Year in Review – 2015

Looking back at the stories that made a difference to the upper North Thompson Valley

Year in Review 2015

Year in Review 2015

JANUARY

TNRD staff and contractors used a “leak detector” – a sensitive listening device – to find the location of leaks in Vavenby’s water system. The water reservoir had nearly emptied in just four hours.

The first graduating class in B.C. in the new construction craft worker Red Seal program was in Clearwater at the TRU Satellite Centre. The program trained workers to assist skilled tradespeople. Ron Plamondon was course instructor.

“Most homeowners in the North Thompson will see changes in the -5 per cent to +10 per cent range,” said Graham Held, deputy assessor for the Thompson-Caribou as the 2015 assessment notices went out in the mail. Clearwater’s assessment roll increased from $334 million to $341 million.

The newly formed Upstream Community and Heritage Society arranged with the TNRD to open the Avola schoolhouse every Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. for one year.

Clearwater ski hill opened for the season on Saturday, Jan. 10. Favourable snow conditions and new prices brought out nearly 300 people over the weekend.

The Midget Ice Hawks placed third in their home tournament in the Sportsplex. West Kelowna won the event.

The first baby from our area for 2015 was Emma Marie Olson, born Jan. 2 in Kamloops. Proud parents were Dakota Olson and Patty Merriman.

Having a Global Geopark nearby has noticeably helped the tourism industry of Saint John, New Brunswick and could do the same for Clearwater, according to Tom Dickinson. The dean of science at TRU had recently returned from a conference in Saint John that centred around the Stonehammer Geopark.

Clearwater Medical Clinic announced that it had five doctors working after a period when Dr. Soles was the only regular physician. The new doctors were Dr. Broadbent, Dr. Gwyn, Dr. Liciu and Dr. Walton.

Players from all age categories took part in games at the Sportsplex during Hockey Days.

A guest editorial by Tom Fletcher argued that a wolf kill was the last hope for saving the mountain caribou. A column on another page from Valhalla Wilderness Watch said that the government’s caribou recovery program, including shooting wolves from helicopters, was failing disastrously.

FEBRUARY

Clearwater and area should have a museum, longtime local resident Chuck Emery told town council. Councillor Dennis Greffard cautioned that a museum needs to meet a wide variety of parameters, including proper temperatures and humidity. “It’s not impossible but it’s a huge undertaking,” Greffard said.

Representatives from all North Thompson communities, including Simpcw First Nation and TNRD, met in a community-to-community forum at Dutch Lake Community Centre. Simpcw chief Rita Matthew noted that the First Nation band and the other residents of the valley have a history of working together.

Yellowhead Mining announced that the BC Environmental Assessment Office had initiated an 180-day review of its application for its Harper Creek project – an open pit copper mine that would be located southwest of Vavenby.

More than 30 people attended a meeting in the Upper Clearwater Hall to discuss the future of the hall with Carol Schaffer, TNRD director for Wells Gray Country (Area A). She gave out surveys to determine what the area’s property owners wanted done with the $5,000 grant-in-aid the hall receives each year.

The daughter of a woman who had taught in Clearwater 70 years earlier was disappointed that there was no museum in the community to hold her mother’s photos. Edith Bowles (later Benwell) had taught at what was likely the only school in the community in 1944/45. She had 36 students of mixed ages and abilities. She also taught at a nearby prisoner-of-war camp.

Clearwater-based filmmaker Ken Matheson won the volunteer of the year award from BC Parks for his work in developing videos for Bowron Lake and Khutzeymateen provincial parks.

Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing launched a cross-country ski trail network in Blue River. A longtime guest, Neil McGillivary, donated a track-setter and snowmobile. Other partners included Blue River Bruderschaft, TNRD, BC Parks, and Recreational Sites and Trails BC.

Mayor John Harwood held a workshop with Clearwater’s Junior Council to explain how the municipality’s budget worked. Student Leevon Levasseur could not believe that District of Clearwater spends 40 per cent of its budget on roads. “Are you sure?” he asked.

First baby boy of the year was Caydon Gary O’Quinn, born Jan. 18. His twin sister, Tyia Patricia Karry O’Quinn, was born soon afterwards. Parents were Amber and Jeff.

District of Clearwater’s new public works superintendent, Bruce Forsyth, started work in mid-February. He had 20 years of experience working for municipal and regional district governments.

Clearwater Sno-Drifters’ groomer created excitement as it arrived for the first time at the club’s East Raft Cabin on Feb. 8. “Some snowmobilers have been waiting years for this,” said one person.

Stu Seib, the former sergeant-in-charge of Clearwater RCMP, was learning a new perspective on life by raising alpacas. Seib had resigned after admitting to stealing drugs from an evidence locker.

A total of 15 teams took part in the Ladies Bonspiel at the Sportsplex. The Larissa Hadley rink won the A event.

Clearwater Black Hawks won the 35+ division at the Old Timers Tournament in the Sportsplex, while 100 Mile House Old Sports won the 45+ division.

MARCH

District of Clearwater would receive $390,000 if the project to double the Trans Mountain pipeline went ahead, according to a memorandum of understanding with Kinder Morgan Canada. Blue River and Avola (Area B) would get $350,000, and another $175,000 would go to Vavenby, Birch Island, Blackpool and area (Area A).

After Hours Theatre presented “Collected Obsessions”, a production of seven short plays about people with fixations.

Clearwater town council instructed staff to prepare an application for $1.1 million in federal funding to build a third well. The new well was needed to provide a more consistent and secure source of water.

Employees at Jim’s Family Market in Little Fort spent part of their breaks balancing eggs –  a tradition for Chinese New Year. That afternoon there was a fine Chinese dinner at Little Fort Hall.

Five workshops held in communities from Sun Peaks to McBride explored a proposal to have Wells Gray Park’s volcanoes and other sites in the area declared a Global Geopark. The proposal was seen as less expensive and more achievable than getting UNESCO World Heritage status.

Bird numbers were up from the previous year but the number of species was down as Clearwater and area residents participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count. The most frequently spotted species was the black-capped chickadee (on 107 checklists).

Upper Clearwater artist Doris Laner put on a retrospective show of works she had done before she came to this area. Portraits dominated her earlier works.

A slim majority of Upper Clearwater property owners opted to continue a grant-in-aid for Upper Clearwater Hall for one more year. However, they were divided in what should happen after that, with 48 per cent indicating the grant should continue, 35 per cent saying the money for the grant should not be collected but the grant-in-aid service should remain in place, and 29 per cent saying the service should end.

A letter to the editor from Wendy Bentley of Kamloops told about her meeting in Fiji Ray Chandra, a Fijian who taught at Birch Island for four years in the late 1960s. He later got his Ph.D. and returned to Fiji.

CSS students Jacob Madden won a gold medal in carpentry in a regional Skills Canada competition in Kamloops, while Larson Wadlegger won gold in welding and fabricating.

Teams from Creston, Chetwynd, Burns Lake, Kelowna, White Rock and Clearwater took part in the Tier 4 Midget provincial championships in the Sportsplex. The Ice Hawks placed fifth in the six-team tournament.

Garnet Peak (located near the junction of Clearwater and Azure lakes) was displaced as the highest mountain in Wells Gray Park. Climbers from the Alpine Club of Canada had found one higher in the north end of the park, said Roland Neave, author of “Exploring Wells Gray Park.”

Former Vavenby fire chief Leo Vermette received gifts of appreciation for his years of service. He had been a member of the fire department for 22 years, fire chief for 18, and a member of the board for 29.

Former Clearwater resident “Fast Eddy” Dostaler ran through the North Thompson Valley near the beginning of his proposed trip across Canada and back to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Rotary Richard went for a swim in Dutch Lake on Mar. 22. The official time was 4:01 a.m. Money raised through the sale of guesses is used to fund Rotary initiatives such as student exchanges.

APRIL

Clearwater needs a new cenotaph, Legion Branch #259 representative Joe Short told town council. The Boy Scouts under Rich Willan made the present structure in Reg Small Park in the late 1990s but it needed repair plus was not in a good location, he felt.

CSS student William Ellis called on town council to enact a handicapped parking bylaw. “Before my dad became disabled I didn’t care as much,” he said. “Now I realize how much difference a few steps can make.”

Times editor Keith McNeill announced he planned to cycle from Toronto to Ottawa to promote a petition calling for carbon fee-and-dividend in Canada as a way to control global warming. The big question was whether he would be able to keep up with his cycling partner, Jean Nelson.

Jon Kreke, owner of Dutch Lake Resort and Painted Turtle Restaurant, was chosen to be the new president of Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce. He took over from Jeff Lamond of Rooted by the River Nursery.

Fire totally destroyed the McLure Restaurant south of Barriere. McLure Fire Department received help from Barriere Fire Department, even though there is no mutual aid agreement between the two.

Clearwater town council voted to change the name of Clearwater Canoe Regatta to Clearwater Fall Festival. “Let’s have a festival (in September) in Rotary Sports Park and move the canoe events to Canada Day, when the water is warmer and there are more tourists,” said councilor Barry Banford.

North Thompson Community Chorus put on “Broadway Revue,” a concert of songs from Broadway musicals. Wes Morden played the role of Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof” when he sang “If I Were a Rich Man.”

Yellowhead Mining must submit a report on alternatives for wet tailings storage at its proposed Harper Creek copper mine, the BC Environmental Assessment Office said. The panel that had investigated the Mt. Polley tailings dam breach had pointed to filtered or dry-stack tailings as best practice.

Members of Upper Clearwater Farmers Institute posted “No Trespassing” signs around the Upper Clearwater Hall. The Institute said they were to prevent people from camping overnight by the hall while critics said they were to discourage people from attending the Institute’s annual general meeting.

Longtime local resident Murray Stockton asked for more flexibility from authorities for seniors in rural areas after his driver’s license was taken away.

Randy Hedlund sang a song he had written, “An Ode to Angila Wilson” during a candlelight vigil held in Weyerhaeuser Park on the first anniversary of Wilson’s death. Domestic violence is not just a problem for women but for all of society, said Stop the Violence counsellor Ava Perraton.

Upper Clearwater Farmers Institute needs to update its constitution and bylaws, president Andrew Nelson told the organization’s annual general meeting. A new set of bylaws, imposed in 1984, had replaced the original bylaws from the 1930s but were inadequate, he said.

A new program, Seniors Networking with Seniors and the Community, began with a complimentary luncheon at the Elks Hall. Lynne Frizzle was introduced as the senior coordinator.

Cindy Wilgosh of the North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Jack Keough, executive director of Yellowhead Community Services, received their B.C. Community Achievement Awards during a ceremony at Government House in Victoria.

 

Representatives from Wells Gray Community Forest toured Clearwater Secondary School to see some of the items purchased with help from the community forest. These included spotlights for the stage, a CNC router, and rugby jerseys. WGCF has distributed about $1.2 million since its inception.

 

MAY

Clearwater Pre-School students were on hand to watch Clearwater Trout Hatchery manager Mark Green unload 1,500 rainbow trout and 5,000 kokanee into Dutch Lake.  Fishing in the lake has improved since the hatchery began stocking it, Green says.

Vavenby Volunteer Fire Department held an open house to celebrate its 45th year of operation and to recruit new members.

Kamloops-Thompson school district saved more than $1.1 million in energy consumption a report told trustees at a meeting.

Unusually dry conditions caused Wildfire Management officials to move up the open burning ban one month from June 15 to May 15.

Fred Fortier, a band councillor for 26 years, was elected the new chief of Simpcw First Nation. Fortier takes the place of former Chief Rita Matthew.

Clearwater town council voted to award an $11,000 contract to Borrow Enterprises for the supply and installation of a duplex grinder pump station system for Capostinsky Ball Park.

Over 40 participants from across the southern Interior gathered in Clearwater along with seven provincially qualified instructors, to practice rope rescue techniques.

Salmon Arm resident Gary Arsenault wanted to know if there was a market for a 90-unit adult residential development in Clearwater.

Two graphs completed by Clearwater resident Michael Allchin indicated that the upper North Thompson watershed could be facing an unusually dry summer. Allchin was doing research towards a Ph. D. from UNBC.

The Wells Gray Community Forest made a gross profit of $750,000 during the fiscal year ending Oct. 31, 2014 reported president Dave Meehan.

Of this, $250,000 was transferred to Wells Gray 2010 Society to be distributed to the community. The remainder was to be kept in reserves for such things as silviculture, the report read.

The advisory planning commission for Wells Gray Country and Thompson Headwaters (Electoral Areas A and B) was merged with the APC for Lower North Thompson (Area O).

Thompson-Nicola Regional District received a 72-signature petition asking for communication with the community of Vavenby regarding installation of water meters in the village’s water system.

“After experiencing several leaks in our ageing system last year, we want to know – are we using it or losing it,” the petition read.

While several areas of the province were seeing the lowest snowpack in recorded history, both the South and North Thompson watersheds were within the normal springtime range.

A revised Traffic Impact Assessment was submitted to council on behalf of Bearview development. The assessment proposed “backage” road access to the proposed development site and a new highway intersection 1.03 kilometres east of the Park Drive roundabout and 960 metres west of Candle Creek Road.

JUNE

Two three-person Initial Attack crews, a 20 man unit crew, an excavator  and air tankers were called out to work a fire up Silk Road.

TNRD board of directors overwhelmingly approved a motion of support for the twinning of the TransMountain Pipeline.

The Raft Mountain Skating Club received $8,050 from the province’s Community Gaming Grants program.

“There are few things more ‘Canadian’ than learning to skate,” Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake said.

Simpcw First Nation new chief and council were sworn in for a three year term in Chu Chua June 1, 2015. New Chief Fred Fortier was joined by councillors Christine ‘Tina’ Donald,Tom Eustache, George Lampreau, Ron Lampreau Jr., Shelly Loring, and Don Matthew.

A total of 46 students accepted their scrolls from principal Darren Coates and school superintendent Karl deBruijn at the CSS graduation ceremonies. Over $41,000 was given out in scholarships and bursaries to help further their education.

Ruddock Creek project was making progress. That was in a report given by Imperial Metals vice-president Gordon Weevil and exploration manager Jim Miller-Tait to Clearwater town council’s economic development committee. Getting adequate electrical power to the site would be a priority, they said.

“Growing Tourism Together’ was the theme for a gathering of industry leaders and stakeholders held at the Dutch Lake Community Centre in Clearwater on June 4.

A pile of rubble was all that remained of a home June 14, following an overnight fire.

The home’s two occupants escaped unharmed, after being awakened by a neighbour.

Health Minister Terry Lake announced the Province was providing a  $50,000 grant  to the District of Clearwater to explore care options for seniors in the community.

The study would help develop a business case for a campus of care for older adults.

Mayor John Harwood, trails committee chair Kim Muddiman, town councilor Merlin Blackwell, and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake cut the ribbon to officially open the Hospital Rim Trail. The trail is 800 m long and runs behind Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital from Evergreen Acres to the old hospital.

Bike to Work winners Sindy Smith and Lori Redman from the Clearwater Liquor Store collected their first place prizes for the second year in a row, biking 90 km. Patti Jo O’Dette from Clearwater Secondary School was the winner of the individual category in Bike to Work Week, biking 30 km.

Quick work by two WGSAR members and Yellowhead Helicopters rescued two hikers off of Trophy Mountain. The hikers found themselves unprepared for the two-to-three inches of fresh snow that fell while they were hiking near Sheila Lake on Trophy Mountain.

Nearly 40 present and former students returned the final bow of sensei Brent Buck as he stepped down after 25 years as instructor of Clearwater Karate Club.

JULY

District of Clearwater received a Small Community grant of $281,448.

“This funding is a significant boost for local governments to invest in programs and services that improve safety and quality of life,” Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake said.

A construction contract  for the construction of a southbound passing lane on Highway 5 near Camp Creek  was awarded to Borrow Enterprises Ltd. of Clearwater.

Key recommendations of a consultants’ report presented to North Thompson Valley Hospice House Society felt the North Thompson Valley likely didn’t have the population to sustain a stand-alone hospice house facility.

However, according to the report an enhanced acute/residential room, probably in Clearwater, would be favored over the status quo.

Hanna Wadlegger received her Canada Cord, the highest award for Pathfinders, from Girl Guides Canada.

Grade 12 student Reid Rebinsky won the senior best all round student award with the Fred Allen Memorial Bursary, as well as several other awards during Clearwater Secondary School’s awards assembly.

A quick response by local Forest Service personnel and contractors had contained a small forest fire a few kilometers north of Vavenby.

The fire was located in a 10-year-old plantation between two roads: Montana Creek Forest Service Road and a subsidiary road.

Vavenby resident Wendy Pollard had a narrow escape when her home was struck by lightning.

The lightning first hit a fir tree about 10 feet from the ground, then travelled to a clothesline attached to the tree, then travelled through the patio that held the other end of the clothesline, striking a 2”x 6” post and taking a chunk out of it.

Up to 40 firefighters, two water tenders, three skidder tankers, an excavator and a cat were used to control a blaze, as well as several rounds by an air tanker plus helicopter bucketing on a fire at Otter Creek.

Clearwater Eco-depot was to see an increase in operation of hours after an extensive review was conducted. The review looked exclusively at the hours per week each site operates from a customer service and cost perspective.

A McBride area run-of-river project began delivering clean, reliable power to BC Hydro’s grid. The Castle Creek facility is expected to generate 34 gigawatt hours of clean electricity a year – enough electricity to power 3,100 homes annually.

Clearwater Crushers won gold in the U18 provincial softball championships held in Clearwater.

Second place went to Williams Lake Prospects while third went to Prince George Timberwolves.

In the U14C provincial event, Clearwater Hitmen came third in their round robin and had to play some extra games to take home third-place bronze.

Over 50 seniors participated in an outing to naturalist Trevor Goward’s home in Upper Clearwater, Edgewood Blue.

Wells Gray Country Seniors Society sponsored the outing as part of a program of events organized with support from a New Horizons grant awarded by the federal government.

An eight-year old girl was attacked by a cougar in Wells Gray Park.

A mom and dad from Alberta were setting up at Pyramid Mountain campsite while their daughter was picking flowers in the ditch five meters away when the big cat pounced, giving her a puncture wound and a scratch on her side. Conservation officers were unable to locate the predator.

Conservation officers trapped and destroyed a cougar that was preying on sheep in the Raft River area of Clearwater.

“We had to put it down because it was used to being around humans and was predating on livestock,” said conservation officer Warren Chaser.

A serious crash at Jenkins Road in Blackpool sent a 79-year-old Clearwater man to hospital after he  attempted to cross the highway when he pulled out in front of a motorcycle. A 71-year-old motorcycle driver from Kamloops was pronounced deceased at the scene.

A pick-up received extensive damage after a collision with a semi at Old North Thompson Highway near Lacarya golf course. The 73-year-old Clearwater male driver of the pick-up sustained serious injuries and was transported to Kamloops by air ambulance.

Federal fisheries agency closed the Clearwater and North Thompson rivers to salmon fishing for the season. Reason for the ban were the extremely low water levels plus temperatures that were reaching lethal limits for migrating salmon.

Fred Fortier Kukpi7 resigned as Simpcw chief in a letter to ban members.

In his letter, Fortier noted that under the code of ethics that the chief and council sign when they take office, they are bound by certain obligations.

“As a business owner of 4TR Ventures Ltd. I have crossed that boundary …”

Approximately 70 people registered for the annual Clearwater Kayak Festival.

 

For the first time the festival featured an experts-only downriver race through the Class 4 Sabretooth Rapids (located at 20 km on the Clearwater River Road).

AUGUST

Blue River held its opening for its Community Garden. The day of celebration included guided visits of the garden, activities for kids, food and beverages, music, and fresh produce on display harvested from the garden.

M.P. Cathy McLeod announced $300,000 in funding for North Thompson communities.  Nearly $140,000 of the funds had be allocated from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure  Program for a children’s splashpark to be located in Weyerhaeuser Park.

District of Clearwater had committed to provide land, water and sewer for the project.

A film produced by novelist/writer MJ Politis and Glen Pickering “Henry and the Wolf Doctor” a movie/seven part episodic series was offering its first  public screening at the Blackpool Community Hall.  The movie was shot entirely in Clearwater.

Birch Island celebrated its 100th anniversary on Aug. 8 and 9 at the Birch Island Community Park.

Water users in the North Thompson region were being urged to reduce water consumption. The Government of B.C. announced a Level 3 drought rating for the area.

A number of Little Fort residents were stating their displeasure regarding a recent notice  from Thompson-Nicola Regional District regarding solid waste removal. The Little Fort Transfer Station hours of operation was to be reduced to eight hours per week, a reduction of 16 hours per week in the winter and 22 in the summer. The reduction was due to low customer usage.

Kamloops Mounties released photos of a credit-card skimmer that was installed in a gas-pump payment slot in Valleyview.

The photos were being released to make the public aware of the type of card skimmer used to capture credit-card information.

Blue River Improvement District was planning to ask property owners for permission to borrow up to $385,000 to purchase a new fire truck and apparatus.

The borrowing would result in a tax increase of 69 per cent per year for the average property.

“The current fire truck is a 1980 GMC and is very outdated and no longer certified to be operating as our first responding truck,” wrote Dustin Deuling in a letter sent out to residents.

The head of Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing was expressing frustration with what he said is a lack of detail on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The current Trans Mountain line runs directly through Wiegele’s resort beside the Yellowhead Highway in Blue River. He said guests who come for the experience – and can spend tens of thousands of dollars doing so – don’t want to see a construction site on their dream vacation.

Former Simpcw chief Nathan Matthew supported a call by a national group calling for aboriginal Canadians to vote in the October federal election.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples was urging the nation’s 1.4 million aboriginal people to vote on Oct. 19.

Forest fire hazard remained on high in the Clearwater Fire Zone.

Multiple fires near the Azure River east of Azure Lake in Wells Gray Park were being left to burn themselves out.

One exception was a fire on the north side of Azure Lake that was actioned by a rappel crew..

During an aerial siliviculture survey a fire was spotted in the Thunder River drainage northwest of Blue River.

Quick action by local men prevented a possible forest fire approximate 20 km up Clearwater Valley Road.

A vehicle from Alberta being driven by a woman with two small children collided with a vehicle being driven by a local resident. One of the vehicles  was on fire when a tow-truck that had been in the area arrived  on scene. The tow-truck driver with help from two other local men separated the vehicles and pulled the burning vehicle to an open gravel area where the fire could burn itself out safely.

A  decision was made to withhold the grant-in-aid for Upper Clearwater Community Hall following a request from Carol Schaffer, TNRD director for Wells Gray Country (Area A) during the July 16 regional district board meeting. The request was made due to possible limitations on the use of the hall by all community members.

Acting-chief of Simpcw First Nation, Tina Donald cancelled the 11th annual First Fish ceremony, scheduled to be held on Aug. 26. The event  had been cancelled due to the passing away of a young band member.

Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital Auxiliary contributed $11,000 to purchase a Prime X Imaging Stretcher for the hospital.

The unit has hydraulic controls for ease of use and patient comfort and can be adjusted to whatever height or position needed.

SEPTEMBER

Stilt girlsDistrict of Clearwater removed approximately nine tandem truckloads of heavy solids and debris from its sewer system. A closed circuit TV inspection into Clearwater’s sewer system revealed an extra 600 m of sewer line that wasn’t in the District’s records (4900m versus 4300). It also located three buried manholes.

Blue River was one step closer to getting a new fire truck. Out of 37 votes cast during a public meeting, 29 were in favor of borrowing up to $385,000 for a new fire truck.

TNRD director Carol Schaffer was going to recommend to the TNRD board of directors that it reverse its earlier decision and allow the Upper Clearwater Farmers Institute to get its annual grant for 2015, which was close to $5,000.

A new postal outlet opened in the new Clearwater Pharmasave in Clearwater Shopping Centre.

Vavenby Volunteer Fire Department Committee regretfully accepted Sean Dawson’s resignation as fire chief. Dawson was staying with the fire department as a regular member.

Public works superintendent Bruce Forsyth reported to council that all the quotes for replacing sewage pumps at Capostinsky Ball Park were well above budget. Town council had allocated $5,000 to the project, but approved awarding the contract to Borrow Enterprises for nearly $11,000.

North Thompson Valley carpet bowlers came home with silver from the BC Seniors Games in North Vancouver.

Sgt. Kevin Podbisky reported to town council that the North Thompson Inter-Agency Case Assessment Team (NTICAT) had been formed after a comprehensive safety assessment and planning process to respond to “highest risk” domestic violence cases.

Former Clearwater Mountie Mike Savage received the Order of Merit, one of the most prestigious distinctions an employee of a police agency can get.

Clearwater, Kamloops and Chase visitor centres were to receive a new minimum base funding of $10,000 annually for the next three years.

A ribbon-cutting was held on the lawn of Evergreen Acres to officially open a newly built gazebo.

A recent encounter involving a dangerous dog was leading District of Clearwater to once again investigate having a bylaw specifically to deal with the issue.

B.C.’s minimum wage rose 20 cents to $10.45 an hour, the first annual increase since the provincial government tied it to the consumer price index. For restaurant and pub servers, the minimum wage rose from $9 to $9.20.

OCTOBER

M.P. Cathy McLeod of the Conservatives, plus challengers Matt Greenwood of the Green Party, Liberal Steve Powrie, and Bill Sundhu of the New Democrats were in Clearwater for an all-candidates’ forum at Dutch Lake Community Centre.

Clearwater’s Wells Gray Park Information Centre was the busiest information centre in the province that summer. “Our numbers went up again, increasing almost 20 per cent from the same time last year,” said Tay Briggs of Information Wells Gray. “The next busiest was in Victoria on the harbour where they saw an 11 per cent increase over last year,” she added.

Nathan Matthew was chosen to once again be chief of Simpcw First Nation. Matthew was chief for about 20 years before he stepped down roughly seven years earlier.

Yellowhead Mining Inc. announced that it was deferring work on its proposed Harper Creek mine southwest of Vavenby until such time as more favorable commodity and capital markets presented themselves.

Salmon habitat property in Avola totalling 7.4 acres was among 26 ecologically conservation areas acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada from The Land Conservancy of British Columbia. The Avola Creek property was in three separate titles on Diamond Drive and River Drive.

Little Fort was to benefit from one of the first eight projects to be approved under the Connecting BC Program, the B.C. government’s investment of up to $10 million to expand high speed Internet service in rural and remote areas.

Approximately 85 Clearwater residents turned out for a public information session on District of Clearwater’s proposed new zoning bylaw. “The current zoning bylaw is 30 years old and written for the TNRD, “said Regina Sadilkova, the director of development services with TNRD.

Residents of a ranch in Little Fort returned home after a night away to find a stranger sitting on their couch with a cup of coffee. He had started a fire in the fireplace, prepared himself a meal, shaved, showered, even fed the cats, and horses and did some laundry. The residents flagged down a passing police car and the man was taken into custody.

Kinder Morgan Canada conducted an emergency response exercise at Black Spruce Park, approximately five km north of Blue River. The exercise covered land-based instruction on spill response equipment setup and deployment, followed by an on-water deployment of emergency response equipment on the North Thompson River. The primary objective of the exercise was to test the suitability of the location as an emergency response staging area.

Kamloops riding returned Conservative Cathy McLeod to office while the Liberals stunned a nation by sweeping to a majority.

Off-road vehicle registration and safety provisions were to become mandatory on Crown land effective Nov. 1, 2015. “Off-road vehicle registration will help combat vehicle theft and promote responsible use of ORVs,” said Steve Thompson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Members of Clearwater Elks Lodge #499 celebrated the lodge’s 50th anniversary. Their pancake breakfasts held over the summer were becoming world famous.

Speaking as chair of town council’s infrastructure committee, Merlin Blackwell recommended that the town move ahead with developing feasibility and design drawings for a sewer expansion project to extend from Murtle Crescent to Roy Road.

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was making plans to upgrade the Highway 5 intersection at Wells Gray Inn. District of Clearwater would like to move ahead with its own plans to extend the town’s sewer system before any upgrades to the intersection were made.

District of Clearwater, in partnership with Wells Gray Country Services Committee and Yellowhead Community Services announced a trial inter-community transit (bus) loop.

A Vavenby man’s dog suffered multiple wounds following an attack by two other dogs in front of Vavenby General Store. One of the attacking dogs also bit Vavenby resident George Mattenley when he came to help out. Because of the lack of an animal control bylaw there appeared to be little the RCMP or TNRD could do.

 

Interior Savings Credit Union branch manager Gina Walchuk thanked the more than 80 people who attended the opening of the new credit union.

 

NOVEMBER

Two classes from Bert Edwards Elementary School in Kamloops plus the primary students from Neqweyqwelsten School in Chu Chua took part in the 20th annual Coho Day put on by Simpcw First Nation at the Dunn Creek hatchery. The hatchery near Dunn Lake had been in operation since 1983.

A media release stating that B.C.’s Parks drew a record number of visitors the previous summer was not news to Merlin Blackwell of Blackwell Park Operations, the contractor that takes care of Wells Gray and North Thompson parks.

Fast action by Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department was being credited with saving Clearwater’s New Life Assembly Church from fire. An outbuilding behind the church containing firewood, a barbeque, and a variety of lawn care equipment caught fire and was totally destroyed but the church sustained only minor damage.

Clearwater town council decided to waive its purchasing policy and allow the “sole sourcing” of engineering consulting services to TRUE Consulting. The decision would allow the municipality to hire the Kamloops-based consulting company on a project-by-project basis.

Noreen Venables of Bayley’s Bistro presented a $400 cheque to Forest View Place residential care facility at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital. Half the money came from a guess the weight of the pumpkin contest while Bayley’s Bistro provided the second half.

Yellowhead Mining Inc. was investigating additional sources of financing, according to the company’s third quarter report. The money would be used to move forward with an environmental assessment review for its proposed Harper Creek mine project in order to obtain an environmental assessment certificate for the project in 2016.

Blue River’s Mike Wiegele was inducted into the Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame for his life-long contribution to alpine ski racing in Canada.

Employees at Canfor-Vavenby set a record with their donations to the United Way. One motivator might have been sawmill superintendent John Stone’s offer to have his moustache shaved off if the campaign raised over $34,000. The campaign at the Vavenby division brought in $34,400 compared with not quite $24,000 in the 2014 campaign.

Clearwater Secondary School was getting $9,500 from School District 73 for a critical thinking project. The Rem Daymoney will be used to purchase a class set of Chrome books. “In a nutshell, the project is to teach students the skills they need to operate in today’s world,” said teacher Sylvain Menard.

Clearwater business licensing was drawing some debate within the community. “Requiring business licenses would just add one more cost onto local businesses,” said one business owner. “Just the cost of administering the program would use up much of the money raised,” said Mark Salden. The information session was an opportunity for the District to let people know what was being planned and to get their feedback, said Mayor John Harwood.

DECEMBER

Stephanie Molina started work as Tourism Wells Gray new marketing manager. Molina took over from Brad Bradbury and came here after spending over three years as a public communications officer with the government of Alberta and, before that, more than seven years working in marketing and communications in the U.S. and Canada.

Raft River Elementary School students Kiah Phillips, Jaden Phillips and Jackson Graffunder collected $159 for Fast Eddy Dostaler and his epic run across Canada and back to raise money for Alzheimer’s and Breast Cancer research.

Natalie MacMaster and her husband, Donnell Leahy treated a sellout crowd of over 300 people to a wide variety of fiddle music, from ancient jigs to modern interpretations, much of it improvised on the spot. They were accompanied by Mac Morin and Rachael Aucoin on keyboards.

“That heat feels beautiful.” That was how Mayor John Harwood described the output produced by District of Clearwater’s new biomass heater at Dutch Lake Community Centre. An official opening for the heater was held Dec. 1 Total cost of the project was about $270,000. Estimated payback time is five to eight years.

Kamloop-Thompson school district superintendent Karl DeBruijn announced during a board of education meeting that he would be retiring effective July 1, 2016. DeBruin had been an assistant superintendent with School District 73 for 11 years and has worked with the district for 39 years.

Astrid Ludwig, , a Grade 5 student who was home-schooled, won first place in the Times Christmas story contest with her poem ‘Christmas Traditions.’ Second place went to Andrew Ludbrook and Claire Arduini took third place in the grades 4-7 category. In the Kindergarten – Grade 3 category, first place went to Reid Muddiman, second to Michael Shook and third place went to Evan Colborne.

John Ranta secured another term as chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. The chairman and 25-year mayor of Cache Creek was re-elected by acclamation, unchallenged in an election at the TNRD’s December board of directors meeting.

Four non-profit organizations in Clearwater, Barriere and Kamloops received a combined $159,500 from the province’s Community Gaming Grants program. Of that Yellowhead Community Services Society received $37,000 ($9,000 for its soup kettle program; $8,000 for food security programs; $8,000 youth programs; $9,600 licenced child care program; and $2,400 for the bike shop).

Clearwater Carpet Bowlers and the Friendly Club made a donation of $1,000 to five recipients – the Lions Club, local Red Cross, Hospice Society, extended care at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital and Clearwater and District Food Bank.

District of Clearwater’s council approved awarding a new IT service contract to Sea to Sky of Vancouver after the District’s computer network became infected with a virus. The virus is a ransom-ware trojan that targets computers running Microsoft Windows. Once a computer becomes infected, the virus displays a message offering to have itself removed if a ransom is paid.

A Clearwater man accused of murdering his estranged wife was ordered to stand trial. Iain Scott, 43, was charged with first-degree murder after Angila Wilson was found dead in her Clearwater home.

Town council approved an extra overrun for the new bio-energy plant at Dutch Lake Community Centre. Reason for the overrun was unanticipated costs for the relocation of a propane tank from the front parking lot to the back of the building, plus an extra work order to install an underground connection from the plant into the building.

Winners of the Season 16 poker tournament were: 1, Millie Rempel; 2, Cheryl MacHale; and 3, Chris Moore.

Wells Gray Writers Circle 2014 Collected Works was a sell out. Wells Gray Community Forest granted money to publish Collected Works 2014. The successful sale of the books provided the circle with the funds to send its fourth book to the publishers.