Marine search and rescue, RCMP victim services seek RDN funding

Nanaimo Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue and Nanaimo RCMP victim services are requesting increased funding from the RDN.

Nanaimo Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 27 and Nanaimo RCMP victim services are requesting increased funding as the Regional District of Nanaimo begins 2016 budget discussions.

Station 27 is looking for more money in addition to a renewal of a four-year deal, said Nik Richers, station operations manager.

“We had received around $11,000 for the first four years and then we’re actually asking to increase that to $17,000 for the next four,” said Richers.

While marine search and rescue’s parent organization provides some funding, the Nanaimo station has to raise most of the money itself and has to begin saving for refitting maintenance of a jet boat vessel scheduled for 2019-20.

Engines can be rebuilt or may need to be replaced. Cost has not been determined yet, but it could cost between $170,000 and $250,000. Raising money will take several years, said Richers.

Nanaimo RCMP’s Sgt. Sheryl Armstrong requested an additional $2,500 from the regional district to pay for more provision of services.

With the new Canadian Bill of Rights, Armstrong said there are more requirements of police, which gets “downloaded” to victim services.

“We only receive $72,000 in funding from the province and we get roughly about $54,000 from the city (of Nanaimo). Just in wages alone, that saps everything up and we can’t run with just two people, so we’re trying to find ways to raise more money so that we can keep the program running and be more effective,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong said victim services halted on-call service because there wasn’t enough money and there are now only services available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We would like to find some funding some place, so we could hire four … auxiliary victim services workers, which would then allow us to provide the overtime, the after-hours service,” said Armstrong.

Wendy Idema, regional district director of finance, said directors referred the requests to the 2016 budget process. The preliminary 2016 budget will be presented at a Nov. 24 meeting, she said.