Although the Canadian Avalanche Association has all the private funding it needs to post three avalanche bulletins every week for the duration of the winter, avalanche forecasters are still actively fundraising. Their goal is to release bulletins on a daily basis, and then theres next year to worry about.
But in a recent speech Premier Gordon Campbell, who was touring the Interior to build support for the Olympics around the province, hinted that the government could step up its contributions.
Speaking at Big White last week, Campbell made the comments while offering his condolences to the friends and families of the seven Canadians and Americans who died in an avalanche near Revelstoke earlier that week.
"Were hopeful that hes changed his mind, and the government is now at least partly willing to restore some of the funding we lost," said Evan Manners, the operations manager at the Canadian Avalanche Centre in Revelstoke, when asked about Campbells remark.
Last January, the provincial government cut its contribution to the centre, which is run by the Canadian Avalanche Association, to $2,500 a year. Previously, provincial funding was about $37,500, which covered approximately half of the centres annual budget.
This year the government has contributed to the program indirectly, with the Ministry of Forests kicking in $10,000 this fall. The newly formed B.C. Search and Rescue Association, which receives some government funding, kicked in about $20,000.
"There is nothing in place right now and we dont have a commitment from the government, but weve been writing letters and the support is building within the government," said Manners. "The fatal avalanche in Revelstoke highlights the need for this kind of program in a very public way, and drives home how important information is."