COSAR to receive 50K annually beginning 2022
The B.C. government is building on a funding commitment to search and rescue efforts by providing $6 million annually beginning in 2022.
Approximately $50,000 will go to Central Okanagan Search and Rescue each year.
Volunteer Ed Henczel told AM1150 the funding is crucial.
“Literally, there was a time before I joined Search and Rescue here where they were holding bake sales to get gas money and things like that. So that was before my time but we can now focus on doing what we were trained to do, which is going into the woods, as opposed to have to work on fundraising and trying to nickel and dime, we can at least focus on what our jobs are,” said Henczel.
The money will cover training costs for first aid, UTV, ATV and helicopter certification and be distributed among their 50 members.
However, Henczel said their yearly costs are generally two to three times their guaranteed amount.
“We need another truck. One of our trucks is to the point where people are using their own vehicles to pull the ATV’s into the woods sometimes because the truck is not functioning. We’re also looking at a base that is closer to town. The current one we have is quite adequate but it's out by the airport, so when we have to respond to West Kelowna or Peachland it adds to our response time.”
Henczel said although their costs are higher than the money covers, they can't complain.
He said the consistent funding will allow them to set a budget and plan going forward.
COSAR relies on donations to cover additional costs.
If you want to help, you can go to Central Okanagan Search and Rescue Group on Facebook to donate.