Government responds to needs of firefighters

Families, HealthTuesday, March 26, 2013 9:45 AM

INVERMERE – The Windermere Fire Department is gaining an important piece of equipment that will help save lives, announced Bill Bennett, Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development today.

The government is providing a $65,000 community gaming grant to the Kinsmen Club of Windermere Valley for the purchase of a hovercraft to be operated by local fire departments.

Over the past couple of years, Lake Windermere – a popular destination for winter recreation – has been the scene of a number of accidents and fatalities. The hovercraft will be used to safely rescue a person on the ice or water. Part of the funding will go toward paying for firefighters to take the hovercraft pilot operator’s course, so the correct training is in place for using the new equipment.

The B.C. government currently provides $135 million for community gaming grants throughout the current fiscal year. These grants are shared by thousands of local organizations representing every region of the province. Eligibility for community gaming grants include agricultural fairs, local festivals and celebrations, heritage associations and museums, arts and culture, sports, environmental organizations, human and social services, public safety, parent advisory councils and district parent advisory councils. Recipients represent communities throughout British Columbia.


Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development –

“I am extremely pleased that the Windermere Fire Department is going to have this resource. I know what a difference it will make to everyone involved in emergency situations where lives are at risk and expedient extraction is of vital importance. You know, this sort of help from government is exactly the reason why I am committed and passionate about my job.”

Jim Miller, fire chief, Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue Services –

“As the designated first responders for Lake Windermere, we have been in need of a vehicle capable of travelling over ice, open water, and then back on to land. Due to the increased use of the lake in winter, this has been a concern of ours for some time. The hovercraft allows us to quickly and safely reach any victim or patient anywhere on the lake, within the golden hour of survival.”

“I appreciate the generous financial contribution from the provincial government, which will allow us to immediately obtain this vehicle, train the staff, and put it onto active service. Minister Bennett’s support of our local community needs is very much appreciated.”

Danny Osbourne, vice chair, Lake Windermere Ambassadors –

“Speaking on behalf of the entire community, I am thrilled the provincial government has recognized the critical value of a hovercraft ice-rescue vehicle for the Windermere Fire Department. Through this very significant financial contribution to the Kinsmen Club of Windermere Valley, this exceedingly important life-saving solution will very soon serve Lake Windermere and surrounding communities.”

“The hovercraft project has the support of the local fire department, BC Ambulance, RCMP, various levels of government and community associations. As we enhance year-round recreational activities here, including the leading-edge Whiteway, local citizens and visitors will now have confidence that their safety needs are anticipated and met with proper solutions. This is a very important tool – everyone benefits. We thank the local Kinsmen Club for its support.”


Matt Gordon
Communications Director
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
250 953-3677