Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) are one step closer to finding a new home after it outgrew its current location next door to the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) office in Coldstream.
The City of Vernon gave first and second reading to a zoning text amendment during a special meeting June 29, that would see the words “emergency and protective services” added as a primary use to the Business Park zone for a vacant property on Silver Star Road.
VSAR began the process of looking for a new home in December 2017. Following a successful alternative approval process in 2018, the RDNO passed bylaws to borrow up to $3.5 million for land and facility.
Search and Rescue identified a vacant, east-side portion of the tekmar Control System Ltd. property at 5100 Silver Star Road as a site viable for a new location.
“The total size of the property is 9.1 acres,” city economic development planner Roy Nuriel said in a report to council. “Currently, tekmar is using only a portion of the site, the remaining land is reserved for future tekmar expansions.VSAR is acquiring 2.14 acres from the remaining property, and a subdivision of the subject property would be required.”
Following the special meeting of council, a public hearing was scheduled for July 20, 2020, at 5:30 p.m.
The hearing will take place at the Recreation Centre Auditorium.
VSAR’s current location poses many constraints for the organization, including insufficient storage for emergency equipment and vehicles, limited space for administration and volunteers and almost no available on-site indoor and outdoor training space.
The rescue group has looked at several potential sites with one of the primary considerations being its location adjacent to a major traffic route to reduce response time in case of an emergency call.
Vernon Search and Rescue has been in operation since 1960. They have approximately 65 volunteer members that are on-call 24 hours a day.