B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson (middle) visited Kimberley alongside Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok (right) and East Kootenay MLA Tom Shypitka (left). (Carolyn Grant file).

Kimberley’s year in review, part III

Part three of the four part series.

JULY

News:

The hot weather was in full swing at the beginning of July, sparking the Southeast Fire Centre to order a prohibition on category 2 and 3 open burning.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture approved changes to Resort Municipality Funding, with participating municipalities seeing fixed base funding of $100,000.

The Regional District of East Kootenay voted to oppose a proposed 70,000 hectare adventure tourism recreation tenure east of Kimberley, as board directors cited concerns over increased helicopter traffic and the impacts to wildlife and the environment from increased back country tourism use.

Greyhound announced they would be cutting all routes but one in the province, as they downsize operations across western Canada due to declining ridership in rural communities and increased competition with other transportation services.

Vahana Nature Rehabilitation was in the Lois Creek Trail system in July for invasive plant control using target goat grazing.

The RDEK announced the new St. Mary Lake Regional Park on July 10, after an agreement was made between the regional government and the private property owner.

Commercial-scale huckleberry picking was prohibited in areas of the Kootenays, by the provincial government, from July 15 to Oct. 15 to protect grizzly bear habitat.

The Kimberley Transfer Station was significantly damaged in a fire in July, causing a complete closure of the site and sparking an investigation. Five days after the fire, the site partially re-opened on a limited basis.

Summer in Kimberley just wouldn’t be the same without the ‘best of the fests’. JulyFest 2018 was another successful weekend, with a few changes to the ticket pricing and layout of the event. Kimberley RCMP also reported a relatively quiet weekend.

With hot weather persisting, campfires were officially banned on July 26 throughout the Southeast Fire Centre.

Mayor Don McCormick announced he would be heading to China in October to assist Purcell International Education with finding foreign investors for a proposed full-time international school in Kimberley.

Sports:

The BC Junior Girls Golf Championships at Kimberley Golf Course kicked off in the first week of July, featuring some of B.C.’s best female junior golfers.

The Kimberley Dynamiters announced that they had acquired defender Mitch Fargey from the Kamloops Storm.

The Spartan Race took place at Kimberley Alpine Resort for the first time, with hundreds of competitors flocking from all over Canada and the United States to compete.

The Kimberley Dynamiters continued to sign local talent over the summer, with the addition of Cranbrook forward Cater Spring.

Two Kimberley men placed 16th in the longest paddle in the world. Levi Froese and Matt Thompson paddled 150 kilometres from Whitehorse to Yukon City as part of the Yukon River Quest.

On JulyFest weekend both the JulyFest Classic soccer tournament and the Sullivan Challenge Longboard Race took place, bringing hundreds of spectators and competitors to Kimberley from across Canada and the United States.

The 2018 Baseball Reunion also took place over JulyFest weekend, with over 90 players, managers, coaches, widows and bat boys present.

Community:

Kimberley celebrated Canada Day on July 1 with festivities in the Platzl including face painting and a performance from the Kimberley Community Band.

Kimberley local Dave Podmoroff started his cycle across Canada in July, raising funds for men’s health and mental health issues.

Spark Youth Society celebrated 25 years of operation, recognizing Lee Haskel and family and the former name the society used to run under: The Lee Haskel Youth Society.

The Kimberley Medieval Festival held their annual event, while also announcing that festival planners – The Kimberley City Bakery – would be handing over the reigns to an Alberta-based viking group.

AUGUST

News:

In August this year, the City of Kimberley announced that they planned to sell the SunMine to Teck Metals Ltd through a referendum vote during the municipal election.

Columbia Basin Trust announced that they would be distributing $965,000 in social grants. One of the recipients was Healthy Kimberley with a $95,125 grant to implement the Food Waste Recovery Depot.

A local area service request from residents of the 100 block of Norton Avenue fell though, resulting in the project completion seeing a gravel parking lane (as opposed to a paved lane) and no curb on the west side of the block.

Council also voted to move forward with a new signage strategy, which includes removing outdated signs, prioritizing new sign actions and confirming neighbourhoods and regions.

A month after a fire broke out at the Kimberley Transfer Station, the RDEK said that the building wasn’t completely destroyed and plans were set in motion to have it rebuilt.

Louise Baxter, a Cranbrook woman that had been reported missing for three days in the Jumbo Pass area, was found safe, along with her dog, after Search and Rescue members from Columbia Valley, Golden, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Creston responded.

The B.C. Supreme court ruled in favour of Glacier National Resorts Ltd., who successfully argued that a 2014 decision from Mary Polak, which effectively ground the resort development to a halt, was unreasonable.

Interior Health reported in August that two dead ravens found in Kimberley tested positive for West Nile virus. This was the first evidence of the virus in the province in 2018, however no human cases had been reported, no positive mosquito pools identified, and no positives identified by Canadian Blood Services through their screening program.

The BC Court of Appeal gave Crown a chance to try James Oler again in his child bride case, while denying Emily Blackmore’s appeal of her guilty verdict.

With wildfires burning across the province for the majority of August, East Kootenay received an air quality monitor, ranking the quality of air from a low health risk to very high.

Wildfires:

Heat and extreme fire conditions began to peak in early August, prompting Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok to call on the province for a backcountry closure.

Two wildfires broke out and converged in Kootenay National Park, creating a 1,000 hectare fire known as the Wardle fire. It didn’t take long for the fire to grow to 1,500 hectares, causing a closure of Highway 93 S. The cause of the fire was lightning.

Mid-way through August, the fire situation in the Southeast Fire Centre intensified, with the Meachen Creek and Lost Dog Complex fires resulting in two different evacuation alerts. The St. Mary Lake area and TaTa Creek area were both put on evacuation alert.

With evacuation alerts so close to home for Kimberley, the Fire Department and City urged residents to remain prepared and tuned in, by following the local media outlets and gathering an emergency preparedness kit.

Since August 11, 85 new fires started in the SE Fire Centre, 16 of which were in the Invermere and Cranbrook zones. Between July 19 and August 19, there were 342 fire starts, 90 per cent of which were blamed by lightning, according to the RDEK.

On August 16, the RDEK issued an evacuation order for residents of the St. Mary Valley, from the west boundary of the City of Kimberley to the Redding Creek/St. Mary River convergence including St. Mary Lake Road. An emergency reception centre was set up at Centennial Hall.

The wildfire activity prompted a fire information meeting in Kimberley, hosted by the RDEK. Members of the wildfire service, local government, and RDEK spoke about the fires burning near Kimberley and Cranbrook, in the East Kootenay and across the province.

Just two days later, the entire city of Kimberley was put on evacuation alert. Over 4,000 written notices were hand delivered door to door, and a planned ignition took place on the Meachen Creek fire, while the BC Wildfire Service reported the Lost Dog complex of fires as 90 per cent contained.

Crews continued to battle the blazes and as of August 24, protection and heavy equipment had been ordered to the area for the Meachen Creek fire.

Five days later, the fire was holding at most containment lines and was estimated at 9,234 hectares. A 22-person Incident Command Team from Ontario also assumed command of the Meachen Creek fire.

The evacuation alert for the Lost Dog Complex fire was lifted shortly thereafter, while cooler weather aided with the fire line of the Meachen Creek fire.

The evacuation order for some properties at St. Mary Lake was downgraded to an alert on August 29, while 25 properties remained on evacuation order.

Sports:

The Kimberley Golf Club’s ladies’ league raised nearly $800 through their annual fundraiser. The funds went towards the purchase of kids’ golf equipment to help the SNAG program continue at a larger capacity.

Kimberley swimmers brought home 12 medals from the Colville Washington swim meet, where Kimberley placed second overall.

Local climber TJ Foley spent several weeks in Russia in August, competing in the IFSC Climbing Youth World Championships. Foley placed 47 out of 70 in the semi-finals, and said he was “so grateful for the wonderful experience”.

Despite some seriously smoky conditions in August, the Black Spur Ultra Race went ahead. 53 computers completed the full 108 K course and 87 finished the 54 K.

The Dynamiters held they main camp, with many quality players showing up. They also signed three players ahead of exhibition games: Neil Kingston, Brandon Pelletier and Keegan McDowell.

Community:

Cars lined Howard Street and Deer Park Avenue the first weekend of August with the Motor Mountain Nationals car show.

The 5th annual Kaleidoscope Festival was another success, with outdoor concerts, dancing, painting and writing workshops taking place all week long.

SEPTEMBER:

News:

A 29-year-old Cranbrook Man died from a stabbing at the beginning of September. 26-year-old Brandi May Morrison was arrested on scene and charged with second degree murder.

Council members and members of the community announced in September that they would be running for Council and Mayor. Councillor Albert Hoglund announced he would run for Mayor, while those running for Council included Darryl Oakley, Kyle Dalum, Steven Royer, Sandra Roberts, Kevin Dunnebacke, Mac Campbell, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, Craig Janzen, Dave Corbould, Jason-Simon Cumming and Wendy Qureshi.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visited Kimberley alongside Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok and East Kootenay MLA Tom Shypitka.

The provincial government announced they would be appealing the BC Supreme Court decision relating to Jumbo Glacier Resort, which granted a petition to the developer after the court argued the project had, in fact, been substantially started.

Wildfires:

At the beginning of September, crews continued to make progress on the Meachen Creek Fire and the evacuation alert for the City of Kimberley was lifted. At the same time, the evacuation order for 25 properties in the St. Mary Valley was downgraded to an alert.

The Kimberley Fire Department and City Staff reviewed the evacuation alert as the Meachen Creek Fire was classed as 70 per cent contained in the first week of September. Tourism took a big hit as visitors left town during August.

With a little bit of cooler weather and some humidity mid-way through the month, the evacuation alert was lifted for 64 properties in the St. Mary Valley. The Meachen Creek Fire was classified at this time as being held.

Sports:

The Kimberley Dynamiters played their second exhibition game at the beginning of September, losing 7-5 against the Columbia Valley Rockies.

The Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo went full steam ahead after being cancelled in 2017 due to smoke from wildfires.

The 55+ B.C. Games took place in Kimberley and Cranbrook, with hundreds of athletes competing in sports varying from soccer and tennis to darts and lawn bowling. The opening ceremonies were held at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook, while closing ceremonies took place at Kimberley Alpine Resort.

The Dynamiters opened their regular season in style with two wins: 3-2 against the Creston Valley Thundercats and 6-2 against the Rockets.

The Kimberley Seahorse Swim Club celebrated the end of their summer season with a splash, with many members beating their own personal bests, along with the club celebrating many victories.

The Nitro Xpress had a successful start to the season, sweeping their competition on Great Falls Montana.

Community:

Cindy Postnikoff of Military Ames was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers along with forty other British Columbians.

The Kimberley Fire Department held their annual Fire Prevention Open House, where the theme was ‘Look, Listen, Be Aware, Fire can Happen Anywhere’.

The East Kootenay celebrated the giving, dedicated members of their communities at the third annual Game Changer Awards on Sept. 22.

Kimberley schools held their annual Terry Fox Run at the end of September, raising funds through their annual Pie In The Face event in the Platzl.

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Local rock climber TJ Foley (middle) and some of his new friends from around the world. Foley was in Moscow, Russia in August competing in the IFSC Climbing Youth World Championships. (Tia Yakimovitch file).

Some of the many hardworking fire fighters that were assigned to the Lost Dog Complex fire. (Andrea Wallace file).

Canada Day 2018. (Corey Bullock file).

The first annual Spartan Race took place this year at Kimberley Alpine Resort. (Corey Bullock file).

The first annual Spartan Race took place this year at Kimberley Alpine Resort. (Corey Bullock file).

The last Medieval Festival for the Kimberley City Bakery, with owners announcing they would be passing on the reigns. (Corey Bullock file).

The annual Fire Prevention Open House at the Kimberley Fire Department (Corey Bullock file).

The annual Fire Prevention Open House at the Kimberley Fire Department (Corey Bullock file).

Raising the banners at the Dynamiter’s Home Opener game (Corey Bullock file).

The Dynamiter’s Home Opener game (Corey Bullock file).

The Kimberley Transfer Station was significantly damaged in a fire in July, causing a complete closure of the site and sparking an investigation. (RDEK file).

JulyFest 2018 (Corey Bullock file).

JulyFest 2018 (Corey Bullock file).

Vahana Goats in Lois Creek Trails. (Corey Bullock file).

Motor Mountain Nationals 2018. (Corey Bullock file).

Terry Fox Run with Kimberley’s Schools (Corey Bullock file).

Terry Fox Run and the pie in the face fundraiser with Kimberley’s Schools (Corey Bullock file).

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