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REPORTING · 24th January 2012
Walter McFarlane
Duncan Peacock, representing Kitimat Marine Rescue Society stepped up to the podium at the City Council Meeting on Monday, January 16th.

“We have a very exciting and large project that we are undertaking now, the purchase of a new vessel to replace our rescue vessel. I’d like to give the City of Kitimat the opportunity to have a share in that. What we’re asking for is a grant in the range of $25,000 to be put towards the new vessel,” said Peacock.

Peacock delved into the history of their organization. The Marine Rescue Society started in 1988 and is one of the 55 volunteer units on the coast. They are a partner with the Coast Guard. Vessels and equipment are provided by the community. The Coast Guard is 8 hours away, the Marine Rescue Society is here now.

The first Snowflake Responder was funded by the Kitimat Telethon, the City of Kitimat and BC Gaming. It kept working until 1998. They launched a new vessel in 1999. They were able to get a boat house where they are stationed out of.

They train once a week and carry out search and rescues. They handle towing, fire, sinking vessels and first aid. They educate students in schools.

“However, in Kitimat, we have extreme winter conditions,” said Peacock. “It’s cold, we have an open boat, when you’re doing 30-40 knots, the wind chill is pretty incredible when it’s 20 below.”

The vessel they are looking at is the current standard. It has a fully enclosed heated cabin, it can accommodate stretchers and is usable at night and in rough weather. It has a 300 mile range using diesel powered water jets. 33 feet long, made from aluminium and is built in BC.

“You may ask, why should we contribute, why should you give us money. We save lives, we save property. If we make a difference between a good experience and a bad experience for a lot of these visitors and a lot of the local people who we serve,” said Peacock.

He explained the new vessel costs $550,000. They have two years of $85,000 from BC Gaming. They expect another commitment from BC Gaming in 2012.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff thanked them for the service they are provided, given the size of the region. He asked if other communities were fundraising similarly. Peacock replied they were.

At the end of the meeting, Council made a motion to move this discussion to the 2012 Budget process. It was carried.