Qualicum Beach town council moved to defer a $31,462.14 grant-in-aid payment to Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (ASAR) with hopes of getting help to pay from regional partners.
The money is to reimburse ASAR for water and storm drain development costs at its new operating centre at the Qualicum Beach airport.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek moved to defer granting the funds at council’s June 16 meeting after Coun. Robert Filmer expressed concern over the lack of help from the City of Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo in funding the new building.
He said funds for ASAR should be discussed on a regional basis, as the service does not only benefit the town. Qualicum Beach contributed land for the operating centre and had to work with the province to have the location approved.
“I do not understand why the City of Parksville would not help with this — they also benefit from the services of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue,” he said. “All they have given was a letter of recommendation to go to the RDN, asking for the RDN for help on funding. The City of Parksville still hasn’t helped, so I think that’s a discussion that we need to continue.”
Mayor Brian Wiese did not support the deferral. He said Qualicum Beach could supply the funds and attempt to get reimbursed by partners after.
“They do a tremendous service for our area and granted, more people need to pay for it and I agree with that, but they are still significantly in the hole with their building and I think once we get them up and going we will all reap the benefits,” he said.
Coun. Scott Harrison also voted against deferral and said it might be better to focus on the airport operation as a whole to open conversations about regional partners contributing funds.
“This is a volunteer organization — it is not an arena and it’s not a pool,” Wiese said. “This will go towards ropes and it will go towards all the different things they need to do what they do, so it is never a waste of money.” He added he does not mind if the town ends up paying a bit more than other areas.
Coun. Anne Skipsey supported deferring the payment to council’s July meeting. She said it may be easier to get help before paying out, rather than a reimbursement.