Some 1,500 people were at the first drag racing event held in the area since 2015, which took place at the Campbell Hill airstrip. (Photo credit: Wendy Brulotte)

Some 1,500 people were at the first drag racing event held in the area since 2015, which took place at the Campbell Hill airstrip. (Photo credit: Wendy Brulotte)

Year in Review part 2: Drag races return to area after four year absence

Cache Creek to rejoin transit, Eco-Depot site meets resistance, an NHL star comes home, and more

APRIL

Boston Flats property selected for Eco-Depot

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) announced that it had secured a signed purchase and sale agreement with the owner of a piece of vacant property at Boston Flats, to be used as the site of a new Eco-Depot serving Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and area.

It would replace the recycling facility added to the transfer station near the Cache Creek landfill when the municipal recycling depots in Ashcroft and Cache Creek were closed down in August 2018. The sites were shut down when the TNRD entered the Recycle BC program following major changes to recycling after China cracked down on contaminated recycling coming from North America. Read more at http://bit.ly/2RVF5ks.

New mudslide travel advisory unique to area

Travel advisories for highways in the Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton areas were added to the DriveBC website, warning about potential debris flows and advising drivers not to stop during rainfall events. Signs were also placed along highways 1, 97, and 99 in areas affected by mudslides and debris flows in 2018, warning drivers not to stop during rainfall events.

The new advisories are unique to the region, and are one of the responses to unprecedented debris flows in 2018, which closed area highways, caused severe damage to local properties and homes, prompted evacuations, and killed one person. Read more at http://bit.ly/2RUzBX1.

Cache Creek to rejoin local transit system

On April 8, Cache Creek council voted unanimously to rejoin the local transit system serving Ashcroft and Clinton. The Village was part of the system from its inception in 2008 until 2013, when it opted out.

The subject of rejoining transit was at the forefront of the 2018 municipal election campaign. At a presentation to council in March 2019, Jack Kehoe of Yellowhead Community Services—which operates the bus—noted the many improvements and additions to the service since 2013, including after-hours service. Read more at http://bit.ly/35nT0Dy.

Boston Flats residents upset about proposed new Eco-Depot

A Community Forum in Ashcroft on April 11 provided updates on the new water treatment plant, the subdivision servicing and development bylaw, invasive species, and the 2019 budget and five-year financial plan, but it was recycling—specifically the plan for a new TNRD Eco-Depot at Boston Flats—that generated the most reaction.

Several residents of Boston Flats in TNRD Area “I” were at the meeting to express their dissatisfaction with the planned location for the Eco-Depot, citing numerous concerns including road safety, hazardous materials, odour, dust, the possible impact of flooding, and the lack of consultation by the TNRD. Read more at http://bit.ly/2LV6uyP.

Eco-friendly wedding for Green Party leader

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Ashcroft resident John Kidder exchanged vows at Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral on April 22; fittingly, Earth Day. The pair had met in 2013, but it was not until late 2018 that the two became engaged.

Kidder, a founder of the B.C. Green Party, had been named as the Green Party candidate in the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding in the 2019 federal election. Read more at http://bit.ly/36FgqEN.

Proposed Eco-Depot hits rezoning hurdle

At its April 18 meeting, the TNRD board of directors voted unanimously to defeat a motion for third reading of a rezoning bylaw that would have paved the way for a new Eco-Depot at Boston Flats.

Members of the public were able to address the Board prior to the vote, and cited many of the same concerns that had been expressed at the Ashcroft Community Forum a week earlier. A report from TNRD staff addressed many of these concerns, but the motion did not pass, meaning that the regional district would have to reconsider the issue and determine a new course of action going forward. Read more at http://bit.ly/2PqNiLu.

Repair work at Bonaparte River fishway

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said that it was actively working on repairs to the Bonaparte fishway near Ashcroft, but was being hampered by high water levels and higher-than-usual water flows in the Bonaparte River following the Elephant Hill wildfire in 2017, which left little vegetation to soak up water.

The project was deemed high priority, and work had started in August 2017. However, flood events in spring and summer 2018 had further eroded the already undermined rock foundation beneath the fishway divider wall, making the situation worse and complicating the repair operations. Spawning steelhead were being transported around the site by provincial biologists and the Bonaparte Indian Band, with support from DFO. Read more at http://bit.ly/36EG3FQ.

Award for mobile library

The Thompson-Nicola Mobile Library received the BC Library Association Eureka Award for innovation, for delivering mobile voting within the TNRD during the 2018 municipal election. The service met the award criteria as being “an innovative approach to address a barrier, solve a problem, provide a powerful new insight, or introduce an original idea in the library field.”

The “mobile polling” provided by the Mobile Library allowed 153 residents to take advantage of the opportunity to vote in their communities, including Spences Bridge, Loon Lake, Thompson River Estates, 20 Mile, and 70 Mile. Read more at http://bit.ly/2qYRFnS.

MAY

Health Care Auxiliary donations help many

The Ashcroft and District Health Care Auxiliary said that it would be donating up to $47,500 in 2019 to various health care-related organizations and causes that help area residents. Locally, these organizations included the Ashcroft and District Health Care Site, the Ashcroft Hospice Program, Better at Home, Thompson View Lodge, The Equality Project, the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society, and bursaries for School District No. 74 students enrolling in any health care program.

Among the other organizations receiving funding—all of which are used by area residents—were the Alzheimer Society of BC, BC Children’s Hospital, Ponderosa Lodge in Kamloops, and Royal Inland Hospital. Read more at http://bit.ly/34l8tmx.

Uncertainty at Historic Hat Creek

The Friends of Historic Hat Creek Ranch Society, which manages the Historic Hat Creek site, found out that the provincial government would be proceeding with a public process to seek a new site manage for Hat Creek.

The decision left the Friends in a state of limbo, as they were unable to plan for the 2020 tourist season and beyond, while the site usually books two to three years in advance. However, the Friends were looking forward to the 2019 season, which they felt could be the best in the site’s history. Read more at http://bit.ly/2rRpDuN.

Minor soccer honours longtime volunteer

The South Cariboo Minor Soccer Association’s U10 and U13 invitational tournament over the weekend of May 3 had a little extra emotion, as longtime volunteer league executive, coach, and referee Tom Watson—who had recently passed away—was honoured. The tournament will, going forward, be renamed the Tom Watson invitational tournament, and one of the bursaries the league awards to graduating Desert Sands Community School students will be renamed in Tom’s honour. Read more at http://bit.ly/2theyn7.

Clinton Community Forest distributes more than $300,000

The Clinton Community Forest distributed $230,000 to the Village of Clinton, and more than $100,000 to community organizations, at a public meeting on May 9. Among the organizations receiving funds were the Psalm 23 Transition Society, David Stoddart School, the Clinton Annual Ball Committee and the Parade Committee, the Clinton Firefighters Association, the Health Care Society, and the South Cariboo Historical Museum Society. Read more at http://bit.ly/2rPdh6y.

Uncertainty regarding Cache Creek pool

A Town Hall meeting in Cache Creek on May 11 to review the Village’s five-year financial plan included news of a proposed 10 per cent property tax increase each year for the next five years, and a plan to close the Cache Creek pool after the 2019 season unless a new funding source could be found.

CAO Martin Dalsin stated that for the last few years the Village has been transferring $200,000 to $300,000 each year from the Landfill Legacy Fund in order to make up for not raising property taxes. He also explained that the 50-year-old pool costs approximately $165,000 a year to run. Charging for public swimming—which has been free for several years—would only raise approximately $10,000 per year. Further tax increases would also not solve the problem, with Dalsin noting that a one per cent tax increase only raises about $5,000 for the Village. Read more at http://bit.ly/2PpSvDF.

Historic Cariboo Wagon Road restoration

The New Pathways to Gold Society announced that it had received $54,550 for the initial phase of the Cariboo Wagon Road Restoration Project, which would focus on identifying and surveying sections of the historic road, which opened up the Interior of B.C., between Clinton and Lac La Hache.

The section is about 100km in length, with some of it under current roads and railway lines, and some obscured by natural growth. The idea is for people to be able to walk or bike the road when restoration work is complete. Read more at http://bit.ly/2PpeD0M.

Interior Health trying to recruit nurses for Ashcroft hospital

Unexpected closures of the emergency department at the Ashcroft Hospital—three in May alone—caused concern in local communities, and had Interior Health (IH) trying to ensure that shifts were covered, as well as trying to attract permanent nursing staff to the area.

IH said that when a closure is necessary, every attempt is made to make sure it happens at a time when it will have the least impact. The Ashcroft emergency department is scheduled to be open from 6 p.m. on Friday to 8 a.m. on Monday. Read more at http://bit.ly/38JHNPG.

NHL star returns to Ashcroft

All-star NHL player Eric Brewer—who grew up in Ashcroft and played his early hockey in the town—returned to Ashcroft on May 29 to speak to students at Desert Sands Community School, encouraging them to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.

Brewer—who was drafted fifth overall in 1997 by the New York Islanders—played more than 1,000 games in the NHL. He told the students that no matter what path they chose, it would mean hard work, and stressed the importance of being respectful. After his talk, he answered questions from students, and said that while the population of Ashcroft was smaller than when he lived here, the trails and sand dunes looked to be the same as when he was out on them. Read more at http://bit.ly/38JJMDA.

JUNE

Chasm Mill closure announced

On June 17, West Fraser Mills announced that it would be permanently closing its Chasm mill north of Clinton on Sept. 8, putting 176 employees out of work. On the same day, the company announced it would be eliminating the third shift at its mill in 100 Mile House, affecting 34 employees. The announcement came after a raft of other closure and curtailment announcements in the Interior forest industry. Read more at http://bit.ly/2su6Wxr.

McAbee Fossil Beds reopen

After being taken over by the Province, declared a Heritage Site, and closed in July 2012, the McAbee Fossil Beds east of Cache Creek reopened to the public on June 21. Nearly 100 people were at the site for the soft opening, which came after three years of work by local volunteers, the Bonaparte Indian Band, Community Futures Sun Country, and the provincial Heritage Branch.

The McAbee Fossil Beds contain a wealth of 53-million-year-old Eocene epoch fossils, and the site is an important historic and cultural one for the Secwepemc people. A new “Stop of Interest” sign was installed at the site—scheduled to be open five days a week through the summer—prior to the opening. Read more at http://bit.ly/38G7Oj1.

Drag racing returns

For the first time since 2015 drag racing returned to the area, just in time for the Graffiti Days weekend on June 7–9. Thunder in the Valley Raceway president and event organizer Dwight Toews said that a crew of volunteers created a track at the Campbell Hill airstrip south of Cache Creek in eight weeks.

About 1,500 people came through the gate over the weekend to watch the racing, and Toews said another event was planned for August. The last drag racing in the area was at the Eagle Motorplex near Ashcroft in 2015, but the facility closed in spring 2016. Read more at http://bit.ly/2YYmc1K.

Eco-Depot consultation

TNRD staff were on hand at four open houses in Ashcroft and Cache Creek on June 19–20, to answer questions about the planned new Eco-Depot for the area. They also had information regarding three possible sites for the Eco-Depot, and a survey seeking public feedback about where they would like to see the facility located. Read more at http://bit.ly/2tjVbtH.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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A new travel advisory unique to the area was rolled out in early 2019, to warn motorists about the danger of debris flows in the event of heavy rain. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

A new travel advisory unique to the area was rolled out in early 2019, to warn motorists about the danger of debris flows in the event of heavy rain. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

After the proposed Boston Flats Eco-Depot site hit a roadblock, the TNRD laid out three possible sites for the new facility. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

After the proposed Boston Flats Eco-Depot site hit a roadblock, the TNRD laid out three possible sites for the new facility. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Damage to the fish ladder on the Bonaparte River near Ashcroft (the fishway is at left) had DFO staff scrambling to work on repairs. (Photo credit: DFO)

Damage to the fish ladder on the Bonaparte River near Ashcroft (the fishway is at left) had DFO staff scrambling to work on repairs. (Photo credit: DFO)

Longtime soccer volunteer Tom Watson (left, with his son Elijah) was honoured at this year’s U10/U13 invitational tournament. (Photo credit: Submitted)

Longtime soccer volunteer Tom Watson (left, with his son Elijah) was honoured at this year’s U10/U13 invitational tournament. (Photo credit: Submitted)

NHL All-Star Eric Brewer, who grew up in Ashcroft, returned to the town for a talk to students at Desert Sands Community School. (Photo credit: Karissa Gall)

NHL All-Star Eric Brewer, who grew up in Ashcroft, returned to the town for a talk to students at Desert Sands Community School. (Photo credit: Karissa Gall)

The new Stop of Interest sign at the McAbee Fossil Beds, which reopened in summer 2019 for the first time in seven years. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

The new Stop of Interest sign at the McAbee Fossil Beds, which reopened in summer 2019 for the first time in seven years. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)