An anti-racism poster campaign from School District No. 74 stirred up controversy. Photo: SD74

An anti-racism poster campaign from School District No. 74 stirred up controversy. Photo: SD74

2018 in review part one: Economic impact of 2017 wildfires more than $30 million in region

Plus success for a local model, a poster controversy, a new doctor, and much more.


Business ambassadors announced

Community Futures Sun Country announced that three business ambassadors—Wendy Coomber, Angela Bissat, and Andre Kuerbif—would be available to help businesses and not-for-profit organizations in the area that were suffering as a result of the 2017 wildfires.

The ambassadors knew what programs were available to help businesses and not-for-profits with recovery, and were equipped with laptops so they could meet with anyone who needed assistance and help them find the right programs and fill out the necessary paperwork.

The program was supported by Community Futures, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition.

Ashcroft resident appointed to Interior Health board

Joyce Beddow-Buckland was appointed to a two-year term on the board of directors of Interior Health. She received a phone call from Health Minister Adrian Dix just before Christmas 2017, and formally accepted the appointment on Jan. 1, 2018.

Beddow-Buckland, now retired, spent more than 30 years in health care, as a home support worker, long-term care aide, and in assisted living and recreation. She says she was told that the board was looking for someone who had been a frontline worker in rural B.C. health care. Her passions are seniors’ care and rural health care. “We have to look at the big picture and fight for all of rural B.C.”

Local Indigenous model chosen to walk the runway in Australia

Kamloops student Jada Raphael—who grew up in Spences Bridge and Ashcroft and is a member of the Cook’s Ferry Band—was invited to fly to Melbourne, Australia and take part in the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival as an Indigenous model.

Raphael—who turned 17 just before the show in March 2018—has been modelling since she was 14, and aspires to a career in modelling. She said that in addition to being a great opportunity and learning experience, the Melbourne show would help her decide if that was what she wanted to do.

Clinton resident recognized for volunteering work

Andy May, a board member of Community Futures Sun Country (CFSC), was recognized as CFSC’s Volunteer of the Year. May is an active member of the Clinton community, who has served on different boards with different organizations, and regularly advocates for small businesses in the community.

Clinton resident receives Senate Medal

It was announced that in December 2017, Roland Higginbottom was awarded the Canadian Trail Builders Senate 150 Commemorative Medal. The award, from Canada’s senators, was designed to recognize individuals who have worked as volunteers to develop hiking and multi-purpose trails in their regions.


Disaster review comes to Cache Creek

Chief Maureen Chapman and former Liberal MLA George Abbott were in Cache Creek for a community engagement meeting, the second of 12 such meetings around B.C. to get public feedback about the 2017 wildfire and flood season. The pair were also meeting with local governments and First Nations, and Abbott said that “communication in a crisis” was emerging as a key theme. Fuel management was also a concern for many, as was the need for four-season planning.

Report shows economic impact of 2017 wildfires

A report prepared for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District about the economic impact of the 2017 wildfires showed that the region suffered a hit of at least $31 million, with 100,000 work hours lost. Total loss of sales in the region was estimated at $21 million, and there was a very conservative estimate of just over $1 million in lost wages. Thirty per cent of businesses who responded said that they had had to lay off staff.

Many of the losses came not from losing infrastructure to the fires, but because of road closures, evacuation alerts, and evacuation orders.

Thompson Steelhead in trouble

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed the Thompson and Chilcotin River Steelhead trout as at imminent risk of extinction, following a seldom-used fast-track process. COSEWIC recommended an emergency listing under the Federal Species at Risk act.

An alarming decline in the number of returning Steelhead has been noted over the last four decades. In 1985, 3,510 Thompson Steelhead returned to spawn, but since 2009 only three years show more than 1,000 fish returning. In 2016 fewer than 400 fish returned, and in 2017 only 177 fish returned from the ocean to the Thompson River and its tributaries, such as the Bonaparte and Deadman Rivers.

New doctor joins Ashcroft Family Medical Centre

Dr. Abayomi Adetola joined the Ashcroft Family Medical Centre on Feb. 21, bringing the complement of doctors at the centre to three. He came to Ashcroft from Saskatoon, where he had been in practice for seven years and where he completed his Master’s degree.

He had planned to return to his native Nigeria after that, but said that Canada felt like home. He received a list of 10 to 12 communities in B.C. that needed physicians and researched them all, but kept coming back to Ashcroft. “I liked the motto, the river, the mountains, the community… I wanted to come to where people relax. It convinced me this was home.”

Greyhound cancels several routes

Greyhound Canada announced that it would be eliminating service on several routes throughout B.C., including the Fraser Canyon run from Cache Creek to Hope. Greyhound said that the cuts, which were to take effect on May 31, 2018, were necessary due to declining ridership. The company estimated it was losing $35,000 a day in B.C., with total financial losses of $70 million over the last six years.


Age-Friendly plan for Cache Creek

After extensive public consultation, the draft of an Age-Friendly plan for Cache Creek was presented at an open house on March 2. The draft plan focused on seven different areas that had been identified as key: housing; transportation; information systems; community support and health services; respect, social inclusion, and participation; outdoor spaces and buildings; and civic participation and employment.

The draft plan was described as a “starting point” for the community, and one that would be built on over the years.

Clinton Citizens of the Year

Yvette and Andy May were named Clinton’s Citizens of the Year. Residents of Clinton since 2010, both are highly involved in the community, volunteering many hours of their time and wearing a variety of hats with many local organizations.

School District racism posters spark controversy

A poster campaign aimed at starting a discussion around racism within School District No. 74 (Gold Trail) certainly did that, even though the discussion was not the one expected. Two of the posters sparked little or no controversy, but a third poster—showing SD 74 Superintendent of Schools Teresa Downs, who is white, with the quote “I have unfairly benefited from the colour of my skin. White privilege is not acceptable”—did.

While some people applauded her highlighting of the issue of white privilege, others saw the comment as a type of reverse racism, and an attempt to make white students feel ashamed of their background. Downs noted that she had personally received both positive and negative comments, and that she was happy to engage with anyone who wanted to discuss the matter. “A discussion about race and privilege is a difficult conversation to have, but it’s important.”

Read the story at, and read parents’ reactions at Read an editorial about the subject at, and Letters to the Editor on the subject at,, and

Risk assessment starts on Thompson watershed

The Fraser Basin Council embarked on an ambitious task: undertaking a risk assessment of flood and land/debris flows covering the entire Thompson River watershed. The area covers 5.6 million hectares, has four different regional districts in it, is the territory of four different First Nations language groups and 26 First Nations, and is home to 200,000 people.

Representatives of the cities, municipalities, regional districts, and First Nations in the watershed undertook to work together to identify flood hazards, potential impacts, and community and infrastructure vulnerabilities, as well as the overall flood risk profiles for the area and common risks.

“The primary thing we’re looking at are flooding, debris flow, landslides,” said Mike Simpson, senior regional manager of the Fraser Basin Council, “especially in light of last year’s wildfires. A lot of people forgot about the flooding because of the wildfires.” However, he noted that fire in 2017 burned between 40 and 70 per cent of the Bonaparte watershed, which could have an impact on flooding.

Firewood for Loon Lake

Thanks to the Red Cross BC Community Partnership Program and the BC Wildfire Recovery Operation, funds were found to purchase two logging trucks of dry fir from the West Fraser Chasm Mill for the residents of Loon Lake. Normally, the residents would get their wood from the forest, but between the five weeks they were evacuated in summer 2017 because of the Elephant Hill wildfire and the forest being out of bounds when they returned, many were in dire straits.

The fir was delivered on March 7, and residents volunteered their time to saw, split, and deliver more than 50 loads of wood to full-time residents of the community.

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Dr. Abayomi Adetola joined the Ashcroft Family Medical Clinic in February 2018. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Dr. Abayomi Adetola joined the Ashcroft Family Medical Clinic in February 2018. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Andy and Yvette May were named Clinton’s Citizens of the Year. Photo: Raven Nyman.

Andy and Yvette May were named Clinton’s Citizens of the Year. Photo: Raven Nyman.

Chief Maureen Chapman and former Liberal MLA George Abbott were in Cache Creek for a flood and wildfire public meeting. In a related story, the economic impact of the 2017 wildfires in the region was estimated at more than $30 million. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Chief Maureen Chapman and former Liberal MLA George Abbott were in Cache Creek for a flood and wildfire public meeting. In a related story, the economic impact of the 2017 wildfires in the region was estimated at more than $30 million. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Loon Lake residents pitched in to help split, chop, and distribute more than 50 loads of donated firewood.

Loon Lake residents pitched in to help split, chop, and distribute more than 50 loads of donated firewood.

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