Ashcroft RCMP Const. Cort Hodges carries a child to safety after mudslides in early August.

Ashcroft RCMP Const. Cort Hodges carries a child to safety after mudslides in early August.

2018 in review: July and August mudslides cause havoc in the region, killing one

Greyhound closes all western routes, Steelhead fishery is cancelled, Cache Creek transit, and more

JULY

Greyhound cancels B.C. routes

Greyhound Canada said it would be ending its passenger bus and freight services in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and cancelling all but one route in B.C. The changes were slated to take place on Oct. 31, 2018. The move came after Greyhound had already cancelled several routes in B.C., including the Fraser Canyon service from Cache Creek to Hope.

“This decision is regretful and we sympathize with the fact that many small towns are going to lose service,” Greyhound Canada senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick said. “But simply put, the issue that we have seen is the routes in rural parts of Canada—specifically Western Canada—are just not sustainable anymore.”

Kendrick said 415 people would be out of work as a result of the decision, which he estimated would impact roughly two million consumers. The company blamed a 41 per cent decline in ridership since 2010, persistent competition from subsidized national and inter-regional passenger transportation services, the growth of new low-cost airlines, regulatory constraints, and the continued growth of car ownership. Read more at http://bit.ly/2ChxjZY.

Community Wellness Manager in place

Krista Billy, the United Way’s Community Wellness Manager for Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton, and region, said that one of her main goals was to help people who were suffering from mental health issues because of last year’s wildfires find the assistance they need. “We have some really great mental health services in the community, but a lot of people don’t know about them.”

Billy had been in the United Way position since April 2018, and said she immediately set about finding what mental health services were available locally and where the duplications and gaps were.

One of the things Billy was promoting was the Talk in Tough Times program: a free, confidential service available to anyone struggling with mental health issues who wants to talk. Advertising for the program had recently been updated to explicitly mention the effects of last year’s fires and the anxiety many would be feeling at the one-year anniversary mark.

To contact Billy, call (250) 457-1761. To speak with someone at Talk in Tough Times, call 1-877-427-4884. To contact Mental Health Services at the Ashcroft Hospital, call (250) 453-1940. For a listing of other mental health services available throughout the region, go to the BC211 website at http://www.bc211.ca/. http://bit.ly/2EyoEog

Cache Creek moves ahead with studies

The Village of Cache Creek received grants that would enable it to move forward on two projects, one of which dated back to 2013.

The Village received $15,000 from the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) to further explore one item—seniors’ housing—identified during an initial Age-Friendly Plan study (also funded by UBCM) that was carried out in late 2017/early 2018. The Village also received $10,000 in funding from the Rural Dividend Program to advance the Business Attraction and Expansion Strategy that was first discussed in 2013.

Maren Luciani, the principal/senior planner for Meraki Community Plannin, who has been involved with the Age-Friendly plan since 2017, said that “A seniors’ housing needs assessment was one of the priorities identified by community members. Now we’re reaching out to the 55+ community and asking them to complete a short survey regarding their housing needs and preferences in Cache Creek.” The second phase would also include looking at existing housing, identifying gaps, reviewing statistics, and looking for on-the-ground investment.

The Village’s Business Expansion and Attraction Strategy is intended to help develop the community, said Luciani. “It’s a long-term vision for the downtown. The intention is to work with stakeholders—community members, the business community—to develop a vision for the future and how to move forward.” http://bit.ly/2UOYBxV

Familiar face returns to Gold Country

A familiar face returned to Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS), which on July 16 welcomed Marcie Down as its new executive director. Down—who since 2015 had been working for the Village of Cache Creek as office administrator and in payroll—was with GCCS from 2011 to 2015, as office administrator and program coordinator for the geocaching program. It was Down who started work on phase two of the initiative, overseeing the second set of 72 caches which were unveiled in 2012.

Down said that when the position was posted, she had lots of people pestering her to take it. “They said ‘This job is you: you are Gold Country.’ It’s my passion, but I had security with the Village, so I had to weigh it. But [GCCS] is my happy place, and I love every aspect of it. I love networking and meeting people. I don’t think the focus of the society has changed [since I left], but there’ll be some reconnecting, finding out what’s coming up.”

She said that geocaching would remain important for the society as a focus. “It brings people to the area. There are people who come here just for the geocaching.” http://bit.ly/2S028Yp

Rolgear Manufacturing gets European patent

Rolgear Manufacturing, based in Ashcroft, received a European patent for the technology that Rob Suter developed for the firm’s ratcheting screwdrivers. The patent was another step forward for the small firm that produces more than 40 products at its building on Railway Avenue and ships them all over the world.

Suter said that of all the products Rolgear produces, the familiar multibit screwdrivers are the most popular. “The response from customers has been amazing, and the reviews are great. We plan to develop more products, and I’m hoping to expand our brand, make Rolgear more national, a known thing. I dream of walking into Canadian Tire and seeing our products. I’ve done it before with other products. It’s our path to the future.” http://bit.ly/2rCPGlP

Award for The Journal

The 100 Mile Free Press and Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal won a Canadian Community Newspaper Award (CCNA) in the Best Feature Series category in the 4,000 to 12,499 circulation class for last year’s Fire Fight special issue on the 2017 wildfires. The CCNAs are presented to community journalists across Canada. The winning journalists were Tara Sprickerhoff, Barbara Roden, and Max Winkelman.

“The 2017 wildfires had a huge impact on the communities we live in and love,” said Roden. “Fire Fight was a way to gather together the stories of many of the people directly impacted and involved, and show not only the progression of the fires but also the ways in which people reacted and the strength and resilience they showed.” http://bit.ly/2Er1Shh

AUGUST

Ashcroft Terminal gets international partner

Just weeks after receiving a federal grant of $9.2 million as part of a $28 million planned upgrade, the Ashcroft Terminal inland port partnered with Singapore-based PSA International PTE Ltd (PSA), which signed an investment agreement to acquire 60 per cent of the Ashcroft Terminal business.

PSA is one of the leading global port groups, and participates in around 40 terminals in 16 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO of PSA, said that “Ashcroft Terminal is PSA’s first foray into Canada and offers us an entry point into the hinterland supply chain for the North American market as well as an opportunity to increase our capabilities in intermodal and inland container depot (ICD) operations.

“The terminal’s strategic location allows us to establish a common user ICD and provide greater options to cargo owners and consignees. We will partner with shipping lines, rail operators, and trucking companies to implement a more robust, efficient, and cost-effective supply chain solution to serve the needs of major exporters in Western Canada.”

The Ashcroft Terminal site north of Ashcroft comprises 320 acres of land and is the only major privately-owned industrial property in Canada that has the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National main lines running through it. The terminal currently services all sectors of the natural resource industries—including agriculture, mining, forestry, and oil and gas—by providing transloading, fleet management, railcar storage, and logistics solutions. http://bit.ly/2LkVDNg

Steelhead fishery cancelled

The provincial government closed the 2018 Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead Trout fisheries, citing data which suggested fewer than 200 Steelhead would return to the Thompson River and fewer than 50 would return to the Chilcotin River in 2018. The numbers were similar to last year’s figures, which saw 177 fish return to the Thompson and 58 to the Chilcotin. In 1985 more than 7,000 Steelhead returned to the Thompson.

Spences Bridge has long been a mecca for sports fishermen eager to try their hand at catching a Steelhead in the world-famous Thompson Steelhead run, and the town’s residents and businesses have depended on the money generated by hundreds of visitors a year. Longtime Spences Bridge resident and TNRD Area “I” director Steve Rice has been monitoring, and working on, the Steelhead situation for many years, and wondered if the fishery would ever open again.

“Will it ever come back? They’ve had salmon runs close in the States that never reopened. That’s the worst case scenario. We just don’t know where we go from here.” http://bit.ly/2S5QJpQ

Mudslides hit local area, killing one woman

Extensive mudslides caused by heavy rain on Aug. 11 closed almost all the area’s major highways, killed one woman who was driving along Highway 99 from Lillooet to Kamloops, and severely affected a trailer park in Cache Creek. The slides came only days after earlier mudslides had also closed highways and caused devastation to properties along Loon Lake Road.

Jim and Sue Burdeyney of Loon Lake watched as mud, water, and debris tore through their Loon Lake property and swept around their house on Aug. 2. Then, on Aug. 11, 57-year-old Valerie Morris was swept away when the car in which she and her husband were driving was swept away by a mudslide. They had stopped to put the hood up on their 1968 Morgan convertible after it started to rain.

The incident occurred on a stretch of highway that saw 17 slides come down over a 10 km stretch of Highway 99 near the junction with Highway 97. A dozen motorists had to be carried to safety by local first responders, and two dozen members of the Bonaparte Band were evacuated from their slide-hit homes.

Residents of a trailer park beside the Cache Creek post office were frustrated when mud and debris swept across Old Cariboo Road into the park. It was the third time in two years that residents of the park had had to dig out after slides.

Read more about the Loon Lake devastation at http://bit.ly/2QUZYMy. Read more about the motorist killed on Highway 99 at http://bit.ly/2A3SDAv and http://bit.ly/2QYvJEn. Read more about the first responder rescue at http://bit.ly/2LjG3S4, and about the Bonaparte members at http://bit.ly/2Bpb4Q4. Read more about the Cache Creek mudslide at http://bit.ly/2A0xKGs.

Painting of Ashcroft sells for $205,000 at auction

A 1965 painting of Ashcroft by renowned west coast painter Edward John (E.J.) Hughes sold at a Heffel Fine Art Post-War and Contemporary Art live auction for $205,000 (including buyer’s premium). Its estimated sale price was $125,000 to $175,000.

“Ashcroft (On the Thompson River in Central BC)” is a 32 x 48 inch oil on canvas work. Over the years it has been exhibited at several shows across Canada, including one at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

The auction catalogue described the painting in detail: “This stunning panorama showcases Hughes’s keen powers of observation and his ability to divine the essence of the landscape. Here he captures both the fine details of the town, overshadowed by its dramatic setting, and the vastness of the surrounding landscape, from the sinuous Thompson River to the striking clouds rolling up over the distant mountains.

“The colour palette in this canvas is brilliant and intense—a hallmark of his sought-after 1960s works. Hughes’s unique and powerful vision of the landscape in works such as this made him one of the most important landscape painters in Canada.” http://bit.ly/2STbjdo

Landfill extension delayed due to rainfall events

Installation of the liner at the Cache Creek landfill extension was delayed, and the extension was not expected to open until the summer of 2019, according to Russ Black, president of Belkorp Environmental Services (Belkorp is the parent company of Wastech, which operates the landfill).

“We’ve made great progress with the construction [of the extension] this year,” Black said, “but we’ve decided to hold off until spring 2019. We’ve been hit by some rain events that have affected the existing landfill and caused huge problems.”

Black said that about five square kilometres of land adjacent to the old landfill were burnt by the Elephant Hill wildfire last year, and that is causing havoc. “There’s no vegetation, there’s no retention. We’re getting a lot of sediment load and debris plugging up our systems, and we’re having to dig them out and repair them. We’re now looking at potentially having to redesign some aspects of the diversion.” http://bit.ly/2rEdIwJ

SEPTEMBER

“Bad old days” might return to McAbee site

Dr. Bruce Archibald, a paleoentomologist who has studied the McAbee Fossil Beds for decades, is worried about McAbee’s future, citing what he called the provincial government’s “cynical and irresponsible” treatment of the 53-million-year-old beds east of Cache Creek.

Archibald has argued to the government that the site—which he feels is good enough to receive UNESCO World Heritage designation—needs to be overseen by trained paleontologists who have the expertise to ensure it is treated properly. However, this recommendation is not being heeded.

“I’ve been told directly by the Heritage Branch [of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development, or FLNROD] that the Bonaparte Indian Band, the Friends of McAbee, and Thompson Rivers University will oversee the site, with the Bonaparte Band in charge.”

He believes there is a role at McAbee for all these groups, but managing the site is not that role.

“There needs to be proper expertise involved with this site. The stated values of the province, when it comes to McAbee, are heritage first, then scientific research, education, and regional economic development, in that order. Now it looks as if the focus is on tourism, with a little bit of education via TRU. They’re going back to the bad old days.”

The “bad old days” Archibald refers to date back prior to 2012, when the McAbee Fossil Beds were in private hands. Commercial fossil mining and “dig your own fossils” were allowed at the site; there was even a permit granted which allowed fossils to be crushed to make absorbent kitty litter.

The McAbee Beds were designated a Heritage Site by the province in 2012, and have been closed to the public since then. http://bit.ly/2UIU5kq

Cache Creek seeks information about rejoining transit

At its open meeting on Sept. 4, Cache Creek council passed a motion to ask for a formal proposal from the Villages of Ashcroft and Clinton about what the cost would be for Cache Creek to rejoin the transit system which currently operates in those communities. The intent of the motion was to see what is needed by way of funding in order for Cache Creek to participate in the service. When the formal numbers have been received, council will be able to consider them and then vote on whether or not to re-join.

Cache Creek was part of the transit system when it started, but withdrew from the service in 2013. In March 2016 members of the Para-Transit committee appeared before Cache Creek council to extend an offer to rejoin, offering the Village free membership in the service for a year. However, in June 2016 it was reported that Cache Creek council had “no immediate consideration for re-entering the local transit system”. http://bit.ly/2PH1ahI

Recognition for Nlaka’pamux basket-weavers

Nlaka’pamux women have long been skilled basket-makers, creating brilliant pieces of art which reflect their culture and traditions but which also serve a practical purpose. On Sept. 4 this ancient craft—along with the women who practised it and have kept it alive—was recognized by the Government of Canada, with the unveiling of a plaque in Lytton. The plaque comes from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, part of Parks Canada.

The craft of basket-making has been noted by Parks Canada as central to Nlaka’pamux cultural identity, signifying the role of women as culture-bearers. Francine Joe, who was born in the Nicola Valley and is president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, said that the baskets are treasures that have been passed down through families. “This plaque recognizes and honours our women, who are strong and resilient.” http://bit.ly/2QWOCY5

Clinton hosts Provincial CiB conference and awards

The 2018 BC Communities in Bloom (CiB) Provincial Conference and Awards took place in the Village of Clinton on Sept. 14-15. The Clinton CiB committee hoped to tell a story of regeneration for the thousands of British Columbians who were personally impacted by the 2017 wildfires. Telling that story in Clinton was significant, considering the extent to which the area was impacted by the Elephant Hill wildfire.

Hosting the conference, Clinton offered a display of resilience on behalf of the community, while also providing the Village with an economic boost and reminding others that small communities have survived the fires and are once again open for business. http://bit.ly/2Exp8uJ



editorial@accjournal.ca

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United Way Community Wellness Manager Krista Billy.

United Way Community Wellness Manager Krista Billy.

Gold Country Communities Society executive director Marcie Down (second from right) with Board members Yvette May, Lisa Dafoe, Steve Rice, and Jack Jeyes. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Gold Country Communities Society executive director Marcie Down (second from right) with Board members Yvette May, Lisa Dafoe, Steve Rice, and Jack Jeyes. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Rolgear Manufacturing founder Rob Suter with the company’s European patent. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Rolgear Manufacturing founder Rob Suter with the company’s European patent. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Sue and Jim Burdeyney of Loon Lake. Photo: 100 Mile Free Press.

Sue and Jim Burdeyney of Loon Lake. Photo: 100 Mile Free Press.

A 1965 painting of Ashcroft by celebrated west coast artist E.J. Hughes sold for more than $200,000 at auction. Photo: Heffel Fine Art.

A 1965 painting of Ashcroft by celebrated west coast artist E.J. Hughes sold for more than $200,000 at auction. Photo: Heffel Fine Art.

The importance of Nlaka’pamux women basket-weavers was recognized by the Government of Canada, which erected a plaque honouring them in Lytton. Photo: Barbara Roden.

The importance of Nlaka’pamux women basket-weavers was recognized by the Government of Canada, which erected a plaque honouring them in Lytton. Photo: Barbara Roden.