Cape Breton Ground Search and Rescue gets its own headquarters

·2 min read
The old Mercer Fuels building on Brooklyn Street where the search and rescue team will park their vehicles. (George Mortimer/CBC - image credit)
The old Mercer Fuels building on Brooklyn Street where the search and rescue team will park their vehicles. (George Mortimer/CBC - image credit)

Cape Breton Ground Search and Rescue members are celebrating a new beginning now that they have their own headquarters.

Up until now, the team's vehicles have been left outside on a lot in Gardner Mines near Glace Bay. They recently moved into a large rented space in Sydney.

Paul Vienneau, a 26-year veteran of the team, said the new location is a game changer that will lead to quicker response times, especially in winter.

He said the mobile command post and a bus purchased in 2007 have been sitting outside in all weather, sometimes needing a battery boost in the middle of the night.

"There's been many times we've been up there at two o'clock or three o'clock in the morning in a snowstorm or ice or cold ... then you had to wait a half hour to warm up," he said.

"Now they're in a heated building. Go in, start them, open up the doors and leave."

'Out of the blue'

The new location is located on Brooklyn Street, a few blocks from the downtown core, at the old Mercer Fuels building.

Vienneau said they've been looking for a building for years.

"Some have been promised, some deals fell through, this came out of the blue," he said.

"[Mercer Fuels] had an empty building there and they said, 'How about using it for search and rescue?' And there we go."

Vienneau says the new building will have a big impact on operations.
Vienneau says the new building will have a big impact on operations.(George Mortimer/CBC)

Amanda Donovan, the group's public relations liaison, said having their own space is "monumental."

"It's the first time in 52 years having a building, and it's a really big deal for our team," she said.

"It will mean so much in terms of our organization to our response on searches and on the longevity on our equipment as well."

Donovan said it will also give them a more visible presence in the community.

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