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Athalmer boat launch in need of upgrade

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


Invermere council will look at the possibility of improvements to the Athalmer boat launch, after receiving a report at the most recent meeting suggesting some upgrades need to be done. 
Aquaparian Environmental Consulting Ltd. completed an assessment of both of Invermere’s boat launches (Athalmer and Bayshore), which was received by council at its Tuesday, May 10th meeting. Council voted to integrate boat launch improvements details into the review process for the 2017 budget. 
The report outlines multiple problems with the Athalmer boat launch, stating that “the existing concrete boat ramp is inadequate and impacts to both the upland and the aquatic environment at the Athalmer launch are expected to increase over time if nothing is done to improve the facility. Conflicts between ramp users are also an ongoing issue at the site. The site has multiple land ownership and no existing infrastructure to control visitors or to install a user-pay system for subsidizing improvements and maintenance costs over time.” 
The site of the boat launch has been highly impacted, according to the report, resulting in a lack of upland habitat and degraded aquatic habitat in the area right in front of the launch. 
The report makes several recommendations to improve the situation, including excavating and regrading the boat ramp footprint to make it steeper and deeper; removing the north half of the existing concrete slab and replacing it with a similar sized new addition on the south side; creating a manned or patrolled parking lot with designated spaces for vehicles and trails as well as a user-pay system; and limiting use of the ramp to shallow draft boats (suitable for water 1.5 metres deep). 
“The District of Invermere has recently attempted to improve launching with the placement of cobble material, but the site continues to have significant disturbance impacts and cannot continue to be used safely without considering dredging excess material,” reads the report. 
“The boat launch needs some work,” Invermere director of development services Rory Hromadnik told council during the meeting, adding that district staff will need some direction from council on what kind of public consultation to undertake. 
“We need to get a site survey, get a river profile and find out what we’re asking to excavate,” he said, adding the project could be quite timeconsuming as it will involve permits, approval or authorization from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans; the provincial Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operation’s (FLNRO) water stewardship branch; FLRNO’s ecosystems branch; FLNRO’s Crown Lands division; and Transport Canada. He pointed out that some of these steps and approvals can take more than a month, with the lease application from Crown Lands division possibly taking up to a year. 
“The cost will be $40,000 to $50,000 per launch just for the application. The engineering and design is $15,000 to $20,000 and the consultation is at least $10,000, and with the other steps, it adds up. It’s possible (the application) could end up only being $35,000 per launch, but that’s a really conservative estimate at the low end,” said Hromadnik. “When you actually get to constructing the site, woooo, that’s a big number, probably at least $160,000 but possibly more than $200,000. But you can’t even think about that until you’ve invested in getting shovel-ready (by doing the application process).” 
Hromadnik told council that the launching situation at the Athalmer launch is bad enough that he knows three separate people who have damaged their boats there.  
“We may have to close (the launch) when the water gets too shallow,” he said. 
Invermere mayor Gerry Taft said he would see if there is any possibility of securing some funding for the project from the Regional District of East Kootenay.  
“It (the Athalmer launch) is in Invermere, but the reality is it’s not just for Invermere boats. This is the key launch for the lake and the main one in the valley,” he said. 
Taft added that the parking situation in the area is complicated, since not much land near the launch is actually municipal right of way, and a lot is private land . 

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Radium course debris trucked to Alberta

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


The demolition debris pile at the Radium Course that came to provincial attention when it caught fire earlier this year is being hauled away to Alberta, a move that one of contractors doing the work has pointed out means a substantial chunk of lost revenue for the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).
Valley resident Glenn Findlay is helping to haul the waste material. He told The Pioneer that initially it was heading to the landfill in Windermere, run by the RDEK, but that the Radium Course switched to dumping …

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Doug Clovechok

Clovechok selected as candidate for 2017 provincial election

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


After coming up short on his bid to become an MLA in the 2013 provincial election, Fairmont Hot Springs resident Doug Clovechok is taking aim once more at becoming the elected member of the legislative assembly for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding in 2017.
Mr. Clovechok previously ran for office as the riding’s Liberal candidate in 2013 but came up 1,616 votes short of usurping incumbent NDP Norm Macdonald’s seat in Victoria, earning 36.19 per cent of the vote.
He said from the moment he knew he was mathematically eliminated in 2013, he’s …

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People wanting to help ICAN's rescued animals are invited to an Open House on May 29th to learn more.

Invermere Companion Animal Network Looking for Volunteers

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


Helping Invermere’s smallest furry companions, the Invermere Companion Animal Network (ICAN) works hard to provide animals with the best care. That care is provided by ICAN president Lana Banham and her team of 25 volunteers. However, the animal rescue group is in need of more volunteers and will be holding an open house on Sunday, May 29th from 2 to 5 p.m. at the ICAN headquarters at 455 Panorama Drive to recruit them.
“It’s a volunteer fair, a recruitment open house. We’re having a barbecue with snacks and drinks to show …

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Titans Tourney-- A scene from the 2015 Clash of Titans soccer tournament in Invermere. 
File photo by Katie Watt

Third annual Clash of the Titans kicks off

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


For the third time in as many years, the Columbia Valley Football Club will be hosting the Clash of the Titans Soccer tournament from May 27th to 29th.
The tournament first started in 2014, drawing in approximately 30 teams in the U12 and U14-U18 age groups from Alberta and British Columbia to play in the tournament. The following year, the tournament swelled to include 45 teams. This year, the tournament maxxed out, said club chair Cheryl Maybuck, with 67 teams coming from places as far as Edmonton to compete in the …

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Conservation Investigating Illegal Mature Cow Moose Poaching

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


On Saturday, May 7th, conservation officers received information of a potential wildlife act violation of an animal being poached out of season. The violation took place on Bruce Creek Forestry Road west of Lake Enid.
“On May 8th, officers responded and located the remains of a moose, a moose gut pile. So we determined that it was a mature cow moose,” said Invermere conservation officer Greg Kruger.
Upon further investigation, conservation officers were able to identify three individuals involved in the Wildlife Act violation. Two of the three individuals are B.C. residents …

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The Rotary Club of Invermere has named Janet and Ray Brydon Citizens of the Year for 2015. The couple are long-term valley residents well-known throughout the valley for their extensive volunteer work.

Rotary Club of Invermere Names Citizen of the Year

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


The Citizen of the Year award is given to a person or — in this year’s case — persons dedicated to the Columbia Valley community.
“We’re looking for people who contribute to the betterment of the community here in the valley,” said Milt Deck, president of the Rotary Club of Invermere.
Each year, the club asks for nominations of people they believe fit the criteria of this award, which includes work that is not related to the person’s business, and Rotary Club members are not allowed to be nominated. This year, …

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Flush with Funding: (Left to right) RDEK Engineering Services Manager Brian Funke, Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett, RDEK Area F Director Wendy Booth, and RDEK Chair Rob Gay in Fairmont Friday, May 20th for the Fairmont flood mitigation funding announcement.

Province provides help in Fairmont Flood Mitigation Project

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


After experiencing two devastating floods back-to-back in 2012 and 2013, the Fairmont Hot Springs area will receive the funding it needs to ensure such a vital economic area is protected against future flood damage.
As part of the public safety funding announced in the 2016 provincial budget, the Province is committing $1.47 million in funding toward a flood mitigation project near Fairmont Hot Springs that will protect it from flood damage caused by debris. In both 2012 and 2013, debris flow in the area caused considerable damage with the earlier …

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