Ashcroft RCMP Cst. Cort Hodges (pictured at centre) was one of three Ashcroft police officers who received the Award of Valour for their work helping people affected by mudlsides in the area in August 2018. (Photo credit: Submitted)

Year in Review part 5: Local RCMP members receive Awards of Valour

Plus proposed housing for Cache Creek, high-speed internet hits a bump in Clinton, and more


Ashcroft Indian Band celebrates new projects

A new six-unit seniors’ residence nearing completion on the Ashcroft Reserve was just one of several projects that Band Administrator Jodene Blain spoke with the Journal about. A roundhouse that will serve as a community meeting place, a new concession/washroom building for the softball diamonds, a fire pit, new greenhouses, and a community-designed and -created glass mosaic are among things that Band has been working on, and Blain stressed that they were not just for Ashcroft Band members: “We need to work on that ‘invisible line’ between Ashcroft and the reserve.’” Read more at

Smile Cookie campaign hits new heights

This year’s Smile Cookie campaign at the Tim Horton’s at the Esso Travel Centre near Ashcroft exceeded expectations so much that the Ashcroft and District Lions Club—which was raising funds to fit a young local man with new hearing aids—was in the pleasant position of having to decide what to do with the surplus.

In addition to surpassing the fundraising goal, the Esso Timmie’s was third in the Okanagan region in terms of number of cookies sold (6,100). In terms of Smile Cookies as a percentage of overall sales during the week-long campaign, it topped all franchises in the Okanagan region. Read more at

Ashcroft water treatment plant opens

After well over a decade in the making, Ashcroft’s new water treatment plant had its official opening on Nov. 19. Council and staff members past and present and members of the Village crew were on hand with representatives from Urban Systems and Maple Reinders to cut the ribbon on the new facility, with some 100 residents there to witness the event and take a tour of the new facility.

The project came in on time and under budget, and the Village plans to use leftover funds from the federal and provincial grant funding to purchase a backup generator for Pump Station #2 (the Mesa) and sleeves to enable the two pumps in the Thompson River to be removed from the river if they need to be worked on. Read more at

Previously unknown dinosaur species identified in B.C.

Almost 50 years after a geologist working in Northern B.C. found a mysterious claw, Dr. Victoria Arbour—the Royal B.C. Museum’s curator of paleontology—identified it as being from a previously unknown dinosaur species unique to the province.

The species has received the official name Ferrisaurus sustutensis, which means “the iron lizard from the Sustut River”, a reference to where the remains were found. However, Arbour had a more informal term for the creature she spent years working to identify, calling it simply “Buster”. Read more at

New Cache Creek-Ashcroft golf society proposed

A group of volunteers have started preliminary work on a society to bring new life to the former Semlin Valley golf course in Cache Creek. The society that formerly operated the site was dissolved in 2017, and the new group hopes to reach a lease agreement with the landowners and re-establish a formal non-profit to manage the golf course. Read more at

100 Mile House woman discharged from RIH “horrified” by lack of transport

A resident of 100 Mile House who was taken by ambulance to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops after her vehicle rolled over near Clinton on Nov. 15 had no complaints about her treatment at the hospital, until she says she was discharged to find her own way home.

“There is no way. I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused, because I have a concussion,” said Olivia Fletcher. “I’m on pain meds, no shoes, no clothes whatsoever. They want to send me out on the streets. I flat out said no.” Read more at

High speed internet in Clinton hits a roadblock

After receiving grant funding to install fibre optic high-speed internet in Clinton, the plans hit a roadblock when Falko Kadenbach of ABC Communications—which was to have provided the service—appeared before council on Nov. 13 to explain that required infrastructure upgrades meant that fibre optic was not an option at this time.

He added that there were alternatives, and presented Clinton council with the option of LTE as a solution, noting that it sets the current standard in wireless technology. Council said it would review the option at a future meeting. Read more at

Three Ashcroft RCMP members receive province’s highest police award

Ashcroft RCMP constables Cortney Hodges, Lee Taylor, and Nicholas Theoret (who is now stationed in Nakusp), and Central Interior Traffic Services Cst. Daniel Caston, received Awards of Valour at 38th annual Police Honours Night at Government House in Victoria.

The four men were recognized for their work on Aug. 11, 2018, when they rescued 12 motorists—including a young child—who were trapped by several mudslides along Highway 99 north of Cache Creek. They also helped six people who were trapped in their house by a mudslide. Read more at

Tribute paid to former Cache Creek mayor

More than 40 people were at the Cache Creek council meeting on Nov. 25 to pay tribute to former Cache Creek mayor John Ranta, who served in the position for 28 years between 1990 and 2018.

During that time Ranta spent eight years as chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, and was president of the Union of BC Municipalities from 1999–2000. Members of Cache Creek council, local government representatives, and members of the public spoke about Ranta’s contributions to his community and the region. Read more at


Clinton-area man faces first degree murder charge in 2018 homicide

Wyatt Lee Boffa, 29, was arrested and charged with first degree murder in the 2018 death of Jamie Baldwin, 43, at Deep Creek, just north of Williams Lake. Baldwin was discovered deceased on Dec. 11, 2018, and the death was considered suspicious.

Several weeks after the discovery, RCMP said that they were searching for Boffa, but he was not taken into custody until Dec. 6, 2019. Read more at

Santa Parade a huge success

The annual Santa Parade in Ashcroft on Dec. 6 attracted 16 floats, and hundreds of people lined Railway Avenue to watch the colourful display. Downtown businesses stayed open late and offered special shopping deals, and three lucky shoppers won “Ashcroft Bucks” to spend at local businesses. Read more at

Cache Creek approves zoning bylaw amendment for new development

At its meeting on Dec. 9, Cache Creek council heard from several residents who were there to attend a public hearing about proposed zoning amendments to a property at the east end of Stage Road and Woodburn Drive and express their views. Developers were seeking the rezoning to facilitate the construction of a 59-lot strata development on the site that would house modular homes.

Concerns were raised about an increase in traffic and noise, and there was also confusion as to whether the site would house mobile or modular homes. Mayor Santo Talarico said that unless the community embraced growth, it was heading toward losing its incorporation and becoming instead a community administered by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. Read more at

Help for rebuilding of historic Merritt-area church

Fundraising efforts to rebuild the historic Murray United Church near Merritt—which burned to the ground in January 2019—received a boost when an anonymous donor stepped forward with a donation of $50,000.

The donation came as the fundraising committee was on the verge of seeing if they could realistically meet their goal of $180,000; the amount estimated to rebuild the church, which was built in 1876. It was one of four area churches targeted by an arsonist in a two-and-a-half hour span on Jan. 10, but the only one destroyed. Read more at

CP Holiday Train attracts record crowd

Some 1,200 people were estimated to have been in Ashcroft to watch the CP Holiday Train roll into town on Dec. 15 and enjoy the show by musicians Terri Clark and Dallas Smith. CP presented a cheque for $5,500 to the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society food bank, and attendees donated more than $650 and more than 650 pounds of food. Read more at

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A new glass mosaic created by Band members and artist Marina Papais is one of several new projects undertaken by the Ashcroft Indian Band recently. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Sea Cadet Robert Belin (at centre behind cheque) with members of the Sea Cadet Corps, the Ashcroft and District Lions Club, and Tim Horton’s manager Damian Couture accepting funds raised during this year’s Smille Cookie campaign. (Photo credit: Submitted)

Ashcroft’s new water treatment plant had its grand opening in November. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

A group of volunteers is trying to get the Semlin Valley Golf Course in Cache Creek up and running again. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)

Longtime Cache Creek mayor John Ranta (standing at left) was honoured for his years of service to the community. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

A developer is looking to establish a 59-lot modular home strat complex in Cache Creek. (Photo credit: TRUE Land Surveying)

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