|  Your source for news and events in the Columbia Valley

Steve Hubrecht
Email: steve@columbiavalleypioneer.com
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Reporter Steve Hubrecht arrived in the Columbia Valley after working for newspapers in Fernie, B.C., and Beijing, China. He spends as much time outside as possible – if he's not at the Pioneer and Echo office, he's probably out telemarking or hiking. He grew up in southern Ontario and graduated with an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario in 2006.

Federal and provincial governments promise Trans Canada twinning

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by


The federal and provincial governments recently jointly announced a project that will see twinning of sections of the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden.
On Friday, February 17th, Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi and B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone said together that $469 million will be spent upgrading two parts of the Trans Canada — $450 million to improve the notorious Kicking Horse Canyon section of the road, which runs from the Alberta border to Golden, and more than $19 million for the Donald to Forde Station section …

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Conservation officers bring starving bobcat to vet

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by


A bobcat struggling to deal with tough winter conditions was captured by Invermere conservation officers near Windermere last week, but later passed away at the Invermere veterinarian clinic.
Prior to being caught, the bobcat had been the subject of a couple calls to the conservations officers from the Windermere area.
On Monday, February 13th, a report came in from a homeowner on Dell Road in Windermere that “a bobcat had been on their property and killed their domestic cat over the previous night, and had then come back into their dog run …

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Independent candidate enters Columbia River-Revelstoke race

Posted on February 17th, 2017 by


The upcoming provincial election taking place this spring just got a little more interesting on a local level, with the entry of a new independent candidate into the race here in Columbia River-Revelstoke.
Longtime Kimberley resident Justin Hooles had been eyeing up the possibility of running as an independent since the start of the new year, and formally announced his candidacy last week, citing his distaste for party politics as the reason he’s choosing to run on his own.
“I’d thought about politics as a long-term future plan for a while, but …

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Wildly successful Invermere Coffee Fest grows even bigger

Posted on February 17th, 2017 by


The Invermere Coffee Fest is just around the corner, having burgeoned into an even-larger event this year.
The fourth annual edition of the festival will be held over the first weekend of March, from Friday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 5th, and this year comprises 16 workshops — explosive growth when compared with the three workshops held during the first-ever Coffee Fest in 2013.
“It has really grown since we started, especially for visitors. So far only one-third of the registrations are local. So second homeowners or people who are otherwise from …

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Puppy Love returns for sixth year

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by


Lovers of puppies, tattoos or — better yet — both, should make their way to Puppy Love this weekend as Fire Vixen Tattoos gears up for another edition of its ever-popular fundraiser.
This year marks the sixth edition of the annual event, which raises money for the Invermere-based animal rescue group Global Animals Lovers Society (GALS), and according to organizer and Fire Vixen owner Sarah Eastick, it promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Fire Vixen tattoo artists as well as several guest tattoo artists — seven tattoo artists in total …

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Nelson country-folk musician prepares for Pynelogs show with son

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by


Kootenay folk music lovers will be pleased to learn Nelson-based singer-songwriter Johnny P. Johnson will be playing at Pynelogs later this month as part of the ongoing Love It Live concert series.
Although Johnny P. has played in Invermere before, this will be his first show at Pynelogs and he’s looking forward to playing in the intimate, historical venue — a location ideally suited to his unique and ever-evolving sound.
“We play what I call ranch rock. There’s no drummer or electric guitar, but it’s still got a rock sound, with heavy …

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Windermere Valley Child Care kicks up fundraising for new playground

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by


The Windermere Valley Child Care Society has been hard at work fundraising for a new playground for its daycare, and over the next few weeks will be gearing up those efforts with the aim of starting construction this spring.
To that end, the society has once again started selling the popular Little Ceasar’s pizza kits, and is planning on hosting a family fun dance at the Invermere Community Hall in early March.
“We’ve been fundraising for a few years (for the new playground),” society member Brigitte Perrault told The Pioneer. “We’d really …

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Water main break temporarily closes Radium hot pools

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by


A burst water main on Highway 93 slightly to the north of the Radium Hot Springs pools temporarily closed the pools last weekend.
The break in the water main was detected early on Saturday, February 4th and the pools were open to the public again by Monday, February 6th.
Parks Canada public relations and communications officer Lindsay McPherson told The Pioneer that the water main break had affected the domestic water supply — essentially, the tap water at the pools — but that it had been repaired on the night of Sunday, …

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Radium elects new councillor, votes in favour of new community centre

Posted on January 16th, 2017 by


Voters in the village of Radium Hot Spring elected a new councillor and gave the go-ahead to borrow money to build a new community centre last weekend.
On Saturday, January 14th Radium residents went to polls for a by-election to replace councillor Karen Larsen, who has left the Upper Columbia Valley for Vancouver Island along with her family, and elected Mike Gray by a narrow margin.
Mr. Gray garnered 115 votes, compared with Dale Shudra’s 109 and Tamara Olson’s 14. All three were well-known in the community, Mr. Gray as the owner …

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New Columbia Valley website launched

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A new website promoting the Columbia Valley has been recently launched by the Columbia Valley Co-op Marketing Project, which is gearing up for an important stakeholder meeting later this month.
The website — www.travelcolumbiavalley.com — went live last week on Thursday, January 5th and features the valley’s new logo and brand, including the catchphrase “Columbia Valley: Relax. It’s time to unwind.”, along with a bevy of eye-catching photos and visuals, and a wealth of information on things to do in the valley, complete with plenty of links to …

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Columbia Valley home assessment values remain consistent

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Property assessments will soon be mailed out, and although staggering rises in assessed property values may be grabbing attention in coastal and urban parts of B.C., local homeowners can expect to see things here in Upper Columbia Valley stay more or less the same as the previous year.
The increase in assessed value in urban areas of the province is reportedly as high as 50 per cent in some cases, but the deputy provincial assessor based in the Kootenay region says housing prices here are a different story.
“There’s …

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Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA candidates debate new housing measures

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The provincial government has recently come out with several measures designed to help homeowners.
In early January, the government announced the new BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program, which aims to help first-time homeowners with a mortgage down payment.
The program will see the government provide up to $37,500, or up to five per cent of the purchase price, through a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.
A week later, the government announced it is increasing the home owner grant …

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Ice dam causes Toby Creek to breach dike

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by


Speedy action by Invermere’s Public Works team in the face of an ice dam-choked and rapidly rising Toby Creek averted a potential disaster just before Christmas.
Ice jams, building up to the point of actually becoming ice dams, do occur on the lower reaches of Toby Creek some winters, and that was the case again this year in the week before Christmas, but with much more dramatic consequences than usual with water coming over portions of the dike running along the south bank of the river.
“It could have been a big …

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Mainroad CEO visits East Kootenay in wake of complaints

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by


With winter conditions at full bluster in the Columbia Valley, valley residents have once again taken up the annual tradition of complaining about the ploughing and clearing of local roads.
The latest complaints in the valley centre on the clearing — or lack of clearing — around Wilmer, and mirror similar complaints elsewhere in the East Kootenay.
Mainroad group president and chief executive officer Peter Ashcroft travelled to Cranbrook just before Christmas to meet with local provincial Ministry of Transportation staff, as well as East Kootenay residents and other stakeholders, and address …

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Valley readies for 16th annual Snow Golf tournament

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by


One of the valley’s more surreal sporting events is set to return in a few weeks time, with the local Kinsmen Club is gearing up for its annual snow golf tournament.
The sight of duffers carting their clubs and whacking away at coloured golf balls out on the frozen open space of Lake Windermere may be eye-catching to first-timers, but is nothing new to valley residents, since this year marks the 16th edition of the annual event.
The tournament will take place on Saturday, January 14th and offers — as it has …

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Whiteway could be up before Christmas

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by


Warm conditions well into early December resulted in a late freeze for Lake Windermere, but the ensuing cold snap in mid-December caused the lake to frost over quickly thereafter, leaving Whiteway maintenance manager Brad Kitching to think (as of The Pioneer’s press deadline) that maybe, just maybe, the Whiteway could be up and running a day or two before Christmas.
On Monday, December 19th when The Pioneer went to press, the lake had about eight inches of ice.
The lake needs at least 10 or 11 inches (25 to 29 centimetres) …

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Anonymous part-time Radium reside makes hefty donation for the community hall

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by


A substantial — and for now, anonymous — donation has dramatically cut down the cost of the proposed new Radium Hot Springs Community Hall.
The hall, which has already been the subject of much discussion and a stir of minor controversy over the public approval method for it, was projected to cost $3.2 million (over and above funding already in place) in a November estimate.
In its December newsletter, however, the village announced that a part-time Radium resident, who is particularly fond of the community, has donated $500,000 to the project.
“I understand …

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Canadian Supreme Court hears Ktunaxa’s Jumbo case

Posted on December 9th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A long-running legal battle is another step closer to resolution, after the Supreme Court of Canada heard the Ktunaxa First Nation’s case against Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort last week.
The hearing occurred on Thursday, December 1st in Ottawa and was attended by a delegation of about a dozen Ktunaxa people. The various parties to the case are now awaiting the ruling for the nine Canadian Supreme Court judges.
“Really, this about whether or not our beliefs do have standing and need to be considered when statutory decision-makers make …

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Club voices concern over Barbour

Posted on December 9th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club has raised several issues about the proposed Barbour Rock Trail network.
Club president Rick Hoar outlined to The Pioneer that the group is concerned about loss of hunting areas, the presence of endangered species and sensitive ecosystems in the Barbour Rock area, and invasive species; and sees the potential to turn the land around Barbour Rock into an interpretive forest instead.
“If Barbour Rock becomes a designated recreation site, then hunting is forbidden there,” said Mr. Hoar. “While the area is …

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Medical marijuana dispensary receives business licence

Posted on December 9th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Invermere council approved a temporary business licence at its most recent meeting for a medical marijuana dispensary to set up in Athalmer, likely opening early in the new year.
The business licence granted during the Tuesday, December 6th meeting will last for one year, after which time council can renew, amend or expire it; and it came with a number of conditions. The decision to approve it followed extensive discussion on the matter by council members earlier in the day at their committee of the whole meeting.
“We’re happy …

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