Vanderhoof residents can breath a sigh of relief knowing their search and rescue team will once again be close by in a new location downtown.
The District of Vanderhoof has agreed to lease the old cadet building on Burrard to the Nechako Valley Search and Rescue. Chris Mushumanski, president of NVSAR, is happy to finally have three separate locations moved into one.
“Right now the NVSAR has our office, rescue vehicles, and training spot all in separate locations,” said Mr. Mushumanski. “Imagine if the police had their vehicles at the hospital and office at the firehall, it would make for a slow response time.”
The plan is to update the entire floor plan of the building which includes making the bathrooms wheelchair accessible. Additional office space and training spaces are also being looked at, along with a kitchenette so when the team has multiple-day training courses they can have lunch and snacks. The two large garages at the back of the property are planned for demolition so that one new, much larger garage can be put in.
“Currently our vehicles are not covered and after a long snowfall we have to dig them out. It would be very helpful to have a covered storage so vehicles are not exposed to the elements. Heat will also help with electronic equipment and anything that is cold sensitive,” said Mr. Mushumanski.
The soon-to-be home of NVSAR has sat vacant for years due to extensive issues with the buildings heating system. The rescue team approached the District with $10,000 but part of the reason the District agreed to the ten-year lease is the groups ability to apply for grants that other groups may not fit under.
The DOV still has $16,000 left in the 2014 budget allocated to the building’s repairs and renovations so, coupled with NVSAR’s promise of plausible funding, it just made sense said Mr. Mushumanski.
“The first grant we’re applying for is improving energy efficiency which will allow us to get the heating replaced so we can start meeting there,” said Mr. Mushumanski.
Currently there are 22 active members, 28 associate members and 12 new members who have just started training. The group has been without a building since the old location by Ferland Park was condemned. Ever since, the team has worked in partnership with the firehall but, simply put, we need more space, said Mr. Mushuminski.
“Our group is growing. We need this larger facility to accommodate that. As we grow we need more training more frequently,” he said. The rescue team has their eye on four different grants and are hopeful for widespread community support. The hope is to have the building fully functional by next spring.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the NVSAR is always welcome. Training dates will soon become more frequent and anyone interested can email Chris Muchumanski at firstname.lastname@example.org.