Kimberley in 2012, part 1

Highlights of the news in Kimberley for the first part of the year

Deer management was a very big issue in Kimberley this year.

January

the year began with a man, Ronald Capilo, in court facing charges of impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. The accident occurred on New Year’s Day at 5 a.m. on Mission Road. A female passenger was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

Mining exploration was buzzing in the East Kootenay at the beginning of the year as Eagle Plains Resources and other companies searched for Sed-Ex deposits similar to that of the Sullivan Mine.

 

Kimberley firefighters attended for Enderby firefighter Daniel Bodkin, who was killed on the job on December 28, 2011. The 1200 seat Enderby arena was filled to capacity, said Kimberley Fire Chief Al Collinson.

Kimberley RCMP continued to report an increase in telephone scams of all sorts, playing on peoples’ emotions to get money. RCMP warn that you should never give out financial information over the phone, no matter how compelling the story.

A newly formed group, the Humane Treatment of Wildlife Committee, visited Kimberley City Council, asking them to suspend their deer cull. Speaking for the group Colleen Bailey asked for a delay while all information on managing urban deer was gathered. Council agreed to send Bailey’s information to the Operations Committee but did not suspend the ongoing cull.

The Kimberley Alpine Resort reported record one-day attendance on New Year’s Eve. 3400 skiers hit the slopes on December 31.

 

Council renewed the hotel room tax agreement for another five year period. The two percent tax is earmarked to support tourism marketing, programs and projects in Kimberley.

As the deer cull continued in Kimberley, there were reports of traps being vandalized and triggered before they could capture an animal. The Humane Treatment Committee said they did not condone any type of vandalism, but understood that there were many against this method of urban deer management and felt their voices hadn’t been heard.

Concern over a string of ecstasy-related deaths in British Columbia and Alberta had police on alert. The Kimberley RCMP said that there were no deaths in Kimberley, but that the drug itself was definitely present in the city. The deaths were linked to para-Methoxymethamphetamine (PMMA), a substancefor which drug toxicologists previously did not test.

 

A 46-year old Cranbrook man was arrested and chargbed with possession and distribution of child pornography. His name was not released under orders of a publication ban.

Kimberley City Council adopted a borrowing bylaw that will enable the city to borrow up to $4.25 million for the Mark Creek flume rehab project. It was hoped that federal and provincial funding would help with the project, but a 2011 referendum authorized the city to borrow the full amount.

The Bootleg Sled Dog Race Committee announced that the 2012 races would be cancelled due to poor course conditions. Lack of snow and forecasted warm daytime temperatures left them with no choice, organizer Brenda Birrell said.

Kimberley Summer Theatre announced that the 2012 season would be cancelled. But the KST board said they would return in 2013, after a year to reorganize, plan and catch their breath.

 

February

An avalanche in the Hellroaring area trapped a skier, but his skiing partner was able to pull him out, then walk out for help. Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to the call for help and transported both skiers out to East Kootenay Regional Hospital. Rescuers stressed that the couple did everything right and their backcountry experience helped them. That same weekend an avalanche killed one man on Meadow Mountain near Kaslo.

Kimberley’s controversial deer cull ended with 99 mule deer taken out of the urban herd. Over 4,000 pounds of meat was given to area food banks. City Council said the focus would now shift to education. The Vice-Chair of the Humane Treatment Committee was given a seat on the Urban Deer Committee as a community representative.

New figures released by Statistics Canada showed that Kimberley grew by 8.4 per cent since the last census. That wsa a faster growth than both the provincial (7 per cent) and national (5.9 per cent).

 

Kimberley’s Josh Dueck became the first man to land a backflip in a sitski, garnering international attention, including an appearance on the Ellen Show. Dueck preformed the flip near Whistler on February 3, 2012.Invermere’s deer cull, which was to follow Kimberley’s, was put on hold when the Invermere Deer Portection Organization obtained a temporary injunction from the BC Supreme Court. The injunction was granted on the basis that the District of Invermere did not have enough public consultation on the process leading to the cull. However, later in the month a judge did not grant an extension to the injunction

 

Teachers across the province were ordered back to work by the provincial government after a report found it very unlikely that a mutually agreed upon contract could be negotiated between the BC Teachers Federation and the employer, BCPSEA. Locally, Craig Hillman of the Kimberley Teacerh’s Association said the move was disappointing but not unexpected.

 

March

Kimberley teachers joined fellow teacher across the province in a job action — a three day withdrawal of service, all the Labour Relations Board will allow. Kimberley parents were asked to keep their children home, though schools would be open.

The Invermere deer cull proceeded, but not without incident. Contractors hired to carry out the cull reported being followed, and being blocked from leaving an area. There were also reports of traps being tampered with, similar to what occurred in Kimberley. Given the delay with the injunction, Invermere officials said it was unlikely they would be able to reach the 100 deer the permit allowed.

A public meeting was held to inform Kimberley citizens on the Mark Creek Flume Project. Mayor Ron McRae promised it was only the first of many public meetings that would be held as the project proceeded. If provincial and federal funding was obtained the cost to taxpayers for the project would be $1.4 million, approximately $18 per year on an average house price of $239,563. If the City has to go it alone and fund the entire $4.25 million, the cost rises to $54 per year.

An injured man survived a night alone on the Wildhorse Forest Service road after his SUV plunged down an embankment. He spent the night lying beside his vehicle with multiple serious fractures to one arm. He called for help on his cell phone and was transported out by STARS air ambulance.

The BC government signed off on the master development agreement for the Jumbo Glacier Resort. Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson said that while he understood there were differing opinions on the resort, 20 years was more than enough time to wait for a decision. Opposition groups, including Wildsight and the Ktunaxa Nation vowed to continue to fight against the resort.

A record snowfall of 54 cm in 24 hours was recorded at the Kimberley Alpine Resort on March 22, 2012, making up for less than spectacular snow falls early in the season.

Randall Hopley, accused of kidnapping three-year old Sparwood boy, Kienen Hebert, pled guilty to adduction of a person under 14 and break and enter with the intent to commit an offence in BC Supreme Court in Cranbrook. He pled not guilty to a second charge of kidnapping.

Kimberley residents were warned to prepare for high water along Mark Creek given the snow and rain accumulated late in the winter.

April

At the Kimberley Rotary Club 70th anniversary gala, the Club awarded former Mayor Jim Ogilvie a Paul Harris Award for his service to the community.

But an additional surprise honour was given the former mayor as well. Kootenay Columbia MP David Wilks presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Ogilvie.

 

To boost the local herd, 20 mountain caribou (17 females, three males) were taken from a healthy herd near Dease Lake, fitted with GPS radio collars then brought down to the Kootenays in specially designed animal trailers. One female caribou died on route. But a few weeks after their relocation, the caribou were spotted around Fort Steele and Mayook, and have even been sighted on Cranbrook’s spray irrigation fields.

The Kimberley Arts Council/Centre 64 continued to fundraise towards its ultimate goal, a rebuild of the Centre 64 building and theatre. Much fundraising had already taken place, allowing the Arts Council to purchase the lot next door to the centre for future expansion. The lot was turned over to the City, who also own Centre 64, although the Arts Centre operates it. “We turned it over with the understanding that both lots would be for the theatre,” said Carol Fergus. “Centre 64 belongs to you and me, the people of Kimberley.”

Meadowbrook residents formed an Association in order to fight a proposed quarry near Cherry Creek Falls. The issue had been ongoing for quite some time and it was felt forming an association would help the cause, which was creating a park at Cherry Creek. By year’s end it was clear that the only solution would be to purchase the mineral claim and the Meadowbrook Residents Association was actively fundraising to do so.

The City declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 as water began to fill the Morrison Subdivision and spill down Wallinger Avenue. Water was pooling at the culvert where Kimberley and Lois creeks converge to be carried underground to Mark Creek.

With the state of emergency declared, residents affected could leave voluntarily and provincial emergency services would be available. Residents were told to check in at Centennial Hall and then the province would fund their accommodations and needs for the next 72 hours. By Wednesday, an evacuation alert had been issued as waters continued to rise. The situation was tense for the next few days, but cooler weather and no precipitation over the weekend helped matters considerably.

A number of homes were flooded and those people were eligible for assistance from the provincial government.

The City of Kimberley still faces the issue of how to deal with flooding in the Morrison Sub and how to direct water out of it when there is a problem.