Back in Time

Historical Perspective


Gordon Jones was elected president of a badminton club during an organizational meeting held in Blue River Community Hall.

Wholehearted support put the Recreation Commission in Clearwater back on its feet. Leverne Burnell was voted in as chairman. Expenditures for the year totaled nearly $8,000.

Enrollment in the school district was up again, to a total of 642 pupils. Blue River had an enrollment of 72.


About 350 people voted unanimously during a meeting at the secondary school that there should be a 20-bed hospital in Clearwater. The vote gave TNRD representatives Bill Mattenley (Clearwater) and Don Nelson (Blue River-Avola) a strong message to take to their next regional district meeting in Kamloops. John Harwood, president of the North Thompson Hospital Committee, said that Princeton had obtained a 25-bed hospital with only 50 more people in its school district.

George Adams of the North Thompson Ambulance Association noted that the present ambulance was paid for by subscription. Cost to deliver patients to Kamloops was $32 per trip. In July there had been 67,000 cars westbound and 49,000 eastbound on the highway.

A fire brigade was formed during a meeting held at Clearwater Timber Products’ dry kiln. The volunteers were Charlie Townsend, Ray Donnelley, Henry Plugoway, Alex Kinzel, Fergie Musselman, Jack Liebe, Bert Sedor, Art Gillan, Duane Sutherland, John Foster, Dave Alyea, Henry Gouldhawke, Dennis Gouldhawke, Joe Wadlegger, Art Mayer, Wilf Lawson and Bill Mattenley.


Bill Mattenley was awarded the Clearwater Citizen of the Year award for his involvement in Lions Club, North Thompson Fall Fair, Flood Control Group, Civil Defense, Fire Department, public affairs emcee, auctioneer, raft races, May Day, Chamber of Commerce and Clearwater Improvement District.

An engineer and a trainman were killed when an eastbound freight train collided head-on with a westbound passenger train 16 km south of Avola. The seriously injured were taken by ambulance to Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital in Clearwater. Two were taken from there to Kamloops. The passengers, some with minor injuries, were taken in their rail-car back to Blue River, and then by bus to Clearwater.


Telephone customers in Avola and Vavenby voted in favor of one-way toll-free calling into the Clearwater exchange.

Harry Gilmore of Clearwater tackled Premier Bill Bennett on Jack Webster’s morning radio program on the question of when construction of a new bridge over the Clearwater River was to begin. That afternoon local resident Reg Small advised that he had received a letter from Minister of Highways Alex Fraser which said that investigative drilling was to begin that fall.


Hospital board chairman Ken Kjenstad announced that construction of the long awaited “new series” wing would be completed at the beginning of October.

The noisiest trains always travel at night, and the worst were the ones with square wheels, said local resident Winsome Pye at a public meeting held to discuss CN’s twin tracking program. Major issues were noise levels, affect on fish stocks and destruction of archeological sites.


Construction of a new public health building next to Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital was to start the following April, said hospital board chairman Dale Sargeant.

Wells Gray Hotel was adding a 1,000 sq. ft. extension to its kitchen and food storage area. Trade at the hotel was more than twice what it had been five years earlier, said business co-owner George Marcyniuk.


Former Clearwater RCMP Sgt. Randy Esau pleaded guilty in provincial court in Burnaby to sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy. He had been a 25-year veteran with the police.


Fumes from a construction project, plus a loss of heat, forced the closure of Raft River Elementary School. Local resident Niki McMillan said her grandson had a runny nose and respiratory problems since the start of school.

There were tears of happiness when Blue River Legion and Legion Auxiliary presented Ruby Sinclair with $2,400 to help her get a guide dog. The former Blue River resident had been blind since a fall in 1994.

The most important recommendation of the Parks Legacy Panel was that the first priority should be protecting environment integrity, not providing recreation, said Helen Knight in a presentation to the Yellowhead Ecological Association. The Blackpool resident had been a member of the panel.


Clearwater Rotary Club wanted to build a $50,000 fountain in Dutch Lake, club member Leon O’Dette told Wells Gray Country services committee. The water jet would be a lure for travelers on Highway 5, he felt.


About 100 Vavenby residents turned up for a public hearing at Vavenby Elementary School held to discuss the proposed closure of the school. An angry-looking Shelley Sim told School District 73 trustees they should find a way to keep Vavenby Elementary open. A petition with 541 names called for keeping the school open.

District of Clearwater won second place for its Living Well program from Union of B.C. Municipalities.

A 2010 Olympic Torch Relay community grant of $7,400 was given to Clearwater for local entertainment, a skating show, and a curling jamboree. The events were to be held when the torch passed through the community.


Roland and Anne Neave donated 160 acres in Upper Clearwater to TRU for the Wells Gray Wilderness Centre. Approximately one-third of the property is wetland.

Nearly 30 healthcare workers from regional hospitals, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, took part in a two-day CARE (comprehensive approach to rural emergencies) course at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital.

Consultants working for District of Clearwater proposed a 200-seat amphitheatre overlooking Dutch Lake as part of their plans for Dutch Lake beach/ Bampton Recreation Area.


An epic climbing hike occurred—a group set out on Sept. 17 to ascend the previously never-before fully climbed Mount Hugh Neave. Unfortunately, an extremely sharp and hazardous rock feature prevented the group from traversing the ridge over to the main summit, which was 2829m, only a mere 172m to its peak.

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