The umbrella organization for the province’s 80 search and rescue teams is supporting a lawsuit over an unauthorized fundraising campaign by a Victoria-based group that is not a recognized team.
Jim McAllistar with BC Search and Rescue Association says he’s aware of the group accused of using the organization’s reputation to raise money.
He says he’s asked the group to work with the B.C. SARs many times, just not in a rescue capacity.
“I’ve approached them several times and said why don’t you come in and become a recognized group or work with the association,” he says.
“What we don’t need is several groups in the same location that the call volume doesn’t warrant, because again that takes money to set up a group. It takes money to keep training and keep equipment up on it.”
North Shore Rescue is asking the court to prevent the group calling itself Search and Rescue Society of BC from representing itself as a SAR team, and to open the group’s financial books.
Meanwhile, Emergency Preparedness Minister Naomi Yamamoto is reminding British Columbians that recognized search and rescue teams do not fundraise by phone.
“If they want to donate to their local search and rescue team, then they donate directly to them. But I would avoid donating by phone to this organization,” she says.
“You should not be giving money to an organization claiming to be collecting money for search and rescue teams in B.C. They do not solicit over the phone.”
Yamamoto says it’s concerning someone is being accused of improperly raising money.
She says the province covers $9 Million in operational expenses annually, and last year there was an additional $10 Million to be used over two years for things like training.