The Windermere Fire Department is one step closer in their campaign to purchase an ice rescue vehicle.
On Tuesday, March 12th, the District of Invermere council granted the Lake Windermere Ambassadors’ request for $1,500 towards the purchase of a new hovercraft.
The versatile emergency vehicle is being sought out by Windermere’s fire department to lend a hand in emergencies, particularly around the frozen surface of Lake Windermere during the colder months. However, the craft can find purposes year-round in rescue operations.
“Let’s say you are kayaking from Athalmer to Radium, and something bad happens to you or someone in your party halfway there,” said Danny Osborne, the project’s fundraising initiator.
“This thing can scoot down the wetlands and perform the rescue with zero environmental damage.”
After receiving support from the district, a total of $17,900 has been raised towards the hovercraft, bringing fundraising efforts one third of the way towards the $55,000 goal.
The vehicle being sought is a Hovertechnics Hoverguard 700, a 100-horsepower hovercraft propelled by a 36-inch, twelve-bladed fan. The vehicle has a two-cycle, two-cylinder dual carburator engine supplied by two six-gallon fuel tanks. The 4.4-metre-long (14 feet) vessel has a double-hull structure, and would be modified to include an all-weather shield to protect rescuers and victim. It will also need after-market search lights, sirens, and more to be used by the Windermere Fire Department.
In ideal ice surface conditions, the hovercraft can hit a top speed of 112 kilometres per hour (70 miles per hour), while traveling through wetland grasses can limit the ship to 32 kilometres per hour (20 miles per hour).
Requests to support the hovercraft funding effort will have to be presented to each of the councils in the communities that stand to benefit from having the rescue vehicle available.
“We’re trying to make it fair between the different governments that are contributing, so we’ve asked for a little bit from Canal Flats, a little bit from Radium, kind of based on population,” explained Kirsten Harma, program coordinator of the Lake Windermere Ambassadors. “Since Invermere is right on the lake, it makes sense for them to make a solid contribution towards this.”
Fundraisers are targeting December of this year to complete the campaign.
Ms. Harma says the Lake Windermere Ambassadors plan on working with local service clubs for special fundraisers, but says there’s still plenty of need for donations from individuals. Any amount is helpful, she says.
“Once all the cash is raised, the Windermere Fire Department is going to buy the hovercraft; there isn’t any ongoing cost associated with it,” she said.
If you would like to contribute towards Lake Windermere’s ice rescue vehicle, contact Danny Osborne on his cell at 250-341-5038 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With spring conditions taking effect, the district has concluded the weekly Lake Windermere ice thickness update for the rest of the year.
To get a glimpse a Hovertech Hoverguard 700 in action, go to http://goo.gl/Ef3ws .