The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 37 (Sooke) has received $2,000 funds from the District of Sooke to go towards general operations. Council did an on-the-fly motion at their Regular Council Meeting on May 23, after Scott Burchett from RCMSAR-37 presented (aka a Delegation) to Council.
In his Delegation, Burchett gave an overview of the organization, funding sources, and the diverse background of the volunteers. The bulk of their funding comes from a provincial Gaming Grant, and while they apply for the maximum amount, they are vulnerable to whatever that grant committee decides. Yearly the fuel bill alone is $12,000.
Burchett noted that about 70% of the rescues are in the Sooke area, though they serve from Race Rocks to Port Renfrew. They do track where the boaters come from, and while the bulk are rescued from Sooke waters, they can indeed come from away. Those numbers will be presented to Council at a later date.
With a high volume of calls already (including three this past weekend), RCMSAR has already passed the yearly average at this point in time. They currently have a $3,000 shortfall.
Several other efforts will be undertaken. The Mayor will write a letter to the other districts utilizing the services of Station 37, which include Juan de Fuca, Metchosin, Colwood and Langford. Councillor Kevin Pearson will act as the Liaison between Station 37 and the other municipalities. It is hoped that a meeting with all interested parties can occur, and a longterm solution considered.
At the Regular Council meeting, a motion was made “That council approve $2,000 from Council Contingency to Station 37.” While the motion carried, it was very close. Councillors Brenda Parkinson, Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson, and Mayor Maja Tait supported the motion. Opposed were Councillors Logins, Bev Berger and Kerrie Reay. The Councillors who opposed the motion were not against funding Station 37 per se; their core objection was to making “motions on the fly” and each would have preferred to see additional documentation from Station 37 before approving such a request.
Station 37 did submit a grant request from the District in March. They applied for $7,000, and received $500 towards training. At that time, Councillors Reay and Berger were not prepared to support them, as they were not showing a deficit and appeared to be doing OK. Councillor Logins moved that from zero to $500 by proposing support for their recruitment.
A Delegation is the public’s opportunity to present before Council, for up to five minutes. For more information on presenting a Delegation, refer to this SPN article: How to present an issue to the Sooke Council.
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- ICYMI CTV News VI Video: Sooke to become training hub for BC rescuers
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- In their own words: Sooke’s SAR on the assist of the capsized boat