Rotary Citizens of the Year Stefanie Walker (third from left) and Carmen Ranta (third from right).

2016 in review: The Journal reports that the Cache Creek landfill ‘might be closing this summer’

A round-up of who and what was making news in the area between January and March 2016.

JANUARY

2015 flood still looms large

Flood recovery coloured the 2015 reflections of Cache Creek mayor John Ranta, who said that “The community has demonstrated a type of resilience that probably only occurs in small communities where interpersonal relations build over a period of years, so that you can actually feel empathy for your neighbour and go and help them out when some disaster strikes.”

Ashcroft seeks to borrow $4.1 million

Ashcroft council announced that the village would be seeking voter approval to borrow up to $4.1 million to fund its share of a new water treatment plant. Approval would be sought via an Alternative Approval Process (AAP); if that failed, the village would go to a referendum on the matter. The village had already received federal and provincial grants totalling $5.7 million.

More doctors for Ashcroft

It was reported that Dr. Amgad Zake and Dr. Debra Obu would be starting at the Ashcroft Family Medical Clinic in March. The pair were nearing the end of their practice ready assessment period in Lillooet, during which time Ashcroft and area residents used the community bus to travel to Lillooet to see the doctors.

Doctors Amgad Zake (l) and Debra Obu. Photo by Barbara Roden

Landfill closure?

“The Cache Creek landfill may be closing this summer after all,” reported The Journal. While it had been anticipated that Metro Vancouver (MV) would be sending waste to the site until the end of 2016, it did not want to spend any money on the landfill in 2017. “To close the landfill by then [the end of 2016] we may need to stop accepting waste earlier to allow for landfill closure activities,” said Ranta.

FEBRUARY

Recognition for historic sites

Heritage BC announced that the Chinese Historic Places Project had bestowed special recognition on two Lytton sites: the Lytton Joss House, and Rip Van Winkle’s and Browning Flats (Chinese placer mine sites on the Fraser River). The Lytton Joss House is probably the oldest site of a Chinese joss house in the province. It provided spiritual, emotional, and physical support to Chinese railway workers, gold miners, merchants, and farmers.

Retirement for Journal editor

Wendy Coomber—editor of The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal since 2002—announced her retirement. Barbara Roden—who had edited The Journal during Coomber’s annual vacations since 2012—was named as her replacement, taking over as of February 18.

Wendy Coomber. Photo by Barbara Roden

A chance to shine

Spences Bridge actress Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan—better known locally as the director of the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society’s theatrical productions—looked forward to an opportunity to act in the one-woman play Shirley Valentine. “It has been on my bucket list for years,” said Varcoe-Ryan of the role, which entails speaking 17,000 words over almost two hours. “It’s a wonderful part.”

Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan.

Changes at Historic Hat Creek Ranch

At the Friends of Historic Hat Creek Ranch AGM on February 17, it was reported that funding for a new gift shop space had been received. The new gift shop would be at ground floor level; an improvement on the current situation, with the gift shop located on the second floor, making it difficult to access for people with mobility issues.

MARCH

Biosolid hazard

An incident in February—when a truck carrying Class B Biosolids to a site near the OK Ranch west of Clinton accidentally went off the road and overturned—sparked rallies in Clinton in March, with dozens of people turning up over successive weekends to raise awareness of the issue.

Landfill closure costly for TNRD

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) would have to pick up the tab, if a landfill extension is not approved at the Cache Creek site, says Cache Creek mayor—and TNRD chair—John Ranta. He estimates that it will cost the TNRD $500,000 a year to transport waste destined for the Cache Creek landfill to the landfills at either Heffley Creek or Lower Nicola.

Citizens of the year

The Ashcroft/Cache Creek Rotary Club named its citizens of the year: Carmen Ranta (Cache Creek) and Stefanie Walker (Ashcroft). Ranta was cited for her work with groups such as Communities in Bloom, the Desert Bells Handbell Choir, and the Sage Sound singers, as well as her response to the May 2015 flood. Walker was cited for her work in getting the Ashcroft HUB up and running, volunteering for the annual Christmas hamper program, and helping with Ashcroft Communities in Bloom.

Cpl. J.R. Michaud. Photo by Wendy Coomber.

Guilty plea in Mountie shooting

Kenneth Knutson, who was charged with attempted murder in the December 2014 Kamloops shooting of Cpl. J.R. Michaud, was sentenced to 16 and a half years in prison. Prior to his transfer to Kamloops, Michaud spent three years at the Ashcroft detachment.

Detachment head transferred

Sgt. Michel Grondin, commander of the Ashcroft RCMP detachment for more than four years, was transferred to Kamloops and promoted to Staff-Sergeant.

He noted that the majority of the people in the area had been “very supportive” of what he, and other members of the detachment, do. “It’s a bittersweet move, to leave the people we’ve made connections with.” Cpl. J.R. Michaud was announced as the temporary detachment commander until a new one could be found.

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