(from left) Robert Parkinson, Health and Wellness Director, Ambulance Paramedics of BC and Director, Honour House Society; Diane Sandy, Bonaparte First Nation; the Honourable Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions; Steve Rice, TNRD Area I (Blue Sky Country) Director; Capt. Trevor Greene, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada; Allan De Genova, President and Founder, Honour House Society. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Year in Review part 4: New Honour Ranch near Ashcroft will save lives

Plus more mosaics, a proposed bridge for Cache Creek, and frustration at Interior Health meeting


Ashcroft man is Crime Stoppers raffle car winner

Ashcroft resident Martin Block, who describes himself as “not a car person”, was the winner of the 2019 Kamloops Crime Stoppers raffle car—a 2018 Chevrolet Camaro—after purchasing a ticket at this year’s Graffiti Days event in Cache Creek in June.

Block, who is 78, said that he was “more surprised than anybody” at his win, and at first dismissed the phone call giving him the good news as a scam call. He added that as he was not a muscle car fan, he would be putting the car up for sale. “At my age, I’m not into speed.” Read more at http://bit.ly/2MngQbe.

Vehicles take a beating during firefighting training session

Vandals at the Ashcroft public works yard? Anyone driving past on the weekend of Sept. 7 might have thought so, as they witnessed several people enthusiastically attacking several vehicles, but it was actually a training exercise put on by the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department.

The training session was designed to teach firefighters about the ins and outs of vehicle extrication, and educate them about the challenges posed by modern vehicles such as electric cars. Ashcroft Fire Chief Josh White said it was interesting to learn that it takes up to 3,500 gallons of water to put out a fire involving an electric car. “Our fleet holds 4,000 gallons, so it takes a lot more water to put out an EV fire than with a regular vehicle.” Read more at http://bit.ly/35QEzrP.

Investigation into Elephant Hill wildfire concludes

RCMP announced that they had completed their investigation into the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire, which destroyed hundreds of buildings, forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes, and burned 182,000 hectares. The findings have been forwarded to the BC Prosecution Service to see what, if any, charges are appropriate.

Early in the investigation it was stated that the fire was human-caused, and that railway activity had been ruled out as a cause. Read more at http://bit.ly/2PT6IJn.

HUB Online Network finding its feet

A new community news channel that was announced by the Ashcroft HUB in March is now up and running, finding its feet and documenting the region.

The HUB Online Network (HON) aims to be part website and part YouTube, featuring videos about local events, people, and organizations in the Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Ashcroft Band, Bonaparte Band, Clinton, Loon Lake, Spences Bridge, Lytton, and Lillooet regions. While the HON will be chasing stories, they welcome anyone who approaches them with story ideas. Read more at http://bit.ly/2PSbd79.

Ditch Daylight Saving Time

A record number of British Columbians took part in a provincial government survey asking their thoughts on whether to stay with the current spring ahead/fall back system, or settle on one permanent time zone for the province, and the response was overwhelming: one year-round time zone. However, before that happens, Premier John Horgan said that Washington, Oregon, and California would also have to make the switch. Read more at http://bit.ly/379Ye6B.

Steelhead Caucus tour

Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart, BC Liberal Party Caucus chair, led a Steelhead Caucus tour through the region in mid-September, to highlight the plight of the Thompson River Steelhead and the threats they face, including damage to the Bonaparte fishway that prevents them getting upstream to their spawning grounds, gillnetting, bycatch, and climate change. Read more at http://bit.ly/2EPjUbM.

First responders mosaic unveiled

There was a good deal of emotion on display when a glass mosaic honouring first responders was unveiled outside the Ashcroft fire hall on Sept. 22. The mosaic was the brainchild of a local RCMP member who wanted to design and create a glass mosaic to commemorate local first responders and the way they came together during and after the tragic events in the area in 2017.

The artwork, called “Stronger Together”, was designed and created by local first responders from the Ashcroft and Cache Creek fire departments, Ashcroft RCMP, Emergency Support Services, and the BC Ambulance Service under the guidance of glass mosaic artist Marina Papais and her husband, architect Daniel Collett, with financial support from the Village of Ashcroft. Read more at http://bit.ly/2sSHx0t.

Climate action march attracts young and old

A climate action march in Ashcroft on Sept. 27 attracted more than 100 people of all ages, who walked through downtown Ashcroft holding hands, singing songs, and carrying signs in an attempt to draw attention to the need to act now on climate change. One sign noted “There is no Planet B”, while another read “The planet and the people before profit”. Read more at http://bit.ly/371gM8Q.

Ashcroft student gets inside look at politics

Vivian McLean—a Grade 12 student at Desert Sands Community School—got a behind the scenes look at local government when she accompanied members of Ashcroft council and CAO Anne Yanciw to the Union of BC Municipalities convention and AGM in Vancouver at the end of September.

The opportunity came courtesy of the Southern Interior Local Government Association, which has been sponsoring students from member communities to attend UBCM since 2015. Ashcroft council nominated McLean, who was one of four students chosen to participate. She attended minister meetings, plenary sessions, workshops, and forums, and had a meeting and lunch with Premier John Horgan. Read more at http://bit.ly/377L3D9.


New mosaic honours Ashcroft’s Japanese-Canadians

On Oct. 5, more than 200 people—including Japanese Consul General Takashi Hatori and his wife Yuju—gathered in Ashcroft to witness the unveiling of a dramatic glass mosaic celebrating and honouring Ashcroft’s Japanese-Canadian residents and heritage.

The mosaic—called “Kan Jo”, which translates to “Forgiveness Without Resentment”—was created by glass mosaic artist Marina Papais and her husband Daniel Collett, with assistance from several local residents. It commemorates the experience of Japanese-Canadians who were forcibly removed from their homes and resettled in camps during WW II.

On the same day, there was also recognition of the glass mosaic “Sister City Synergy”, which has been on the side of the Ashcroft Library building for two years, and celebrates Ashcroft’s relationship with its Japanese sister city, Bifuka. The final stop was at the Harmony Bell project, where a bench with Japanese and English words was unveiled. Read more at http://bit.ly/399IbXV.

Honour Ranch opens near Ashcroft

In the afternoon of Oct. 5, more than 300 people assembled at the Honour Ranch, located on a beautiful property 12km southeast of Ashcroft, for the opening of the facility, which will be a place of recovery and renewal for Canadian Armed Forces personnel, first responders, veterans, and their families. The site’s 120 tranquil and secluded acres will provide a peaceful space, support, and facilities for people to cope with operational stress injuries such as PTSD.

The facility is operated by the Honour House Society in New Westminster. Honour House Society founder and president Allan De Genova was overcome with emotion as he spoke about the facility. “We’re going to save lots of lives right here. I just know we will, with the support people are going to give.” Read more at http://bit.ly/2ENErxx.

Clemes Hall renovations

At the Spences Bridge Community Club’s AGM on Oct. 9, attendees were able to admire the spectacular job Paul Miller has done with renovations to the historic building, creating a light, warm, and welcoming feel. There is also a new outside gazebo, with a picnic table, benches, and a glass mosaic. Read more at http://bit.ly/2EMtITV.

Frustration at Interior Health meeting

Representatives from Interior Health (IH) were in Ashcroft on Oct. 18, and about 150 area residents turned out to voice their frustration at issues such as unexpected closures of the emergency department (ED) at the Ashcroft Hospital earlier this year, lack of health care professionals, lack of services, and more.

The IH representatives stressed that there were no plans to close the hospital and that they had worked hard to stabilize the ED situation. They also added that recruitment of physicians and nurses for the community was a priority, and noted the creation of a health round table earlier in the year which was bringing together IH staff, local government representatives, health care personnel, community spokespeople, and more from throughout the area to address health care issues in the region. Read more at http://bit.ly/2ZqDIMk.

Cache Creek council looks at Quartz Road bridge

At its meeting of Oct. 25, Cache Creek council approved a motion to apply for $750,000 in funding to aid in the construction of a bridge on Quartz Road where it passes over Cache Creek, to replace the undersized culvert at the site which has caused flooding issues over the last few years.

The overall cost of the project is estimated at $1.5 million, of which $750,000 has already been received from the 2018 UBCM CEPF Structural Flood Mitigation Program. Read more at http://bit.ly/34PD782.


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Ashcroft resident Martin Block with the 2018 Camaro he won with a ticket for the Kamloops District Crime Stoppers raffle car which he purchased at Graffiti Days in June. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

essica Clement (left) and Gareth Smart of the HUB Online Network in their studio. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

(from l) Artist Marina Papais with Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden, AVFD Aaptain Nancy Duchaine, and AVFD Fire Chief Josh White stand beside the new first rsponders mosaic in Ashcroft. (Photo credit: Raven Nyman)

This year’s SILGA students at UBCM with B.C. Premier John Horgan. (from left) Candace Taron (Vernon), Zachary Naish (Salmon Arm), Premier John Horgan, Vivian McLean (Ashcroft), and Emma Brennan (Salmon Arm). (Photo credit: Submitted)

Japanese Consul General Takashi Hatori (second from left), his wife Yuju Hatori (left), Daniel Collett, and Marina Papais in front of the ‘Kan Jo’ mosaic. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

(from l) Yuju Hatori, Japanese Consul General Takashi Hatori, MLA Jackie Tegart, and Bishop Barbara Andrews. (Photo credit: Christopher Roden)

Clemes Hall in Spences Bridge has benefited from some recen upgrades, lovingly carried out this year by Paul Miller. (Photo credit: Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan)

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