Dave Gory and Susan McLean were honoured by the Rotary Club and their communities as this year’s Citizens of the Year from Ashcroft

Year in Review – an angry start to the year

2012 Year in Review in The Journal's readership area: January to April.

January

Woman assaulted after car crash

RCMP were looking for the Penticton driver of a vehicle that crashed near Walachin on  Jan. 4 after a female passenger accused him of assaulting her after the crash.

The woman told police that he blamed her for the crash and kicked and beat her while she tried to climb up the bank and away from the wreck. She was left at the Chevron in Cache Creek while the driver and other passengers left caught a ride to Fort St. John.

The woman was taken to Ashcroft hospital for treatment of serious head injuries.

Ashcroft assessments down

Ashcroft continued its up and down trend with assessments by taking a dip in 2012. Ashcroft’s assessment roll decreased from $182 million last year to $180 million this year. Cache Creek’s assessment roll decreased from $103 million last year to $100 million this year.  Clinton’s assessment roll decreased from $70 million last year to $67 million this year. Lytton’s assessment roll increased from $36.4 million last year to $37.3 million this year.

Cache Creek loses its Strong Start status

Gold Trail school trustees voted to switch its Strong Start programs in Cache Creek and Ashcroft, designating Ashcroft as the primary program, and making Cache Creek the outreach program.

“The Ministry doesn’t like the low enrolment in Cache Creek,” noted trustee Nancy Rempel at the Jan. 17 board meeting, “and so we can’t leave it the way it is.”

Police stop road rage fight at Husky

Ashcroft RCMP were called to an apparent case of road rage on Jan. 25 at 8:30 am after two truckers began fighting in the parking lot of the Cache Creek Husky

They were told the hard feelings began earlier that morning on Hwy 1 just north of Spences Bridge between the 50 year old Chilliwack man and a 20 year old man from the Cache Creek area, who were driving separate trucks. Charges of assault are pending against the Chilliwack man. The local man suffered minor injuries to his face.

Fire at Catholic retreat in Cache Creek

RCMP were called to a suspicious fire at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine and Retreat Center on Jan. 26 at 10 pm.

RCMP officers assisted with traffic control on the street while firefighters extinguished the blaze in the small log structure, which was separate from the main building. An investigation the following day found evidence of vandalism to other parts of the property – a large flower pot and a metal chair had been moved, a snow shovel had been thrown into a tree and it appeared that someone had tried to steal a large air conditioner that was sitting in a window.

 

February

Fields stores across Canada closing

Ashcroft’s Fields is one of the 165 across Canada that will be closed by this fall.

“After careful consideration, Hudson’s Bay Company has announced we will wind down our Fields store operations,” explained Tiffany Bourre, communications manager for the Hudson’s Bay Company.

“This is a strategic decision by Hudson’s Bay Company to focus on growing our other banners: The Bay, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters.”

Rural hospitals receive added funding

The Province announced $10 million in July 2011 to provide financial assistance of up to $200,000 a year for rural, fee-for-service physicians who commit to ensure reliable public access to emergency services is maintained at their local hospital.

Ashcroft hospital is not among the 36 benefiting hospitals named by the government, which include nearby Lillooet, 100 Mile House, Clearwater and Williams Lake. In a letter to Ashcroft Council from Health Minister Michael de Jong, dated Dec. 14, the Minister advised that “Physicians and health authorities are required to collaboratively develop a plan in order for funding to be provided.”

Pipe fracture delays startup of new water treatment system

Cache Creek’s new  $2.5 million water treatment upgrade suffered another setback this month when two pipes fractured during the plant’s commissioning.

The pipes were part of the newly installed system that was ordered by Interior Health in 2005 to filter and treat the town’s drinking water.

The contractor and trades were on site last week, according to Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta, to write up incident reports on the failure of the pipes. They are “presently considering how best to proceed,” said Ranta.

Variety Bingo cancelled for 2012

Changes in how bingos are licensed has forced the cancellation of Cache Creek’s Variety Bingo this year.

Mayor John Ranta admitted that putting on the event has been a challenge these last two years. The Cache Creek Rec Commission used to host the annual bingo, while Cache Creek and Ashcroft Council members would work the floor. In part because of dwindling membership, the Rec Commission is no longer hosting the bingo.

Residential fire kills two men near Clinton

On Feb. 12 at 4:55 pm, members of the Clinton RCMP responded to a residential fire about 15 km outside of Clinton. Upon arrival by EHS, Fire Department and RCMP, two males were found deceased as well as a dog. A second dog died later of injuries.

It appears the fire started as the result of a heat source left on the kitchen table.

B.C. Heritage designation for McAbee fossil site

VICTORIA – The Province announcing last week that it will formally recognize the McAbee fossil beds east of Cache Creek as a Heritage Site.

The McAbee beds are known worldwide for their incredible abundance, diversity and quality of fossils. The beds are unique for their exceptionally preserved fossils from the Eocene epoch (56 to 34 million years ago). Many fossils being discovered there are entirely new to science.

The beds, however, are privately owned and fossils from the site have been sold to private collectors as well as the general public, who are invited to dig for their own fossils.

Fossils in B.C. are protected through the Fossil Management Framework, which outlines the policy, procedures and guidelines for fossil collection, use and reporting.

New Eagleplex track added to BCMA circuit

Motorplex’ Race Director Joe Sye says they’re just putting the finishing touches on a brand new track, which was designed and sanctioned by the BC Motorcross Association.

The 2.1 km track was “carved right out of the mountain” next to the drag race track, says Sye, and is very challenging. Two practice weekends are being held on March 10/11 and 17/18 to give local motorcross fans the opportunity to test the new track.

Between the cars and the bikes, he says, the motorplex will be hosting events from March to October. There are 15 race weekends planned this year for motorcross and 10 weekends for the drag strip – that’s 52 race days planned.

 

March

Tim Hortons coming to Ashcroft

By the end of the year, and much sooner than that if they can help it, the Ashcroft Indian Band will have a Tim Horton’s, an Esso gas station and be part of Ashcroft’s municipal water system.

It’s taken years of planning, but the wait is almost over. Chief Greg Blain said they started investigating the possibility of a gas station and Tim Hortons about four years ago for the corner of Hwy 1 and Cornwall Rd., next to the Motorplex.

He said there have been a lot of hoops to jump through, especially with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), but they’ve jumped through them all now. Last week, they were finalizing the building design and location.

The 4,000 square foot Esso gas station will feature eight pumps plus a cardlock, and an On the Run convenience store with a Tim Hortons and lots of parking for cars and trucks.

“It’s going to be big,” said Blain. “This is going to be almost a flagship for Esso.”

Ridgway receives Stewardship Award

Harold Ridgway was honoured last month at the 8th Annual BC Interior Stewardship Workshop, hosted by the Fraser Basin Council in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Cache Creek on Feb. 28-29.

Past-president of the Bonaparte Watershed Stewardship Society (BWSS) and resident of Loon Lake, Ridgway was presented with the BC Interior Stewardship Award for Ecosystem Excellence for his pivotal role in founding the Society and embarking on community-led projects for the benefit of the Bonaparte River ecosystem.

One killed in crash on Hwy 1 south of Spences Bridge

A collision near Gold Pan provincial park on March 21 around 3:45 pm closed Hwy 1 until 9 pm that evening while investigators examined the scene. Weather and road condition were clear sunny with dry roads. One driver died as a result of injuries sustained and a young child received non life threatening injuries.

Witness accounts indicate that the head-on collision occurred when a southbound red 1993 Plymouth Sundance compact sedan attempted to pass a vehicle on a double solid line and pulled out into the immediate path of an oncoming northbound 2012 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Witnesses added that the Sundance had been speeding and passing on double solid lines for several kilometres.

The car’s driver and sole occupant, a 22 year old Coquitlam man, was pronounced deceased at the scene as a result of his injuries.

Relay challenges us to make a difference

The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay blew through Clinton to the Bonaparte Reserve, then on to Cache Creek on March 28. The next day it continued from Cache Creek Elementary School on down the highway to Savona and then stopped in Kamloops for the night.

The Relay retraces Hansen’s original Man in Motion Tour 25 years ago.

Another $151,000 for GeoTourism

Mark Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, announced federal funding of $151,000 for the Gold Country Communities Society last week to enhance and expand their successful GeoTourism Program that has stimulated the economies of Gold Country communities.

WD provided initial funding to the Gold Country Communities Society to establish their GeoTourism Program in 2008, which has had excellent results, drawing over 8,000 geocachers to the area, and providing economic stimulus to the region.

With the additional WD funding, the Society will be able to increase the scope of the program by adding more geocaching sites throughout the Gold Country region, and expand their marketing strategy to attract a wider range of enthusiasts.

 

April

Taxes going up in Cache Creek

Cache Creek Council adopted its budget for 2012 at its Apr. 10 meeting, with a two and a half per cent increase planned this year and every year until at least 2016.

Council approved a $4.8 million budget, similar to previous years with the exception that revenue from the landfill is less than half what it used to be.

Taxes and utility rates have been rising slowly but steadily to make up for the loss of income, but Council warns that complete loss of landfill revenue will result in a review of all Village rates and charges.

The budget’s accumulated surplus has already fallen drastically over the years: from $1.3 million in 2005 to $277,414 in 2011. It is expected to drop to $27,900 this year.

Landfill revenues ($328,418) still make up 20 per cent of the Village’s revenue, but grants ($1,140,898) make up 43 per cent. User Fees and Charges bring in 17 per cent of the rvenue for this budget, with Property Taxes ($328,418) bringing in 12.5 per cent.

Included in the budget expenses is slightly over $1 million in capital expenditures for work on roads, buildings and other structures.

Ashcroft switches to new garbage system

The Village of Ashcroft is preparing to implement a new automated solid waste collection system effective May 1, that includes a new truck with an automated arm, and new curbside containers. This new system will speed up solid waste collection and help reduce injury to operators, who will no longer have to leave the truck or lift the garbage containers.

Under the new system, the Village will issue each residence one durable 250 litre (65 US Gallon) molded plastic container.

The Village will be monitoring the costs for solid waste collection under the new system and a review of the current fee structure will be undertaken in the fall of 2012 based on operating data.

Ashcroft plans $3.9 M budget

Ashcroft Council is asking for another two per cent from residents this year as it  considers its 2012 budget.

Council gave first readings to its 2012 budget at its Apr. 23 meeting. The budget contemplates collecting just over $1 million in property taxes from residents – or 26 per cent of the Village’s revenues. This would raise an additional $15,739 in taxes.

The budget anticipates half a million dollars in grants,  and about the same in user fees.

Ashcroft highway gets resurfaced

The highway through the bluffs will finally be getting the repaving that local officials have been asking for, for years.

Repaving crews began preparation work on Hwy 97C from Hwy 1 to Ashcroft last week.

Besides putting down asphalt overlay from Hwy 1 to the bridge, Ministry of Transportation Project Manager, Dave Shibata said they will also be resurfacing three-quarters of Cornwall Rd. and sections of Hwy 97C up to Highland Valley Copper mine.

Lytton church robbed of historical, sentimental items

The Lytton First Nation Church was broken into sometime in April, and the items stolen include linens, gold candlesticks, and an antique organ.

Chief Janet Webster said the 140 year-old church has never experienced this sort of theft.

“It feels like an invasion to our community,” she said.

The organ was donated to the community in 1877. It is large and would have taken several people and a truck to move. Two paintings given to the church were also stolen, as well as the gold candlesticks and the linens.

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