Letters to the Editor

Readers write about challenges facing Spences Bridge and the Ashcroft Terminal working group

Dear Editor,

I read the article about the Spences Bridge charging station (“Battle in Spences Bridge over fate of EV charging station”, the Journal, Oct. 1) with great interest, as it is a piece of a very important puzzle for the community of Spences Bridge; a wonderful place, unlike any other, that our family has called home for the best part of 32 years.

The most disturbing part, and there were many, was the quote from [Spences Bridge Improvement District] trustee Ross Figley. When asked why the sprinkler system had not been turned on [at the former elementary school grounds] in 2019 and 2020, Figley replied “I didn’t feel like turning it on. I have my own stuff to do.”

The greatest source of pride for our community has always been our beautiful “Green Space”. The school and its ground is a special place for many of us. I remember my kids going to the school when we arrived to call Spences Bridge home in 1988. I remember hugging home plate during a fast-pitch ball game and George Billy brushing me back with a windmill fastball that scared the bejeezers out of me. I remember all the Easter Egg hunts with our kids and then our grandkids at the well-manicured, lush green grass of our school yard. I remember the campfire and fireworks of Halloween.

I hope next year’s Desert Daze will have the bighorn sheep visiting our beautiful green grass of home: the school grounds.

Certainly, after losing our Steelhead family, the off-season has become a challenge, especially to the local businesses. Certainly, electric cars need charging year round, and their numbers are increasing at a significant rate. Certainly, it would be in the best interest of the community to find a way to keep our charging station. BC Hydro has agreed, and says that they only need an agreement with the SBID and it can indeed stay.

Spences Bridge has spoken loud and clear. They would like to keep the station. The only thing standing in the way is the three trustees on the Improvement District, and stand in the way they did. By a vote of 2 to 1 they have made the decision for all of Spences Bridge: the charging station has got to go! So, so sad.

As sad as it is, this is not the biggest issue. The biggest issue is family and friends.

For decades our families have had their own “community backyard”: the school grounds. Our kids — now our grandkids, and even a great-grandkid or two — love to come home. Spences Bridge lives within you. It draws you back: the river, the bighorn, the people, the sunshine, the scrumptious fruit and veggies, and yes, the school grounds!

Yes, the charging station is critical to the traveling public who help keep our businesses open, but it takes a back seat to family, friends, and the place they call home: Spences Bridge.

I refer back to the statement of Trustee Figley: “I didn’t feel like turning it on. I have my own stuff to do.” I look at Chair Mike Jefferson, who though he does not live in Spences Bridge, has been the trustee driving the move to get rid of our charging station.

They are elected and paid taxpayer dollars. They have a mandate to represent the wishes of the community, not their own personal agenda; especially an agenda that has a significant impact on our community. This is not about politics: this is about our town, our families, our history and, I would suggest, our future.

The AGM is coming up soon. I would ask the two trustees who voted to have BC Hydro yank our charging station, most likely forever, to do the right thing: step down and call an election.

The grass can still be green, we can replace the dead trees, we can have ball tournaments and put our beautiful school grounds on display to the Trans-Canada Highway audience once again.

Thank you for your service. Now let someone who lives in Spences Bridge and someone who is not too busy to water the lawn make it happen.

Citizens in concern,

Steve and Paulet Rice

Spences Bridge, B.C.

Dear Editor,

In May, Ashcroft Terminal created “a working group to examine issues associated with gate installation and develop alternatives to riverfront access at the slough, located on the Inland Port’s private property.” To be accepted as part of the working group, one had to apply and meet eligibility criteria. Essentially, this meant that all working members were handpicked by Ashcroft Terminal’s management team.

The working group consisted of representatives from elected bodies, employees of the Terminal, and the community at large. Examining the selections carefully, one finds that all selected elected representatives (Bonaparte Indian Band, Village of Ashcroft, Village of Cache Creek) have direct associations with Ashcroft Terminal or Landucci investments as employees, former employees, or business partners.

Add another three employees of the Terminal and the mix is six to three. Not great odds for true community engagement.

Besides the obvious unbalanced weighting in the working group itself, Ashcroft Terminal also brought in a facilitator, an engineering consultant — both paid by Ashcroft Terminal — and representatives from CN and CP, for extra expertise or intimidation, depending on how you look at it. The working group was co-chaired by a member of Ashcroft Terminal’s management team and a former Ashcroft mayor who lobbied hard on Ashcroft Terminal’s behalf when he served as mayor, and worked for the company after retiring.

I would say that the deck was stacked against the community having meaningful consultation even before the process began. But maybe I’m just biased.

Gloria Mertens

Ashcroft, B.C.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Letters to the editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

The Spences Bridge Improvement District is looking for someone to fill the position of fire chief, and is also looking for people willing to stand as a candidate for the SBID board; elections will take place at the AGM on Nov. 28. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Candidates for trustee, fire chief wanted in Spences Bridge

Elections will be held during Spences Bridge Improvement District AGM on Nov. 28

Looking west from the Mesa to the Ashcroft Reserve at the start of the Elephant Hill wildfire, July 7, 2017. Students at Desert Sands Community School are looking to interview locals about their direct experience with the 2017 wildfires. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Students looking for people to share their 2017 wildfire stories

Desert Sands Community School students want to speak with residents about wildfire experiences

BC 2020 election graphic
Elections BC estimates 52% of BC voters cast a ballot this year

Results are down from 2017, and final counts will have to wait until mail-in ballots are tallied

An operator works to clear the culvert at Quartz Road in Cache Creek during flooding in April 2020. The Village of Cache Creek is looking for local contractors who want to go on a list for any work (emergency and non-emergency) that is needed. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Village of Cache Creek calling all contractors willing to work

Plus a Halloween drive-in movie event, an AGM, Christmas market news, and more

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read