Kimberley Bulletin: a year in review

The top news stories in Kimberley from January 2017 to December 2017

Kimberley Bulletin: a year in review

January

In January of 2017, Kimberley was gearing up for a busy year. Mayor Don McCormick addressed residents at the special State of the City event at Centre 64. Hosted by the Kimberley and District Chamber of Commerce, the event featured an update from the Mayor followed by a question and answer period.

“A big part of making sure taxpayers are not surprised by things we do at City Hall is by communicating not just ‘what’ we are doing, but ‘why’ we are doing it,” said McCormick.

Military Ames Receives funding for cenotaph

Military Ames was raising money for the now complete Cenotaph at Kimberley Veteran Memorial Park, and construction of the monument was underway. Fundraising initiatives were ongoing, and the remainder of the since-folded Kimberley Project Society’s money ($1265) was donated to Military Ames for the purchase of a memorial bench.

Suspicious Substance found in Cranbrook Community Forest not poison: RCMP

Cranbrook RCMP reported on January 27, 2017 that a suspicious substance found in the Cranbrook Community Forest, which was believed to be responsible for the death of three dogs in Oct. of 2016, was not poison. Samples of the substance sent off to labs with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Michigan State University came back negative for any poisons, according to Sgt. Hector Lee. An extremely similar chain of events has caused concern recently, when a few dogs became ill, in some cases fatally ill, in December of 2017 after visiting the very same forest.

Kimberley Olympian Gerry Rinaldi passes

On January 20, 2017 it was announced that Kimberley local and Olympian Gerry Rinaldi passed away, a sad day for the Kimberley Skiing community. A member of the Canada Skiing Hall of Fame, Rinaldi was the second Alpine Skiier from Kimberley to make it on the Canadian National Ski Team.

February

North wall fix for Kimberley’s Civic Centre gets green light

In February, the North Wall project at the Civic Centre got the green light from Kimberley City Council. Council decided to go with the recommendation to have Tyee Log Homes complete the contract at a total cost of $576,000. The wall is now complete, along with a 205-metre walking track.

FIS Races cancelled

The FIS Western Canadian Championship races that were scheduled at Kimberley Alpine Resort at this time, were cancelled due to too much snow. Race Organizer, Donna Briggs said that they were unable to achieve a good racing track.

“Prior to the snow, we had a perfect track for the speed camp,” said Briggs. “72cm of snow is too much. It has to be hard like pavement. If you were to fall, or ski, off the track into soft snow going 100 kph, it’s just too dangerous.”

BC Caribou protection effort extended

The province of BC announced $27 million for a comprehensive caribou recovery program.

Kimberley City Council

It was a busy few months for Kimberley City Council, with decisions being made around deer translocation, building projects, flat taxes and the Joint Use Agreement with SD6.

City of Kimberley will apply to translocate 50 deer in 2018

Council announced they would apply for funding to translocate up to 50 deer.

Kimberley housing projects proceed

Council also held a public hearing on the Kimberley Crossing Seniors Project, and set the date for a public hearing on the Church Avenue project.

Council to do away with flat tax

Flat taxes came up at Council and the decision was made to do away with the flat tax. Council directed staff that the flat tax should be reduced by $80 per year until it is gone by 2025.

March

Kimberley Council defers vote on ending agreement with SD6

As for the agreement the City has with the school board, a report from staff at this time directed Council to end the agreement. Council decided to defer the recommendation until more information could be gathered.

Kimberley Fire Chief retires

It was announced that (former) fire chief, Al Collinson would retire in May. Collins had a 28 year career with the Kimberley Fire Department and began service in 1989 as a paid on call firefighter. Rick Prasad has since taken on the role of Fire Chief, and is working on amending the City’s current Fire Bylaw.

Jumbo Petition sent to legislature

The Ktunaxa Nation Council and Wildsight announced they would continue their campaign to protect the spiritually sensitive land in the Jumbo Valley, west of Invermere, after a large ski resort was planned on said land. Wildsight unveiled a petition with over 60,000 signatures to present to the provincial legislature.

April

Kimberley Academy announces plans to expand

The Kimberley Academy announced their plans to expand, doubling the size of the hockey program and starting discussions around a new youth soccer program under the same model. In only its second year of operation, the program set out to transform from a 16 player, girls hockey team into a multi-sport academy with 80 athletes.

City receives federal grants for infrastructure, planning and engineering studies

The City of Kimberley announced that the receipt of two federal grants for infrastructure planning and engineering studies. The most significant of the two was a 2.1 million dollar grant to study the eventual replacement of the City’s wastewater treatment plant. The other grant ($10,000) would go towards planning the redevelopment of the downtown area. Both projects are currently ongoing.

The City of Kimberley also gave the 2017-2021 Financial Plan the first three readings, making them one vote away from the final adoption of the plan.

RDEK introduces bylaw for invasive weed management

A bylaw aimed at enforcing private land-owners to tackle invasive weeds was introduced by the RDEK board, also appointing two weed control officers to monitor and tackle the issue. The bylaw enforces land owners to get rid of invasive weed species on their property.

Kimberley residents still not happy with proposed changes

The Rocky Mountain School District, SD6, hosted a public hearing to get feedback on the revised draft longterm facility plan. The plan was first presented to parents in the fall of 2016 and included a proposal to change school configuration in Kimberley from its current K to 3 and one 4 to 7 middle school to three K to 7 schools. The plan was originally set for the 2017/2018 school year, however after hearing feedback from the public, a revised plan was drafted.

WATCH: Kimberley Arts Council proposes plan for wheelchair lift

Centre 64 and the Kimberley Arts Council announced their proposal for the installation of a platform wheelchair lift to make the theatre accessible to everyone, specifically those with mobility issues. The theatre is currently only accessible via several flights of stairs, and since April of this year, the Arts Council has received all of the funding required to start construction of the project in 2018.

WATCH: Premier visits East Kootenay to talk local support and jobs

(Former) BC Premier, Christy Clark stopped by the Timber Hitch in Marysville during her tour of the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding. She visited with locals and made a latte before answering a few questions about the local riding.

May

Gas station robbed in Kimberley

Investigations were ongoing after the Shell gas station in Kimberley was robbed in early May.

duToit graduates from Arizona State University

Kimberley native, Jared duToit graduated from Arizona State University in May. This was the beginning of his professional career, after having played for the Arizona State Sun Devils for many years.

WATCH: Selkirk Secondary hosts candidates debate

Selkirk Secondary held a candidates debate between the MLA candidates for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding. Grade 5 classes from McKim Middle school and most of the students at Selkirk were present for the debate, where they were able to ask questions to each one of the candidates.

City of Kimberley defends its rodent control practices

Residents were upset with the City’s method for rodent control practices in May of this year. Some residents were upset as they felt they were not properly notified when poison was placed in gopher holes at the Purcell Park soccer fields. There was concern about children or dogs possibly getting into the poison, and also some concerns that the poison was not used properly.

Fentanyl, W18 found in East Kootenay

Kimberley and Cranbrook RCMP were warning East Kootenay residents that Fentanyl, W18 was showing up in the communities.

Rocky Mountain School District 6 Trustees vote to keep three middle schools

The Rocky Mountain School District, SD6, voted to implement catchment areas in the district. Part of the Draft Longterm Facility Plan was a proposal to change the configuration of Kimberley’s schools, however, after much debate the vote went through to leave the school as is.

A big bouncing baby boy born at EK Regional Hospital

Shawn Tyson Williams Burgoyne was born at EK Regional Hospital, weighing in at 13 pounds, 9.4 ounces.

June

Driver of a stolen pickup truck rams two police vehicles prior to arrest

A dangerous driving incident near Skookumchuck resulted in a Kimberley RCMP officer being injured. A stolen black Ford pickup was reported having attempted to run over a civilian, before evading RCMP and ramming one of the police vehicles.

Health Centre closed due to diesel fuel spill

The Kimberley Health Centre had to close temporarily after a diesel spill at the facility. A weekend power outage prompted a generator to come on, causing diesel fuel to leak from the generator.

WATCH: Pathfinders and Rangers of Kootenay Girl Guides receive awards

The Kootenay Girl Guides celebrated their Pathfinders and Rangers with an awards ceremony at the Kimberley Riverside Campground. MLA Doug Clovechok and Mayor Don McCormick were there to speak to the girls, some of whom received the highest awards in their categories including the Canada Cord Award and Chief Commissioner Gold Award.

WATCH: Kimberley Rotary Club hosts eighth annual Lobsterfest

The Kimberley Rotary Club held their 8th annual Lobsterfest, flying in hundreds of fresh lobster from the east coast. This year saw 190 guests at the Convention Centre, accompanied by live music, live auctions, 50/50 draws and much more.

Nearly 20 planes search for missing aircraft

The search for a missing plane that took off from Cranbrook was ongoing; military and civilian rescue personnel scoured the Kootenay region for weeks. A Piper Warrior Aircraft was carrying Alex Simons and Sidney Robillard from Cranbrook to Kamloops, however the two never arrived at their destination. The search was scaled back after little success in finding the aircraft.

July

WATCH: Kimberley celebrates Canada 150

In July of 2017, Kimberley, along with the rest of the country, was celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday.

Duck race sells out, raises almost $20,000

The annual Food Bank Duck Race, despite being cancelled for safety purposes, sold out and raised almost $20,000.

The Bulletin says goodbye to a friend

The Bulletin bid farewell to Bob Bova, who passed away on Wednesday, July 12. Bova, also known as Boberama, was not only a member of the Bulletin family, but a fond member of the Kimberley community. He is loved and missed by many.

WATCH: Kimberley Pipe Band’s 90th Anniversary Tattoo

The Kimberley Pipe Band celebrated 90 years with their Tattoo at the Civic Centre, alongside Garden View Village’s 10 year anniversary.

WATCH: Julyfest 2017

JulyFest was a hit, as usual, and their new location at Coronation Park proved to be a success. The annual soccer tournament, JulyFest Classic, was held at several locations across Kimberley and the competition was fierce at the Sullivan Pub longboard race.

WATCH: Military Ames unveils new Kimberley Veteran Memorial Park

After months of hard work and dedication from Military Ames volunteers and City staff, the Kimberley Veteran Memorial Park was unveiled. A ceremony was held at the park with veterans from near and far, and hundreds of Kimberley community members were in attendance. The park features a brand new Cenotaph, benches, and rocks that all commemorate veterans.

Out with the old, in with the new

Council voted to approve the purchase of an automatic side loading garbage truck and 3,050 collective bins. The total cost for the truck and bins is $478,611. The exact date and fine details of the switchover have yet to be determined, but it is expected some time in 2018.

Montana earthquake felt in Kimberley, Cranbrook

Kimberley and Cranbrook residents who were awake during the early hours of July 6, 2017 felt the tremors as an earthquake occurred nine kilometres southeast of Lincoln, Montana at 12:51 mountain time.

Local lakes closed to sport fishing after illegal introduction of invasive predatory species

New Lake, near Cranbrook, and Fussee Lake, east of the Koocanusa Reservoir closed to sport fishing due to the illegal introduction of invasive fish species including large-mouthed bass and yellow perch.

The start of a devastating wildfire season in BC

Fire danger ratings were high as temperatures soared throughout the month. Temperatures reached the mid-30s and Smoky Skies Bulletins were being issued off and on for the East Kootenay region. As of July 28, there were 33 fires burning in the region.

August

Wildfires continue throughout the province

After escaping relatively unscathed through the first part of a very active fire season in BC, the southeast fire centre saw an increase in fire activity as hot and dry conditions took the fire-danger rating to extreme throughout most of the East Kootenay. Several evacuation alerts were ordered in the region.

Smoky skies bulletins and special air quality statements were on and off throughout the month of August for the entire region of East Kootenay.

Off-road vehicle ban begins

Off-road vehicles were prohibited in the southeast fire centre in early August in a response to the wildfire situation. The closure included the operation of any off-road vehicle for recreational purposes on Crown land.

Grizzly bear trophy hunt to end Nov. 30

The Province of BC announced they would be putting an end to the trophy hunting of grizzly bears, which was a decision that was met with mixed feelings from various politicians, outfitters and hunters across BC.

PHOTOS: Eclipse around the world

The 2017 solar eclipse was a popular topic of discussion in August, with the entire country able to see a full or partial view of the eclipse. Many people took to making their own home-made viewing boxes to protect their eyes from the potentially damaging rays of the sun.

WATCH: Motor Mountain Nationals

The Motor Mountain Nationals Car show was held in August, a classic car lovers delight. Cars lined Howard Street and Deer Park Avenue, and hundreds of people braved the hot weather to check them out.

Kimberley welcomes hundreds of international students

Kimberley welcomed hundreds of international students at the end of August, with students from across the globe calling Kimberley their temporary home through the Rocky Mountain International Student Program.

September

Wildfires continue

Fire activity continued to grow in September, prompting several evacuation alerts and a forest service road closure in the southeast fire centre. The backcountry remained closed in the region for most of the month and fire bans were in effect across the province.

The backcountry closure was the first for parts of the province since 2013, which presented to be potentially devastating for BC guide outfitters at this time. Conservation properties were also closed to public access in the interest of public safety and maintaining conservation values on the properties.

Animals throughout the RDEK were at risk, specifically in areas with evacuation orders. The Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) set up an emergency reception centre at the Cranbrook curling arena with temporary shelters for companion animals such as dogs and cats.

The sold out Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo was even cancelled due to fire risk. 500 participants had signed up for the event, which was postponed until 2018.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia partnered in a wildfire recovery initiative to provide up to $20 million to assist agricultural producers with wildfire losses.

Trust strengthens child care in the Basin

The Columbia Basin Trust launched a new $3.6 million program to help maintain and create new child care spaces in the Basin.

October

Kimberley kicked off October of 2017 with Oktoberfest activities, celebrating with a parade through the Platzl, live music, activities for families and of course, lots beer and bratwurst.

Some relief from forest fires

The weather suddenly cooled down, allowing fire fighting crews to contain many of the blazes throughout the province and ending most of the fire restrictions within the Southeast Fire Centre. However, open burning was banned until the end of the month and the fire danger rating remained at moderate to high.

WATCH: Monument unveiled at St. Eugene

A new monument entitled ‡kamnin’tik (The Children) was unveiled at St. Eugene Resort. Created by sculptor Cameron Douglas, it is the result of a commemoration project seven years in the making, designed to honour all the students who attended the St. Eugene Mission Residential School.

Teck Coal pleads guilty to 2014 environmental charge

Teck Coal Ltd. was fined $1.425 million after pleading guilty to releasing toxic amounts of nitrate and hydrogen sulfite into the Elk River in October 2014. This is the second largest fine ever to be laid in B.C. related to Fisheries Act pollution. The largest occurred in February 2016 with Teck Metals in relation to pollution discharges from a smelter in Trail.

Mike Gould commits $7.5 million to Dynamiters

Mike Gould, a man raised in Kimberley, announced at a Dynamiters game in October that he was committing to donate $7.5 million to the Dynamiters and Kimberley Minor Hockey league. Gould has yet to come forward with his promise.

CBT Symposium exceeds expectations

Canadian Astronaut, Col. Chris Hadfield was in Kimberley, speaking at the Columbia Basin Trust Symposium. Hundreds were in attendance at the Kimberley Conference Centre for the SHIFT! Thriving in Chance Symposium. Fourteen sessions focused on how to harness opportunities from three global trends; shifting demographics in Basin communities, rapidly evolving technology and the changing climate.

New playground zone at skate park

Kimberley City Council had a busy month. They designated the Skate Park on Rotary Drive as a playground, changing the speed limit from 50km/hr to 30km/hr, despite a report from staff stating the 50km/hr speed limit was a non-issue.

A tragedy in Fernie

The City also announced they would be reviewing their standard operating procedures for the arenas after an ammonia leak tragically claimed the lives of three people at the Fernie Memorial Arena.

Council passes motion on zoning of Marysville bench lands

Discussions continued at City Council around the Official Community Plan, and Council voted to keep the designation of the Marysville Bench Lands as industrial as part of the first draft of the OCP. The OCP is forecasted for some time in the early new year.

Kimberley Creek, back to the future: Mayor Don McCormick

The City also applied for funding from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for the daylighting of Kimberley Creek and Stormwater Right-sizing. If the funding goes through, this project will help alleviate the flooding that regularly takes place in Kimberley Creek and Morrison Subdivision.

Chamber hosts Business Excellence Awards

The Kimberley Chamber of Commerce celebrated local entrepreneurs at their annual Business Excellence Awards gala, with many awards given out such as Entrepreneur of the Year (Kimberley Centex Manager, Jill Bentley-Lobban) and Employee of the Year (Home Hardware’s George Wood).

November

As soon as November rolled around, so did the snow. On November 2, Kimberley was already experiencing record-breaking amounts of snow fall and harsh winter road conditions.

WATCH: KAR Gears up for another busy season

The early snow was a blessing for Kimberley Alpine Resort, who started making snow in November and getting ready for the busy season ahead.

RMI funding continues for valley communities this fiscal year

The province of BC announced that it would continue the Resort Municipality Initiative, providing $10.5 million in funding to the 14 resort communities involved in the program.

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Ktunaxa Jumbo resort appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by the Ktunaxa Nation who were arguing that their religious rights were infringed when the BC government approved a development plan for a ski resort on a glacier west of Invermere.

Gas prices go up

Gas prices took a jump in November, leaving the days of cheap oil and gas behind us, according to Petroleum Analyst, Dan McTeague.

Caribou populations continue to decline due to loss of habitat: Federal Report.

The Province of BC announced that more needs to be done in terms of preserving caribou populations. There are currently only 17 caribou in the Purcell Mountains and 11 in the Selkirks. A recent report said that none of the 51 herds in Canada are known to be growing, and populations are in decline across the country.

Kimberley Trails Society and the Kimberley Nature Park Society request ongoing support from City

On Monday, Nov. 27 The Kimberley Trail Society and Kimberley Nature Park Society presented a request to Kimberley City Council, asking for ongoing support for trails maintenance in the form of $100,000 and the hiring of a Trails Manager.

December

WATCH: Annual Deer Count

At the beginning of December, the Kimberley Urban Deer Committee held the annual Deer Count. The count is required every year so that the City knows hows many deer are in Kimberley in order to deal with population control. The count is based on the UDAC’s Managing for the Future document, which the City follows. The document covers all aspects concerning urban deer from population control to bylaws and community education. According to preliminary count data, the deer population has increased by seven deer from last year’s findings, making the total 154.

Mule Deer Translocation to continue as research

The City and UDAC have been working with both the Province’s Department of Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) as well as Conservation Officers on a translocation project to remove deer from the community. The province has a program that allows them to match the City’s funding, up to a maximum of $25,000 for the translocation of deer, however FLNO says that Kimberley can only proceed with translocation as a research project, as opposed to an ‘operational’ translocation.

Opening Day at KAR

Kimberley Alpine Resort opened some of their runs on December, 9, with the remainder of the hill open by Christmas. Snowmaking efforts were in full force starting from the early snowfall in November, and will continue until the snow starts to melt in the spring.

KAR also announced the opening of a new restaurant at the Ski Hill, Buckhorn & Main. The new restaurant is owned and operated by KAR and the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, in the location that was previously Montana’s.

WATCH: Christmas time at the Food Bank

The Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank had a busy month preparing and executing their annual Hamper Program. Many volunteers, including the Kimberley Dynamiters, helped with the hamper program and thousands of dollars were raised and donated through local residents and businesses.

Council approves first reading of OCP

Council voted against a referendum on the Marysville Bench Lands, and approved the first reading of the Official Community Plan. The OCP is part of the formal bylaw review process and the next step is to host a public hearing (scheduled for February 2018) where the public will be able to ask questions and provide input surrounding all aspects of the plan.

Inclusivity for all

The Kimberley Arts Council and Centre 64 reached their $175,000 fundraising goal, allowing them to start a bidding for construction of a platform wheelchair lift to make the theatre accessible to those with mobility issues.

City announces Conference Centre operating agreement with RCR

The City announced that RCR will be taking over for the Kimberley Community Development Society, with regards to the operation and management of the Conference Centre. RCR has signed on for a five year term, with a renewal clause for a further five year term.