Kimberley year in review, part I

With the new year coming up, it’s time to look back at the year that was in Kimberley.

January 2013

No More Kiotac

The year began with a huge story.

“The Kimberley International Old Time Accordion Championships will not continue its long history as an event.  After a number of years of increasing costs and falling revenues, it has become apparent that the event is no longer economically sustainable.  After 39 years it is quite apparent that attempting to host an exemplary and meaningful event would be a detraction from the many years of success that the event has entertained.”

With those words, the 39-year history of KIOTAC came to an end in Kimberley.

Property values

2013 assessments showed a continuation of a slight decline in property values, in Kimberley and throughout most of the East Kootenay. Average home prices in Kimberley dropped $13,000.

CBT news

Kimberley’s Garry Merkel announced he was stepping down from his active role as Chair of the Columbia Basin Trust. Merkel had been involved with the Columbia Basin Trust since its inception, being part of the committee which negotiated with the province for the establishment of the Trust, and then serving as a found member of the Board. He served as Vice-Chair from 1995 to 2006, then Chair from 2006 to 2012.

Replacing Merkel was Chair will be Greg Deck, also newly appointed as Mayor of the Jumbo Resort Municipality.

Most wanted

The Cranbrook RCMP detachment  nabbed one of Calgary’s most wanted in a drug bust on January 11.

Robert Bach, 35, was wanted on charges of robbery in Alberta, appeared in Cranbrook Provincial Court on January 16 where he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to one month in custody – to be served at a B.C. institution.

Fewer buses

Greyhound applied to the Passenger Transport Board of B.C. to reduce service on a number of routes in the province. Among them is the Highway 3 trip from Kelowna to Alberta that travels through Cranbrook 10 times a week in each direction.

New Board

At the end of January, the Kimberley and District Chamber of Commerce elected a new president and board of directors. Joining Greg Bradley, Darren Close, Tamara Duggan, Schaun Goodeve, Kieran Hickey, Janet JJ Johnason, Grant Sharam, Liana Shaw and Virginia Watson were Bev Campbell, Simone Desautels, Jaime Funk, Chantal Hack, Tylene Turner and Alison Walker.



Peter Moody and Susan Bond sat down with the Bulletin to recount there encounter with a sow grizzly and her two cubs the previous December. Both were injured in the attack but both were eager to learn all they could about grizzlies in this area, and to share information on sightings in the future.

BC Family Day

British Columbia first Family Day weekend was celebrated in February, and ski hills across the province helped promote it with 50 per cent off lift tickets.

Flume Funding

The City of Kimberley’s application for funding to assist with the $4.25 million Mark Creek flume rehabilitation project was rejected. At the time, Mayor Ron McRae said the City would have to consider whether to put the project on hold and indeed, not much work was done on the flume during the summer months. At year’s end, the City had reapplied for funding but had not heard if the application was successful.

City lets CAO go

On February 21, 2013, the City of Kimberley  issued a brief press release announcing that Chief Administrative Officer Al Mulholland was no longer in the employ of the City.

Cranbrook shooting

A 47-year-old Cranbrook man fired shots into a King Street apartment on February 23. None of the three people inside the apartment were injured in the shooting. There were no children in the apartment. The man was arrested and charged with attempted murder and careless use of a firearm. Police also searched the man’s home using a search warrant and found further evidence. The occupants of the apartment were linked to the accused shooter, police said.

Deer Cull

Whether or not to cull deer in 2013 was discussed by Council, who also received a visit from the BC Deer Protection Society, who urged Council to consider non-lethal means. Coun. Darryl Oakley said the City was attempting to get permission for a trial deer hazing, or aversive conditioning experiment.

Wood stove bylaw

The Wood Burning Appliance Emissions Control Bylaw was adopted by Kimberley City Council in March. The purpose of the bylaw is to enhance air quality and give Council the tools to monitor and enforce sub-standard burning of substances such as garbage or wet wood. The bylaw also establishes a minimum standard of replacement of wood stoves, as well as supports the ongoing wood stove exchange program.



A 37-year old woman, who police say was the girlfriend of the deceased, has been arrested in the death of a 47-year old Marysville man. The Southeast District Major Crime Unit confirmed they were investigating a homicide. Kimberley RCMP called the Southeast District Major Crime Section along with the BC Coroner’s Service to investigate a suspicious death in Marysville on Friday afternoon, March 8, 2013. A deceased male was found at the Marysville residence.

No mineral claims

A controversial mining claim near Cherry Creek Falls in Meadowbrook has been designated a Mineral No Registration Reserve by the provincial Gold Commissioner May Mah-Paulson. What this means is that no new mineral claims can be registered on the 400 plus acre property, which had been a concern for Meadowbrook residents for well over a year.

First Saturdays

A number of people in Kimberley had been getting together to discuss and brainstorm First Saturdays, and it was announced a go by Carol Fergus from the Arts Council. The idea was to try to get as many events happening in Kimberley on the first Saturday of every month (from May to October) as possible. Then the events cross promote each other, build on each other, and hopefully people attending one event head to check out another.

Hell Roaring Avalanche

On Saturday, March 23, one Kimberley resident was found dead after an extensive search in an avalanche field up Hell Roaring Road. Joel Conway, aged 38, of Kimberley  was one of a group of seven snowmobilers who had travelled to the area of Hellroaring Creek southwest of Kimberley on a memorial run for another Kimberley resident who died in an avalanche in the same area four years earlier. While the group was in the area, a large avalanche struck, burying two of the men. One man managed to dig himself out, but Mr. Conway was buried too deeply for self-rescue or for the other members of the party to be able to rescue him. They sought help, and a major search-and-rescue effort was launched. Mr. Conway’s body was recovered from the area on March 24.