Local news briefs: New programs being offered at the HUB

Plus a Beef and Boots pre-New Year’s bash, a deadline for parks refunds, and more.

Beef and Boots

There are still tickets available for the Ashcroft and District Lions Club Beef and Boots pre-New Year’s family dinner, which takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on December 30 at the Cache Creek Community Hall. It will be followed by a 19+ social and dance, which will feature a cash bar, great music, and lots of opportunities to dance.

The dinner is an all-ages family event, with barbecued burgers, a baked potato bar with all the fixings, and salad. Rolling Thunder Sound and Audio will be providing great music all night, and there will also be great party games for the young (and young at heart), a raffle table, a 50/50 draw, and door prizes.

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $7 for anyone under 12 years old (adult tickets include the dance as well). Families (two adults and two children under 12) can bring the whole herd for $40. Tickets are available by calling (250) 457-0732, emailing ashcroftlions@hotmail.com, or at www.eventbrite.ca.

Free skating at Drylands Arena

The regular schedule at the Drylands Arena in Ashcroft will resume on Wednesday, January 3; but there is free public skating at the arena for everyone from 1 to 3 p.m. on December 27, 28, 29, and 30 and on January 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Plus size fitness classes

The Ashcroft HUB is hoping to be able to offer a fitness class in the New Year for anyone who is plus-sized or mobility-challenged, and who is intimidated by the thought of fitness classes. The class will be a low-impact one with chair support available if needed.

Pre-registration is required from members and non-members, and there must be a minimum of four people interested in order to run the class. For more information email ashcrofthub@gmail.com or call them at (250) 453-9177.

Acoustic guitar lessons

David Thompson will be offering acoustic guitar lessons starting on January 18 and running until March 29. Youth (aged seven and up) classes will be Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and adult classes will be Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m. The classes will be at the Ashcroft HUB.

Thompson has 35 years of experience playing guitar, has eight years of full-time reaching experience, and has given many live performances. His aim is for participants to have fun as they learn how to play.

A minimum of six people are needed in order to run the class, and participants must have their own guitar. The cost for the series of lessons is $135. For more information or to register, contact the HUB office at the email address or phone number above.

After school program

The HUB is once again offering an after school program on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. from January 10 to 31. The program is for any children in Grades 1 through 6 inclusive, and a minimum of six participants are needed.

The group leader will meet the participants at Desert Hills Community School at 3 p.m. and walk with them to the HUB. A snack will be provided at 3:15, and there will then be an outside activity, a craft activity, and a baking activity. The sessions finish at 5 p.m.

The cost for the month is $40, and pre-registration is needed. For more information or to register, contact the HUB.

End of year deadline for parks refunds

Customers have until the end of this year to request refunds from BC Parks for Discover Camping reservations affected by the summer 2017 wildfires. The refunds pertain to provincial park closures that occurred as a result of wildfire activity.

Typically, the BC Parks reservation refund policy dictates a three-month deadline for claiming a refund, but due to the extraordinary wildfire situation this year, refunds have been extended.

The vast majority of Discover Camping customers have received refunds, but due to the volume of visitors, BC Parks wants to ensure that no one is missed.

Anyone affected by provincial park closures due to the summer’s wildfires who has not already received a refund is encouraged to apply online at http://bit.ly/2p9F1AG.

B.C. Community Achievement Awards nomination deadline

B.C. residents have until January 15, 2018 to nominate deserving British Columbians for the British Columbia Community Achievement Award. The award celebrates the spirit, imagination, dedication, and outstanding contributions of British Columbians to their communities, and is a way to give back to the people who give the most in our communities.

For more information about the awards and how to nominate someone, and to access the online nomination form, go to http://www.bcachievement.com/community/info.php.

Extending the life of Highland Valley Copper

The Highland Valley Copper (HVC) mine near Logan Lake is currently permitted to operate until 2026; but HVC has been investigating options to extend operations to 2040 and beyond. The proposed extension of the mine is expected to trigger an Environmental Assessment (EA) approval process under the BC Environmental Assessment Act.

An EA is a project review that considers the implementation of mitigation measures, to assess the potential for adverse environmental effects (e.g. air, land, water, and wildlife); economic effects (potential impacts to the economy of the local communities and surrounding areas); social effects (potential impacts to the well-being of local communities and surrounding areas); heritage effects (potential impacts to physical and cultural heritage, including structures or sites of historical or archaeological significance to local First Nations); and health effects (potential impacts to the health condition of local people).

The EA process consists of three main stages: pre-application, application, and decision. The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) seeks advice from the public, local First Nations, and all levels of government during both the pre-application and application phases of an EA. In addition to the EAO consultation, HVC is committed to early and ongoing engagement with local communities.

BC Hydro’s most memorable outages in 2017

BC Hydro crews responded to more than 17,800 power outages in 2017; and as the year draws to a close, they have compiled a list of the most memorable outages of the year. Highlights include:

Mother Nature’s fury: Wildfires in the Central and Southern Interior over the summer left 61,000 customers without power, and caused damage to 490 power poles, 114 cross arms and 377 spans of wire. On the opposite side of the spectrum, freezing rain and heavy, wet snow caused more than 360,000 customers in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to lose power over a six-day period last February.

Animal encounters: A beaver gnawed through a tree that fell on a power line, causing the community of Hixon in Northern B.C. to lose power.

A squirrel chewed through a piece of electrical equipment, causing it to catch fire and 180 customers in Burnaby – including a local cheese factory – to lose power.

Balloon blunders: Loose birthday party balloons contacted power lines, leaving 800 customers in downtown Vancouver without power on a Friday evening. Balloons used to promote a sale at a car dealership on Vancouver Island blew into a primary line, resulting in an outage to the surrounding area.

Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura (www.atlasobscura.com) is a website that bills itself as showcasing “Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations” from around the world.

Now and then one of the places highlighted on the site is within striking distance of our region, so travellers might want to check them out next time they visit.

Its exact location is something of a local secret; but if you visit Vancouver and head south from the King Edward Skytrain station you will spot the Cambie Climbing Tree.

The towering evergreen tree, which is easily climbable by most people, contains a tire swing, hammock, buckets, and toys which have been placed there by visitors over the years, but which cannot be seen from the ground; and those who reach the top are rewarded with an outstanding vista of the Vancouver skyline and the North Shore mountains (as well as admission to a very exclusive club). There is also a shaded bench at the base of the tree for those who would rather keep their feet firmly on the ground.

The Atlas Obscura entry notes that it “rains significantly” in Vancouver, so would-be climbers should be aware of slippery branches. Climbers should also be sure of their abilities before attempting the climb, as the tree’s location means you might not be spotted if you fall.

For more information about the Cambie Climbing Tree, go to http://bit.ly/2CRP4w4.

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