|  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.

Driver in fatal accident failed to respond to changing conditions

Posted on August 15th, 2016 by

An Ontario woman lost her life in a traffic accident near Dry Gulch last weekend.
The two-vehicle collision occurred at the turn off to Dry Gulch Provincial Park at 11:40 a.m. on Sunday, August 14th when a Toyota Rav4 heading south on Highway 93/95 was struck by a Chrysler 200 heading north.
The male driver of the Rav4 “failed to respond to changing conditions,” said RCMP East Kootenay Traffic Services Sergeant Don Erichsen in a press release.
The Rav4 was carrying six people and was travelling in a line of several …

web - 2013-02-05 01.39.24

Windermere business gets solar boost

Posted on July 29th, 2016 by

A local small business is harvesting the power of the sun, with help from a company headed up by a David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) graduate.
When Hopkins Harvest owner Fred Hopkins renovated his business several years ago, he made sure he left the potential to incorporate alternative energy sources in the future.
“I was hoping there would eventually be some kind of government grant or program to help small businesses tap into things such as solar power,” Mr. Hopkins told The Pioneer. “But then, last year, my hydro bill through …

The creek stone labyrinth made by Pat Luders in Dutch Creek

Sculptor invites people to try her stone labyrinth

Posted on July 29th, 2016 by

A creative stone maze in Dutch Creek is fast becoming a local attraction.
Sculptor Pat Luders was inspired to create a circular labyrinth out of large creek stones near her Dutch Creek home following a trip to Europe with some art school friends a decade and a half ago.
“We saw this (labyrinth) pattern on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral (in France), and I was intrigued,” said Mrs. Luders. “I knew from my nursing background that labyrinths are sometimes used in the medical field to help calm patients, especially those in …

Royal Canoe

Invermere MusicFest less than a month away

Posted on July 29th, 2016 by

With the Invermere MusicFest less than a month away, organizers have cobbled together another stellar lineup of bands.
This year’s version of the festival features 10 bands from the valley and far beyond, including the headlining Winnipeg six-piece ensemble Royal Canoe.
“The music at the festival has typically been of a really good calibre, and this year will be another great year. People can expect an extremely high quality musical experience in a beautiful location,” said festival artistic director Ben Cameron. “The Invermere Music Festival is a great deal, there is a …

Kristina Stanley

Local author publishes third novel

Posted on July 29th, 2016 by

Local author Kristina Stanley continues to churn out books at an eye-popping rate, having recently published her latest novel, another instalment in the ongoing Stone Mountain Mystery series, as well as a non-fiction book.
Avalanche, published on June 25th, is the third novel in the Stone Mountain series, and the success of the first two novels (one of which sat atop the Amazon bestseller list for Hot New Releases in the Women Sleuth Mystery category) prompted her publisher, Imajin Books, to get her to also write The Author’s Guide to Selling …

Two Golden rafting companies are using helicopters to lift customers, guides, rafts and equipment into the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River

Rafting companies take to the air to access Lower Canyon

Posted on July 22nd, 2016 by

Rafting companies running the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River have come up with a creative solution to their loss of access to the iconic stretch of whitewater and are now using helicopters to airlift clients, boats and guides up and over Canadian Pacific railway tracks paralleling the river.
The rail company had earlier this springs told the rafting companies using the river, including Radium Hot Springs-based Kootenay River Runners, that they would not longer be allowed to simply walk across the tracks, as they had done for decades, because …


Composting program on trail at Windermere landfill

Posted on July 22nd, 2016 by

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is launching a new pilot composting system.
The project, which has come with the support and encouragement of the Groundswell Network Society, will run this summer in certain parts of the RDEK— one of which is the Upper Columbia Valley — and will accommodate nearly all kitchen scraps.
“Residents are now able to drop off their household kitchen waste at the Columbia Valley landfill (in Windermere),” said RDEK environmental services manager Kevin Paterson in a press release. “The composting bins for the public are specially …


Consultants finish resident attraction plan

Posted on July 8th, 2016 by

The Upper Columbia Valley resident attraction and retention plan is now finished, with Invermere council having received a copy of the plan from the consultants hired to create it during the most recent council meeting.
The strategies recommended in the plan were adopted by council at the Tuesday, June 28th meeting. Copies of the plan have also been sent to Radium Hot Springs council, Canal Flats council and the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).
“We anticipate they (the other municipal entities in the Upper Columbia Valley) will also adopt the strategies,” …

COMPOSTING IS COOL-- Students at J.A Laird participate in Capture the Compost and a Knowledge Building Circle as part of the school's first composting fair on June 14th.

J.A Laird students lead the way in community composting

Posted on July 4th, 2016 by

J.A. Laird Elementary School has a new composting program, set up by Alyssan Gauthier’s Grade 5 students.
The composting program was set up by the students as an inquiry project for Earth Day, and is part of the Beyond Recycling program that has been running at the school with local environmental group Wildsight environmental educator Kim Urbaniak since October.
Ms. Urbaniak said the composting project has been of great educational value to the students.
“They have really learned a lot through the process,” she said, adding the project is also good because schools …


Rally for river access draws hundreds to Golden

Posted on June 17th, 2016 by

Rafting companies appear to be literally locked out of the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River this summer by Canadian Pacific Railway, and a couple hundred residents of nearby Golden voiced their disapproval at a protest rally in the town earlier this week.
A crowd of about 200 people — rafting company employees (including guides from Radium-based Kootenay River Runners), members of the Golden business community, paddlers from across the Kootenay region and concerned members of the general public — gathered in Golden’s riverside park on Monday, June 13th, waving …

Spring Hawes talks with Invermere residents at the formal launch event o her bid for the Columbia River Revelstoke NDP nomination

Former Invermere councillor views for NDP nomination

Posted on June 10th, 2016 by

Former Invermere councillor Spring Hawes has announced that she will seek the NDP nomination in the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding.
Ms. Hawes sent an email on Tuesday, June 1st outlining her intent to replace current Columbia River-Revelstoke NDP MLA Norm Macdonald (who will step down come the 2017 provincial election to return to his teaching career) and then formally launched her nomination bid with an event at the Circle Cafe on Monday, June 6th.
“Earlier this year I had a call from some people with the B.C. NDP asking me to considering putting …


Southeast Fire Centre bans large, open fires

Posted on June 10th, 2016 by

Dry conditions in at least some parts of southeastern B.C. have led the Southeast Fire Centre to ban Category 3 open fires. 
The ban was effective on noon on Friday, June 3rd and the accompanying press release from the Southeast Fire Centre said the move was an effort to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. 
“Other areas of the Southeast Fire Centre are probably drier than the Upper Columbia Valley. It always come sooner or later, but with the wet conditions we’ve had here, I was surprised to see it as soon as we have,” said Columbia Valley rural fire and rescue services fire chief Jim Miller. “We’re actually in pretty good shape here, and they (the Southeast Fire Centre) are simply taking precautions about bigger fires.” 
Category 3 fires include any fires that are larger than two metres high or three metres wides, any group of two or more fires, and grass fires larger than 2,000 square metres.  
The prohibition does not apply to campfires, burn barrels or other open fires smaller than two metres high by three metres wide, or to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. 
The Southeast Fire Centre is asking that fires not be lit or kept burning during windy conditions, that adequate tools, water and people are on hand to contain the fire, and that people ensure fires are fully extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time. 
The prohibition covers all B.C. Parks, and Crown and private lands, but does not apply within the boundaries of municipal governments that have forest fire prevention bylaws and are serviced by fire departments. 
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca.

WEB Sarah Award 1

Fuze owner wins Women In Business award

Posted on June 3rd, 2016 by

Fuze restaurant owner Sarah Adamson was recently recognized as one of the Kootenay region’s top women entrepreneurs, winning Kootenay Business magazine’s Influential Women in Business award.
Ms. Adamson was one of three women in the East Kootenay (and one of six in the entire Kootenay region) to earn the award in 2016, with winners announced at a ceremony in Cranbrook on Thursday, May 26th.
“It was really amazing. I was nervous to be in front of a huge roomful of talented, motivated women, and then to win. It was really humbling,” said …


Intensive French program will stay put for now

Posted on June 3rd, 2016 by

The Intensive French Program at Windermere Elementary School will remain there for the next school year but it could potentially move in the future.
Rocky Mountain School District No. 6 recently sent surveys to parents in the school district’s Windermere Zone asking if they are interested in enrolling their kids in the program when the kids reach Grade 6 (which is when the program begins), and, if they are interested, whether they would prefer that the junior years (Grades 6 and 7) of the program run at Windermere Elementary School or …

WEBKootenay Business Mag - Roberta and Laurie

Community foundation launches Vital Signs survey

Posted on June 3rd, 2016 by

The Columbia Valley Community Foundation has launched its Vital Signs survey and is encouraging local residents to help shape the valley’s future by filling it out.
The Vital Signs is a sort of community check, being conducted by community foundations across the country, that seeks to measure the vitality of communities, evaluating key aspects of each community that contribute to its quality of life and identifying significant trends.
The valley’s version of the survey was launched on the Columbia Valley Community Foundation’s website (www.valleyfoundation.ca) earlier this week, on Tuesday, May 31st and …

Former Invermere councillor Spring Hawes aims to replace outgoing MLA Norm Macdonald as the NDP nominee for Columbia RIver-Revelstoke.

Former councillor Spring Hawes seeks provincial NDP nomimation

Posted on June 2nd, 2016 by

Former Invermere councillor Spring Hawes has announced that she will seek the NDP nomination in the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding.
Ms. Hawes sent an email to her friends and contacts on Tuesday, June 1st outlining her intent to replace current Columbia River-Revelstoke NDP MLA Norm Macdonald, who will step down come the 2017 provincial election to return to his teaching career.
“In discussions around his (Macdonald’s) stepping back, my name came up as a potential candidate to be the next NDP nominee in our riding,” wrote Ms. Hawes. “Some months ago I was …


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 getting a report at its most recent council 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, and 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, reading that “the existing concrete boat ramp is …


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 …


Crew shooting feature film in Invermere

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by

By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff

Invermere is about to see a little bit of lights, camera and action as cast and crew for a new feature film descend on the community from Halifax and Toronto to shoot their movie starting next week.
Those behind the film, entitled Suck It Up, have been working on it for several years and are excited to be on the verge of filming, which is scheduled to happen in and around Invermere from May 25th to June 15th.
“I still don’t believe that we are finally at this point,” …


Horsepower limit proponent corrects misinformation

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by

By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Transport Canada’s public comment period on the proposed 20-horsepower limit for the main stem of the Columbia River may have closed a few weeks ago, but discussion on the matter continues to swirl in the Upper Columbia Valley, and proponents of the regulation are not only attempting to make their views known, but also frequently trying to clarify that the horsepower limit would not apply to Lake Windermere or Columbia Lake.
Several sources have conveyed, incorrectly, that the lakes would be part of the proposed regulations, including a …