|  Your source for news and events in the Columbia Valley

Dan Walton
Email: dan@columbiavalleypioneer.com
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Before joining The Pioneer early in 2013, Dan was employed at a Saskatchewan newspaper. While the views of the sky are an appealing feature of the Prairies, the scenery can't compare to the mountains found only in British Columbia, where Dan looks forward to hiking, biking, rock climbing and downhill skiing, and writing the occasional opinionated column, while keeping his mind open to opposing viewpoints. Any and all feedback is welcome!

Co-ordinator hired to foster frozen feat

Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Earlier this year, the Lake Windermere Whiteway was named the longest ice skating trail by Guinness World Records – and the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce will be spreading the word with their new Whiteway co-ordinator.
While the record was officially smashed in the spring, residents of the valley knew well before that the valley’s Whiteway is the world’s longest. But what was locally known has been internationally proven by Guinness, which is why Ali Carver has been brought on board to tell the rest of the world.
The …

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Backpackers find refuge in the valley

Posted on August 22nd, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Every year, a determined few make the trip through the valley without a motorized vehicle, and two international organizations have grown roots in the valley to show travellers where they’re welcome.
For the many touring cyclists and wandering backpackers that are lured here by the stunning landscapes of the Columbia Valley, they can enjoy homestyle hospitality through two local hosts.
Through www.warmshowers.org and www.couchsurfing.org, travellers and hosts can hook up for hospitality, and both networks extend around the world. David Pacey, who used to run a bed and breakfast …

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Permanent foreign worker mess for MP

Posted on August 15th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Reports of severe abuses within the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program have resulted in thick new layers of red tape enacted by the Conservatives. The reception has been cold in the Kootenay-Columbia riding where Tory MP David Wilks carries the unenviable task of toeing the party line. Defending the recent changes to the program is a tough sell in many parts of the country, but the Conservative Party knows how to pick its battles.
Since the changes were announced in July, the costs of hiring a TFW, …

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Strands makes home for No Island

Posted on August 15th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer staff
No Island has spent five years defining its modern vintage rock sound, and while their first full-length album awaits the final stage of production, the Vancouver based band will be stopping into Strands Old House Restaurant to show it off on Sunday, August 17th.
“We’ve figured out how to make that big studio sound come alive on stage,” said keyboarder and vocalist Andy Rice. “We don’t have any prerecorded tracks or fancy pedals, we’re just five guys playing raw instruments.”
The band recorded their album Better Days late in …

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Accusations of Singletrack 6 sabotage misdirected

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
An honest mistake was falsely reported as sabotage in last week’s Pioneer, says the woman accused.
Refuting claims made in last week’s article “Sabotage strikes Singletrack 6,” Doloris, the person at the centre of the sabotage accusation, said she had not interfered with any signage or markers, and denies intentionally misguiding cyclists. “I saw a whole slew of bikes going past and I thought nothing of it,” she said. “Why would I?”
She said that another group of cyclists then approached, and one asked for directions, to which Doloris …

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Lid closed on fundraising barbecues

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Threats of repercussions from the Interior Health Authority have prevented non-profits in the valley from fundraising with barbecues.
“Unfortunately, regulations are at the point where you pretty much need a commercial kitchen to follow the rules,” said Home Hardware owner Al Miller.
For the past 12 years, Mr. Miller has assisted many non-profits by hosting fundraiser barbecues out front of his store, but the May-long weekend was the last barbecue held at his store.
Norm Macdonald, MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, said that his office has received complaints about …

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INSPIRED POTTERY — Alice Hale demonstrates her technique in front of her Invermere studio.   Photo by Dan Walton

Caraway Pottery opens doors

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Those taking part in the Columbia Basin Culture Tour won’t want to miss the stop at Caraway Pottery in Invermere.
In 1985, Potter Alice Hale had her studio built right beside her home on Westside Road, and this weekend, her workshop will be open to anyone on the tour.
Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 9th and Sunday, August 10th, Caraway Pottery’s doors will be open to allow an intimate look inside.
“I’ll have it arranged as nicely as I can,” said Alice. “I’ll be spending two …

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Committee dishes out multi-use centre dimensions

Posted on August 6th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The Community Hall Advisory Committee was back in action on Tuesday, July 22nd, when the layout and building approach of the new multi-use facility were further planned out.
Floor plans were amended for the multi-purpose building to measure 7,000 square feet (in addition to a 1,500 square foot stage) rather than 6,000, reducing the size of the two multipurpose rooms from 1,000 square feet to 750 each. The entire building will span 16,500 to 17,000 square feet — an increase over the original plan of 15,000.
Invermere mayor Gerry Taft, …

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Stage 3 of the Singletrack 6 mountain bike event took place on the Toby Benches along the Johnson Trail, where riders were misdirected off course by a local unhappy about the event taking place. Photo by Gibson Pictures

Sabotage strikes Singletrack 6

Posted on August 1st, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Professional cyclists from around the world had their race at the Toby Benches sabotaged last weekend, when a local resident misdirected competitors along the Johnson Trail during Stage 3 of the Singletrack 6 mountain bike event.
“Everything was going along great until this idiot plugged in her own agenda,” said Lyle Wilson, race director of the event. “Either she thinks it’s a joke, or she’s vindictive that there’s so much mountain biking going on up at the benches that she tried to screw up the whole event.”
Stage 3 …

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Tour of the Arts concentrating talent at CPR Lodge

Posted on August 1st, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The Columbia Valley Arts Council has arranged a beautiful cultural tapestry at the CPR Lodge in Invermere this Sunday, August 3rd.
Each year, the Tour of the Arts invites local and second home-owning artists to celebrate the creativity of the Columbia Valley. The tour had previously consisted of a driving exhibit throughout the valley, and last year evolved into a walking tour around the heart of Invermere. A new approach has been taken this year, as organizers will be concentrating all of this year’s creativity within a stone’s …

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Devon Coyote hit the street on Thursday, July 17th for a free outdoor performance during the District of Invermere's new initiative, the Downtown Get Down and Evening Market.

Downtown Invermere takes dynamic new approach

Posted on July 25th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The District of Invermere’s downtown is evolving to stay relevant as the Invermere Crossroads undergo significant development.
“When Home Hardware originally moved out of downtown, people said that would be the end,” said Justin Atterbury, District of Invermere councillor and owner of Rocky River Grill (located at the crossroads). “But downtown is still doing well — that space was almost completely filled by other businesses.”
Mr. Atterbury said the district most notably beautifies the downtown through its many flowerbeds, but the bulk of responsibility lies upon the store owners …

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CRAFTY TAFT — Invermere mayor Gerry Taft collaborated with Jessie Blakley and Kyle Burley of The Cross Roads Collective to create a mule deer out of wood for the CV Arts’ Celebrity Artist Challenge. Photo by Beverly Aitchison

Celebrity Artist Challenge: competitor no. 3

Posted on July 25th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The Celebrity Artist Challenge is in full swing and contender Gerry Taft, mayor of Invermere, teamed up with The Cross Roads Collective for a woodcrafting project in his bid against his political counterparts.
Showing him the woodworking ropes were Jessie Blakley and Kyle Burley from the Invermere wood artisan collective. With direction from the pros, Gerry applied his artistic abilities to create a deer figure out of wood.
Asked about his choice of specimen, Gerry said it was a little tongue-in-cheek, offering a refreshing attitude upon ever-lasting controversy.
“If …

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HOSPICE HELP — Pictured during the declaration at the Hospice office on Friday, July 18th (clockwise from top left) were Brad Bromley of Sobeys, board member Catrien Dainard, executive director Maria Kliavkoff and Andrew Rutledge of Pharmasave Cranbrook. Absent are Keith Irwin from Pharmasave Invermere and Adrienne Turner of the Ivy House and Columbia Garden Village. Photo by Dan Walton

Hospice status heightened

Posted on July 25th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
The Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley hasn’t lost any steam since its strong start last September.
There were two major announcements on Friday, July 18th at their Frater Landing headquarters — the Hospice Society has been granted Charitable Status by the Canada Revenue Agency, and they’ve teamed with two new corporate partners.
The new status shows that Canada Revenue Agency recognizes the Hospice dedicates its resources to charitable purposes, which will make the society’s donors eligible for tax receipts. Before it was recognized as a charity, the Hospice …

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LIBERAL LEADER — Accompanied by East Kootenay MLA and Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett, Premier Christy Clark met with members of the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce at Chateau Kimberley on July 11th. Photo by Dan Walton

Premier Clark drops in on East Kootenay riding

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Premier Christy Clark dipped into the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding last week, meeting with local business owners and party supporters in Kimberley on Friday, July 11th. After joining Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett for a funding announcement in Cranbrook the day before, Premier Clark was invited to a round table discussion with the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce, and made time to attend a BC Liberal party barbecue before returning to the coast.
Her trip was initially planned for the announcement of two incentive programs at the Cranbrook …

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Pickups collide head-on on Highway 93/95

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
A head-on collision between two pickup trucks in Invermere required an airlift to Calgary for one man.
The accident was reported to East Kootenay Traffic Services at 1:22 p.m. on Monday, July 14th. The crash was caused by a pickup truck travelling northbound on Highway 93/93 near Juniper Heights Road, when it crossed the centre lane of traffic and collided into a larger pickup truck travelling southbound.
“From the witness accounts, people couldn’t understand why the vehicle entered the oncoming lane,” said Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac of the …

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Valley Appreciation Day ready for 27th bash

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Invermere will be showcasing Valley Appreciation Day this weekend — one of the most exciting days of the year in the Columbia Valley.
Between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. tomorrow (on Saturday, July 19th), the streets of downtown Invermere will be closed to vehicles to accommodate the 27th annual celebration of the Columbia Valley lifestyle.
Between Lordco and CIBC, and from CIBC to the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena, roads will block traffic, giving pedestrians free reign through the heart of Invermere.
Four local service clubs — the Fairmont …

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Valley hosting two stages of six-tier race

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
A six-legged series of cycling races has been co-ordinated to test bikers in the most extreme terrain across Western Canada, and two stages will occur in the Columbia Valley.
The Singletrack Six will be making its inaugural rounds through Alberta and British Columbia later this month, arriving at the Nipika Mountain Resort for stage two on Sunday, July 27th, before taking their bikes to the Johnson Trail for stage three on Monday, July 28th. Competitors will be recharging in Radium Hot Springs before heading to Golden for stage …

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Tame temperatures result in reasonable runoff

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
An intense spring runoff was expected after the winter season accumulated a heavy snowpack, but favourable conditions have brought about a gradual drain of the seasonal currents.
“The snow pack is currently sitting at about 135 per cent of normal, and we haven’t yet hit our spring freshet,” read a May 15th press release from the Regional District of East Kootenay. “But it’s important to understand that the level of the snow pack is less significant than the way the melting occurs.”
And the melt occurred at a favourable …

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Geoffrey Melvill-Jones worked on the development of aircrafts for the British Army during the Second World War, measured the effects of gravitational force during the advent of the jet engine, and assisted with NASA in its infancy; and the 91-year-old pilot recently completed a week of training at the Invermere Soaring Centre. Photo submitted.

Pioneering pilot visits valley

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
Few pilots can claim a bigger stake in the marvel of human flight than Geoffrey Melvill-Jones, but, even at 91 years old, he is still learning about it — which is why he was training at the Invermere Soaring Centre last week.
Born during the infancy of airplanes, Geoffrey’s been involved in aviation since he was a twinkle in his father’s eye.
In the early 1910s, Geoffrey’s dad, Sir Bennett Melvill-Jones, left the steady field of mechanical engineering to take a leap into what then seemed like science-fiction — …

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CHALLENGE HEATS UP — Radium mayor Dee Conklin (centre) works with Ryan Bavin (left), Leah Duperrault (right) and Pat Bavin (missing) on May 27th to design a vibrant vase, which will serve both as Dee’s entry into the CV Arts Celebrity Artist Challenge, as well as a heartfelt gift for an ill friend. Photo by Dan Walton

Celebrity Artist Challenge: competitor no. 2

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by


By Dan Walton
Pioneer Staff
For the next round in the Celebrity Artist Challenge, Radium Hot Springs mayor Dee Conklin has teamed up with the glass blowers at Bavin Glassworks in Invermere.
“There’s such a strong element of artism,” Dee said. “You can express so much through glass blowing.”
In collaboration with glassblowers Ryan Bavin, Pat Bavin and Leah Duperrault, Dee created a handblown glass vase. It’s a combination of magenta and cyan, and was named “The Delphine” after a close friend of hers.
Through a consultation at the glass studio, the team at Bavin …

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