Quinte Search and Rescue, which has been covering the Bay of Quinte for years, has been “stood down” from authorized training and rescue missions.
The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Central and Arctic took the step in the last month.
President Peggy Griffin told Quinte News the situation stems from the fact the local unit has a “lot of new members” and they require training.
Griffin says “the unit was an excellent unit in the past and will be again.”
Paul Kerwin, the Unit Lead for Quinte Search and Rescue tells us he received this news about a week ago by email and feels the local group has been “let down” by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Kerwin says Quinte Search and Rescue is “by no means out of the game.”
A number of former members, who left last year, have spoken to Quinte News, indicating the unit does not have “experienced members” at the moment.
The unit had engine problems last summer and a leadership change in the fall.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary Vice-President Scott Johnson told Quinte News that if the training is not complete by summer the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary is “not concerned about search and rescue on the Bay of Quinte because there are four other units in the area.”
Meanwhile Kerwin says the unit is “independent, owns its own boats and will be out on the water training” whether the Coast Guard Auxiliary training is complete or not.
Belleville Councillor Kelly McCaw says Quinte Search and Rescue would have to be “in good standing with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary” if it wants money from the city’s grant committee.
McCaw was commenting on the fact a former member of the group had told her it had been stood down by the Coast Guard Auxiliary on December 20 and she is passing that information along to the grant committee.
Quinte Search and Rescue appeared before city council earlier this month seeking financial assistance to purchase a $30,000 boat.