It’s crunch time for Vernon Search and Rescue.
It’s been obvious over the last couple of years it’s current building on RDNO property on Aberdeen Road is no longer suitable for its growing operation.
Spokesman Trevor Honigman says It’s now asking the regional district for help to fund the purchase of property to build a new headquarters.
“The plan that we’re going to put forward to the RDNO, the cost and numbers come up to them. It really is up to them to find out what’s available and how the community can rally around this need”.
The proposal in a package to the RDNO asks the district to begin an Alternative Approval Process to secure three and a half million dollars for property and a building.
Representatives of the organization will be at Wednesday’s Board meeting outlining their needs.
Trevor Honigman says it it comes down to the right space for a growing organization.
“What we’re looking for is a two acre lot that we can put an eight vehicle bay building or four pull-through deep bays. We need room for a classroom, office and communication space where we can also run our searches from with our communication gear.”
Expanding the current location won’t work because of an endangered species of toad habitat.
The organization began the process of reviewing its options in 2016.
It did look at RDNO property including the Pottery Fire Training Centre, McLeish Road works yard and DND land near Okanagan College.
“We have a number of properties that we’ve been looking at and we’re also presenting the RDNO the reasons why we’ve looked at those and they either are aren’t suitable one way or the other.”
The organization says its research has determined it would cost about one million dollars for property and two and a half million to construct a building large enough to fit their needs.
“Currently we have so little space that when we have a time sensitive rescue we’re moving vehicles and trailers out of the building in order to get at the other things that we need in the back.”
Trevor says the team is getting to the point it has to change how it responds in a faster way to the rescues that are happening.
He notes the support of the community has been strong since its inception in 1960.
The need for the team has grown dramatically over the years, the last three years in a row have set records for call outs and it is already on track for another record year.
The organization’s presentation asks RDNO start the Alternative Approval process now, regardless of whether an existing property can be secured, with the expressed purpose to have the funding approved and in place to allow quick movement on a property when a suitable one becomes available.