|  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.

Campfire ban takes effect

Posted on July 2nd, 2015 by


Campfires of any kind will be banned across B.C.’s Southeast Fire Centre (which includes the East Kootenay region) starting today.
The ban takes effect on 1 p.m. on Friday, July 3rd and comes after several weeks of hot and dry conditions, in a effort to prevent human-caused wildfires. It applies to all kinds of campfires; waste burning; stubble or grass fires of any size over any area; the use of fireworks, sky lanterns, tiki torches, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description; the use of binary exploding …

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Wildsight offers Earl Grey Pass trip

Posted on July 2nd, 2015 by


Local East Kootenay environmental group Wildsight will be leading a trip for local students over the Earl Grey pass and through the heart of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy this summer.
The five-day trip, which tackles one of the wildest routes in the entire Kootenay region, is open to students aged 14 to 18 and is being made to help mark the conservancy’s 40th anniversary. Organizers Dave Quinn and Tamara Dykshoorn are tentatively planning to start near Toby Creek (just west of Invermere) and proceed across alpine and old-growth forest landscapes to …

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WEB 75 years 2v2

Couple celebrates seven decades of marriage

Posted on July 2nd, 2015 by


A valley couple is preparing to mark an exceptional milestone of longevity, with their 70th wedding anniversary coming up next week.
John and Laura Ronacher married on July 7th, 1945, and have been living happily in the Upper Columbia Valley ever since.
“We laugh a lot and have a good sense of humour. You can’t live without that,” Laura told the Pioneer earlier this week, speaking on the secrets of making a marriage last seven decades. “It’s about give and take. My husband, for instance, just learned to do the dishes …

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The Environment Assessment Office has delayed a decision on Jumbo Glacier Resort's substantial start due to concerns that the day lodge is located in a dangerous avalanche path. File photo

Glacier Resorts Ltd. examines options to proceed with Jumbo

Posted on July 1st, 2015 by


The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has clarified some of the conditions under which Glacier Resorts Ltd. could proceed with a scaled-back version of its Jumbo Glacier Resort project without triggering another environmental assessment review process.
Spokesperson Greig Bethel told the Pioneer that the ministry is currently investigating what options are available to the resort’s proponents to revise and resubmit a resort proposal.
“If a project of reduced scope is accepted, it would still be subject to a regulatory review and approval process undertaken by the ministry’s Mountain Resorts …

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seige smiling

Valley mourns loss of resident

Posted on June 26th, 2015 by


The valley is mourning the loss of bright young man who passed away in his sleep while working for an oil company in northern Alberta earlier this month.
Invermere born and raised Cody James Arthur Widmer’s heart failed while he was asleep on the night of Sunday, June 14th and the coroner has ruled the cause death to be Cody’s enlarged heart, a condition of which he and his family were unaware.
“He had a big heart, not just physically but also in the way he treated others,” said Cody’s mother Marj. …

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Public consultation underway on Station Pub’s new deck

Posted on June 5th, 2015 by


Those who fancy sipping a pint while enjoying a panoramic view of Kinsmen Beach may soon have a second venue to choose from, as the Station Pub will — if it gets approval to expand its liquor licence from the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch — be building a new deck facing the beach this summer.
The formal application is for a structural change to an existing patio (expanding the small deck the pub already has) and an amendment to its existing liquor licence. The branch has been carrying out …

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PAINT IT WILD — Lakeisha Akinneah helps paint a moose at J.A. Laird Elementary school on Tuesday, June 2nd as part of the Paint It Wild Animal Mosaic project. By Steve Hubrecht

Columbia Valley students get wild for art installation

Posted on June 5th, 2015 by


School kids up and down the valley got an artistic wildlife experience at school this week with the Paint It Wild Animal Mosaic project.
The project, which was cooked up by Black Star Studios and Eileen Madson Primary School teacher Rebecca Pippin, saw nearly 650 students from Eileen Madson, J. A. Laird Elementary School, Windermere Elementary School and Edgewater Elementary School collectively help paint 22 large animal cutouts of different wildlife found in the Upper Columbia Valley between Tuesday, June 2nd and today (Friday, June 5th).

“We’re always excited to get involved …

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Senseless vigilante bear shooting

Posted on May 29th, 2015 by


Dealing with wildlife is part and parcel of living in the Upper Columbia Valley. Along with the spellbinding views, glimmering lakes and glorious fresh air comes deer eating garden flowers, skunks lurking under the back porch and the occasional bear ambling down the street looking for tasty garbage bins to raid.
And as long as there’s no threat to residents, or to their pets, these wildlife encounters should be no big deal. It may be nerve-racking to have a bear on the street, but bears are rarely aggressive if unprovoked.
All of …

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Low snowpack may mean small spring runoff

Posted on May 29th, 2015 by


Spring runoff may be low here in the Columbia Valley this year, due to an abnormally low snowpack.
“It (a low runoff) can be anticipated. It’s more than likely,” said Invermere-based Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations biologist Peter Holmes. About a month and a half ago Mr. Holmes was examining the valley’s snowpack from a plane and found it to be less than might typically be expected at that time of year.
“It was definitely lower than normal, especially on south-facing aspects,” he said, but added that although snowpack …

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Cenotaph Park completion delayed

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Ongoing renovation work at Cenotaph Park has fallen behind schedule and will not be completed by the May long weekend, as it was meant to.
The issue was brought up by councillor Al Miller at the most recent Invermere council meeting on Tuesday, May 12th.
“I’ve been talking with some of the business people downtown. They’re showing some concerns (about the delay). Their bottom lines have been dropping,” said Mr. Miller, asking staff for an update.
Invermere’s chief administrative officer Chris Prosser responded that local company Max Helmer Construction Ltd. …

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Farmers’ market standoff looms over Invermere

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Invermere is bracing for a farmers’ market standoff this summer.
At its most recent meeting, on Tuesday, May 12th, Invermere council voted to approve an application from the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion to run a downtown farmers’ market on 6th Avenue starting this summer.
The district received two applications to operate a downtown farmers’ market on 6th Avenue this summer, one from the Legion and one from Julia Oaks, who has (together with her mother) run the long-standing Invermere Farmers’ Market downtown since it began about …

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Good news for a change for mill employees

Posted on May 8th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Canfor Canal Flats mill employees finally had some positive news, even as mass layoffs finally took effect earlier this week.
The layoffs, which were first announced in February, came into effect on Monday, May 4th, but the week prior, mill employee Daniel Bybee — who had expressed critical opinions of how the company was handling the situation in previous Pioneer stories — had some positive feedback on Thursday, April 30th.
“It’s a way brighter picture than it was,” said Mr. Bybee. “There’s some good things.”
Chiefly among these positive developments …

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PUBLIC PRIZE — CBEEN’s Executive Director, Duncan Whittick, accepts the BCSSA 2015 Community Award of Recognition on April 14th for its progress in enhancing public education. Photo submitted

Local eco-education network’s approach jives with new education plan

Posted on May 8th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A draft version of the new BC Education Plan (better known as the BC Ed Plan) shows a shift to encouraging more hands-on, experiential learning, a move welcomed by the local Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN) as well as by those in the education field here in the valley.
“The new BC Ed Plan highlights the value of place-based, inquiry-based education and environmental education is a perfect vehicle to be able to accomplish that,” said CBEEN executive director Duncan Whittick. “The idea is if we get kids …

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SITE SURVEILLANCE — The snow avalanche risk zoning map for the Jumbo Glacier Resort day lodge and service building, the foundations of which were poured last fall. White Zone indicates low risk, Blue Zone indicates Moderate Risk, and Red Zone indicates high risk.  Image submitted

Province finds first foundations at Jumbo Glacier Resort not compliant

Posted on May 1st, 2015 by


The provincial Environmental Assessment Office has determined the locations of day lodge and service building foundations at Jumbo Glacier Resort, laid by developers last fall, are not in compliance with Glacier Resort Ltd.’s environmental assessment certificate for the project, and ordered the developers to halt construction at those sites.
In a letter addressed to Glacier Resorts Ltd. and Pheidias Project Management Corp. president Oberto Oberti, assessment office compliance manager Autumn Cousins said the foundations do not meet condition 36 of the assessment certificate, which reads “the proponent has committed that the …

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SITE SURVEILLANCE — The snow avalanche risk zoning map for the Jumbo Glacier Resort day lodge and service building, the foundations of which were poured last fall. White Zone indicates low risk, Blue Zone indicates Moderate Risk, and Red Zone indicates high risk.  Image submitted

UPDATE: Report places Jumbo service building in high risk zone

Posted on April 24th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff

A recent avalanche risk assessment report for Jumbo Glacier Resort has garnered a fair bit of attention in recent weeks. The report was conducted by Dynamic Avalanche Consulting Ltd. and addressed the location of the foundations of a day lodge and service building (laid by developers last October) with respect to two major avalanche paths in the area, finding that the service building foundation lies partially within a high risk zone and the day lodge foundation partially within a moderate risk zone.
“In early November last year, …

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Invermere deer cull on hold, Victoria group proposes new method

Posted on April 24th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff

The Invermere deer cull is on hold until December but urban deer management continues to generate attention in municipalities across the province, with a recently formed group in suburban Victoria trying to launch a whole
new approach.
The deer cull in Invermere came to a halt in March, with a total of 26 deer culled in 2015, when the municipality’s permit for the cull — granted through the provincial Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) — expired.
“Our permit ended in March and that will be …

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Valley teen prepares for judo nationals

Posted on April 24th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff

A member of the local judo club is heading to the Canadian national championships as part of Team BC in May.
David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) student Emma Norquay, 14, will be the Invermere Judo Club’s first representative at the nationals in several years. Emma has her green belt in judo.
“It’s exciting, but I’m also a bit nervous because this is the first year I’ve been really competitive with judo,” said Emma, who has been part of the club since she was six years old.
Emma earned her …

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Invermere OCP bylaw receives second and third reading

Posted on April 17th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff

A proposed bylaw melding Invermere’s Official Community Plan (OCP) with its Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (better known as Imagine Invermere) received second and third reading at the most recent Invermere council meeting.
The bylaw has been the subject of considerable discussion in recent weeks, having drawn 38 people to a public hearing in mid March and prior to that, a delegation of 15 concerned citizens to an early March council meeting. Most of the concern centred around agriculture land preservation and boundary expansion. In response to this …

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Proposed RV resort for Canal Flats in the works

Posted on April 17th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff

A rezoning bylaw for a proposed new RV resort development in Canal Flats will see some changes before coming back before village council next month.
A proposed bylaw had appeared before Canal Flats council at its meeting earlier this week, on Monday, April 13th, for first and second reading, but got as far as first reading before council recommended staff adjust it.
“We postponed it because there are some issues in the bylaw that staff will need to do some research on and then make some changes,” said …

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Relocation reduces Invermere rail crew

Posted on April 17th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff
The Invermere-based Canadian Pacific rail crew has been reduced by one third, with a pair of Maintenance of Way employees having recently been transferred out of the Invermere area.
The two employees are now based out of Parson (south of Golden). The move comes as part of a larger shuffle by the company and drops the number of Canadian Pacific staff at the Invermere detachment from six to four.
“We have done a recent reorganization of our maintenance of way employees. No jobs were lost in the area; …

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