Property assessment increases
When homeowners in the region received their property assessment notices in January, many noticed that the value of their property had increased substantially compared with their 2019 assessment. While property values in the previously red-hot Lower Mainland decreased, other areas in the province saw values go up, in part due to high demand. The average value of a house in Clinton went up by $30,000, a 25 per cent increase. Ashcroft (a 17 per cent increase), Lytton (17 per cent), and Cache Creek (11 per cent) also saw hefty increases in property values. Read more at https://bit.ly/2IvV9a2.
First Responders hockey match provides a great night
Guns and Roses in Ashcroft? No, it was “Guns and Hoses”, a charity hockey match involving area first responders. A Firefighters team took on a Law Enforcement at the Drylands Arena on Jan. 11 and played a spirited, fun-filled game in front of 400 spectators. There were good-natured pranks on-ice and off, a few calls from the officials that are not generally seen during a regular hockey game (speeding?!), and a dramatic defection from one team to the other. The by-donation event was held to raise funds so that the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department could purchase and install smoke detectors at no charge for seniors and low income households in Ashcroft and Cache Creek, and more than $4,700 was raised. Read more at https://bit.ly/34bedSP.
Man shot dead in Lytton
A police-involved shooting in Lytton on Jan. 13 left a man dead, and the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. was called in to investigate. Two people in a residence on McIntyre Road were able to leave the house safely, but a distraught man said to be in possession of firearms was killed after an interaction with police. He was later identified as well-known homeless advocate Barry Shantz, who was described by someone who knew him as “a complex man who leaves behind a very complicated legacy”. Read more at https://bit.ly/3qT1GwW.
Ashcroft to get two EV charging stations
Ashcroft drew a step nearer to getting its first electric vehicle charging stations when Northern Development Initiative Trust announced that it was providing funding towards a program that would see 47 Level 2 stations installed in communities throughout central and northern B.C. Ashcroft council had voted to join the initiative, from Charge North, in Feb. 2019, and committed to participating in the program and providing a location for the stations on village property. The village’s share of the cost, once all funding sources were in place, was expected to be just over $5,000 for each station, out of a total cost of $18,667 per station. Read more at https://bit.ly/3gMdaxs.
Clinton helps Cariboo Wagon Road project
After receiving funding to research the route and condition of the historic Cariboo Wagon Road north of Clinton, Richard Wright of the New Pathways to Gold Society turned to the archives at the Clinton Museum for assistance. Volunteers with the South Cariboo Historical Museum Society, which operates the museum, were on hand to assist Wright with his researches. The goal of the NPTGS project is to accurately map and assess the state of the road and help to develop it as an attraction that will draw visitors to the region. Read more at https://bit.ly/38148sA.
Ringing up the curtain
The Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society began rehearsals of its spring 2020 theatre production, an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced, featuring indomitable amateur sleuth Miss Jane Marple. Auditions had started in Nov. 2019, and the production was booked in for five performances at the Ashcroft HUB between March 12 and 15. Read more at https://bit.ly/37hVLJU.
Cannabis store opens in Clinton
Cynders — Clinton’s first retail cannabis store — opened on Jan. 31 in the former Blue Barn building. It was the first venture from owner Sherri Zigarlick and her son Jake, who had been tossing around the idea for some time. Along with family and friends, they renovated the Blue Barn building to create an attractive and welcoming environment while proceeding along the 14-month application process, which Zigarlick described as long, expensive, and a little unfair. Along with a staff of eight, Cynders also “employs” Violet, the official shop dog. Read more at https://bit.ly/3nwIp2t.
Gravity Productions moved into Ashcroft and carried out preparatory work (including building a replica of 123-year old Zion United Church) before beginning to film an episode of the CBS All Access TV series The Twilight Zone. The filming took place in and around several locations in Ashcroft over the course of two weeks, bringing close to 200 people to the area for the duration and pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy. Read more at https://bit.ly/2Kqeme5.
Cache Creek/Ashcroft Eco-Depot inches closer
After an extensive public consultation process in 2019, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) announced that it had purchased land on Campbell Hill Drive East — off Highway 1 between Cache Creek and Ashcroft — as the site of a proposed new Eco-Depot serving the two communities and surrounding area. The announcement came after opposition to a proposed site at Boston Flats sent the land acquisition process back to the drawing-board in March 2019, and 18 months after the TNRD closed its recycling depots in Cache Creek and Ashcroft following worldwide changes affecting recycling. The transfer station near the former Cache Creek landfill had been accepting some material for recycling since then, but many locals were not happy with the facility’s location and the poor access to it. Read more at https://bit.ly/382JtV8.
Bridge grant funding nixed
Cache Creek council heard that a grant funding request of $750,000, to build a bridge across Cache Creek on Quartz Road at Highway 1, was not successful. The village had already acquired approximately half of the projected $1.5 million to construct the bridge, which would alleviate blockages at the culvert at the site in the event of flooding. At the same meeting, council decided not to make a decision about rejoining the provincial Communities in Bloom program, instead deferring it to the Beautification Society. Read more at https://bit.ly/3qVKxTo.
Drag races to return
After two successful events in 2019, organizer Dwight Toews said that drag races would be returning to the Campbell Hill airstrip in 2020. Thunder in the Valley Raceway planned a Test Tune in May, an event to coincide with Graffiti Days in June, a Gasser Reunion in July, and a final race weekend in August. The 2019 races — the first in the area since Eagle Motorplex closed in spring 2016 — attracted hundreds of drag race enthusiasts from all over, and Toews said that he hoped to build on that success in 2020 with more events and more local participation. Read more at https://bit.ly/2K27fbG.
Historic Hat Creek had record season
After setting a new record for visits to the site in one year (24,031) in 2019, the new chair of the board of the Friends of Historic Hat Creek, Jack Jeyes, said that he was looking forward to continued growth at the site in 2020. He noted that the site welcomed more than 2,500 tours groups in 2019, after load restrictions that prohibited tour buses from using the road were removed from Highway 99 at the site of the 10 Mile Slide, and that the site had increased yearly attendance by 3,000 in three years. Read more at https://bit.ly/382P2TB.
McAbee Fossil Beds site looking forward to big 2020
After opening to the public for three months in 2019, the McAbee Fossil Beds site east of Cache Creek looked forward to a longer season in 2020. More than 1,200 people came through the site — which had been closed since July 2012 — in 2019, and there was high interest and demand from area schools wanting to bring students to the fossil beds, one of the most important sites of fossils from the Eocene epoch of 50 million years ago. Read more at https://bit.ly/3gOnbdI.
Sea Cadets to set sail for Halifax
After a successful fundraising effort stretching back more than a year, the Sea Cadets of Corps #347 Avenger were preparing to travel to Halifax to take part in the ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. It was the first time members of the corps would be at the Halifax ceremony since 2012, and most of the 23 members were planning on taking part in the trip, which would be a whirlwind event consisting of a variety of tours, visits, and ceremonies. Read more at https://bit.ly/3qWGUMY.
Although Clinton had been a part of the “Love Northern BC” program since early 2019, the launch of a “Love Clinton” website meant increased exposure for Clinton businesses that had signed on to be part of the program, which is run by Northern Development Initiative Trust. Each business would get its own page on the website, with pictures, a detailed write-up, and information about the business. It’s a way of helping small local businesses that do not have the tools to establish their own web presence, and encouraging people to shop locally. Read more at https://bit.ly/37g9y3R.
All K–12 classes in B.C. shut down indefinitely
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the decision, on March 17, to close all K–12 classes in the province until further notice. Students in School District No.74 had been scheduled to return to class on March 30 following spring break, which began on March 16. Making the announcement, Premier John Horgan said that the pandemic was a “crisis situation”, not long after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on all Canadians to stay at home if at all possible. There were 186 cases of COVID-19 in the province, and seven deaths in B.C. had been attributed to the virus. Read more at https://bit.ly/3gLqulM.
Small towns see influx of big city shoppers
Shortages of certain staple items such as toilet paper made headlines and caused many big city residents to travel to small towns for supplies after discovering that certain in-demand items could still be found there. Business owners in communities such as Ashcroft and Clinton said that they had noticed larger than usual influxes of shoppers from Kamloops, Merritt, and beyond looking for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, thermometers, and other items not available in their cities. Read more at https://bit.ly/34aNtBI.
Cache Creek pool to remain closed in 2020
At a closed meeting on March 23, Cache Creek council voted by a margin of 3–2 not to open the village’s outdoor pool for the 2020 season. At a public budget meeting in May 2019 the idea of not opening the pool in 2020 because of the high cost had been floated, with public consultation on the matter promised; a promise that was reiterated in September 2020. Mayor Santo Talarico said that the COVID-19 pandemic played a big part in the decision, and added that the closure of the pool — which costs approximately $140,000 a year to operate — could be readdressed by council for 2021. Read more at https://bit.ly/37j0QBZ.