Ground has broken at the site of Vernon Search and Rescue’s next home.
Members of the Regional District of North Okanagan,VSAR and other stakeholders met at 5150 Silver Star Road to celebrate the start of construction on a new facility that will better fit the needs and equipment of the growing rescue crew.
“We are overjoyed to be at this milestone and cannot wait for this new purpose-built facility to be completed. The new building will enable us to quickly respond when required, properly store our specialized equipment, and provide critical training for our members,” said Mark Forsyth, director and search manager with VSAR.
The crew’s membership has grown over the years, as has the amount of equipment it uses on different types of rescue missions.
The current district-owned facility was expanded in 2004. However, a second expansion was deemed not possible due to environmental sensitivities in the wetlands surrounding the facility, which is located next to the RDNO’s offices on Aberdeen Road.
That hurdle led to a plan to build a new building in a different location.
The public approved borrowing $3.5 million through an alternative approval process in 2018. Since then, work has been done to choose a new location, determine facility needs and push towards the construction phase.
“The RDNO appreciates the invaluable service that Vernon Search and Rescue provides to the entire North Okanagan. The new facility will better accommodate their growing membership, and we look forward to getting together again to cut the ribbon when it’s complete!” said Kevin Acton, chair of the RDNO board.
Crews will soon get to work at the new building site on Silver Star Road, and construction is expected to be completed sometime next year.