Kimberley year in review, part 1

A look back at the first three months of 2016 in Kimberley

Kevin Bogetti Smith Molly Miller (centre) received the WR Bennett award for athletic excellence at the BC Winter Games last February. Above

January

The year began with utility rates for city of Kimberley property owners. The increase in the utility rates combine for $61.68 this year, $15.42 per quarter, a total of $807.48 for the year. The total is eight cents higher per year than projected last spring. That’s $25.40 increase in water fees, $29.08 in sewer and $7.20 in solid waste. This scheduled increase in utility rates — year one of a three year plan — is part of the City’s plan to fund infrastructure upgrades to the utilities through the utility funds themselves. The first phase of increases will generate $112,620 for water infrastructure and $57,759 for sewer infrastructure per year.

The Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank announced that it had delivered 177 Christmas hampers to Kimberley’s needy over the holiday season. The good news was that community support was so strong that the Food Bank didn’t need to dip into any of its savings to fund the program.

Five homes were evacuated in Kimberley on Wednesday, Jan. 6 after a gas leak, the Kimberley Fire Department reported. Assistant Chief Rick Prasad says that the situation began at 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday after- noon when a gas service line was broken in Lower Blarchmont during an excavation. In total five homes could be considered to have been evacuated, though no formal reception centre was set up.

On January 9th, 2016 at 10:47 a.m. Cranbrook RCMP received a frantic report of a stolen vehicle with a 4 month old infant inside. Investigation revealed the complainant was travelling from Trail to Kimberley when she ran into a female acquaintance in Fruitvale who requested a ride. The complainant left the vehicle running with both passenger and her daughter inside as she briefly attended a Cranbrook residence. Upon discovering the vehicle and occupants gone she immediately called 9-1-1.

Shortly after, Cranbrook RCMP received a report of an impaired driver with fresh vehicle damage at the Tamarack mall parking lot which turned out to be the same stolen vehicle. Two Cranbrook citizens quickly identified the safety concern with the infant’s presence and provided assistance while phoning police. RCMP members were quick to respond and returned the unharmed infant immediately to her mother. The driver was arrested at the scene and trans- ported to Cranbrook RCMP cells.

Kimberley Council enacted a new smoking bylaw which forbids smoking in the Platzl and playgrounds. However, Council struck from the bylaw a clause that would forbid smoking on all trails. That was put in because of fire risk, but council felt it went too far.

An animal rights organization accused the City of Cranbrook of undergoing an urban deer cull in advance of a regional translocation trial that is about to get underway. Date-stamped video footage and photographs have been posted on a website—www.bcdeer.org—and Liz White, a board member of the Animal Alliance of Canada, said that she hasn’t been able to find any evidence of a council vote to approve or fund a cull. The cull is preceding an anticipated study into the potential of translocation as a solution for urban deer. Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt said he didn’t want to get into a media back and forth over the issue, but the city did later confirm it had culled some deer.

A group protested at Bill Bennett’s office about Mainroad East Kootenay and the condition of the highways. The group. Taking Back East Kootenay Highways was raising awareness of what they felt was substandard maintenance in advance of Mainroad bidding for the provincial highways contract again.

Public criticism of the state of maintenance of regional highways prompted a press conference, held by Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett and Jack Bennetto, District Manager at the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways, to review the statistics and performance by Mainroad, the company with the contract to maintain regional highway Bennett said that Mainroad consistently got high scores when graded and the province was generally satisfied with their work.

Kimberley RCMP charged a man with theft after a complaint from a local business. As an officer dealt with the man a female got involved and attempted to damage the police cruiser and assaulted the officer. She was charged with resist arrest, assault a police officer and mischief.

The flume project was finally finished at the end of January 2016 though there was still landscaping left for the spring. While Phase I was vastly over budget, Phase Ii came in at $163,689 over budget, a figure Mayor McCormick said he could live with. There was also an additional cost pending as the City headed into arbitration with primary contractor CopCan on expenditures related to the late finish.

Kimberley Search and Rescue was very pleased with an announcement from the provincial government of a one-time funding injection of $10 million to SAR organizations across the province. The money was earmarked for ground search and rescue only and would go to training administrative support and equipment renewals.

February

Kimberley cross country skier Molly Miller continued a stellar season by making the podium at the German Nationals, after a great showing at the Canadian Juniors.

The Canadian Rockies International Airshow, planned for August 2016, was cancelled early in February. Organizers said they needed more volunteers and funding.

A Brazilian national, Claudio De Assumpcao was in court in February for her role in the death of a Marysville man in 2013. She had plead guilty, and the Crown asked for 10 years while defence counsel asked for her release based on four years and four months served. The judge reserved his decision until March.

A home invasion resulted in one person being shot in the leg in Cranbrook on February 4. Four unknown males forced their way into the home and assaulted several residents. Police believed the home invasion was targeted.

The City of Kimberley was awarded $4.5 million — or 100 per cent of costs, whichever is lowest — for the repaving of Gerry Sorensen Way. The money came from the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund.

Kimberley City Council received a Parks and Recreation Facilities Report which recommended that they sell a few buildings. Those buildings are Oughtred Hall, where the cadets used to meet, and the gymnastics building. The gym building was no longer meeting the needs of the club and at year’s end they were trying to come up with a business plan for a new building on land the city would provide.

The Kimberley Refugee Resettlement Group announced they had passed the halfway mark in raising funds to sponsor a refugee family to Kimberley. $15,000 had to be raised and KRRG said that community support had been amazing.

The East Kootenay Deer Translocation Trial began in February with removal of deer from Kimberley. Quickly following that deer were removed from Elkford, Invermere and Cranbrook. Liz White from Animal Alliance, who observed the removal, said that it was successful and professionally done. Some of the deers were fitted with radio collars to track their travels and see if they tried to return to their home communities.

March

Kimberley Nordic Racers went to the BC Winter Games in Penticton with high expectations and did not disappoint. Molly Miller won two gold medals and was awarded the W.R. Bennett Award for Athletic Excellence at the Games.

Interior Health began to sound the alarm about increasing overdose deaths due to opioids. Numbers had been gradually increasing since 2008, but in early numbers in 2016 there was a sharp increase. By year’s end, opioid overdoses had become a national health crisis.

The Selkirk Secondary Girls Curling Team became provincial high school champs in March. The team of Alysha Buchy, Kaila Buchy, Haylie Farquhar and Arissa Toffolo won the provincial tournament in Delta.

Slopes for Hope raised $24,599 for the Canadian Cancer Society, exceeding the goal of $20,000. The top fundraising youth was Sawyer Popovitch (6) who raised $168 and the top fundraising individual was Gord Jenkins, who brought in $4500. Top team was Up the Creek Divas t $1400.

Two Kimberley super volunteers, Jim Webster and Clarence Uhll, were honoured by the Kimberley Rotary Club with Paul Harris Awards on March 9. Clarence Uhll began giving back to his community after a long teaching career, playing music in the Platzl, at the Underground Railway station and at the Pines and Garden View. Jim Webster is involved in the local Orienteering Club, First Saturdays, the Symphony on the Mountain project in 2015 and numerous other efforts. His latest project is the Kimberley Pipe Band’s 90th Anniversary Tattoo coming this summer.

Kimberley City Council rece3ived a facilities inventory report and learned that up to $4.5 million was required to maintain and repair public buildings in the next year. The city owns 12 buildings that are open to the public. They are the Aquatic Centre, Centennial Hall, Centre 64, City Hall, the Curling Club, the Library, the Civic Centre, Marysville Arena, the Gymnastics building, the RCMP building, Oughtred Hall and the Conference Centre.

Kimberley Council had quite a robust battle over ending the flat tax and it ended with a four to three vote to knock $80 off the flat tax and leading to its eventual elimination. Coun. Kent Goodwin led the charge on the flat tax,saying it was unfair to lower value property owners and regressive. He was supported by Councillors Middlebrook, Oakley and Kitto. Mayor Don McCormick was very much against the plan, and supported by councillors Hoglund and Roberts. The mayor said he feared the elimination of the flat tax would lead to a millrate increase which could slow Kimberley’s healthy new housing start statistics. McCormick brought the issue back to Council asking them to think again, but was not successful in changing anyone’s mind.

Council also wrestled with what to do with Cominco Gardens, as they went through the budget line by line. The notion that there were no sacred cows had some residents quite alarmed that funding for the gardens would be cut.

The Kimberley Dynamiters had another successful year, once again capturing the Eddy Mountain Conference Championship in the KIJHL. The Dynamiters lost in the league championship to 100 Mile House.

 

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