There may soon be much more to the Cache Creek Beautification Society (CCBS) than Communities in Bloom, the Farmers’ Market, and the many other things the society does and supports, if an ambitious new project gets underway.
“We want a project for the future that includes history,” says CCBS President Carmen Ranta. “There’s no need to start our own museum, with Hat Creek Ranch and the Ashcroft Museum nearby. So we thought we could focus on the richness of our geologic history.”
The result is that the CCBS intends to spearhead a McAbee Fossil Beds Interpretive Centre project, and try to develop plans to have the centre in Cache Creek. “That way it would include all the north/south traffic along Highways 1 and 97, and potentially double the traffic going past the site.,” notes Ranta.
“The McAbee Beds have always been of benefit to the community,” says CCBS Secretary-Treasurer Wendy Coomber. “After losing them, we want to bring them back.” She envisions the Interpretive Centre containing displays and educational films, while buses would take people to visit the site (if it has been reopened) and to Ashcroft, to see the McAbee fossils in the museum there.
“We’d like to develop partnerships, especially with First Nations, and make sure it’s respectfully done in a way that’s sensitive to the environment,” says Ranta. “We want to keep the initiative alive.”
“We’ve been working on this for about a year,” adds Coomber, “and are still in the very early stages. There should be more developments in the next couple of months.”
Another initiative that the group hopes to get underway soon is a Community Garden. Ranta admits that it’s in the early stages, but envisions a lovely and artistic spot in the downtown area that would add vibrancy and beauty to the downtown, and believes it’s doable.
“It would encourage community activity,” says committee member Patty McKenzie. Social connections are something that the CCBS focuses on, and McKenzie says that the society was an excellent way to make friends and get involved in the community.
She moved to Cache Creek four years ago, and says “I found the first two years here hard. I was a big city person, and it was culture shock. Finding things to do, and meeting people, was challenging.”
That changed in July 2015, when she attended the barbecue the CiB committee held to honour and thank the volunteers, firefighters, and staff who had helped out during and after the May flood. “There were a lot of people running around, and I asked if they needed any help,” says McKenzie. “It was my first time at a CiB event.” It wasn’t long before she had joined the committee, which is something that makes CCBS President Carmen Ranta happy.
“The organization would love to have new members,” she says. “Some really loyal volunteers have moved away recently.” Communities in Bloom is a sub-committee of the CCBS, with some members part of both groups and others in one or the other.
Cache Creek is once more taking part in the provincial CiB category, hoping to improve on last year’s award of four blooms (out of five) from the judges, who arrived only two months after the flood. “We took the judges around Cache Creek and showed them the flood damage,” says Ranta. “We made the judges’ tour a celebration of the community.”
After several months of indoor markets, the outdoor market sponsored by the CCBS starts again on May 7, and will run every Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm in the old Esso lot beside Chum’s Restaurant. Vendor tables are $5.00 each, with the money going back to assist the CCBS.
The society also supports the Desert Bells Handbell Choir and the Sage Sound Singers, and distributes sunflower seeds to children in the community so that they can grow the official flower of Cache Creek.
McKenzie says that her involvement with the society has led to her becoming a keen gardener. “I grew my first vegetable garden last year, with great success,” she says. “Now I’m getting more involved, and enjoying it. I look forward to what we’re doing next.”
For more information contact Carmen Ranta at (250) 457-9119 or Wendy Coomber at (250) 457-9587.