Barriere Search and Rescue moves into new digs

The new two-bay building is 1500 sq. ft. with a washroom and shower area, a small office and an electrical maintenance room

Barriere Search and Rescue's new hall on Barriere Town Road is now open for business. Pictured are SAR members (l-r) Tim Hoffman

Barriere Search and Rescue's new hall on Barriere Town Road is now open for business. Pictured are SAR members (l-r) Tim Hoffman

Barriere Star/Journal

After two years of fundraising and hard work, Barriere Search and Rescue is finally home in a brand new building on Barriere Town Road.

For many years the group leased a meeting hall on Fouquet Road.  When the rescue truck was purchased it was stored in a number of places; a few years ago the group no longer had access to a secure garage, and the result was vandalization and theft from the vehicle, which is valued at approximately $120,000 for the truck and equipment that it carries.

Barriere Fire Department then made room to store the vehicle temporarily in its hall until a secure garage could be found or constructed.

Search and Rescue (SAR) director Tim Hoffman says, “It was pretty much a two year process for us to get funding in place for a building. Then we had to come up with a design, a contractor, and we finally got started on construction in October of  2015.”

He says that nothing would have got started if the District of Barriere hadn’t provided the lot, which was the boost they needed to proceed.

Total cost of the building came in at around $120,000, with $55,000 provided from the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, $15,000 of generous in-kind donations and the balance from fundraising efforts by the SAR members.

He notes that the group were especially touched by the folks over at Barriere House who won an Interior Savings prize of $100 for Christmas decorations, which they then donated to the S&R building fund.

The new two-bay building is 1500 sq. ft. with  a washroom and shower area that is handicap friendly, a small office and an electrical maintenance room.

The hall is currently heated with electricity, but Hoffman notes that once the Wastewater Treatment Plant that sits behind the SAR building is up and running it will provide radiant heating to the floors and will provide a large savings on heat.

Currently Barriere Search and Rescue have 25 members with approximately 10-15 who are really active. Hoffman says they would like to see the membership rise to at least 40 for the size of the area they serve, and the group is currently holding a membership drive.  Members must be at least 16 years of age, and must be 19 years of age to participate in highway rescue calls.

Barriere SAR averages 55 highway callouts a year and approximately 10 search callouts. Due to a lack of available trained searchers they sometimes have to pass a call over to Clearwater or Kamloops.