Lifestyles

Cash comes down from the province to Rossland

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Ask and you shall receive.

At least Rossland and District SAR Society (RDSAR) did. The society applied to the province for and received money to purchase a new snowmobile and trailer for their winter maneuvers.

In the latest installment of gaming grants the Rossland society was bestowed with $84,500, the sixth largest amount in the province in the last funding cycle of $4.1 million.

RDSAR director Graham Jones said the money for the new sled will help alleviate the demand on the society members’ own sleds when they perform winter rescues.

Prior to this, the society did not own its own snowmobile.

"We've been, to a large degree, a winter response group, with downhill and backcountry skiers running into trouble... snowmobilers,” he told the Trail Times.

“But we've never had snowmobiles in our arsenal, we've had to use private member's machines and they're not designed for towing search members up a mountain.

The South Columbia SAR Society (SCSAR) based in the Trail region also received money from the province, with $63,000 coming for them to continue their work in the region.

"We don't have other money coming in for equipment and training," said Ron Medland, search manager for SCSAR, about the cash infusion.

The SCSAR money will go toward basic operating costs for the team, such as insurance for vehicles, equipment purchases and training for team members.

"We have to meet standards and part of that is we have to be up to date on training," he said. "This funding is huge, we wouldn't be able to do the work without it."

To the east, the Castlegar Society for Search and Rescue will be given $73,500 for its work in the neighbouring backcountry.

As well, the Canadian Avalanche Centre and the B.C. Search and Rescue Association each received $250,000 in gaming funds to support their operations.

Provincial support

According to research looking at coroners' statistics, an average of 10 persons die each year in B.C. while engaged in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling. Another 15 or more persons die each year from hypothermia or exposure to cold.

The foundation of CAC's public avalanche warning service is built on information submitted by an extensive network of avalanche professionals. This data allows the CAC to provide backcountry users with a forecast of the avalanche and snowpack conditions.

B.C. also supports the CAC with $255,000 in funding through Emergency Management BC and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In addition, funding is provided to the CAC to cover Special Avalanche Warning Bulletins at a cost of $2,500 per bulletin four to six times per year.

The BCSARA enhances the provision of volunteer search and rescue services in the province by facilitating access to funding, educating the general public on outdoor safety, and providing volunteers with a common link to information and resources.

Learn More:

For a one-stop shop of information and links on backcountry safety, visit Emergency Info BC: http://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/campaigns/backcountry-safety.html

For information on avalanche training or to view avalanche bulletins, visit http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/

 

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