An excavator works to clear the culvert at Quartz Road in Cache Creek after flooding threatened the nearby fire hall in April 2020. (Photo credit: Gary Winslow)

An excavator works to clear the culvert at Quartz Road in Cache Creek after flooding threatened the nearby fire hall in April 2020. (Photo credit: Gary Winslow)

Year in Review: No charges to be laid regarding Elephant Hill wildfire

Plus fire and floods in Cache Creek, award for a former mayor, and the Journal turns 125

APRIL

COVID helpline

Several local organizations, governments, and volunteers joined forces to create a COVID-19 helpline serving residents of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and the surrounding area who needed assistance picking up groceries, medications, or mail, wanted spiritual support or someone to talk to, or who were looking for information about local services. By calling (250) 457-3422, people were connected with volunteers who could provide the necessary assistance. The helpline later expanded to include Clinton and Spences Bridge, and is still running via the Ashcroft HUB. Read more at http://bit.ly/37x7fta.

Community wears its heart on its sleeve

Ashcroft residents Heather and Terry Philpott came up with a simple but effective way of showing how they, and their community, care: by constructing, painting, and then putting up dozens of colourful hearts on their street. It was part of the “World of Hearts” movement, which saw people around the world putting up hearts as a sign of hope. The initiative later stretched to the Ashcroft bridge, with hearts spanning the length of the structure. Read more at http://bit.ly/2LOtCC1.

Fire destroys two Cache Creek homes

RCMP were investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed two homes in Cache Creek in the early morning hours of April 15. One home on Stage Road, that had been unoccupied since being severely damaged in the 2015 flooding, and a neighbouring home on Stanley Parke Drive that was occupied, were destroyed in the blaze, which was battled by 20 firefighters from Cache Creek and Ashcroft. Read more at http://bit.ly/3p5AJo0.

Flood fears in Cache Creek

An early snow melt caused by sudden warm temperatures caused a rapid rise in the waters of Cache Creek on April 18, and on April 20 prompted evacuation orders for several properties along the creek and evacuation alerts for several areas adjacent to the Bonaparte River. A state of local emergency was declared on April 18, and engineers, contractors, village crew, firefighters, and volunteers worked to safeguard the community and bolster the creek banks in several areas, including at the culvert on Quartz Road near the fire hall. The area, and the fire hall, had previously been severely affected by flooding in 2015, 2017, and 2018. Read more at http://bit.ly/3nNtwZL.

Community Achievement award for former Cache Creek mayor

John Ranta — who served as mayor of Cache Creek from 1980 to 2018 — was one of 25 recipients of the BC Community Achievement Award, which recognizes those who help make B.C. a better place to live. When he received news of the award, Ranta was told that he was being recognized for his 28 years as mayor, eight years as chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board, being on the Union of BC Municipalities executive (including a term as president), and for his involvement in the community. Read more at http://bit.ly/38o95fl.

New painting honours historic Chinatown

Almost all of Ashcroft’s historic Chinatown has disappeared, but one building — the former Wing Wo Lung store, now the home of Rolgear — survives, and in April a painting by local artist Marina Papais depicting Chinatown was unveiled on the building’s façade. Papais pored over photographs and spoke with many people with direct connections to Chinatown before embarking on the painting, which depicts long-vanished buildings, landmarks, and people, as well as two ghosts. After it was hung, Papais said of the painting “It’s right where it needs to be.” Read more at http://bit.ly/34t3G5y.

Clinton Museum opening on hold

Many places in B.C. found their opening plans on hold amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Clinton Museum was no exception. Instead of gearing up for opening day, the decision was made to keep the site closed for the time being, with a good deal of uncertainty as to whether or not it would open at all. However, volunteers still planned to carry out necessary yard work, with those taking part observing all physical distance rules. In June the decision was made to keep the museum closed for the season. Read more at http://bit.ly/2KKQdPC.

MAY

No charges to be laid in connection with Elephant Hill wildfire

The BC Wildfire Service released a report stating that no charges would be laid in connection with the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire, as no one person had been identified as associated with the fire’s cause. The report added that the most likely cause of the fire was smoking materials (eg. cigarettes, tobacco, or matches), after all other possibilities — including lightning, arson, an escaped campfire, and railroads — were eliminated. The fire began at about 10 p.m. on July 6, 2017 at a spot 2.5 kilometres southwest of Ashcroft, and was not fully contained until late September, by which time it had burned 191,865 hectares and destroyed more than 130 homes, including a dozen on the Ashcroft Reserve and nearly 50 at the Boston Flats trailer park. Read more at http://bit.ly/3asEzn9.

Journal turns 125

The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal celebrated its 125th birthday on May 9. The paper began life as the B.C. Mining Journal in 1895, and is the oldest continuously-published weekly paper in the province. A series of articles looked at various milestones in the paper’s history, including its beginnings, early editors, and the stewardship of the Cumming family, which began in 1912 and continued until 1978. The paper started in a small lean-to on Railway Avenue before moving into a custom-built office on 4th Street in 1899, from which building the paper is still produced each week. Read more at http://bit.ly/2KDDNZM, http://bit.ly/3pdAzet, http://bit.ly/3aqOppF, http://bit.ly/3h4hVD1, and http://bit.ly/3rcmr6U.

Ashcroft Terminal to form working group

After writing to Ashcroft council to inform them they would be installing a gate on their property line on Evans Road to prevent public access to the Ashcroft slough area, Ashcroft Terminal announced that it would be forming a working group to look at suitable alternatives at accessing the riverfront that did not involve land belonging to the terminal. Read more at http://bit.ly/2LTSXKX.

Changes coming to Ashcroft Library

The Thompson-Nicola Regional Library announced that public input would be sought regarding changes to the interior of the Ashcroft Library, which opened in its current location on Brink Street in August 1975. Although major exterior work has been undertaken over the years, the interior has remained largely unchanged since it was built. The branch was the 10th one to open in what was then called the Thompson-Nicola Library System, and provided a permanent home for the Ashcroft Library, which was then located on the top floor of the community hall. Read more at http://bit.ly/3h2EWWN.

Flying fish

Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed that salmon would be flying over the site of the Big Bar landslide over the summer, thanks to the “Whooshh Passage portal”. The ladder and tube system was designed as part of a fish passage network to help spawning fish get past the slide on the Fraser River, caused when some 75,000 cubic metres of rock fell into the site roughly 100 kilometres north of Lillooet. It blocked the passage of spawning salmon into B.C.’s Interior, and threatened at least one species with extinction. Read more at http://bit.ly/38AeUXh.

JUNE

Rifle raffle

The South Cariboo Sporstmen Association announced a raffle to help raise funds to rebuild their rifle range, which was destroyed in the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire. Several structures at the association’s property south of Cache Creek were damaged or destroyed in the fire, with the rifle range the final thing needing to be rebuilt. The projected cost of the project was $17,000 to $20,000, and it was hoped that proceeds from the raffle ticket sales would raise the required amount so that work could proceed in 2021. Read more at http://bit.ly/3h6UuZM.

Soup’s On keeps keeping on

Soup’s On — the volunteer-run operation that has been providing a hot lunch at St. Alban’s Church in Ashcroft almost every Friday since 2009 — had to close its doors during the pandemic, but turned to a voucher system in order to supply meals to regular customers and support local restaurants hit hard by COVID-19. Volunteers distributed fruit, buns, and cookies at St. Alban’s, and provided customers with a $10 voucher, redeemable at several Ashcroft restaurants that remained open for takeout meals. The restaurants were then reimbursed for the vouchers, giving them a much-needed boost. Read more at http://bit.ly/34p9Mnt.

Ashcroft gets grant funding for new hot tub

The Village of Ashcroft announced that it had received grants from the federal and provincial governments to allow them to move forward with two major projects that had been identified as priorities. One hundred per cent funding ($828,000 from the federal government and $552,000 in provincial funding) was received for the replacement of lift station #1 in North Ashcroft, including the installation of a deep wet well, two submersible pumps, and the relocation of an existing generator. For the hot tub at the Ashcroft pool, which has been out of commission for the last several summers, the village was set to receive $69,686 (federal) and $58,066 (provincial) for a 15-person fibreglass outdoor tub with therapy jets, as well as a portable lift to assist patrons with mobility issues, leaving the village to supply the remaining estimated cost of $46,464. Read more at http://bit.ly/37z224c.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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One of two homes destroyed by fire in Cache Creek in April. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

One of two homes destroyed by fire in Cache Creek in April. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

A painting by Marina Papais depicting Ashcroft’s historic Chinatown was unveiled in April 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

A painting by Marina Papais depicting Ashcroft’s historic Chinatown was unveiled in April 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

A photo shows the starting point (above the bend in the river at bottom centre) of the Elephant Hill wildfire near Ashcroft in July 2017. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)

A photo shows the starting point (above the bend in the river at bottom centre) of the Elephant Hill wildfire near Ashcroft in July 2017. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)

Front page of the second issue of the Ashcroft Journal, May 16, 1895. The Journal celebrated its 125th anniversary in May 2020.(Photo credit: Journal archives)

Front page of the second issue of the Ashcroft Journal, May 16, 1895. The Journal celebrated its 125th anniversary in May 2020.(Photo credit: Journal archives)

The Whooshh Fish Portal was designed to transport fish over the site of the Big Bar Slide in the Fraser River. (Photo credit: Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans )

The Whooshh Fish Portal was designed to transport fish over the site of the Big Bar Slide in the Fraser River. (Photo credit: Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans )