The regional district has purchased a parcel of land for the new Vernon Search and Rescue building

VSAR building a step closer

It's been a long time coming, but within a few weeks Vernon Search and Rescue could be holding a ground-breaking ceremony for a new building.

Mark Forsyth, with VSAR, said the Regional District of North Okanagan has purchased a parcel of land near the Tekmar building on Silver Star Road.

“We are really excited about that. We are working with the contractor to put together the final design,” said Forsyth. “There is a possibility of breaking ground within the next four to six weeks.”

And the project can not come fast enough.

VSAR outgrew its currently building next to the regional district office years ago.

The borrowing of $3.5 million was approved in 2018 for the new facility.

“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 said. “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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