Year in Review – May to August

Highlights of 2016 from the Clearwater Times newspaper

Year in Review 2016

Year in Review 2016

May

TNRD began public assent process to determine the fate of a $5,000 per year grant-in-aid for the Upper Clearwater Hall. Petitions representing a minimum of 50 per cent of the properties in the service area plus 50 per cent of the property value would be needed to eliminate the grant.

Tourism Wells Gray did not support a proposal to increase the local hotel tax from two per cent to three per cent. The association was made up of members of the tourism industry from Clearwater and Wells Gray Country (Area A).

Children and parents from Clearwater Play-School watched as Clearwater Trout Hatchery dumped 5,000 kokanee and 1,500 rainbow trout into Dutch Lake.

The Fort McMurray wildfire was an “unbelievable” experience, reported Clearwater residents Tom and Brue Grimm. The father and son had been reunited after being forced to evacuate from the northern Alberta community. Tom Grimm worked 38 hours straight building fire-guards in the city, took seven hours off, then worked another 36 straight hours.

Wells Gray Community Forest made a profit of nearly $900,000 in the previous year, corporation president Joel Steinberg reported. A transfer of $500,000 was made to Wells Gray 2010 Society for disbursements to the community.

Three Okanagan men were in custody facing multiple charges after ignoring a warning by a Clearwater RCMP officer to slow down. The trio had been travelling in two vehicles south of Little Fort when the officer flashed his lights at them. Instead of slowing they sped up. A search found them hiding in the forest near Highway 24.

The TNRD board approved $140,000 for construction of an addition and front entrance improvements at the Little Fort Community Hall.

Simpcw First Nation chief Nathan Matthew and Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson signed a mutual benefits agreement for the Trans Mountain expansion project. “The rights of the Simpcw people have been addressed,” Matthew said. “Your community can share in the prosperity that will come from this project,” added Anderson.

Fire prohibitions in Kamloops Fire Centre began early, with Category 2 and 3 open fires banned as of May 15. Campfires and cooking stoves were still allowed.

Clearwater was to receive one full-time paramedic and Blue River one half-time under a new community para-medicine program. Under the program, paramedics would provide basic, non-urgent health-care in partnership with local health-care providers.

A total of 16 floats and 78 participants took part in Clearwater Rotary Club’s annual May Day parade.

The province invested over $700,000 and School District 73 another $140,000 to connect Raft River Elementary School with Clearwater’s sewer system. The old septic system was to be decommissioned.

 

June

Wells Gray Community Forest Society advised that it had up to $1 million available to be distributed under a new “major grant funding” envelope. “This is an opportunity to apply for larger community projects that will make an economic and social impact in the community and area,” said committee chair Seppi Wadlegger.

Players played on despite the rain in U12 and U14 tournaments in Clearwater. A total of nine teams took part in the two.

Brookfield Mall, which had been in receivership since the previous summer, was offered for sale. Asking price for the mall, which included three acres and 42,000 sq. ft. of space, was $1.475 million.

More than 30 residents of Upper Clearwater met in the Black Horse Saloon to talk about Canfor’s plans to log in the area. Nearly all of them signed forms indicating they did not think the company’s plans respected the Upper Clearwater’s guiding principles.

A total of 29 students graduated from Clearwater Secondary School, down from 46 the previous year and 32 the year before that. Top scholarship winners and class valedictorians were the brother and sister team of Karter and Adrian Romeo.

A new septage receiving facility near District of Clearwater’s sewage lagoons on the Flats was operational. This was significant as most residents of the area used septic tanks for waste disposal.

A letter to the editor from former Clearwater residents Lloyd and Doreen Romeo of Penticton cleared up the mystery of a tiny wooden boat that had been found on a beach near Oak Bay. The boat contained the names of Iris and Gerald McKinley, Doreen’s parents, who had passed away a few years earlier. Investigation showed that Doreen’s daughter, Sherry, had put the boat in the water near Victoria.

Clearwater Secondary School students James Freeman and Tiana Burke won national welding awards worth $2,500 each.

Rural communities face a crisis with aging populations, Gordon Borgstrom of Southern Beetle Action Committee told an economic development forum in Little Fort. The percentage of the population in the North Thompson over 70 years of age had increased from 3.6 per cent in 1986 to 13.6 per cent in 2015.

Former Clearwater resident Susanne Taron was working for the United Nations in Bonn, Germany. It all started with the international experience she gained as a member of Girl Guides, she said.

A Danish hiker died after a fall while hiking in the mountains near Azure Lake in Wells Gray Park. A male member of the group she was with paddled several hours to reach a satellite phone to call for help.

Borrow Enterprises of Clearwater won a $2.63 million contract to construct a passing lane and commercial truck pullout at Vinsulla. Construction was to begin in late June or early July.

A petition to end the Upper Clearwater Hall grant-in-aid received support from 48 per cent of property owners, just short of the 50 per cent needed.

Sorgente.e Hydro Canada announced that it had signed a 40-year standing offer agreement with BC Hydro for its proposed Serpentine Creek hydro project north of Blue River. Sorgente.e Canada, part of an Italian company, earlier signed an agreement for its proposed Clemina run-of-the-river project.

Keith Henry, president of the BC Metis Federation and chair of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, was a special guest during National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Clearwater.

Clearwater and the Wells Gray Volcanic Field had definite potential for geothermal energy, according to a report by Geoscience BC. Dr. Cathie Hickson, one of the study’s authors, did her Ph.D. thesis on the volcanoes of Wells Gray Park.

Youngsters tried out Clearwater’s new splash park for the first time. “It’s amazing. I’m so grateful it’s here,” said Debbie Mayer, one of the organizers.

Clearwater town council gave first and second reading to a rezoning application that would allow a high-density subdivision north of the hospital.

 

July

Wells Gray Infocentre had the most visitors of any infocentre in B.C. the previous year. The count for May was up 22 per cent over May of the previous year. Several factors contributed, said Tay Briggs, director of Information Wells Gray.

Megan Sim was named the top all-round student during Clearwater Secondary School’s year-end awards ceremony. The award also included the $500 Fred Allan Memorial Bursary from Kamloops-Thompson Teachers Association.

Clearwater’s U18C boys softball team won the provincial championship in North Surrey. The local U14 team also won gold.

M.P. Cathy McLeod, Mayor John Harwood and other dignitaries cut the ribbon to officially open the new splash park in Clearwater. “This is why we did it, to see all these little kids running around laughing and all these families having fun,” said Roger Mayer, one of the organizers.

Former Clearwater residents Teddy, Bethany, Charlene, Jessica and Mitchell Holtby, with special guest Jesse Cunningham, put on a concert at Dutch Lake Community Centre.

A contractor was mapping Vavenby’s water system for TNRD. The information would help workers find items when covered in snow.

Simpcw First Nation planned a ceremony in Tete Jaune to mark the 100th anniversary of the forced removal of a large group of band members from the area. As many as 60 people had been forced in 1916 to walk hundreds of kilometres to Chu Chua.

Canfor held an open house to explain its logging plans for Upper Clearwater. Blocks on the shoulder of Trophy Mountain and on the west side of the Clearwater River would yield about 200,000 cubic metres of wood, equivalent to between 20 and 25 per cent of Canfor-Vavenby’s annual allowable cut, said Peter Baird, general manager for forest planning.

The TNRD board approved spending up to $24,000 to upgrade Blue River Fire Hall. The hall was owned by Blue River Improvement District.

Clearwater Trout Hatchery was undergoing a $900,000 renovation. “Basically, what we’re doing is replacing the old concrete raceways with circular fibreglass tanks,” said hatchery manager Mark Green.

About 55 people signed up to compete in the Clearwater Kayak Festival. Chris Ryman took first place in the rodeo.

A study on lichens was getting worldwide attention and there was a North Thompson connection. One of the study’s authors, Toby Spribille, frequently visited and worked with Upper Clearwater lichenologist Trevor Goward. “This is a big deal for lichenology,” Goward said of the study. “It shows that lichens, or macro-lichens at least, are composed of at least three organisms – an alga, a cup fungus and a yeast fungus.” Previously, scientists had thought lichens consisted of just two organisms – an alga and a fungus.

A border collie belonging to Barriere resident Bill Hodson was found after spending 13 days lost in the bush near Vavenby. “It was my husband Earl who found him,” said Vavenby resident Fay Jones.

 

August

District of Clearwater’s annual report showed progress on many fronts, including biomass energy at Dutch Lake Community Centre, septage receiving and economic development.

Doris Laner was picked to be the feature artist for the fifth annual Clearwater Children’s Art Festival. Laner is perhaps best known locally for the murals she painted at the Sportsplex and Fleetwest.

Clearwater residents Keith McNeill and Jean Nelson were cycling from Clearwater to Kelowna to promote a petition to Canada’s parliament that called for nationwide carbon fee-and-dividend as a way to help control global warming.

A passing storm brought localized flooding to Weyerhaeuser subdivision, the Flats, Park Drive area and Wyndhaven. People who had been impacted were asked to contact District of Clearwater.

Jara Jules carried a Simpcw flag as she led a symbolic walk of about 80 people to the Tete Jaune Cache community hall to mark the 100th anniversary of the forced removal of between 60 and 70 band members to Chu Chua. Jules was descended from some of those displaced. Chief Nathan Matthew said First Nations peoples had lived too long in times and places of darkness. “It’s time to bring back the light,” he said.

Vulcanologist Cathie Hickson, one of those spearheading an initiative to have a large area of the North Thompson corridor declared a UNESCO Global Geopark, met with the TNRD about the proposal. The regional district was pursuing potential funding.

Clearwater town council approved a development permit for a Tim Hortons to be constructed in the Clearwater Shopping Center near Buy-Low. The new business would employ between 45 and 60 full-time and part-time workers, said Mayor John Harwood.

More than 40 participants from Simpcw, Kamloops, Canim Lake, Upper Nicola and other First Nations bands, as well as several government agencies, took part in paddling canoes from Blackpool to Savona. They were to meet other canoes in Kamloops and then paddle to the annual Shuswap Gathering.

Town council approved a three-year temporary use permit that would permit Clusko Properties Ltd. to build a logging camp on land it owns near Camp Two Road. There was a shortage of motel rooms in Clearwater, particularly in summer, Clusko owner Arnold Bremner said.