Year in Review: School district announces plans to dispose of Ashcroft HUB property

The Ashcroft HUB Society board celebrates the news that School District No. 74 voted to sell them the HUB property for a nominal fee. (Photo credit: River Winwood)The Ashcroft HUB Society board celebrates the news that School District No. 74 voted to sell them the HUB property for a nominal fee. (Photo credit: River Winwood)
The Spences Bridge EV charging station before it was removed in March 2021. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)The Spences Bridge EV charging station before it was removed in March 2021. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Work on the new 20-unit seniors’ living facility in Clinton was well underway by early 2021. (Photo credit: Daniela Dyck)Work on the new 20-unit seniors’ living facility in Clinton was well underway by early 2021. (Photo credit: Daniela Dyck)
Jennifer Lawrence (r), founder of Bubbles’ Blossom Design in Clinton, with Monika Wyssen at Valentine’s Day 2021. The business was one of the finalists for a Small Business BC Award. (Photo credit: Kelly Sinoski)Jennifer Lawrence (r), founder of Bubbles’ Blossom Design in Clinton, with Monika Wyssen at Valentine’s Day 2021. The business was one of the finalists for a Small Business BC Award. (Photo credit: Kelly Sinoski)
The Better at Home friendly visitors paying a visit to Thompson View Lodge and Manor at Easter 2021. (Photo credit: Submitted)The Better at Home friendly visitors paying a visit to Thompson View Lodge and Manor at Easter 2021. (Photo credit: Submitted)
Two-year-old Carsyn Peters of Loon Lake and her cat Felix. Leanne’s Paw Patrol helmet, which she is wearing, took the brunt of an attack when an eagle decided to make a snack out of Felix. (Photo credit: Leanne Peters)Two-year-old Carsyn Peters of Loon Lake and her cat Felix. Leanne’s Paw Patrol helmet, which she is wearing, took the brunt of an attack when an eagle decided to make a snack out of Felix. (Photo credit: Leanne Peters)

JANUARY

Consultation on disposing of Ashcroft school

School District No. 74 (Gold Trail) said it would move ahead with a community consultation process around the possible disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary School site, which has been operating as the Ashcroft HUB since fall 2015. The board of trustees for SD74 voted on Jan. 5 to start the consultation process, despite requests from the Ashcroft HUB Society to delay discussing disposal of the site until after the COVID-19 pandemic. The HUB Society is in its fourth year of a nine-year lease of the school site, and was informed in December 2020 that the district would be looking at disposing of the former school, which saw its last students in June 2015. The society said that it would continue offering its regular programs and services while the consultation process took place. Read more at https://bit.ly/3yw8RQ5 and https://bit.ly/3yjR2n5.

Time running out for EV charging station

The fate of the electric vehicle charging station in Spences Bridge hung by a thread, after the trustees of the Spences Bridge Improvement District indicated they were not prepared to budge in their demands to BC Hydro. The fast charge station was installed beside the fire hall in 2016 with a five-year lease, and before they would agree to renew the lease on the land, the trustees indicated they wanted a $15 per day payment from BC Hydro to cover ongoing maintenance, a washroom at the site, and paving of the area. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District had offered to pay for the construction of a washroom and arrange for maintenance, but this offer was rejected by the trustees. Read more at https://bit.ly/3pHqt7q and https://bit.ly/3EUA69m.

Lytton students under the same roof at newly-renovated school

On Jan. 11 the last students at Lytton Elementary School moved to the newly-renovated Kumsheen Secondary School, where work on converting the school to a K–12 facility had been underway for 18 months. Lytton was the third community in School District No. 74 to go from having separate elementary and secondary schools to having a single K–12 facility. Kumsheen School was set to house 125 students, and underwent extensive renovations and upgrades in order to accommodate all students and improve safety, access, and aesthetics. Work started on the lower level of the school in 2019, with students and staff occupying the main floor, then switched to the main floor in 2020. Read more at https://bit.ly/3yhL1Hq.

Abandoned truck believed to be connected with drug production

A rental vehicle that was abandoned in Cache Creek over the weekend of Jan. 15 was examined by a specialized RCMP unit, and investigators believed that it was being used to transport equipment and supplies consistent with a fentanyl drug production operation. During the search of the trailer, police discovered large amounts of chemicals, high-end equipment, and several firearms. A person believed to be associated with the truck was staying at a Cache Creek motel, but departed suddenly, leaving the trailer behind in the parking lot. Read more at https://bit.ly/30nLbkc.

FEBRUARY

New name for Lytton school

It was a case of something old and something new in Lytton, with the new K–12 school in the former Kumsheen Secondary School building renamed Kumsheen ShchEma-meet School. The name was one of three suggestions brought to the board of education for consideration at its meeting on Feb. 2, after more than 160 submissions from the public about a new name for the school were received. A committee comprised of school staff, First Nations, Parent Advisory Council members, and students met to develop the process for the naming of the school, and school and community members submitted names. More than 100 entries out of 163 received requested the maintenance of the “Kumsheen” name specifically, and ShchEma-meet is the Nlaka’pamux word for “children”. Read more at https://bit.ly/3EPtysi.

Clinton seniors’ facility taking shape

Workers finished building the footprint for the 20-unit facility on the former Clinton Elementary site, with plans to add the roof and install heating and electrical in the next few months. At the same time, members of the Clinton and District Assisted Living Society started preparing to order supplies for cupboards, floors, doors, and other amenities for the 600-plus-sq. foot self-contained units. The hope was that the facility would be welcoming its new residents as early as September 2021. Read more at https://bit.ly/3DQUXc6.

Cache Creek housing needs assessment

A recently-completed Housing Needs Assessment for the Village of Cache Creek concluded that while the community is still reasonably affordable, it faces several challenges, particularly when it comes to rental availability and affordability and an aging population that will need a different type of housing to what is currently available. The report also noted that housing conditions have worsened for renters, with rental availability a challenge and rents increasing, and that while many older residents worry about their ability to maintain larger properties, they are unable to downsize because of cost or the unavailability of suitable smaller properties. Read more at https://bit.ly/30gRZjm.

New Clinton public works facility

Clinton council approved the borrowing of $1.2 million to construct a new public works yard at Elliott Park, a plan that Clinton mayor Susan Swan said had been in the works for several years. The current public works building — which Swan described as “an ugly old barn of a place” — is located beside the Memorial Hall, and dates back to around the time that Clinton was incorporated in 1963. Swan said there were gaps between the boards, and the bay area for equipment had a dirt floor. It is also not large enough to house all the equipment in one location, meaning that the village has to lease space in other locations around Clinton. Read more at https://bit.ly/3DQVT06.

Clinton housing needs assessment

Clinton council heard the final report on a housing needs assessment that was carried out by M’akola Development Services and Turner Drake & Partners Ltd. Sandy Mackay of M’akola Development presented the assessment’s findings, and said that Clinton was starting from a relatively advantageous position, noting that other communities they work in are in a “housing crisis” situation. Clinton, he said, is not there yet, with relatively affordable housing and time to address various issues. However, he added that conditions are worsening for renters, with rental housing a challenge, and said that the village has an aging population. “This represents a challenge, as they need different types of housing and supports.” Read more at https://bit.ly/3EImdLb.

No decision about Cache Creek pool

At their Feb. 16 meeting, Cache Creek council defeated a motion to ask for a report outlining options to determine a cost to replace the existing swimming pool with a new facility having the same features. There was a lengthy discussion about the subject, with several council members acknowledging that the public needed to be consulted. However, no public meeting date was set. The facility did not open in 2020, following a decision at a closed council meeting on March 23, 2020. Read more at https://bit.ly/3GCMye2 and https://bit.ly/3DOSRcC.

MARCH

School district votes to sell HUB for “nominal fee” to HUB Society

The trustees of School District No. 74 voted to dispose of the former Ashcroft Elementary school property for a “nominal fee” to the Ashcroft HUB Society, but there were still questions surrounding the future of the property. At its meeting on March 2, the board of education passed a motion which originally read “That the board of education support disposal of the property through a sale or transfer in fee simple for a nominal fee to the Ashcroft HUB Society.” An amendment continued “and that staff provide further information at the April board meeting about possible considerations to ensure that taxpayers and the Board’s interests are maintained in a disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary School property.” Juanita Little, president of the HUB Society, said she was feeling unsettled after the decision, as there was no clear timeline and no definition of what a “nominal fee” was. Read more at https://bit.ly/3pNUu5F.

Bloomin’ good Clinton business is awards finalist

A home-grown Clinton business that established deep roots in the town in just three years was basking in the sunshine, after being named a finalist at the Small Business BC Awards. Bubbles’ Blossom Design was one of five finalists in the “Best Community Impact” category, and founder and sole proprietor Jessica Lawrence said she was shocked when she found out the good news. “I had to keep it on the QT until the press release came out, and that was tough,” she said. “I’m still trying to make heads or tails out of it. I’ve never been very good at honouring myself, but I’m very proud, and very thankful to whoever nominated me.” Read more at https://bit.ly/33o6Cmj.

Friendly visitors aren’t horsing around

What could be more heart-warming than an adorable miniature horse kitted out with holiday-appropriate accessories? Why, three adorable miniature horses, of course. Hunnee, Grumpy (real name Tonka), and Lilly are the Better at Home friendly visitors, and since Christmas 2020 they have been inspiring smiles wherever they travel. Owner Nancy Kendall, the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Better at Home coordinator, says that the road to the horses becoming friendly visitors at Thompson View Manor and Lodge and Jackson House started in 2020 with a visit to one client’s house, and just grew from there, with the horses donning festive costumes according to the season. Read more at https://bit.ly/3DMKPB2.

Dollar store helmet saves girl from eagle attack

It was PAW Patrol to the rescue for an adventure-attracting Loon Lake two-year-old and Felix the cat, who presumably only has eight lives left after a potentially nasty eagle encounter was averted by a dollar store helmet. Carsyn Peters was playing with the cat when a nearby eagle decided to attack the feline, and Carsyn got in the way, with her helmet taking the brunt of the eagle’s claws and knocking her to the ground. Both Carsyn and Felix were unhurt, although the former was a bit shaken up. Read more at https://bit.ly/3lWhX3t.

AIB gets grant for new facilities

The Ashcroft Indian Band was moving ahead with plans for a new playground and sports box, thanks to a $398,645 grant from the Province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. Both facilities were to be installed near the site of the new campground being built beside the softball diamonds and washroom/concession building. The sports box would be a paved area with boards around it that can be used for a variety of activities, including basketball, tennis, pickleball, and ball hockey. Read more at https://bit.ly/3pSM8d3.

EV charging station removed from Spences Bridge

The electric vehicle charging station that had been in Spences Bridge since 2016 was removed, after the Spences Bridge Improvement District trustees and BC Hydro failed to come to terms regarding a new lease for the land where the station was located. On March 25, a crew removed the fast charging station, which was owned by BC Hydro. There was also a Level 2 electric vehicle charging station at the site, which was purchased and owned by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. At its March 25 meeting, the board of the TNRD voted to transfer ownership of the Level 2 station to the Village of Ashcroft, where it will be installed at a public location which has yet to be determined. Read more at https://bit.ly/30jjvwP.



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