On Saturday, Oct. 2, the Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (ASAR) proved they could host a lively event.
From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., ASAR welcomed the public to an open house at their new operations centre at the Qualicum Beach Airport.
Inside the centre’s spacious truck bay, several informational booths educated attendees on the various types of rescues routinely performed by ASAR, either out in the field or during training exercises. Live demonstrations were enacted by ASAR members during the event, and they even had a food truck parked in the back for burgers and fries.
At the start, when opening remarks were given, approximately 100 people were in attendance.
Mayor Brian Wiese of the Town of Qualicum Beach, Qualicum First Nation Chief Michael Recalma, ASAR president Ken Peters and ASAR manager Ken Neden each took a turn at the podium.
“This is a great day. I cannot believe what a great job you guys have done inside,” said Wiese during opening remarks. “Arrowsmith Search and Rescue is a regional deal; it’s not a town function, it’s a regional function. So I encourage Parksville and the RDN to ‘jump up to the plate’ and help these folks out. They help us all in the long run, each and every day… So please jump on board and help us out and we’ll all support these guys and make them really successful.”
Peters said they’ve been very lucky to have a great deal of support from the Town of Qualicum Beach.
“It wouldn’t have happened without them. They leased us this land for a dollar a year for 30 years, plus another 10-year extension.”
He said the new centre is already in use, although not completely finished. The two-level, 70-by-60-foot building still needs minor work done in the classroom, kitchen space and equipment room.
In regards to fundraising efforts, Peters said they are about to close in on their $450,000 mortgage, adding they would like to retire it as soon as possible.
“We’ve got a number of irons in the fire. We’ve been doing well, but we still have quite a long ways to go. We’re hoping that we won’t have to support that mortgage for too long because it’s a big chunk of money that we’d rather use for training and equipment,” he said.
The official grand opening of the centre is scheduled for October of next year when the facility will be completely done and fully functional.