North

4 northern communities get $1M for search and rescue equipment

Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven and Ulukhaktok have been selected to receive funding from the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program.

Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven and Ulukhaktok have been selected for the funding

Ulukhaktok is the only N.W.T. community among the four to receive funding. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

Four communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will be receiving nearly $1 million to purchase search and rescue boats and equipment.

Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven and Ulukhaktok were selected to receive the funding.

The money comes from the federal government's new Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, which was started last year through the Canadian Coast Guard. It allows Arctic communities to apply for funding to get the search and rescue equipment they need.

"This gives the community a really capable response to solve the issue locally," said Peter Garapick, superintendent for search and rescue and environmental response with the Canadian Coast Guard's central and Arctic region.

"They've got the training, they've got the boat, and they can go and save lives really quickly."

KingFisher, Silver Dolphin among boats chosen

When the communities received the funding, they were given the opportunity to purchase whichever boat they wanted. Ulukhaktok is getting a KingFisher boat, and Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay have chosen Silver Dolphin boats, and Gjoa Haven is getting a vessel made in Manitoba.

The typical search and rescue boat is a welded aluminum, monohull, twin engine that includes a cabin, safety gear, pumps and kits, according to Garapick. These boats give the communities the capacity to conduct search and rescue.

The communities can also use their funding to purchase equipment other than boats.

"This funding can be applied to new engines, or communication and navigation gear," said Garapick.

"You don't want to provide a community with funding for a boat if they don't have a storage for the boat … [like] a shed that can house the boat in a secure way, out of the weather, and also for the search and rescue gear."

In order to apply for funding through the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, communities must be a Canadian Coast Guard auxiliary unit or be in the process of becoming one.