Kent Harrison Search and Rescue in action last year. The volunteer organization is moving its headquarters to Industrial Way.

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue gets new home

KHSAR will be close neighbours to Agassiz Fire Department on Industrial Way

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue (KHSAR) is on the move.

The District of Kent has secured a new location, at 7664 Industrial Way, for KHSAR to build a new building suited to their purposes.

Mayor John Van Laerhoven made the announcement at last Monday’s Council meeting.

“The District values the hard work, time and dedication put forward by Kent Harrison Search and Rescue on behalf of residents and visitors to our community” stated Van Laerhoven. “This new location provides the community with multiple emergency services including fire, emergency planning and search and

rescue at locations in close proximity. We look forward to working with Kent Harrison Search and Rescue in developing the site.”

Van Laerhoven remarked that as a former member of KHSAR, he knows this is a “truly dedicated” group of people.

“We’re very pleased for you that this is finally happening,” Van Laerhoven said to KHSAR members sitting in the audience.

Marvin Anderson, president of KHSAR, says they are “very appreciative” of the support provided by the District and thanked the mayor, Council and staff for their assistance with the building project.

“We are one of the busiest SAR groups in the province yet draw our resources from a small community,” said Anderson.

The team has been saving money towards a new SAR base for several years and are ready to start construction soon. Anderson says they have plans drawn up and will be working to choose a contractor in the near future.

The District has leased a portion of the old highways building site at 6950 Cheam Avenue, for $1 per year to KHSAR. That arrangement was meant to be a temporary solution for the volunteer organization, which has been based there now for about 15 years. The District also provides funding annually to cover the insurance costs of KHSAR’s fleet vehicles.

KHSAR did have a parcel of land at the north end of Cemetery Road for a possible future building site. Announced in 2013, KHSAR had plans to develop a new site on the former gravel pit if they were required to move out of the Cheam Ave. building. However, Anderson says there were concerns over safety and security at the isolated location, and there were no services at the lot. Response time would have been much slower as well.

Anderson says they kept their eyes out for an ideal property in town for years. When the lot on Industrial Way came up for sale, they knew it would be a good fit.

“It’s fully serviced, in a  centralized location, our response time will better and the isolation and security concerns are not the same here,” says Anderson.

The new facility will allow KHSAR to have all their equipment stored in one spot and in a building that meets current seismic regulations. At one time, there had been discussion about KHSAR joining the Agassiz fire department in an emergency services building. The fire department ended up moving into its own building on Industrial Way in 2008, almost next door to where KHSAR will soon be located.

“The Kent-Harrison Joint Emergency Program welcomes Search and Rescue as our new neighbour, just metres down the road,” stated Gerald Basten, Emergency Services co-ordinator. “Having worked closely with the Kent Harrison Search and Rescue team over the years, we are well aware of the assets the team brings to the emergency program and we look forward to continuing to build on that relationship.”

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue is a registered nonprofit organization whose primary function is being a community resource to assist the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the British Columbia Ambulance Service and the British Columbia Coroners Service. The service area of Kent Harrison Search and Rescue is geographically large at approximately 2,500 km2.

KHSAR is one of 80 community-based search and rescue teams in British Columbia. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities with KHSAR, see www.khsar.com

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