Two killed in Kingsway Corner accident
A three vehicle collision took the lives of two drivers on Hwy 1 just north of Spences Bridge, when a commercial B train tractor unit overturned and slid into the oncoming lane.
At around 11:30 am on May 7, Ashcroft RCMP, Ashcroft Fire Dept. and BC Ambulance Services attended to the collision at Kingsway Corner. Traffic investigators and the local fire department closed the highway until approximately 7:30 pm as a result.
Initial findings indicate that a southbound Super B loaded with hay lost control in a moderate curve, tipped onto its side and slid across the centerline. The cargo and trailers hit two northbound passenger vehicles, pushing them into the roadside concrete no post barrier. One vehicle went over the no post and rolled down the side the hill, bursting into flames.
Weather and road conditions at the time of the crash were reported to be dry and warm with partially cloudy skies. Driver action and speed are suspected to be possible causal factors in the collision.
Crews respond to Pavilion Lake fire
A fire near Pavilion Lake, 25 km northeast of Lillooet, was reported shortly after 1 pm on May 12. Fourteen ground personnel supported by helicopters and air tankers responded. As of Saturday night, the fire was estimated to be approximately 60 hectares in size and was 30 to 40 per cent contained. An evacuation alert is in effect for the Marble Canyon Indian Reserve; the adjacent portion of Highway 99 has also been affected.
On Friday evening crews responded to a wildfire near Gold Bridge, approximately 50 km northwest of Lillooet. The wildfire grew to 20 hectares in size and is now 100 per cent contained. Fifteen firefighters and air support were dispatched to the incident.
Both wildfires are believed to be human-caused and will be under further investigation. Wildfire Management Branch would like to remind the public to be extra vigilant especially as warm, dry weather increases wildfire risk.
Fields stores saved by new owner
FHC Holdings Ltd. has purchased 57 Fields stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, and plans to remain a strong member of each of these communities for many years to come.
“Fields has been an integral part of many communities across Western Canada for many years,” says FHC President, Jason McDougall. “Our team is very excited at the prospect of serving the 57 communities in which it has acquired stores, and will work to ensure people continue to be able to get what they need in their local communities.”
Highland Valley expands operations
Highland Valley Copper is slated to add hundreds of employees to its workforce after a massive optimization project expected until at least 2026.
The mine already employs approximately 900 people, with nearly half of them living in Kamloops.
With the Highland Valley Copper Mill Optimization project, copper recovery is expected to increase by two per cent and mill output to increase by 10 per cent.
Fluor Corporation on May 3 was awarded a contract from Teck (Highland Valley Copper’s mother company) to provide procurement, engineering and construction management.
Fluor is expected to add a new flotation building including 300 cubic meter tank cells. The existing grinding circuit, tailings and water supply system are expected to be upgraded.
Highland operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Increased bus costs put towns on alert
Cache Creek has written to its BC Transit partners, Ashcroft and Clinton, telling them that it will drop out of the service at the end of 2012 unless more funding partners can be found.
Council made the decision at its May 14 meeting after finding out that replacements for the two buses will double the cost of the service, which is already approximately $15,000 annually. When the service began in 2008, it was to cost each of the three municipalities just under $10,000 per year.
AIB membership list ordered revised
Ashcroft Indian Band’s June 8 election has been put on hold after a federal judged ordered Chief and Council to review and revise the membership list and process in the next six months.
On May 16, Justice Richard Mosley found that the Band had not followed proper procedures to maintain the membership list, and that the Dept. if Indian and Northern Affairs Canada refused to stop the 2010 elections even though it knew about the problem.
Speed limit raised on Hwy 1
The speed limit on the 90 kph parts of Hwy 1 between Cache Creek and Kamloops were raised to 100 kph on May 23, it was pointed out by Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta at the May 28 Council meeting.
Cache Creek has been lobbying for years to have the speed limit changed, and has gathered letters of support from the Village of Ashcroft, the Skeetchestn Indian Band and the TNRD. Their request has been turned down int he past, but this time it was approved.
Reduction in ER hours proposed
Interior Health representatives Jennifer Thur and Bryan Redford met with Ashcroft Council on May 28 to talk about issues relating to the Ashcroft hospital, including the Rural Emergency Enhancement Fund (REEF), an provincial government program which provides up to $200,000 annually for rural hospitals.
Many people in Ashcroft and Cache Creek were upset recently when it was discovered that the local hospital was one of the very few that had not received REEF Funds.
“The issue is around posted hours,” said Community Director Bryan Redford. “That is really THE issue – what are the posted hours as it relates to this process (of applying for the grant).”
REEF is a quarterly grant that can be used by physicians to attract locums, update ER equipment, etc., but the Emergency Room must remain open during its posted hours. Ashcroft ER’s posted hours are 24 hours, seven days a week.
There is no grant for ERs with closures, said Thur, Area Manager for Health Services.
The grant, she said, would be extremely helpful in getting more locums, because the two physicians can’t cover 24/7 by themselves.
“We’re trying now to figure out what those posted hours will look like,” said Thur.
“Tuesday, Thursday and every other weekend seems to be our pattern,” she said, “but we’ll continue to work with the doctors to have it open more often.”
“I need to hear that if hours change, it won’t affect staffing or funding,” said Coun. Jackie Tegart.
Redford said that it would not.
Cache Creek applies for $5.5 million in grants
Cache Creek Council is once again looking for road reconstruction funding for four of its residential streets. The cost is estimated at $4.5 million.
At its May 28 meeting, Council agreed to apply for UBCM Capital Projects funding under the Gas Tax Agreement Strategic Priorities Fund to finance the design and reconstruction.
The Village can only submit two applications for capital funding. If successful, the grants will contribute up to 100 per cent of the project cost. Council applied for funding under a different program in 2008 but the application was turned down.
Council’s motion originally included only SunValley Cres., Parke Rd. and Maclean Cres. at a cost of $2.662,369, but Old Cariboo Rd. was added before Council voted, bringing the total to $4,452,258.
The road reconstruction includes replacement of water services and storm sewers where required, and installation of pavement, curb, gutter and sidewalks.
The second application is for $928,500 for the “design and construction of walking and bicycling trails and trail ameneties that support non-vehicular modes of transportation that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The projects are part of the Village’s Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan which was adopted in principle earlier in the meeting, with a revised budget.
Ashcroft phases out open burning
Ashcroft Council has given notice that 2012 will be the last year for open burning in Ashcroft. The issue will be formally discussed at the June 11 Council meeting.
Council has heard from citizens in past years who have asked them to ban burning, but this year Council decided to act.
Forty-six per cent of BC municipalities have a complete burning ban said Administrator Michelle Allen when asked by councillors.
Clinton applies for Community Forest license
The Village of Clinton has been invited to apply for a community forest.
Harvesting revenue from a community forest provides a source of revenue that can support locally determined objectives and interests such as infrastructure upgrades, trail building, and grants to groups.
The committee, comprised of Daniela Dyck, Village of Clinton Administrator Heidi Frank, Woodlot Manager Robin Fennell, Councillor Wayne Marchant and Registered Professional Forester Steve Law has been working for some time on the proposal.
The proposed Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) for the Community Forest Licence is 20,000m3 per year, the Clinton Creek Watershed is within the proposed boundary of the Community Forest Area which will also factor in protection and harvesting of the Clinton Creek watershed.
Consul General of Japan visits Ashcroft
The Consul General of Japan, Mr. Hideki Ito visited Ashcroft and Kamloops on June 18 and 19, with the Consul of Cultural Affairs, Mr. Tetsuya Isono.
A dinner reception was held in Kamloops at the Holiday Inn on Monday night with about 14 representatives from Kamloops including Mayor Peter Milobar, and eight from Ashcroft: Mayor Andy Anderson, Coun. Helen Kormendy and her husband, Past Mayor Andy Kormendy, Coun. Alice Durksen and her husband Dave, Akio and Hiroko Kanamaru and their daughter, Yoriko Susanj.
Cache Creek Library construction begins next month
Work on the TNRD’s new 1,600 square foot library will begin by the end of July and be finished by March 2013.
Architect Kevin Ryan pointed out the library will have a larger computer area than normal to reflect that libraries are becoming more of a drop in centre these days as opposed to a place to just check out books. The design is “Very open, very airy, very bright,” he said.
McAbee now a heritage site
The McAbee Fossil Beds 13 km east of Cache Creek are closed to all but government-approved tours until a Conservation Management Plan is finished, hopefully by next Spring.
Last week, the fossil beds were formally designated as a Heritage Site by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
In March, the provincial government issued a Temporary Protection Order on the site to cease access and operations at the site while its designation as a heritage site was being completed.
Hundreds gather to celebrate historic Maiden Creek Ranch
More than 300 descendants of Edward and Elizabeth Dougherty gathered to enjoy an amazing time of renewal, history, and fun at the historic Maiden Creek Ranch, located about halfway between Cache Creek and Clinton on the west side of Hwy. 97.
Founded in 1862 by Edward Dougherty, the Maiden Creek Ranch is believed to be one of the oldest continuously operating cow/calf ranches in the province.
It’s managed at this time by a fourth generation descendant, Raymond Dougherty, along with his partner Jody.
Descendants of seven generations of Doughertys in Canada came from all over on the weekend of July 27-29.
2012 Bonaparte Pow Wow concelled
The Bonaparte Indian Band’s annual Pow Wow, usually held at Historic Hat Creek Ranch in mid-August, will not be taking place this year.
Organizers said that cash prizes at last year’s Pow Wow meant there were no funds available to stage the event this year.
Suspect charged in Lytton murder
The Provincial Unsolved Homicide Unit arrested a man on Aug. 15 in relation to the 2000 death of 48 year old Sandy Charlie near Lytton. Charlie’s remains were discovered in 2011 in a concealed makeshift grave.
William Robert Smith, 45, was arrested without incident in Langley, BC and has been charged with the manslaughter of Sandy Charlie. He is also charged with interference with a dead body.
Johannsson brings home silver medal
Ashcroft sea cadet Gabriele Johannsson had a summer this year more special than others. Not only did she compete in this year’s Summer Games, but she returned with a silver medal in Sailing.
Johannsson says all of her sailing opportunities have come through her involvement with 347 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Avenger in Ashcroft.
Senior athletes win big at Games
The Ashcroft/Cache Creek contingent of athletes brought home a slew of medals at the Aug. 21-25 Senior Games in Burnaby.
Isabel McGrath and Linda Holland won gold in Bridge; Ina Gory won three bronze medals in Cycling; Gordon Daily won silver in Golf, Darlene Daily won a gold medal in golf and David Ogilvie won a bronze in golf; Muriel Scallon won gold in horseshoes.