Kimberley year in review, part 2

A summary of events in May, June, July and August 2012

May

A group visited Kimberley City Council to propose that a water feature be added to the flume rebuild, which will create pools and waves for whitewater enjoyment. The pools will have the added benefit of providing fish habitat and being compatible with flood control technology. Council, while interested in the concept, told the group that any funds for this water feature would not come from the City, as public safety was their only priority in the flume rebuild.

One of the mountain caribou transported from Dease Lake to the East Kootenay wandered across the line and ended up in Montana where it was located by Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists after a mortality signal was received from its collar. It turned out the animal was not deceased but suffering from tick paralysis. After treatment, it was returned to Canada.

 

May

Kimberley City Council held an Open House to introduce their 2012 Financial Plan, along with the news that residential taxes would rise five per cent, meaning taxes on an average home would rise by $77. Business, light industrial and recreation class taxes rose four per cent.

Kimberley Cranbrook RCMP announced they had made 25 arrests on drug related charges and seized Cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, suspected  methamphetamine, acid, magic mushrooms, hash, marijuana and suspected ecstasy. Some of those arrested were high school age.

The B.C. Liberal government tabled an amendment to legislation that would allow a Mountain Resort Municipality to be created regardless of whether there are residents there or not, drawing the ire of the NDP opposition.

MLA for Kootenay East Bill Bennett said there was no conspiracy; the bill is being amended to make way for the Jumbo Resort project, should the proponent choose to go ahead.

Kimberley City Council prepared to embark on a public consultation process that could result in a bylaw banning smoking outdoors in some public places.

The initiative originates with the Canadian Cancer Society, who contacted the City of Kimberley asking them to consider such a bylaw. A number of BC municipalities have some sort of outdoor smoking bylaw in place, many banning it in parks and playgrounds; others on customer service patios, bus shelters and buffer zones in front of public buildings.

By year’s end, the bylaw had not yet come back to Council.

High ground water tables were creating saturated ground all over Kimberley, and on May 16 at approximately 9:30 pm. the bank above Overwaitea hill on Wallinger Avenue let go, sending debris and trees across the highway. The highway was closed for several hours while debris was cleared away and the bank stabilized.

The 14 recipients of the Order of British Columbia were announced last Friday and a very distinguished group, including Dave Barrett and Kim Campbell, was on the list. The only nominee from the East Kootenay was former Kimberley Mayor Jim Ogilvie. He was given the Order of BC as a person who has contributed to the province in an extraordinary way.

The Inaugural meeting of the B.C. Mayors’ Caucus was held in Penticton. Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae attended. The purpose of the conference was for B.C. Mayors to discuss common problems — one of them being trying to operate on the slim piece of the tax pie municipalities receive, eight cents of every dollar. It’s the general consensus of B.C. Mayors that municipal residents cannot afford continued tax increases and a new funding formula must be found.

The Kimberley Village Market, operated by the Chamber of Commerce, announced the market would move from the Platzl to a more visible location in Marysville.

June

The cold, wet spring continued and heavy rains caused another slide in Kimberley, this time in the Mark Creek Valley, forcing closure of the Sullivan Mining railway until the tracks were cleared. The slide was a minor one, however, compared to the one which closed the railway in 2011.

Members of the Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) won a major court battle against the District of Invermere (DOI) in June.

The DOI had made an application to dismiss the civil lawsuit filed against the district in February for its deer protection bylaw permitting a cull and to recover legal costs from the IDPS; however, on Tuesday, May 29, a Supreme Court of British Columbia judge ruled in favour of the IDPS, meaning they were free to continue with their suit to challenge the DOI Urban Deer Management Program.

A motion to have the RDEK board reverse its 2009 position on Jumbo and take back control of land use decisions was defeated. After an hour of debate the board split 8 to 7 in favour of leaving the status quo.

Kimberley City Council was not happy with the lack of employment services in the city since Alpine Employment was closed. The employment agency closed earlier last spring as the provincial government re-aligned the delivery of employment services. Council was told that the Library was seeing an increase in visits by people seeking employment services and did not have the staff or budget to deal with them.

Two bears, a sow and a cub, were put down after returning again and again to the Morrison Sub. Wildlife Aware’s Shaunna McInnis said that she was told that people in a rental house were handfeeding the bears and giving them alcohol.

Tickets to Bob Dylan’s only B.C. concert sold out in record time in Cranbrook at the end of June. The original 3,200 ticket release was all sold by 3 p.m. Event organizers released another 250 seats after adjusting sight lines to the stage, and those were gone by 4:30 p.m.

July

Wasa went through its own flooding troubles in early July as water levels in the Kootenay River and Wasa Lake proved too much for culverts and trenches to deal with. Water levels remained high for a week and the lake was closed for swimming as Interior Health tested the water for safety.

Council pondered the effectiveness and necessity for Kimberley’s Cosmetic Pesticide bylaw, and it was decided a survey of residents would be sent out so the new Council could get a better feel for how people felt about it.

Four people were killed in July when debris cascaded down a mountain side burying homes and property in the remote community of Johnson’s Landing, 117 kilometres east of Kelowna.

A few days later on July 15, Fairmont had a slide of its own. A major debris slide from a blocked Fairmont Creek sent boulders, trees and mud through neighbourhoods in Fairmont.

Approximately 600 campers in the campground at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort were stranded when the water and debris tore out the access bridge between the resort and campground.

A huge wind storm swept through the Cranbrook Kimberley area on Friday, July 20, downing trees, hydro poles, damaging homes and cars. It left thousands without power. And it hit the JulyFest bocce pits just as they were filling up for the weekend events.

There were hundreds of people at the Rotary Drive bocce pits at the time, as JulyFest 2012 was just getting started. People ran for cover from high winds and driving rains, while merchants and musicians struggled to hold down their tents.

The bocce pits, JulyFest central, were one of the areas to lose power, and bocce was shut down for the evening.

August

A new mini golf course was opened at the Riverside Campground in early August. The project had been in the works for about four years and is a unique feature, more of a miniature 18 hole golf course than a mini putt.

The Grey Creek Pas between Kimberley and Kootenay Lake was closed for the summer of 2012 and a group led by Tom Lymberry of the Kootenay Lake Chamber of Commerce began lobbying for funds so it could re-open. The problem was slides on the Kimberley side and with so many slides around the province, there was not enough funding readily available to fix it.

Doug Clovechok from the Columbia Valley was officially declared as the BC Liberal candidate for Columbia River Revelstoke. He will run against incumbent Norm Macdonald (NDP).

At their regular meeting on Monday evening, August 13, 2012, Kimberley City Council received a report from the Urban Deer Advisory Committee entitled ‘Managing for the Future’.

Written by Urban Deer Advisory Committee Chair Gary Glinz, the report was complex, detailed and laid out a number of recommendations for managing Kimberley’s urban deer population.

Beale Avenue residents presented Kimberley City Council with a petition against the planned closure of the St. Mary Avenue bridge —a part of the Mark Creek Flume project. Residents were concerned about the difficult intersection at the top of Leadenhall Street being the only access in and out of their neighbourhood. The Kimberley Food Bank also expressed concerns about congestion and unloading food trucks.

A BC Forest Services air response was called in on August 15 to fight a blaze on a steep slope which ignited due to a multi-structure fire just one kilometre out of City of Kimberley limits. The fire began in the attic of one of the buildings, and occupants were able to get some valuables out before the buildings were fully engulfed. Kimberley Fire Department could not respond as the fire was just out of their jurisdiction.

The Cranbrook Legion had to reprint its August branch newsletter after a joke offended readers. And the Legion’s Dominion Command stepped in with an official apology.

The original newsletter contained a joke about two men shooting and killing two “Indians”.

The City of Kimberley  put out a Request For Proposals seeking a company or individual to take on the task of telling Kimberley’s story, defining who we are as a City, and how to market that to the region, province, country and even world.

Cranbrook Search and Rescue urged residents to be more prepared and equipped properly before heading out after two rescues on Fisher Peak. In both incidents, hikers were not prepared for a night on the mountain when they became lost.

Citing a difficult economy and unpredictable weather, organizers of the Bootleg Sled Dog Races called them off permanently.