level of professionalism being requested of Search and Rescue in the province of British Columbia has drastically increased as have the type of tasks we’re dealing with so, in turn, our equipment has had to grow quite exponentially,” said Arrowsmith SAR Vice-President Nick Rivers.

Several of the organization’s fleet of vehicles are parked in volunteer’s driveways.

The original budget for the new hall of $700,000 has now ballooned to $1.3 million largely due to the effects of COVID-19.

“So building supplies have doubled and in some cases tripled and largely due to supply,” said Rivers. “The other thing we’re struggling with is steel. It’s a pre-engineered steel building, it is manufactured in the United States and a lot of the steel plants have been shut down for months.”

Construction on the new hall is continuing for now, but the previous budget was going to leave Arrowsmith with a $150,000 contingency fund. Now it’s $500,000 short. That means back to more fundraising, in a community that already raised most of the first $700,000.

“These are people who joined to go and save people in trouble in the woods and missing people who are lost in town, they’re not people who would necessarily join to fundraise,” said Rivers. “Going back out is going to be pretty difficult.”

For more information on how to help, go to the Arrowsmith Search and Rescue website.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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