Year in Review: January – April, 2013

A compendium of the news from the first four months of last year.


Vancouver Foundation approved a $230,000 grant for a project in Clearwater to be called From Front Door to Grocery Store: Getting Seniors Where They Want To Be. District of Clearwater had worked with UNBC to develop the grant application.

A letter to the editor from Laura Soles, wife of Dr. John Soles, commented on remarks by former Clearwater physician Dr. Bob Woollard that being the spouse of a rural doctor was the worst job in the world. “I consider it a privilege to be the spouse of a rural doctor,” she wrote.

A meeting about the roundabout proposed for Highway 5 in Clearwater likely would be held in late February or early March, said MLA Terry Lake.

Value of most homes in the North Thompson region remain stable compared to the previous year, said BC Assessments spokesperson. Clearwater’s assessment roll increased from $320 million to $331 million.

Clearwater ski hill’s first day of the season was Dec. 28.

The first baby of the year was Orion Day-Raven Hall, the daughter of Turtle and Adam Hall. She was born Jan. 2 in Kamloops.

Clearwater councillor Ken Kjenstad was awarded a Queen’s Jubilee medal. He helped establish and owned Safety Mart for 25 years and had been a major contributor to many community events, especially minor ball and hockey.

A second-hand Pisten Bully groomer purchased by Clearwater SnoDrifters snowmobile club a few months earlier was paying off, according to Mayor John Harwood. “They’re already starting to see people come,” he said.

Clearwater is taking a lead role in the Healthy Forests – Healthy Communities initiative, according to Bill Bourgeois, the initiative’s coordinator. More than 60 people attended an input meeting held at the Wells Gray Inn. Thompson Headwaters TNRD director Willow MacDonald noted that there had been six sawmills and hundreds of people working in the upper North Thompson Valley.

Tourism had generated about $22 million for Clearwater and Wells Gray Country the year before, Tourism Wells Gray marketing manager Brad Bradbury told the Chamber of Commerce. “Over the past few years, people have been coming more often and spending more dollars,? he said. “However, they are not staying longer, which is too bad.”

BirchLegBC Passenger Transportation Board approved Greyhound route reductions across the province, including the North Thompson Valley. “We’ve gone from three buses a day to two and now to just one,” said Mayor John Harwood.

Trans Mountain announced an increase in its proposed twinning project. The expanded capacity was to go up to 890,000 barrels per day instead of 750,000 bpd.

Workers were re-locating power poles near the intersection of Highway 5 and the road to Wells Gray Park. The poles would have to be moved whether or not a proposed roundabout was constructed, said a ministry spokesperson.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said even the longest and biggest loads should be able to fit through the roundabout with a new design.

M.P. Cathy McLeod was on hand, along with Mayor John Harwood, TNRD chair Randy Murray, and S.D. 73 vice-chair Kathleen Karpuk to announce two major federal grants. The first was $1.4 million to construct septage management facilities in Barriere and Clearwater. The second was $92,000 to upgrade the former Dutch Lake School into a community center.

Clearwater Secondary School Senior Boys basketball members Jairus Bromley and Brock Vandamme, plus coach Geoff Giesbrecht helped save the life of a Barriere schoolbus driver. The choking incident took place in a Kamloops restaurant. “They’re heroes, as far as I’m concerned,” said Jack Kelley, the driver.

Jerry Carter won first place in Clearwater Rotary Club’s annual Ice Man fishing derby. A total of 55 anglers registered, up from 42 the year before.


Just over 130 people, many of them dressed as Viking, took part in the 15th annual Wells Gray Birchleg. For the first time it was held at the Candle Creek cross-country ski trails, rather than in Wells Gray Park.

Simpcw First Nation announced that it had purchased 20 acres of land next to Raft River. The site was part of a traditional fishing and gathering area for the band. The Simpcw would be a taxpaying landholder, just like everyone else, said land manager Steven Patterson.

A rescue of a snowmobiler with a broken leg left Blue River heli-ski operator Mike Wiegele asking for tighter standards for the snowmobile industry. Apparently the party the injured man had been with had not beenBlue River x-ski races prepared for the situation and some members even continued high-lining while the evacuation was taking place.

Simpcw First Nation and Adams Lake Indian Band announced they had signed an agreement to work together on their joint concerns over potential impacts of the proposed Harper Creek copper mine near Vavenby.

About 75 people attended the afternoon session of an open house hosted by Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about a roundabout proposed for Highway 5 in Clearwater. About the same number went to a session in the evening. A video showed the proposed intersection in three dimensions. The design had been changed to accommodate extra-long or extra-wide loads, said regional project manager Dave Shibata.

On Call Service Center owner Ron Rotzetter announced during a Clearwater council meeting that he would like to build a shopping center east of Clearwater Secondary School. Wade Elliot, one of the owners of Safety Mart, said they also were planning to build a new shopping center, except it would be located next to where the courthouse is now.

Clearwater RCMP received a plaque from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team for the successful arrest of a suspected murder the previous spring.

BC Hydro confirmed that it had stopped planning for a second power-line into the North Thompson Valley. The decision to resume planning would depend on whether large industrial loads materialize, said a spokesperson. Clearwater Mayor John Harwood feared the planning stoppage would affect several proposed projects.

Stu Seib, formerly the NCO-in-charge of Clearwater RCMP detachment, pleaded guilty in a Kelowna court to breach of trust. He had admitted to stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker.

Clearwater town council awarded a $635,000 contract to construct five new dressing rooms at the Sportsplex to an Abbotsford company.

TRU dean of science Tom Dickinson outlined plans for the proposed Wells Gray Wilderness Center to town council. It would accommodate 20 people, be entirely devoted to education, and would no compete with any existing business, he said.

SFU post-graduate student Samantha Charlton outlined the work she was doing exploring the barriers and opportunities to harvesting non-timber forest products. She expected to spend several months in Clearwater and Chu Chua.


An open house held to discuss the Bear View shopping center being proposed for a 10 acre lot south of Highway 5 immediately west of the junction with Haywood Road. “The indoor shopping concept is new to the community and we feel that the tourists traveling through Clearwater would benefit year-round,” said owner Ron Rotzetter.

midget champsClearwater Midge Rec Warriors won the Thompson-Caribou Super League championship. “Every player put their hearts into this game and pulled together as a team,” said coach Tim Walker.

Rev. Brian Krushel started as the new pastor of Clearwater United Church and the Church of St. Paul in Barriere. Dignitaries from the United, Anglican and Lutheran churches attended the service.

Town council tabled an application to re-zone land for Ron Rotzetter’s proposed Bear View shopping center until a comprehensive development plan is developed that involves not just the subject property, but adjacent pieces of land as well. Staff had recommended the application be rejected, but one factor in the decision to table instead was a statement that there was no land available in the existing commercial zone near the Clearwater Valley Road junction that was of adequate size and/or without restrictive covenants.

Healthcare staff from Clearwater, Barriere and Chase took part in a two-day rural emergency course held at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital. “It recognizes that rural emergency medicine is different from that in the urban emergency room,” said Dr. John Soles, one of the organizers.

Future Shop presented a $22,000 cheque to CSS principal Darren Coates. The school was combining on-line learning with face-to-face teaching.

The B.C. government and BCMA announced they were offering doctors $100,000 to locate in selected rural communities, including Clearwater. “This is good news for our community,” said Dr. John Soles.

CSS students Chance Tobin, Jared Bourdeleau and Taylor Rhodes placed first, second and third in carpentry at regional Skills Canada competition in Kamloops. Donald Ritchie came third in cabinet making, while Alex MacDonald took third in residential wiring.

The Moilliet’s Aveley Ranch near Vavenby got ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary of sheep raising. The ranch, which was founded in 1906 by Theodore Albert Moilliet (Tam), acquired its first sheep in the fall of 1913 when a flock of 40 was driven from Louis Creek. The railroad right-of-way had been cleared at that time but the rails were not yet installed, making an ideal trail.

Local politicians got a hand from female hockey players as they turned to sod to officially mark the start of construction of new changing rooms at the Sportsplex. A presentation by female hockey players hd encouraged town council to get a grant through MLA Terry Lake, said Mayor John Harwood.


District of Clearwater could face a $22 million shortfall in 20 years if it doesn’t start spending more on infrastructure, according to a infrastructure master plan prepared by Urban Systems. The municipality was investing $200,000 per year on infrastructure when it should be spending $1.3 million, the report said.

Close to 200 people turned out for Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department’s first annual Easter egg hunt. Money raised during the event was to go towards a playground in the nearby Chad Schapansky Park.

An article outlined how North Thompson priest Father Emil Sasges survived more than three weeks in theDaaseGuitar mountains alone after his home-built airplane crashed while flying from Bowron Lakes to Valemount. The accident had occurred in 1969.

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 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.

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 needs 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.

Clearwater town council proposed increasing the mill rate by 5.82 per cent – a $40 tax increase on a $200,000 home. Water and sewer rates also were increased.

Former Clearwater-based Conservation Officer Kevin Van Damm was awarded an Exemplary Service Medal by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon.

The provincial election was underway and NDP hopeful Kathy Kendall was campaigning in Clearwater. The number one issue in Clearwater and the North Thompson seemed to be skills training, she said. Her main rival was Liberal incumbent MLA Terry Lake.

Ron Rotzetter asked town council for a letter of support for a frontage road to provide access to his proposed Bear View shopping center. The request was referred to staff for a decision at a later date.


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