Big Lakes County has denied a request for funding from a search-and-rescue organization in a municipality to the south.

At its regular meeting July 26, council turned down a request from the Greenview Search and Rescue Association serving the M.D. of Greenview based in Valleyview.

The association submitted a request for a donation of no specified amount to assist with operating costs, grants officer Samantha Smith says.

South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart says the organization has served Big Lakes.

“They have spent some time in our county,” Stewart says.

“If we call them, they will come.”

The service is a non-profit organization intent on providing community services when called upon by local or provincial agencies, president Darcy Napier says in a letter to council.

The organization has limited funding.

“We currently get annual funding from the M.D. of Greenview and by applying for grants such as landfill and ditch clean-ups,” Napier says.

The letter does not state the Town of Valleyview.

“There are 23 volunteers offering tactical training in swift water rescue, rope rescue, ice rescue, ground search and rescue,” Napier says.

He says the service has also responded to calls in Big Lakes.

“We spent time last winter in very cold conditions conducting search-and-rescue missions in Big Lakes County,” Napier says.

The first half of 2023 has been busy,

Wildfires have kept volunteers active since May when wildfires started in northern Alberta.

“Our team has logged over 1,200 volunteers hours with callouts for the Sturgeon Lake fire, the Valleyview evacuation and events in multiple locations in the region,” Napier says.

North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk questioned what the term “the region” and whether it includes Big Lakes.

Other council members agreed and refused the request.

by Richard Froese

This item copyrighted by / South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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