As the debate rages on over whether people who go out of bounds on local mountains and end up needing to be rescued should be billed for search efforts, Coquitlam Search and Rescue officials have clearly staked their position on the issue.
The local SAR team said it does not support charging people for rescue efforts, and has no intention of doing so in the future.
Coquitlam Search and Rescue search manager Dwight Yochim said even the debate can cause grief for SAR teams.
"They're [people] already making silly decisions now, so adding a cost to consequences is just going to compound things," he told The NOW.
He noted an example from years ago when the team was called in to do a rescue on the North Shore. He said the individual was found off the mountain and didn't want to tell anyone because he was worried about being charged.
Yochim said the team would have been in dangerous terrain for no reason.
He also suggested that billing for rescues would cause individuals to call out their friends for help, which could ultimately put more people in danger.
"If it starts with people going out of bounds snowboarding . where does it end?" he asked.
The issue came up last week after rescue crews plucked a 33-year-old snowboarder off of Cypress Mountain after a two-day search.
The company that runs the ski area on the mountain is said to be billing the snowboarder $10,000 for the cost of the rescue.
However, North Shore Search and Rescue teams reportedly want no part of the money and have a policy against fines and charges.
Yochim said he hopes the province doesn't step in and demand teams charge individuals for rescues.
"It's a system that works very well in the province," he said. "We're the envy of a lot of jurisdictions around the world for the system we have."
The cost for a rescue can vary considerably, from a couple grand, to several hundred thousand dollars.
Yochim noted Coquitlam SAR relies on grants from the city through gaming and fundraising to pay for gear and training.
For every task, the team submits a bill to the province for expenses.
For example, operating the SAR's command centre costs $500 a day, for items such as fuel and radios.
Yochim said a typical 12-hour search could cost $1,500 to $2,000.
But if a helicopter is called out, the cost can skyrocket to $1,000 an hour.
When a Douglas College student went missing at Sasamat Lake in the summer for nearly three days, the rescue cost tens of thousands of dollars.
A 12-day search for missing hiker Tyler Wright in August of 2010 cost $400,000.
At the time, crews invested more than 5,000 ground search hours, plus additional helicopter hours, for one of B.C.'s largest-ever searches.
Wright was never found.