Year in Review: Fire destroys almost all of the town of Lytton

An archway is all that remains of a property in Lytton following the fire on June 30 that destroyed 90 per cent of the town. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)An archway is all that remains of a property in Lytton following the fire on June 30 that destroyed 90 per cent of the town. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Alexandra Bridge near Spuzzum from the western side of the bridge, July 2014. A grant will enable refurbishment work to be carried out on the bridge, built in 1926. (Photo credit: Christopher Roden)Alexandra Bridge near Spuzzum from the western side of the bridge, July 2014. A grant will enable refurbishment work to be carried out on the bridge, built in 1926. (Photo credit: Christopher Roden)
Chevy the dog was stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake in April. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)Chevy the dog was stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake in April. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Amy Newman follows the route of the Cariboo Waggon Road - now Highway 97 - through Clinton as part of a survey that will lead to refurbishment of sections of the historic route. (Photo credit: New Pathways to Gold Society)Amy Newman follows the route of the Cariboo Waggon Road - now Highway 97 - through Clinton as part of a survey that will lead to refurbishment of sections of the historic route. (Photo credit: New Pathways to Gold Society)
Bernice Weihs-Anderson and some of her reclaimed wood artwork at the Clinton Outdoor Market. (Photo credit: Kelly Sinoski/100 Mile Free Press)Bernice Weihs-Anderson and some of her reclaimed wood artwork at the Clinton Outdoor Market. (Photo credit: Kelly Sinoski/100 Mile Free Press)
A fire near Ashcroft on May 18 sparked interest in the village’s emergency notification system. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)A fire near Ashcroft on May 18 sparked interest in the village’s emergency notification system. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Bonaparte First Nation’s pipe carrier Marilyn Porter (centre), with (from l) niece Rayne Porter, son Sonny, and daughter Francine after Bonaparte ancestral remains were re-interred at the Ashcroft Terminal site. (Photo credit: Karen Warren)Bonaparte First Nation’s pipe carrier Marilyn Porter (centre), with (from l) niece Rayne Porter, son Sonny, and daughter Francine after Bonaparte ancestral remains were re-interred at the Ashcroft Terminal site. (Photo credit: Karen Warren)
Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Ashcroft artist Martha Labadie, wearing a T-shirt she designed for Historic Hat Creek Ranch, in front of some of her works on display in the Sidewalk Gallery in June. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Ashcroft artist Martha Labadie, wearing a T-shirt she designed for Historic Hat Creek Ranch, in front of some of her works on display in the Sidewalk Gallery in June. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

APRIL

Cache Creek council presented with service options

The Village of Cache Creek was told it needed to look at either increasing revenues to maintain current services, or reducing service levels, during a presentation to council at the April 6 open meeting. Council was also told that continuing to use money from the Landfill Legacy Fund to fund operations was not sustainable. Mario Piroddi of BDO Canada gave an overview of the village’s draft audited financial statements for 2020, which showed that the village had revenues of just over $3 million, of which $780,180 (about one-quarter) was property taxes, which Piroddi said was on the “lower side” compared with what they see in other communities. Read more at https://bit.ly/3se2tvz.

Clinton Annual Ball postponed again

When the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to put an end to the Clinton Annual Ball’s status as the longest continually-held event of its kind in Canada, some nimble footwork from the CAB committee kept the ball going in 2020 with its record intact. Faced with a continuation of the pandemic in 2021, the committee postponed the ball for a second year, but promised it would be back as normal. Read more at https://bit.ly/3IYWyjZ.

Grant will help refurbish Alexandra Bridge

A historic bridge that was built nearly a century ago, and which has not carried vehicle traffic since 1964, was set to get some tender loving care thanks to a major grant. The New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS) received $500,000 in funding from the Community Economic Resiliency Infrastructure Program to perform stabilization work on the historic 1926 Alexandra Bridge near Spuzzum. The funding will go towards repairing the bridge support towers and structural features, including cement work; restoration of moldings and relief panels; repairing handrails; and installing a plaque acknowledging the historic crossing point across the Fraser River, in partnership with the Spuzzum First Nation (SFN). Read more at https://bit.ly/3GV19ln.

Construction of Loon Lake fire hall delayed

Construction of a new fire hall at Loon Lake, which was expected to start in spring 2021, was delayed after the bids to build it came in higher than expected. The fire hall was destroyed in the 2017 wildfires, and the Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Department has been operating out of a two-bay garage on the site of the former hall. Following a referendum in 2018, the TNRD assumed fire protection services for Loon Lake, and last year announced that it had secured a 30-year Crown Lease for a 2.64 acre site that was formerly part of Loon Lake Provincial Park. The TNRD had asked Loon Lake residents for permission to borrow $650,000 to build the new fire hall, but the lowest tender came in at just under $1.6 million. Read more at https://bit.ly/3J1NHOs.

Risky rescue near Logan Lake

A fun hike to a beauty spot near Logan Lake turned into a dramatic dog rescue, with Logan Lake RCMP and the local fire chief partnering to rescue a stranded pooch. On April 28, seven-year-old Chevy — an American bulldog-terrier cross weighing nearly 80 pounds — was out for a hike with his owners to visit Mimi Falls. However, the trip went awry when Chevy found himself stranded on a ledge partway down the rocky, 30-metre deep canyon, and it became apparent that the precariously-perched pooch — a rescue dog — would need to be rescued again. Read more at https://bit.ly/3GZIbdr.

MAY

Ashcroft art show goes ahead with live and virtual events

After having to hold their 2020 art show in an online-only format, members of the Ashcroft Art Club decided on something different in 2021. Rather than hold a traditional in-person live show, the club took advantage of Angela Bandelli’s Sidewalk Gallery showcase in Ashcroft to display works that members of the public could stop by and see whenever they wanted. The works were also available to view online, in a show that started on May 1. Read more at https://bit.ly/3si3wul.

Cache Creek pool to remain closed in 2021

Cache Creek residents faced a total tax increase of 30 per cent for 2021, as well as a 25 per cent increase in water, sewer, and garbage rates, and an increase in frontage rates from $2.65 per foot of taxable foot frontage in 2020 to $3.45 per foot in 2021. The budget did not contain provisions for opening the Cache Creek pool in 2021, so the facility would remain closed. Several local residents gathered outside the village office in their vehicles and honked their horns for five minutes at the start of the May 3 council meeting as a protest about the proposed pool closure. Read more at https://bit.ly/30E43LM.

Pandemic pushes seniors to close the technology gap

The pandemic, with its travel restrictions and shutdowns, caused many seniors to turn to technology to stay connected with family and friends, and they were the group most likely to have joined social media platforms and learned to use video calling applications like Zoom and Facetime. A BC Hydro report titled “Digital divide: COVID-19 pushes B.C. seniors to close technology gap, but challenges persist” painted a picture of seniors who have become tech savvy and are spending more time online every day. Read more at https://bit.ly/3mhNVHs.

Grant for Cariboo Waggon Road project near Clinton

The New Pathways to Gold Society planned to make parts of the historic Cariboo Waggon Road north of Clinton more accessible to hikers, bikers, and other non-motorized activities, using grant funding of $100,000. It was phase two of the Cariboo Waggon Road Restoration Project, which began in 2019 when the society received funding to identify and survey sections of the historic road between Clinton and Lac La Hache. While much of the road has been paved over and still carries traffic, there are many relatively untouched sections, and NPTGS identified 11 that can be fairly easily restored for non-motorized traffic. Read more at https://bit.ly/32aMlAn.

Clinton artist finds new use for reclaimed wood

Thanks to the pandemic, Clinton artist Bernice Weihs-Anderson began to experiment by burning designs into wood. She got started on her craft by watching an artistic German student who stayed with her for a few weeks during the opening days of the pandemic last year; after the student went home, Weihs-Anderson picked up the soldering iron herself. As she worked, she began to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic: both its horrific impact on humanity but also its positive impacts on the natural world due to less human activity. This led her to decide to portray animals that have been put at risk by human activity or which have recovered thanks to environmental activism. Read more at https://bit.ly/3GV48u5.

Grass fire north of Ashcroft tests alert system

A grass fire north of Ashcroft on May 18 put the village’s emergency alert system to the test. Thanks to the free Voyent Alert system, residents knew exactly what was happening when the fire broke out above the CP tracks at the north end of Barnes Road, and strong winds fanned the flames up the bank toward the area known as the Dunes in the Mesa subdivision. The fire was contained later that day thanks to a contract helicopter from CP, which dumped water on the fire, and work by members of the Ashcroft and Cache Creek fire departments, Ashcroft village crew, and the RCMP to construct fire breaks and use sand and water to control the flames. Read more at https://bit.ly/3J1P3ZG.

Local elections at Bonaparte and Ashcroft bands, Spences Bridge

There were changes at the Bonaparte Band and the Spences Bridge Improvement District (SBID), and no change at the Ashcroft Band, following elections in all three communities. Elections were held at the Bonaparte Band on May 3, and at the Ashcroft Band on May 6. The SBID held an election on May 15. Read more at https://bit.ly/3FbmuGM.

Tesla supercharges installed in Cache Creek

Eight Tesla superchargers were installed in Cache Creek, and a local Tesla owner said that the decision was “one hundred per cent forward-thinking” on the part of the village. “Tesla drivers won’t come to a place without Tesla chargers,” said Ashcroft resident Wayne Little. “When they come they’ll plan on having a meal there. If they’re going on to Kamloops they’ll need a 25 or 30 per cent charge, and if they’re going north they’ll need as much as they can get. Either way they’ll be there for 30 to 60 minutes, so they’ll stop for breakfast or lunch or dinner.” Read more at https://bit.ly/3p8uYsH.

Updated Clinton walking tour guide

The Village of Clinton produced a third version of its “Historic Walking Tour” guide, featuring more information than previous editions, as well as five new/old places for people to visit. In August 2020 the village received $20,000 in funding from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association to produce an updated version of the guide, which has been around for several years. Nothing was cut from the second edition, while Museum volunteers had been in touch with suggestions about what could be added to the new edition, including the Whispering Pines cemetery on Carson Street and Clinton’s memorial hall. Read more at https://bit.ly/3p4KXYB.

JUNE

New local transportation services guide

Residents of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton who wanted to see what transit services are available in the region — from the BC Transit community bus to commercial transit to volunteer drivers — could get all the information in one place, thanks to a transit guide produced by the Ashcroft and Area Community Resources Society. The society’s Esther Lang said that when the pandemic started in spring 2020, a local service sprang up to help those who were having difficulty picking up prescriptions, groceries, and mail. Transportation was also offered to people trying to access various services locally and in Kamloops, and Lang said that the volunteers discovered there were some gaps in the transit services that were being offered. Read more at https://bit.ly/3F9Zic3.

Bonaparte ancestral remain re-interred

The Bonaparte Indian Band was feeling relieved after ancestral remains unearthed at the Ashcroft Terminal site last fall were returned to their original burial place in June. “We went from a storm cloud to a sunny day,” Chief Frank Antoine said, after several days of emotional discussion with terminal personnel over what to do with the remains, estimated to be thousands of years old. Read more at https://bit.ly/3p6cuci.

Jade boulder back at Cache Creek shop

The iconic jade boulder from the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek, which was stolen during a daring robbery on Dec. 19, 2020, was put back on display at the store, but was being kept safely inside. The 3,000-pound jade boulder formerly sat outside the shop, where it was cemented in place. It had been at the Cariboo Jade Shop since 1985, and was a popular and much-loved landmark with locals and tourists alike. After the boulder was recovered it was put in a secure storage unit while its fate was discussed, and it was ultimately decided that putting it back outside the store was too risky. Read more at https://bit.ly/33wpC1Q.

Ashcroft receives grant for fire hall upgrade

The Village of Ashcroft was awarded $688,000 to upgrade the village’s 3,000-sq. ft hall, which was built as a joint museum/fire hall in 1958, and adjoining equipment bay to bring them up to more usable status and legal code. The grant proposal said the upgrades would include everything from repairing the roof and installing a new generator to replacing the ceiling in the hall, relocating the washers and drying station, building new men’s and women’s washrooms with shower facilities, and installing a hydrant and asphalt area at the rear of the truck bay for a truck wash area. Read more at https://bit.ly/3yDILdV.

Ashcroft artist inspired by history

A selection of Ashcroft artist Martha Labadie’s works were on display at the Sidewalk Gallery in June, many of them showcasing her love of the history and old buildings in Ashcroft and the surrounding area. “When I came to Ashcroft in 1994 I looked out the window and thought ‘I’ll draw this.’ It’s beautiful. I love the houses, the flowers, the dust. I thought it was an amazing place, and still do.” Read more at https://bit.ly/3J0XWT0.

Wildfire near Kamloops Lake grows amid soaring temperatures

The Sparks Lake wildfire burning 15 kilometres north of Kamloops had grown to 750 hectares from 350 hectares on Tuesday, June 29, as temperatures in the region were set to hit 46°C during a heat dome blanketing most of the province. The blaze was classified as out of control, and evacuation alerts and orders had been issued for some residents of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. Read more at https://bit.ly/3yHuTix.

Fires banned as temperature records tumble

Amid soaring temperatures, the Province banned all campfires and Category 2 and 3 fires throughout B.C. The weather forecast called for continued record-breaking high temperatures throughout B.C., following a spring of lower-than-average precipitation in the southern half of the province. On Monday, June 28, Lytton had set a new Canadian high temperature of 47.9°C; the previous day it had reached 46.6°C, surpassing the previous Canadian record of 41.7°C, set in Saskatchewan in 1937. Read more at https://bit.ly/3yD9SWu.

After record-setting heat, fire destroys most of Lytton

Two people were confirmed dead in the aftermath of a fire that swept through the Village of Lytton late in the afternoon of June 30, destroying 90 per cent of the town. The cause of the fire was under investigation, but the BC Wildfire Service said the fire was human-caused. The fire broke out the day after Lytton had recorded a temperature of 49.6°C, a new Canada-wide record, and the third day in a row that Lytton had set the mark for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country. Read more at https://bit.ly/3shFpMh, https://bit.ly/3e32KJp, and https://bit.ly/3J21cxp.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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2021 Year in ReviewAshcroftCache Creek