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Castlegar search and rescue storage yard gets go ahead

Castlegar Search and Rescue will be allowed to build a storage yard near their hall in Blueberry after winning approval from city council in a 5-2 vote this week.

It will see the organization construct several temporary structures on a vacant right-of-way that they have leased from Teck and consolidate vehicles and equipment currently stored at members’ homes.

However, the move required the city to rezone the property for that use. The councillors who were in favour of the move did not speak to the item when it came up this week, but the ones who were opposed explained their rationale.

“I’ve had several residents come to me and tell me it’s their only green space,” said councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff. “They’re worried it’s going to infringe on their area. Respecting their wishes, I’m going to vote against it, even though search and rescue does great things for our community. It’s just about the location.”

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Councillor Maria McFaddin agreed: “I did have concerns when it first came out about the location because I’ve lived out there. I understand [search and rescue’s] need. I just think there’s a better location.”

In an earlier interview, search and rescue president Llewelyn Matthews said they have explored several other options but none panned out. As a non-profit they are unable to purchase commercial land.

Teck has agreed to lease the property to the organization for 10 years, on the condition that only temporary buildings be erected.

Matthews said they will ensure the storage yard is only lit when they are using it and will preserve a trail that goes through the property. He said they may decide to build a new search and rescue hall eventually, but they will need to find a location and raise funds, making it a long-term project.

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