Caution urged in areas burned by wildfires
The provincial government urged those heading to the back country to be aware of possible hazards in the wake of another disastrous year of wildfires. In areas that have been severely burned, post-wildfire risks may last for two years or more, and the increased risk of floods or debris flows in severely burned areas may persist much longer.
Hazards to watch out for included danger trees (fire-damaged trees that have become unstable and could fall over without warning); ash pits, which may be hard to detect; unstable soils and terrain; increased potential for landslides or rock falls; damaged trails or irregular trail surfaces; increased water runoff, which could lead to flooding or debris flows; and damaged fencing, which could allow livestock to enter roadways. Read more at http://bit.ly/2EDNx10
Local athletes win at 55+ BC Games
Seven people from the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area competed at the 55+ BC Games in the Kimberley/Cranbrook area in mid-September, and they came home with four silver medals and some good memories.
The medals came from the local curling teams of Dwight and Barb Hodder and Paul and Janet Quesnel. It was the second games in a row the two curling couples made it to the finals, but came up a little short. http://bit.ly/2CwihiX
New playground goes up at Cache Creek Elementary
More than 30 local volunteers answered the call to assist with the installation of new playground equipment at Cache Creek Elementary School in early October. The call for volunteers came after the school won $100,000 from the BCAA Play Here initiative in June, to go towards a new playground.
The new playground was unveiled to students and the community on Monday, Oct. 15. CCES principal Brooke Haller noted that the playground would be open to the public during after school hours and when school is not in session.
“That park hasn’t been used very much by the public, but I think that will change now,” she said. “People will be bringing their kids to play on the equipment after school.”
She added that it was exciting for everyone who was there to see the playground equipment going up.
“Throughout the day, people were coming to check it out and they were excited. We had some kids peering down from the top of the hill, so everybody is excited.” http://bit.ly/2SgIc3z
Smile Cookie campaign a success
The Tim Hortons at the Ashcroft Travel Centre made the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department the beneficiary of this year’s Smile Cookie campaign, and the event was a huge success.
It was the second year the franchise has participated in the campaign, which sees the $1 for every cookie sold go to a local cause. Last year they sold 540 cookies, and this year store manager Damian Couture ordered 1,400 cookies, anticipating that the AVFD would be a popular cause.
“I was expecting it to be better than last year, but not like this,” he said. “Because I knew it was the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department, I knew they would be heavily involved and there was definitely going to be an increase in sales.”
In the end, 3,123 cookies were sold. There was an anonymous donation, which went through one of the firefighters, of $500. “So we did 500 cookies overnight when the store was closed,” said Couture. “They picked up the order the next day and [the cookies] were donated to the Food Bank.”
Couture noted the campaign was a lot of extra work for the staff, especially the bakers, but the whole staff embraced it. “I was very impressed with the team and how they ended up doing twice the work. Just because it’s for a good cause, they were very enthusiastic about it.” http://bit.ly/2V6BsqJ
Cache Creek votes to investigate returning to transit system
At its Oct. 9 regular meeting, Village of Cache Creek council unanimously passed a resolution to enter into negotiations with the Village of Ashcroft and the local BC Transit committee to rejoin the local BC Transit Service.
The bus travels between Clinton, Ashcroft, Thompson-Nicola Regional District Area “I”, and Kamloops on Mondays. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the bus goes from Ashcroft to Clinton and back. It is available in Ashcroft to transport people around town, then goes back up to Clinton in the afternoon.
Cache Creek was part of the system until 2013, when it pulled out for a number of reasons. However, a recent survey of Cache Creek seniors indicated that transit was one of the top three concerns for residents. http://bit.ly/2GBJvsG
Municipal election results
Local elections on Oct. 20 saw new mayors elected in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton, while Thompson-Nicola Regional Directors Sally Watson (Area “E”) and Steve Rice (Area “I”) were re-elected.
In Ashcroft, Barbara Roden—a councillor there since 2014—became the Village’s first female mayor. Susan Swan—a councillor in Clinton since 2011—was elected mayor by one vote over former mayor Roland Stanke, in a result that went to a recount. In Cache Creek, political newcomer Santo Talarico defeated John Ranta, who had been mayor there for 28 years.
Cache Creek saw two incumbent councillors returned, with one newcomer and one former councillor also elected. One incumbent was returned in Clinton, with three new councillors elected. All four of the councillors elected in Ashcroft will be serving their first term.
To read interviews with the Area “E” and “I” directors, go to http://bit.ly/2QOCSI8. For an interview with new Ashcroft mayor Barbara Roden, go to http://bit.ly/2EKtuyC. For interviews with the new Ashcroft councillors, go to http://bit.ly/2AdRoPr.
Support grows for regional Chamber of Commerce
The need for a regional Chamber of Commerce was something that Community Futures Sun Country general manager Debra Arnott said she was hearing about a lot from small busineses following the 2017 wildfire. Community Futures took the lead and organized meetings in Ashcroft and Cache Creek to discuss options. Both were smashing successes, and the reaction at both meetings was much the same.
“It was extremely positive,” said Arnott. “Obviously people are ready to move forward with a regional Chamber of Commerce.” Arnott said the District of Logan Lake had also approached her about getting some information. Community Futures had included Clinton in all of the emails, Arnott noted, adding she was just awaiting an invitation.
“Hopefully, they will give me a call and say they are interested in participating.” http://bit.ly/2V1sJX7
Another award for The Journal
Following news in July that the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal and the 100 Mile House Free Press had won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award in the Best Feature Series category (4,000 to 12,499 circulation class) for last year’s Fire Fight special issue on the 2017 wildfires, came news that the papers and reporters Max Winkelman, Tara Sprickerhoff, and Barbara Roden had won the 2018 Jack Webster Award for Community Reporting for Fire Fight.
Winkelman and Sprickerhoff of the 100 Mile Free Press, and Roden from the Journal, received the award at a ceremony in Vancouver on Oct. 29. The Webster Awards are given annually in honour of legendary B.C. journalist Jack Webster, to the best in British Columbia journalism in a variety of categories. http://bit.ly/2GD9BLX
Company hopes to fill Greyhound gap
Merritt Shuttle Bus Service Ltd. announced that it planned to step forward to fill some of the transportation gaps in the region left after Greyhound Canada ceased all Western Canada routes on Oct. 31.
The company announced it planned thrice-weekly services (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) from Merritt to Spences Bridge and up the Highway 1/97 corridor to Prince George. On the same days, it would also be operating a service from Merritt to Spences Bridge and down the Fraser Canyon to Langley.
The company has been approved to operate inter-city bus service (by reservation only) through six routes in total. It also plans to run routes from Lower Nicola to Kamloops, from Kamloops to Highland Valley, from Merritt to Highland Valley, and from Merritt to Kelowna.
The buses will not have bathroom facilities, so rest and pick-up stops along the way will vary in length. The company is planning stops in Spences Bridge, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, and Quesnel on the trip north, and in Lytton, Boston Bar, Yale, and Hope on the trip south. http://bit.ly/2EJKogV
Random Acts of Kindness come to area
Gold Country Communities Society launched a new program: Random Acts of Kindness, designed to benefit businesses in the region. Until Feb. 28, 2019, GCCS staff and board members will be randomly surprising people at participating businesses by picking up their tab. This could mean paying for lunch, treating them to a special purchase, or buying attraction passes, and will happen randomly throughout the area.
Members of the public are also being invited to nominate someone in the community who already does random acts of kindness, who are then entered into a draw for $50 in certificates to be spent in participating businesses.
People can make nominations at www.exploregoldcountry.com/contest, and can also find the list of participating businesses there. Any business that wants to sign up can do so at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RAKGC. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. http://bit.ly/2rPaGG5
Federal Green Party leader to start new chapter of life with local man
In a Journal exclusive, federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, revealed that in spring 2019 she would be marrying longtime Ashcroft resident John Kidder.
Kidder and May called The Journal to reveal the news, which was soon picked up by media outlets across the country. Kidder — a retired technology entrepreneur who now operates a hops farm on his family’s Ashcroft property — was, in 1983, one of the founders of the Green Party of B.C., the first Green party in North America. He ran as a federal Liberal candidate in the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding in 2011 and as a provincial Green Party candidate in the Fraser-Nicola riding in the 2013 B.C. election.
That was when the pair met, and they immediately became friends. Kidder says he found May “charming in every way” when they first met. “I thought ‘What a lovely woman.’ When she drove away I knew we’d see each other again.” In Sept. 2018, they both attended the Green Party convention in Vancouver. “The sparks flew,” said Kidder, who proposed just over a month later. http://bit.ly/2Cs20vi
Phase 1 work starts at 10 Mile Slide
The province of B.C. announced that key stability work and road improvements would soon begin at 10 Mile Slide, as preparations continued toward a long-term solution on one of British Columbia’s most technically challenging slide sites. Ten Mile Slide is located within the Xaxli’p’s Fountain Indian Reserve boundary, approximately 17km northeast of Lillooet.
The area has experienced ongoing slide activity for several decades, severely affecting the Xaxli’p community, local businesses, the trucking and tourism industries, and the general public. A 50 per cent load restriction has been almost continuously in place since serious destabilization occurred in Sept. 2017, severely hampering tour bus traffic in the area. http://bit.ly/2VcOKlQ
High-speed internet to come to Clinton
People in Clinton learned they would soon enjoy the economic, social, and safety benefits of high-speed internet as a result of new or upgraded broadband infrastructure. Wayne Walch, Clinton Volunteer Fire Department chief, said “Broadband connectivity is essential to Clinton. As fire chief, I can attest to the need for reliable connectivity during emergency situations.”
Connecting British Columbia will provide $334,108 to install a fibre-optic network for 327 homes and businesses in Clinton. http://bit.ly/2Scp6eN
Recycling workshop answers questions
Andrew Roebbelen and Jamie Vieira of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District conducted a series of workshops in local communities about changes to the TNRD recycling program.
In addition to explaining why changes had to be made to the program, and what can and cannot be recycled (and why), they said that the TNRD is committed to building a new Eco-Depot and transfer station immediately adjacent to either Highway 97C or Highway 1 between Boston Flats and the Wastech site. The TNRD is in the process of acquiring a suitable piece of land, and hopes to have the facility open with the next 12 to 18 months. http://bit.ly/2PYzZio
Winning Aboriginal Enterprises team reunites after 29 years
Members of the Aboriginal Enterprises hockey team that captured the provincial Midget “A” championship in the 1989–90 season reunited in Ashcroft at the Beer Belly tournament on Dec. 7.
A special presentation was made to Leslie Edmonds, the owner of the team at the time. He lost everything—including his prized championship jacket—in the Elephant Hill wildfire in 2017. A former player donated his jacket, the appropriate embroidery was applied to it, and it was presented to Edmonds after one of the games.
While many of the players still live in or near Ashcroft, two of the players travelled from Nova Scotia and Florida respectively to take part in the reunion. http://bit.ly/2rUqVlm
Teck gives firefighters a happy Christmas
Teck Highland Valley Copper presented members of the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department with an early Christmas gift: four new pieces of equipment for the department’s primary engine, Engine 3. Teck provided the more than $13,000 needed to purchase the equipment.
Three of the pieces were on display at the annual Skate With Santa event on Dec. 11, with representatives from Teck on hand with the firefighters. http://bit.ly/2GD7oQw