Cowichan Search and Rescue

Emergency centre has long been the plan
(Cowichan Search and Rescue)

Over the last few weeks, there has been significant media and social media attention regarding the Cowichan Valley Regional District establishing an emergency operations centre at Bing’s Creek, in the facility currently occupied by Cowichan Search and Rescue (CSAR).

While the conversations have been broad ranging, there are two identified needs: the community’s need for an emergency operations centre to help manage a coordinated response to emergencies like wildfires, and Cowichan Search and Rescue’s need for a larger facility.

On behalf of the CVRD, I would like to clarify the establishment of an emergency operations centre (EOC) at Bing’s Creek has been planned for some time. The region does not currently have a permanent EOC that can be mobilized at a moment’s notice, as well as provide training space for emergency training activities throughout the year. To fund the establishment of the emergency operations centre, the CVRD is using savings from previous budgets, ensuring there will not be a tax increase in 2018 for this project.

Over the years, Cowichan Search and Rescue has used this facility rent free until plans for the EOC could be finalized. On behalf of the CVRD, I offer my sincere apologies to the current Cowichan Search and Rescue team members, who were obviously unaware of the CVRD’s plan for this space.

The CVRD and Cowichan Search and Rescue have worked together for many years, and we value the relationship. We are continuing to work together to maintain the relationship and find solutions to CSAR’s facility requirements. However, the option to include the emergency operations centre and Cowichan Search and Rescue at Bing’s Creek, sharing the existing space, does not meet the individual operation needs of either organization.

As you know, Cowichan Search and Rescue is looking for community support to meet their facility needs. If you wish to find out more about their requirements, or feel you may be able to assist them in financial or material ways to achieve their goals, please contact them at newhome@cowichansar.org.

John Elzinga, general manager of community services, CVRD

Dewi Griffiths, Cowichan Search and Rescue president

(Taken from Cowichan Valley Citizen)