Year in Review part four: As fire recovery continues, floods impact region

One of the many damaged sections along Highway 1 between Spences Bridge and Merritt, following flooding on the weekend of Nov. 14. (Photo credit: Ministry of Transportation)One of the many damaged sections along Highway 1 between Spences Bridge and Merritt, following flooding on the weekend of Nov. 14. (Photo credit: Ministry of Transportation)
The finishing touches — two 3D butterflies and a 3D sun — have now been added to the new mural on the east wall of the gym at the Ashcroft HUB, created by artists Kathleen Kinasewich, Andrea Ardiles, and Lilly Krantz. Kinasewich notes that it is best viewed with some sunlight on it, to get the best appreciation of the shadows created by the 3D elements, which were created using a variety of recycled materials. (from l) Kathleen Kinasewich, Lilly Krantz, Andrea Ardiles. (Photo credit: Submitted)The finishing touches — two 3D butterflies and a 3D sun — have now been added to the new mural on the east wall of the gym at the Ashcroft HUB, created by artists Kathleen Kinasewich, Andrea Ardiles, and Lilly Krantz. Kinasewich notes that it is best viewed with some sunlight on it, to get the best appreciation of the shadows created by the 3D elements, which were created using a variety of recycled materials. (from l) Kathleen Kinasewich, Lilly Krantz, Andrea Ardiles. (Photo credit: Submitted)
Stabilization work is now complete at the Ten Mile Slide site on Highway 99 north of Lillooet. (Photo credit: Ministry of Transportation)Stabilization work is now complete at the Ten Mile Slide site on Highway 99 north of Lillooet. (Photo credit: Ministry of Transportation)
The cenotaph at Bonaparte First Nation commemorates missing and murdered Indigenous women. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)The cenotaph at Bonaparte First Nation commemorates missing and murdered Indigenous women. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Kendra Taylor and her cat Twilight, who disappeared from Cache Creek on Sept. 21 and was turned in to the Port Coquitlam SPCA nearly two months later. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Kendra Taylor and her cat Twilight, who disappeared from Cache Creek on Sept. 21 and was turned in to the Port Coquitlam SPCA nearly two months later. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Work at Tank Hill on Highway 1 north of Lytton on Nov. 22, 2021. (Photo credit: Govt. of BC)Work at Tank Hill on Highway 1 north of Lytton on Nov. 22, 2021. (Photo credit: Govt. of BC)
Jade Boulder with the recovered sign, both of which are now being kept inside the Cariboo Jade Shop. (Photo credit: Heidi Roy)Jade Boulder with the recovered sign, both of which are now being kept inside the Cariboo Jade Shop. (Photo credit: Heidi Roy)

OCTOBER

Clinton resident gets unusual visitor

As residents throughout the area posted on social media about an increase of bear sightings in local communities, one Clinton resident had a close encounter with a hungry — or curious — bruin that tried to enter the glass door in her solarium. Read more at https://bit.ly/3G0ihpy.

Murals bring colour to two communities

In Spences Bridge, two beautiful, larger-than-life butterflies grace one wall of the former school, beckoning people to stand in front of them and give themselves wings. In Ashcroft, bright salmon leap through water below sandy hills on a wall of the HUB. These joyous works of art had a common thread — Spences Bridge artists Kathleen Kinasewich and Andrea Ardiles, and Ashcroft artist Lilly Krantz — and Kinasewich said that one of the pieces was intended for Lytton, before tragedy intervened. Read more at https://bit.ly/3FPQRTw.

Tire smashes through window of 70 Mile home

Calls were being renewed to reduce the speed limit on Highway 97 near 70 Mile House after a rogue tire flew off the highway and smashed through a family’s dining room window, narrowly missing two people. Brian Jones was outside his home at about 11:45 a.m on Sept. 30 when he heard a massive bang and saw a tire and rim flying through the air. It smashed through the double-paned glass of his dining room before hurtling through the living room, where his wife Veronica and 10-year-old grandson S.J. were watching TV. Read more at https://bit.ly/3F09lzz.

No evidence found to connect railways to Lytton fire

The Transportation Safety Board found no evidence linking railway activity to the fire that destroyed the Village of Lytton on June 30. “The TSB investigation has not revealed any evidence to link railway operations to the fire. Therefore, unless new information establishes that a TSB reportable event occurred, no further work will be performed and no TSB investigation report will be produced,” the TSB said in a statement in early October. Read more at https://bit.ly/31miZyC.

Cache Creek fire department appealing for new members

The Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department put out a call for new members of the department, in order to boost the ranks and ensure that the village is still deemed to have adequate fire protection. “We have 14 members at the moment,” said Fire Chief Tom Moe. “A couple of people have lost interest, one person retired, and we’ve had a few move away over the last couple of years, and we’ve only had one new member and a junior join in the last year.” Read more at https://bit.ly/3r0pqAj.

2021 wildfire season costlier than 2017

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District spent more than $5.2 million – twice as much as in 2017 – dealing with this summer’s wildfires, which wiped out Lytton and Monte Lake and threatened other cities and towns across the region including Ashcroft, Spences Bridge, and 70 Mile House. Kevin Skrepnek, emergency coordinator for the TNRD, said the regional district’s Emergency Operations Centre was open for 9,600 hours during the wildfires, which were sparked in late June on the heels of an extreme heat dome in B.C. Throughout the summer, the TNRD’s EOC issued 293 evacuation orders and alerts, compared with only 45 in the 2017 wildfires. Read more at https://bit.ly/3HxwI4O.

Cache Creek woman writes children’s book

When Melva Saunders saw a lonely donkey in a field, she was inspired to write about it. She jotted down a few notes at the time but then lost them. But she never forgot the donkey and decided a few years later to pick up the story and share it with others. “I thought ‘oh poor donkey,’” said Saunders, a retired printer who has lived in Cache Creek for the past 30 years. Her efforts resulted in a self-published children’s book, The Lonely Donkey Finds a Friend, illustrated by 18-year-old Kamloops artist Danielle Korgaard. Read more at https://bit.ly/3pNotM9.

Recycling takes shape at Bonaparte Band

Karen Warren is the recycling champion of the Bonaparte Indian Band. Each week she travels through the band’s three communities, collecting, sorting, and hauling away products to be recycled. She also goes into homes to teach people how to source separate their products, such as ensuring cans and jars are washed and cleaned and that boxes are broken down before they go into their separate bags. The program started thanks to grant funding, which helped to procure the recycling bus. It came about as a way to reduce the amount of garbage being produced by the band and is already showing results. Read more at https://bit.ly/3HyHS9N.

Clinton boys apologize for vandalism, offer suggestions for youth services

An act of vandalism in Clinton’s Reg Conn Park was turned into an educational moment for two local youth. The two 12-year-old boys, who kicked in the door of the park’s bandshell, offered Clinton council a list of ideas of what they would like to see in the community for local youth. Their suggestions followed an invitation by Mayor Susan Swan to ask their friends what they like about Clinton and what they need. Swan said she didn’t want to punish the boys but instead use the incident as a way to engage with Clinton’s pre-teen demographic. The boys apologized to council in October, with one saying he was “just acting stupid” while the other said he will “choose to make better choices from now on.” Read more at https://bit.ly/3FQBzOa.

NOVEMBER

Stabilization work complete at Ten Mile Slide

Slope stabilization at the Ten Mile Slide site on Highway 99 was completed, improving long-term safety and reliability for people travelling the highway northeast of Lillooet. Work had been ongoing at the site for almost four years, since major slide activity in September 2017 closed the highway for several weeks. The stretch of highway has experienced ongoing slide activity for several decades. Read more at https://bit.ly/343RDOz.

Better at Home program expands to Clinton

The Better at Home service expanded to Clinton, and began offering light housekeeping services for eligible seniors in that community who need a little assistance around their home. The program — which is mainly funded through the United Way of the Lower Mainland — helps seniors continue to live independently in their own homes by providing simple, non-medical services. It has been operating in Ashcroft and Cache Creek since 2013, and program coordinator Nancy Kendall said that she has been fielding requests for the service to expand to Clinton for several years. Read more at https://bit.ly/3mPe7cT.

Hundreds died in summer heat waves

Nearly 600 people died due to extreme heat this past summer, the BC Coroners Service reported on Nov. 1. The Coroners Service said that 595 people died between June 18 and Aug. 12, with the largest number of heat deaths – 526, or 88 per cent – occurring between June 25 and July 1. The deadliest days took place on June 29 (231 deaths) and June 28 (131). Read more at https://bit.ly/3sRri0s.

Clinton Creek Estates welcoming residents

After more than a decade of work, the doors were open and suites were filling up at Clinton’s new seniors’ residence. Clinton Creek Estates, a non-profit, low-income complex, began welcoming residents at the beginning of November. For Judy Hampton, the chair of the Clinton and District Assisted Living Society who has worked tirelessly to bring the vision of the supportive-living residence to life, reaching the finish line was almost unbelievable. “It really hasn’t hit me yet, but it feels awesome,” Hampton said. Read more at https://bit.ly/3HrycOf.

Bonaparte First nation unveils cenotaph

Several dozen people gathered at Bonaparte First Nation on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, to mark the unveiling of a cenotaph commemorating the 14 Bonaparte members who served in the military in wars throughout the last century. The cenotaph, which also commemorates missing and murdered Indigenous women and those buried in the 215 unmarked graves discovered this past summer at the former Kamloops Residential School, had been in the works for almost a year. Read more at https://bit.ly/3mQUJw2.

One person confirmed missing after flooding devastates properties along Highway 8

Damage in the Southern Interior caused by the atmospheric river that hit B.C. on the weekend of Nov. 13 was being assessed, with thousands of people remaining evacuated from their homes and area highways closed due to massive washouts and collapses. More than three dozen properties along Highway 8 between Spences Bridge and Merritt had to be evacuated due to flooding of the Nicola River. While almost all stranded residents were able to be airlifted to safety, RCMP confirmed that one person was missing and presumed dead after their house was swept away by the floodwater. Read more at https://bit.ly/3pOQ8MS.

Kumsheen School closed due to flood damage

After surviving the disastrous Lytton fire of June 30 and reopening to students in September, Kumsheen ShchEma-meet School had to close due to another natural disaster: the flooding that saw Lytton cut off from the north and south due to major damage to Highway 1. The school was closed as of Nov. 17, as many staff members were unable to reach the school due to highway washouts and closures. Read more at https://bit.ly/3ERXN10.

Cat comes back to Cache Creek home after two month disappearance

If cats could talk, then Twilight would have a hair-raising tale to tell of being catnapped from her Cache Creek home in September, left in the wilderness several miles away, and ending up at the SPCA in Port Coquitlam after being rescued by Good Samaritans. Her owner never stopped hoping that Twilight would be found, and put numerous posts online on a missing pets site. Then, nearly two months later, she got a phone call out of the blue. Read more at https://bit.ly/349KFHT.

Work continues to reopen highways as extent of damage is revealed

The Province was beginning to get a clearer idea of the massive reconstruction work necessary to restore vital transportation links in southern B.C. in the wake of catastrophic flooding on the weekend of Nov. 14. The CP mainline had reopened through the Fraser Canyon, with both CP and CN trains running along the track while work was completed on restoring the CN mainline. It was estimated that Highway 1 through the canyon would reopen in mid-January, 2022. Read more at https://bit.ly/3JAYkIk.

Lions celebrate another successful Smile Cookies campaign

There were smiles on the faces of everyone involved with three local sports organizations, thanks to Tim Hortons and the Ashcroft and District Lions Club. In September the local Lions once again partnered with Tim Hortons at the Travel Centre during the Smile Cookies campaign, selling cookies to benefit the Thompson-Cariboo Minor Hockey Association (TCMHA), the South Cariboo Minor Soccer Association, and the Cache Creek softball league. When the delicious chocolate-chip-flavoured dust had settled, the group had raised $5,720 from cookie sales, which the club rounded up to $6,000 so that each organization would receive an even $2,000. Read more at https://bit.ly/3ESGOeR.

DECEMBER

Province committed to rebuilding Hwy. 8

The Province was working on ways to allow residents along Highway 8 between Spences Bridge and Merritt to access their properties, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said at a press conference on Dec. 3. “There is a lot happening,” he said, noting that roads were being punched in to give access to some properties. “Some of them are forest service roads that are being upgraded and widened and cleared on a temporary basis.” He added that more information about temporary access, as well as the permanent rebuilding plans, would be shared in the days ahead. Read more at https://bit.ly/3pJoRv8.

Guns and Hoses hockey match set to return

One of the highlights of 2020 was the first responders charity hockey match — affectionately known as “Guns and Hoses” — that saw local firefighters, police, and more taking part in a no-holds-barred, fun-filled game that featured plenty of hockey action, as well as an on-ice picnic, doughnuts dangling from the police team’s net, one player dramatically changing teams mid-game, and more. Guns and Hoses was set to return to the Drylands Arena in Ashcroft on Jan. 22, for another evening of fun, frolics, wacky antics, and more (including some actual hockey). Read more at https://bit.ly/3JzUEq6.

Vandal takes Cache Creek radio station off the air

Radio listeners in the Cache Creek/Ashcroft area might have noticed that local radio station CFMA — operated by volunteers with the Ash-Creek TV Society — has been off the air for several weeks. On or about Nov. 13, some person or persons unknown broke in the door to the radio station’s tower on the hill above Cache Creek and smashed all the equipment inside it, which left the station unable to transmit for the foreseeable future. Read more at https://bit.ly/3JEw5Zs.

Santa shows he hasn’t forgotten Lytton

Many residents of Lytton and the surrounding area are feeling forgotten by politicians, given that the town looks much as it did the day after a fire destroyed most of it on June 30, with few signs of clean-up, let alone rebuilding. Prime Minister Trudeau didn’t help matters when he referred to Lytton in the past tense during the COP26 climate conference in November. Santa, however, did not forget Lytton, and with the assistance of a lot of dedicated and generous local volunteers and organizations, was set to pay a visit to the town on Dec. 23, as the culmination of more than a week of of celebration, giving, and festivities. Read more at https://bit.ly/3sSeSpo.

Missing sign recovered a year after daring theft of jade boulder

Almost a year after the daring robbery that saw the iconic jade boulder stolen from outside the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek — and its recovery nearly two weeks later — the final piece of the puzzle was found. When the 3,000-pound boulder was first put on display outside the Jade Shop by then-owner Ben Roy in 1985, a specially-commissioned sign explaining the boulder’s origins and history sat on top of it. When the boulder was stolen near midnight on Dec. 19, 2020 the sign was stolen along with it, but when the boulder — and an excavator used in its theft — was found near Deadman-Vidette Road west of Savona, the sign was nowhere to be found. Read more at https://bit.ly/3FPRhcw.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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