Back in Time – April 12, 2018

50 YEARS AGO: Clearwater Women’s Institute sold its land and hall in Clearwater


Clearwater Women’s Institute sold its last remaining land in Clearwater and with it the original Institute hall, completed in 1940. Formed 10 years earlier, the W.I. bought an acre of land in 1933 and raised funds for the construction of the hall through dances and whist tournaments held in the log building that was Clearwater’s first school. During World War II the Institute sent many quilts to air raid shelters in Great Britain. Other land owned by the W.I. included two acres that were leased to the community club to build a hall and recreation centre, and a lot sold in 1952 to the Evangelical Free Church.


A Sunshine Valley resident since 1933, Gordon Smith Elliot died April 6 in his 66th year. Elliot had married Inez Bennett in 1935, and was survived by her, six children and 12 grandchildren.

Hettie Haynes was the winner of a draw held during the opening of the Times’ new stationery store. “Miss Haynes wins 100 letterheads and envelopes to suit herself,” the Times reported.


A 22-year-old Saskatchewan man fell to his death while taking photographs at Helmcken Falls. The man had been attempting to get a closer view of the falls, about 150 feet past the railing, when he slipped and fell into the canyon. RCMP called a helicopter from Kamloops to drop rescuers to recover the body after attempts to descend the cliff were unsuccessful.


Someone had broken into the 10-watt satellite rebroadcasting station on Vavenby Lookout twice during the previous two months and had switched the broadcasts from Knowledge Network to the movie channel, said Roy Unterschultz, member of the TNRD Parks, Cemeteries and Television Committee.


Canadian National Railways and VIA Rail were planning to demolish Blue River’s historic railway station. Built in 1916, it had housed CNR offices, living quarters, and the “Beanery,” a 24-hour eating place.

Firefighters and members of the public gathered for the official opening of the Norman Borrow Memorial Fire Hall in Sunshine Valley.


The Louis Creek Division of Tolko Industries Ltd. was given the go-ahead to spend $7.5 million modernizing the mill, company president and CEO Al Thorlakson told Barriere Chamber of Commerce.

Twenty-two players, 11 teams of two took part in the Granny’s Saloon dart club with first place going to Penny Stefanyshyn and Norm Schurman.


Upper Clearwater’s Jay Pickering, age 16, won the Canadian juvenile heavy-weight wrestling championship in Edmonton. He was one of the lightest and youngest in his class.

Upwards of 100 people attended Clearwater Improvement District’s annual general meeting, electing Jack Braaksma and Joel Steinberg to three-year terms.

Vavenby resident Carol Schaffer was appointed by the Minister of Health to be the North Thompson representative on the Thompson Regional Health Board.


Dutch Lake Elementary was on a list of seven schools in School District 73 that were being considered for closure. The district needed to trim $10 million from its $110 million budget.

There were no plans to close Blue River School, School District 73 assistant superintendent Ross Dickson assured the schools’s Parents Advisory Committee. “That would be crazy,” he said.

The people of the North Thompson Valley have to hold together if they are to maintain our quality of life, North Thompson Indian Band chief Nathan Matthew told a meeting of the Wells Gray Country Action Committee. The people of the band, the Simpcw, have been here for thousands of years, “… and we’re not going anyplace,” he said.

Clearwater Trout Hatchery was one of five hatcheries that the province transferred to a new non-profit society. The government expected to save about $1.5 million per year as a result of reduced costs. The local facility brought a payroll of $200,000 per year to the community.


Thanks to public pressure, two doctors were on temporary assignment assisting at Clearwater’s hospital and clinic. The situation locally had been much better during March and April than it was in January, noted doctors Soles and Mackenzie.

Snowpack level in the North Thompson River basin was at 110 per cent of normal and the South Thompson River basin was at 105 per cent of normal, according to Terry Kress, manager of the TNRD’s emergency response department.

Exploration for a proposed lead-zinc mine northeast of Vavenby was in an advanced stage, reported Gord Keevil, president of Selkirk Metals Corporation, during an open house at the Community Resource Center. “If the mine goes into production, it could provide up to 200 jobs for 12 to 20 years,” The Ruddock Creek project is located about 50 km northeast of Vavenby in the headwaters of Oliver Creek near Tum Tum Lake.


TransAlta sold its rights to several partially completed small scale hydro projects in the North Thompson Valley to Sorgent.e, an Italian company. The Alberta-based company continued to own and operate its Bone Creek project north of Blue River. One possible sticking point with the partially completed projects purchased by Sorgent.e was the limited capacity of BC Hydro’s transmission line, said Simpcw band manager Doug Brown.

READ MORE: Shannon Creek proposed as possible micro-hydro site (April 6, 2012)

Town council voted to award a $22,000 contract to Opus International Consultants to develop a frontage/backage road cross-section template design for the community. The municipality needed to develop bylaws so that when someone wants to build something, they can be charged to cover the costs of any improvements needed to the water system, sewer system, and so on, said Mayor John Harwood.


A coalition of environmental groups, including the Upper Clearwater Referral Group, applied to the federal Ministry of Environment to block logging in caribou habitat outside of Wells Gray Park north of Clearwater. According to the provincial forests ministry, one cutting permit had been issued and other applied for.

Two Clearwater women, Jocelyn and Barbara Ripley, narrowly escaped serious injury when a car crashed into their Abbotsford hotel room. “It was terrifying,” said Jocelyn Ripley.

Jim Tenier of Prairie Garden Seeds in Saskatchewan gave a presentation on growing wheat and other food crops during Seedy Saturday at Clearwater ski hill. Upper Clearwater resident Sharon Neufeld challenged everyone to grow a 10’x10’ plot of wheat during the summer.

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