|  Your source for news and events in the Columbia Valley

Steve Hubrecht
Email: steve@cv-pioneer.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.

Public hearing date set for Jumbo ski area bylaw

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
During its most recent council meeting, Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality council gave first and second readings to a zoning bylaw allowing for the construction of ski lifts and lodges.
The bylaw received the initial readings at the Tuesday, July 15th council meeting and applies to the controlled recreation area in the higher alpine areas of the municipality, with the exception of the Farnham Glacier. It allows for the land to be developed as a ski area, including the construction of ski lifts and other typical ski …

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SURGERY SUPPORT - A fundraiser to help with Zoey Shagar-Massie's medical bills is taking place at the Whitehouse Pub on Saturday, July 19th. Photo submitted

Pub holds fundraiser for local girl

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Whitehouse Pub in Windermere is holding a fundraiser this weekend to help a former Canal Flats girl who suffers from a rare genetic, bone-growth disorder.
Zoey Shagar-Massie was diagnosed with Jeune Syndrome, or Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy, not long after being born in November 2010 to parents Shaylene Sagar and Glen Massie.
The couple, who have since had a second daughter, used to live in Canal Flats, but now live in Cranbrook to be closer to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital, and say Zoey always wakes up with …

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Local RCMP officer heads to Nunavut

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The longest-serving constable in the local Columbia Valley RCMP detachment is heading north next week for a three-year posting to Nunavut.
Constable Tim Harper is heading to the Nunavut community of Kugluktuk today (Friday, July18th) — just nine days after Canada marks Nunavut Day — along with his wife Ali and their black lab Lucy and yellow lab Oakley, after six and half years here in the valley, trading cranking the pedals on the valley’s mountain bike trails and ripping down Taynton Bowl for the chance to live …

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Co-operative community effort helps fix up Swansea Road

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The drive up to the top of Mt. Swansea will be a little smoother this summer, thanks to a co-operative effort to repair the gravel road up there.
Several user groups, organized by local paraglider Max Fanderl, banded together to raise the $5,500 and considerable donations of time and money needed to retrench and touch up the road. Mr. Fanderl has been going up the Swansea road for 20 years and said that in the past five years he’s noticed that the road tends to deteriorate much more …

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ONE GEAR — Invermere riders Steve O’Shaughnessy and Jordie Kirk will head to Alaska next week for the Single Speed World Championship. Photo by Steve Hubrecht

Local riders get set for wild ride in Alaska

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Two local mountain bikers are heading to Alaska next week to take part in the Single Speed World Championship, with the hopes of not just winning the race, but also earning the right for Invermere to host the event next year.
Steve O’Shaughnessy and Jordie Kirk fly up to Anchorage on Thursday, July 17th for the three-day championship running from Friday, July 18th through Sunday, July 20th. The multi-day event includes the championship race, a separate as-yet-to-be determined competition to decide who will play host to next year’s …

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MINISTERIAL MATTERS — Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone (left), Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes and Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Benett pose for a quick photo during their visit to the valley on Thursday, June 26th. Photo by Steve Hubrecht

Provincial ministers visit Invermere, tour Jumbo

Posted on July 4th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Three provincial ministers visited the Upper Columbia Valley last week, attending a BC Liberal party event followed by a helicopter tour to the Jumbo area.
The three ministers — Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes and Minister of Energy and Mines (and Kootenay-East MLA) Bill Bennett — took part in a private BC Liberal breakfast fundraiser at Copper Point Resort on Thursday, June 26th after Ms. Oakes met with Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality council. Bighorn helicopters …

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New liquor laws pave the way for local happy hour

Posted on July 4th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Happy hour is back in B.C. to the delight of most restaurant and pub owners.
A raft of changes to provincial regulations, released on Friday, June 20th, allow pubs and restaurants to discount the price of alcoholic beverages early in the day, reintroducing ‘happy hour’, which had previously existed in B.C. and which most other provinces still have.
“I think it’s great to have a little bit of flexibility,” said Safta’s co-owner Kd Golan, speaking on the new rules.
“Woo-hoo, it’s about time. They had to make some changes because …

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Library, VFC will be in second phase of new multi-use centre

Posted on June 27th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The new multi-use centre’s steering committee voted unanimously to recommend keeping the main hall and multipurpose rooms as the key items in the centre’s first phase at the committee’s most recent meeting.
The June 24th meeting drew a packed audience of 21 people, but the tone this week was calmer than during the previous meeting two weeks prior, with no interjected questions and comments.
The committee discussed space allocation for the new centre, a topic spurred by the most recent concept design plans from the consulting architect company on …

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Real estate market in valley may not be stable, warns expert

Posted on June 27th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The real estate market in the valley may not be as stable as some think, according to a prominent Canadian financial expert.
Last week, The Pioneer reported the median price of a single family home in the Upper Columbia Valley is so far $359,000 for 2014, was $394,000 for 2013 and was $400,000 for 2012, figures touted by BC Assessment and local realtors as a sign of stabilizing real estate prices, if not a harbinger of a coming rising trend in the market. But former Canadian Minster of …

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New fair revives agri-tradition

Posted on June 27th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Windermere District Farmers’ Institute will mark its 100th anniversary this year with a summer fair at the location of the new agri-park, near the Crossroads, as the organization draws closer to raising enough funds to start building its micro-abattoir project.
In the latest funding announcement, the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT) approved a $50,000 grant to help build the abattoir.
“We are grateful to the SIDIT for its support of this important project that we have been working on for years. The abattoir will benefit the Columbia …

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Valley real estate showing signs of stability

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The real estate market in the Upper Columbia Valley is holding steady, according to first quarter sales volume figures and single family home prices, even as some major financial institutions warn that Canadian real estate is overvalued.
“Generally speaking, the sales volume and prices of single family homes in the (East Kootenay) region and in the Upper Columbia Valley have been really stable during the last few years and our trend year-to-date for 2014 has been consistent with that,” said BC Assessment East Kootenay deputy assessor Rodney Ravenstein.
So …

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Schools shut in valley as teachers’ job action escalates

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Valley teachers are out on picket lines and local schools are now shut five days a week, as the provincial teachers’ union (the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, or BCTF) began its full-scale strike this week.
The strike officially began on June 17th, after 86 per cent of B.C.’s 33,387 teachers voted in favour of escalating their job action in a province-wide ballot last week.
“We really would like to wrap this up as soon as possible, but at the same time we really need to get this thing done …

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Valley Fitness Centre not seeking to anger library loyalists

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Emotions and debate continue to run high around the new multi-use centre, particularly on whether or not the Valley Fitness Centre should be included in the new centre’s first phase, and whether or not the Invermere Public Library should be included in the new centre’s first phase, if either is indeed possible. The Valley Fitness Centre’s inclusion in the first phase of the new multi-use centre is anything but a given, and possibly could soon be off the table.
“We had been hopeful we could make a fit, …

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Columbia Valley joins Invest Kootenay

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce has, on behalf of the valley, recently joined a new program that aims to promote investment in the Kootenay region. The valley is the ninth area to sign on with Invest Kootenay, which uses its online presence to help those looking to set up, buy or sell businesses in the Kootenay region get a more in-depth look at the communities here.
“Not only does Invest Kootenay promote the Columbia Valley region for new investment, but it also supports succession of existing …

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Multi-centre user groups go head to head

Posted on June 13th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The questions of exactly what Invermere’s new multi-use community centre should look like and which community groups should be included in it continues to be a hot-button issue, with emotions fraying and debate flying during this week’s fractious meeting of the new centre’s steering committee.
During the June 10th meeting, the steering committee, consisting of seven voting members (the five Invermere councillors plus Radium mayor Dee Conklin and Regional District of East Kootenay Area F director Wendy Booth) and four non-voting representatives from three community groups (Helen Breau …

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Valley schools likely to shut next Tuesday

Posted on June 13th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
School in the Upper Columbia Valley will be shut five days a week, possibly for the rest of the school year, now that the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (the provincial teachers’ union) has voted to escalate their job action to a full-scale strike.
In the province-wide vote conducted on Monday, June 9th and Tuesday, June 10th, 86 per cent of B.C.’s 33,387 teachers were in favour of moving to a full-blown strike.
Windermere Teachers Association (the local teachers’ union) president Doug Murray said from what he understands the earliest …

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Whiteway donations pour in

Posted on June 13th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Whiteway’s recently garnered Guinness World Record title for longest ice skating trail appears to be pulling in some financial aid for the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club as two funding announcements were confirmed last week.
The Nordic Club, which creates and operates the Whiteway, is getting a $15,000 donation from the Panorama Foundation and along with $21,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust’s (CBT) community initiatives program. Both donations are to help the club’s fundraising drive to buy a new plow and sweeper for the Whiteway.
The Kubota L3560 …

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BEFORE AND AFTER — The owners of a cabin at Lang Lake that was destroyed by fire are offering a $22,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.	   Photos submitted

Arson suspected in Lang Lake cabin fire

Posted on June 13th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A log cabin that has stood in Upper Columbia Valley backcountry for decades recently burned to the ground to the utter dismay of its owners, who are offering a substantial reward if the people responsible are caught. The incident happened at Lang Lake (known to locals as Lang’s Lake), west of Brisco, a popular spot for fishing, hunting and recreating that has played host to two prime ministers.
“It kind of feels numb, because you’re not sure if it’s real. It’s shocking. How could it be and …

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Toby Creek Nordic Club members and representatives from the District of Invermere cheer for the Lake Windermere Whiteway’s newly conferred Guinness World Record title of “Longest Ice Skating Trail” at Kinsmen Beach on Tuesday, June 3rd to. See page 3 for the full story. Photo by Steve Hubrecht

Whiteway takes home Guinness title

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The valley is officially home to the longest ice skating trail in the world as the Whiteway successfully laid claim to the Guinness World Record title last week.
Invermere councillor Justin Atterbury, who was the person to actually submit the bid, received confirmation of the title on May 28th, capping four winters of efforts by the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club (the creator and operator of the Whiteway), the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce and a host of other locals.
“I’m ecstatic that we’re getting the title; this will …

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Flooding preparations underway

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Although the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory warning for several areas in the East Kootenay, the Upper Columbia Valley is not one of them.
The advisory means that river levels are rising rapidly, but no major flooding is expected and this particular advisory applies to the Elk River, Bull River, Kootenay River and other small-to-medium sized tributary rivers in Nelson, Cranbrook, the Elk Valley and Golden. It comes after a low pressure system moved …

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