Vernon Search and Rescue has needed a new building for years, and they are making progress to that end

Progress on VSAR building

Progress is being made on a new building for Vernon Search and Rescue.

Mark Forsyth said documents are being prepared for a request for proposals for the new building.

The RFP is expected to go out over the next week or two.

“We are pretty excited about it,” said Forsyth, a longtime VSAR member.

VSAR is currently shoehorned into a building next to the Regional District of North Okanagan building, which has long been too small to meet their needs.

The borrowing of $3.5 million was approved in 2018 and a parcel of land near Tekmar on Silver Star Road will house the much-needed facility.

VSAR has been in its current facility since 1994. While it was expanded 17 years ago, it is now too small to house the equipment needed to save lives.

“We are a busy group and we just have no room in our current digs. We are storing things off site which makes our response time much more. If we have to have equipment for a rescue or a search, we are not able to access it quickly,” Forsyth told Castanet in a 2020 interview. “We have not fit in the building for 10 years, but it has become critical the past few years.”

VSAR is made up entirely by volunteers that are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

They are involved in, but not limited to, ground searches, water searches, rescues, recoveries for the Coroner’s Services, RCMP evidence searches and civil emergencies the likes of fire or flooding evacuations.

VSAR is also home to the only heli-winch rescue team in the region and are often called to assist other search and rescue groups.

The group was formed in 1960 and has conducted thousands of search and rescues over the years.

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