Workers install the second switch in the Ashcroft Terminal yard in October

Workers install the second switch in the Ashcroft Terminal yard in October

2013 Review: July to September

Good news on the industrial front as Constantia Mines announce their plans for 16 Mile site and Ashcroft Terminal builds new infrastructure.

  • Jan. 2, 2014 4:00 p.m.


CC drowning victim identified

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of a man whose body was recovered from Seton Lake near Lillooet on July 6 as Jean Claude Guye-Vuilleme, 72, a long time resident of Cache Creek.

Mr. Guye-Vuilleme was witnessed by other users of the recreation area to walk into the water at Seton Beach on Seton Lake shortly after 2 p.m. on July 6. Shortly afterward, bystanders rescued him from the lake. He was transported by ambulance to hospital in Lillooet, but could not be revived.


First Welless Festival sizzles

Tables and stages lined Railway Avenue July 19-21 as a big assortment of activities, events, entertainment and vendors heralded Ashcroft’s first annual Wellness Festival.

Temperatures sizzled, but everyone wiped off the sweat or jumped through the many public water sprinklers along the route and kept going, proclaiming the event a success in every way.


Lytton man killed by train

A 33 year old Lytton man is dead after being hit by a CN train on July 20.

RCMP say the 33-year-old was walking along the railway system near Lytton with a group of friends when he was struck around 8:45 am.

First responders also attended, but the man could not be saved.


Cache Creek runner First in Kamloops

Cache Creek’s Ryan Day made it two for two when he won the second ever Kamloops Marathon. Day won the inaugural race in 2012, and was the first male across the finish line this year, in a time of two hours, 42 minutes, and 19.9 seconds.

A total of 252 athletes took part in this year’s marathon and half marathon on July 26-27. For the first time, the Kamloops full marathon acted as a qualifier for the prestigious Boston Marathon.


Songs of the Land breaks a century of silence

In Lytton on July 29, the Nlakap’amux people opened up a treasure trove of songs and stories recorded a century ago on wax cylinders. More than 60 people gathered to take part in The Songs of the Land project, which has been several years in the making.

“This is a huge step but it is only the beginning,” said Kevin Loring, Artistic Director of the Savage Society. “These songs and stories were preserved on wax cylinder recordings so that we could have them today.”

Anthropologist James Teit recorded the Nlaka’pamux songs and stories a century ago. Originally from the Shetland Islands in the U.K., Teit moved to B.C. in 1884. He married Susanna Lucy Antko, a Nlaka’pamux woman, and became immersed in First Nations culture.

From 1897 until 1921, Teit recorded hundreds of Native songs on wax cylinders. The Edison wax cylinder machine he used was state-of-the-art at the time. The Nlaka’pamux songs and stories he captured give an intimate view of this ancient and vibrant culture. They include a lullaby, a bear song sung to twins, a mourning song, a shaman’s song, and stick-game songs. The main singers were four women: one was Lucy Antko, Teit’s own wife. The fact these women sang sacred and personal songs in the presence of a non-native man is testament to the trust they had in Teit. Much of this work is today part of the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. These cylinders and their accompanying field notes are little known, despite their great value.

Loring obtained the recordings and digitized them. He also assembled an artistic team and started organizing a community consultation to discuss how best to make use of this treasure trove of Nlaka’pamux songs, stories, prayers, and ceremonies.



Ashcroft hosts Japanese visitors

The Village of Ashcroft welcomed a delegation from its sister city of Bifuka in Japan last weekend. The nine visitors, led by Bifuka Mayor Nobuo Yamaguchi, were treated to a full array of events during their visit.

During their stay, Mr. Kazuhiko Nakagi worked on the mural in the Japanese garden in the Heritage Place Park on Railway. Despite having a protective coating, the mural was showing signs of wear. Mr. Nakagi – one of the artists responsible for its creation nearly 15 years ago – was here to perform some restoration work. Connoisseurs of the mural will notice a few changes and additions to its foliage and colouring.

This year marks the 19th anniversary of the twinning of Ashcroft with Bifuka. For next year’s 20th anniversary the Village is hoping to send a large delegation to Bifuka. Members of the community are encouraged to take part.


Plane crash near Cache Creek claims young pilot

16-year-old student pilot Lorne Perrault, a student at St. Ann’s Academy in Kamloops, was killed when his  single-prop 172 Cessna crashed in the hills near Cache Creek on Aug. 7.

Perrault was training for his pilot’s licence and had almost 100 hours of flying experience. He took off from Kamloops Airport for what was supposed to be a two-hour solo flight on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 6, performing exercises in the area near Kamloops Lake.


Ashcroft elects Lambert

Doreen Lambert has been elected as Councillor for the Village of Ashcroft in a by-election held on Aug. 10.

Lambert (144 votes) was one of three candidates for the position, which was left vacant when Jackie Tegart resigned following her provincial election win in May. The other two candidates were Jessica Clement (128) and Alf Trill (96).


Health Care Auxiliary celebrates 100 years

The Ashcroft & District Health Care Auxiliary begins its second century of operation. It was founded on Aug. 14 1913, days after the new Lady Minto Hospital had opened in Ashcroft.

The Aug. 22 1913 issue of the Ashcroft Journal reported: “Ladies Auxiliary Formed: First Annual Meeting Held In Schoolhouse”. It said:

“A meeting of the greater part of those ladies interested met in the schoolhouse on the afternoon of the 14th inst., and formed a Ladies’ Auxiliary in connection with the Ashcroft and District General Hospital. The meeting was called to order at about 3:30 p.m. . . . Many matters of interest to the hospital were discussed, and it was decided that meetings would be held monthly on the second Thursday of each month. . . . We trust that the good work thus so pleasantly and unanimously begun will continue throughout the existence of the Lady Minto Hospital. Seventeen members have joined the Aid, and $1.00 is the membership fee.”

One of the ADHCA’s first fundraising events was a dance in 1913, which brought in $150 (approximately $3500 today) to support the hospital.


New change in ridings take Strahl out of area

Conservative MP Mark Strahl will be seeking re-election in the riding of Chilliwack-Hope in the next federal election.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia released their final report and maps on Aug. 21. The report adjusts riding boundaries because of population changes and will add six new federal seats to British Columbia’s total at the next election as a result of the Conservative government’s Fair Representation Act.


Ashcroft sewage treatment plant upgrade finished

The Village of Ashcroft completed sewage treatment plant upgrades with a $400,000 grant from the Provincial Towns for Tomorrow program and a $300,000 contribution from the federal Gas Tax Fund.

The plant services more than 800 properties and treats over 875,000 litres of effluent a day. Newer, more efficient equipment will help the Village save on energy costs, improve the reliability of the plant, and reduce the risk of harm to the local ecosystem.

“This upgrade makes the plant more efficient by being able to adjust itself down when demands are less, saving money on operations,” said Andy Anderson, Mayor of Ashcroft. “This upgrade will also extend the life of the plant. Thanks to a great job by the staff for putting this all together for the benefit of every Ashcroft resident.”


Ashcroft wary of new provincial recycling plan

At the Aug. 26 Council meeting, councillors voted to tell Multi Material BC that it is interested in considering their financial incentives, however it is unable to make a final decision until more information is forthcoming.

“It’s not viable for Ashcroft,” said Mayor Andy Anderson. “There are far too many things out of our control.”

Ashcroft is not the only municipality viewing the new program with caution.



Mine exploration goes ahead near 16 Mile

Constantia Resources Ltd. is expecting to move one of possibly three drilling units onto its property near 16 Mile by the end of this month.

“It’s good news from our perspective,” said Myke Clark, Sr. Manager – Stakeholder Affairs. “We’ve nailed down financing and are ready to move full steam ahead with the development,” he told Cache Creek Council at their Sept. 9 meeting.

Constantia has been working in the area for the past two years after buying up several pieces of property in the area, including the old Ferguson farm.


New home for Peoples

People’s Drug Mart in Ashcroft celebrated their new store location last week into the old Village Mall across the street from the Central Cafe. Mayor Andy Anderson and MLA Jackie Tegart congratulated owner Victor Ikari, manager Irene Trueman and their staff on the move, which has expanded their floor space.


Trustees accept school closure recommendations

School District 74 trustees accepted the recommendations by staff to  close the elementary school buildings in Ashcroft and Lytton and create a K-12 school in the existing high schools.

“We would like to see Ashcroft Elementary stay open,” said Juanita Little, president of AES Parent Advisory Committee, addressing the trustees before they discussed the recommendations at their Sept. 17 open meeting. “If that isn’t possible, we are ready to move forward and look at the K-12 option.”

The recommendations were contained in a report written after last year’s Community Conversations which Gold Trail conducted around the region.

While Ashcroft Elementary’s enrolment is projected to increase slightly next year,  it needs $5.7 million in renovations to bring it to modern standards. And while the high school’s enrolment is projected to decrease again, it has sufficient space to accommodate all Ashcroft students as it is currently operating at less than 20 per cent capacity.


Derelict building in Cache Creek given deadline

The Oasis Plaza in Cache Creek will either be brought up to standards or action will be taken, Council decided at its Sept 23 meeting.

Council decided after reviewing a report from outgoing administrator Leslie Lloyd to issue the owner of the empty  Oasis Plaza – the storefronts and apartments to the south of the Oasis Hotel – with an order to give the Village access to the building by Oct. 23 in order to carry out an inspection.

If consent is not given by that date, the Village will apply to the court for an entry warrant to conduct that assessment.

Lloyd wrote in her report: “The building has been vacant for approximately three years and is a constant source of complaints from residents and from neighbouring property owners with concerns related to the upkeep of the property and escalating deterioration of the building, as well as health and safety concerns and potential fire hazard as a result of its current condition and abandoned nature.”

The deadline for the building’s owner came and went without a satisfactory reply.

“I believe our best course of action is through the courts,” said Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta after the Oct. 24 Council meeting. He would not comment on it further.


Municipal waste may include carcasses at new landfill

The new Cache Creek Landfill Extension should have an Operating Certificate by next Spring, says Mike Budzik of Belkorp Environmental Services.

He was updating Cache Creek Council on the status of the certificate at the Sept. 23 Council meeting.

They’ve requested the inclusion of slaughterhouse waste – an item that was never allowed under municipal solid waste definitions in the past.

“The province requries areas to dispose of this sort of waste,” replied Mayor John Ranta. “We feel that we have the right type of facility to do that.”

Ranta noted that disposal of such material at the Landfill will have to go through an appropriate permitting process with the CFIA.

Budzig said the carcasses will be broken down and digested into a sludge material before it is deposited in the landfill.