Kimberley year in review

The fourth and final installment of Kimberley's 2013 news highlights

OCTOBER

Urban deer

Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae along with Wayne Stetski of Cranbrook, Gerry Taft of Invermere and Garry Litke of Penticton, along with other municipal officials met with Premier Christy Clark on the issue of urban deer. Minister Steve Thompson, also at the meeting, suggested striking a provincial task force, but at year’s end no action had been taken on it.

Meals on Wheels

Interior Health  changed the way it delivers ready-made meals to clients at home. Starting October 15, the health authority  replaced its Meals On Wheels program with the new Dinners At Home program, which offered frozen meals seniors heat up themselves. There are around 20 people enrolled in Meals On Wheels in Cranbrook and 20 in Kimberley.

Federal prison?

The East Kootenay’s regional government added federal prison to its “file of ideas” that would encourage economic development. Although the idea would be a decade down the road, and has not been endorsed by the entire board of directors, Chair Rob Gay told the board that the idea had been presented to him. Kimberley Councillor Don McCormick, acting on his own, was a proponent of the idea, prompting Mayor Ron McRae to state publicly that Kimberley was not looking to get into the prison business.

 

Connecting with Elders

Selkirk Secondary aboriginal education students, along with their counterparts from Golden Secondary and David Thompson Secondary in Invermere, launched their book “Connecting with the Elders” this week. The Elder Project was brought to the Rocky Mountain School District by poet Wendy Morton. This is the eighth such book for Morton, who has been working with school districts around the province.

 

 

Ambulance  service

Mayor Ron McRae said the fact that an ambulance has to sit on standby between Kimberley and Cranbrook makes a statement on the ongoing inadequacies of ambulance services in Kimberley. He said there have been a couple of recent incidents in which ambulance service was not available in a timely fashion. While declining to go into detail on these incidents, McRae says they were “pretty significant”. “We are looking for the Ambulance Service to do something about the gap,” McRae said.

Kimberley Zone enrolment

The final headcount of student numbers were submitted to the Ministry of Education by School District No. 6 staff. As of September 30, the Kimberley Zone had 1,037 Full Time Equivalent students, up 19 FTE students from last year. This continues a steady enrolment climb in Kimberley in the past three years. Enrolment has climbed from 988.375 FTE students in 2010-11 to the 1,037 of this year.

 

 

New CEO

As Kathy Cooper officially took the reins as CEO of Kootenay Rockies Tourism — a position she had been in unofficially since the retirement of Chris Dadson last fall — the tourism industry in this area still faces challenges. Tourism took a hit with the economic collapse of 2008, and Cooper says that while there are positive areas, the industry as a whole has not yet fully recovered. “We haven’t made any gains since 2008,” Cooper said. “It’s been a slow climb back up to those levels and we are not there yet.”

 

 

Standoff

Dozens of police, including an Emergency Response Team, surrounded the motel on the highway through Cranbrook from about 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on October 30. The highway through Cranbrook was closed for nine hours during the incident from Victoria Avenue to 6th Street North. Several businesses across from the motel were evacuated. In the end,  a man police described as “distraught” surrendered peacefully.

 

 

November

Medical  marijuana

A business person from the lower mainland is planning to establish a medical marijuana operation in Meadowbrook. On Friday, November 1, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors voted to begin amendments to the Kimberley Rural Zoning Bylaw to regulate medical marijuana. Board Chair Rob Gay said that a business person approached the board to find out where the RDEK would stand on a medical marijuana operation within its boundaries. The federal government has approved new regulations for medical marijuana operations, which will come into effect on April 1, 2014.

 

 

Doctor shortage

Local elected officials are worried about people in the community who aren’t able to find a family doctor. The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District board of directors met with a representative of Interior Health Authority earlier this month to talk about what is being done to recruit family doctors to East Kootenay communities.

 

 

Youth Centre

The Lee Haskell Youth Centre re-opened after a lengthy hiatus in November and reported that it was seeing some 320 youth a day in the after school hours. Sustainable funding remains an issue for the centre heading into 2014 however.

 

 

New flight

Mayor Ron McRae joined other East Kootenay officials on the inaugural flight of Pacific Coastal’s service to Kelowna. The new service began in November offering a long-awaited Kootenay Okanagan connection.

St. Mary Lake Road

The City of Kimberley continued in its efforts to have the province reclaim responsibility for St. Mary Lake Road as residents of the area continued to pressure the city to improve maintenance of the road. Residents are concerned that new logging activity will increase problems. The City promised to find short term solutions, but also said that the long term answer was the province reclaiming the road.

 

Hopley sentenced

Randall Hopley will spend another five years in prison, followed by 10 years of close supervision, after a Supreme Court judge handed down a decision in Cranbrook’s courthouse on Friday, Nov. 29. But Justice Heather Holmes did not give the 48-year-old abductor of Kienan Hebert a dangerous offender status, which would have landed him in prison for an indeterminate time, possibly the rest of his life.

 

 

Big storm

A major snowstorm hit the area on December 2. In Kimberley, 30 centimetres was reported in Chapman Chap and more than 35 centimetres at the ski hill and Townsite. The snowstorm caused multiple motor vehicle incidents around town, including a serious accident near Lumberton, south of Cranbrook and a fatality near Fernie.

 

 

Pot petition

December 5, was the final deadline for Sensible BC to collect enough signatures — 400,000 province wide — to force a referendum on the decriminalization of marijuana. Sensible BC’s efforts came up short, only having half the required number of signatures. In the Columbia River Revelstoke riding, enough signatures were collected, but province-wide they were not.

 

 

Deal

Union employees at both the Kimberley Alpine Resort and the Trickle Creek Lodge signed a new three year deal in hand just as the ski hill prepared to open.  United Steelworkers Local I-405 lead negotiator for the deals Jeff Bromley said the negotiations went well right from the start and workers were able to arrive at a deal including a significant pay increase.

 

 

PST

Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary members were lobbying for a return to the way it was after discovering that they now had to charge PST on certain thrift store items despite not having to prior to the HST switch.

 

 

Cull

Kimberley voted undertake a limited cull of up to 15 deer in Marysville and up to 15 in the Blarchmont, Chapman Camp area. Council voted unanimously to go ahead with the cull. Committee Chair Gary Glinz told Council said that the committee arrived at the recommendation after this year’s population counts conducted a few weeks ago. He said when they looked at counts and complaints in the Blarchmont, Chapman Camp area, they grouped together, whereas in Marysville there weren’t as many complaints but more deer were counted.

 

 

15 minutes

Kimberley’s James Archie Archibald briefly became a media star after he posted ongoing video updates of the situation at Dallas Fort Worth Airport where he was stranded with thousands of others because of an ice storm.