It's been a long time coming, but a new Vernon Search and Rescue facility is taking shape.
The volunteer group that answers the call for help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year has for years been jammed into a building too small for its needs.
Every square inch of the current facility is maximized to store equipment, and there's still not enough room – so some vital gear has to be stored off site.
But, a new facility is being constructed that will allow them easier access and storage.
Throughout September, construction crews erected a pre-fabricated steel frame that can be seen by commuters on Silver Star Road.
"After much planning and site preparation, we are overjoyed to reach a milestone where you can physically see the shape of the building. It makes us even more excited to move into the new purpose-built space that will meet our needs far better than our current facility," said Mark Forsyth, VSAR search manager
“We are thankful to the RDNO board of directors and staff for (their) collaboration and efforts in this project.”
Over the years, Vernon Search and Rescue's membership has grown, along with the amount of equipment it uses to undertake different types of missions.
The RDNO owns the facility and facilitated an expansion in 2004, but a second expansion was impossible due to surrounding wetlands' environmental sensitivities.
Without the option to expand the existing facility, the RDNO and VSAR decided a new building was required.
In 2018, the public approved the borrowing of $3.5 million through an alternative approval process, and since then, the RDNO and VSAR have worked to secure a location, determine facility needs, and get the project to the construction phase.
Throughout the winter, crews will focus on interior works like plumbing, electrical and drywall.
The project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2023.
Find more project information and an aerial flyover video on the RDNO’s Capital Works webpage.