VANCOUVER (February 4, 2019) – Funding is set to run out for the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA), with no indication from the NDP that it will be renewed.
“BCSARA provides essential services to British Columbians and the thousands of tourists who visit our parks and backcountry areas,” says Jane Thornthwaite, MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour. “I hope the NDP government will continue to value B.C.’s dedicated search and rescue volunteers by renewing this funding.”
In 2016 BCSARA received $10 million to fund training and equipment renewals. The association represents 80 province-wide search and rescue groups, consisting of 2500 volunteers. In 2017-18 there were a total of 1,631 distress calls in B.C.
“The responsibility placed on these volunteers is enormous,” says Joan Isaacs, MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. “Their contributions to the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain region keep our community safe and we are urging the government to ensure funding is included in this spring’s budget.”
“Whistler is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in B.C.,” says Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. “It takes a community of Sea to Sky first responders and volunteers to provide the necessary response capacity and supporting these efforts should be a number one priority for the NDP.”
Without proper funding, the BCSARA will lose access to advanced training and resources that enable volunteers to save lives.