|  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.

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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CV Arts seek new artist-in-residence

Posted on November 25th, 2016 by


The Columbia Valley Arts Council (CV Arts) is seeking applicants for its artist-in-residence program.
The program has run for the better part of a decade, providing opportunities for local artists by giving them studio space in the uppermost story of Pynelogs, and usually running over the course of the winter with the artists then typically holding a show at Pynelogs in the spring.
“Columbia Valley Arts Council is dedicated to fostering the growth, awareness and appreciation of the arts in the Columbia Valley,” said CV Arts executive director Jami Scheffer. “As …

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Successful MLA candidate will leave local job vacancy

Posted on November 25th, 2016 by


Election results are anything but certain and the upcoming provincial election in May is no exception, but no matter which of the two major local Columbia River-Revelstoke candidates wins, one thing is clear: the victor will likely resign from his current occupation, leaving a prominent job opening in Invermere.
Ever since the current Columbia River-Revelstoke riding boundaries were established before the 1991 election, only the NDP and BC Liberals have managed to win the riding. Barring a major shock upset by either the BC Conservatives or the provincial Green Party (neither …

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Grizzly caught in trap freed

Posted on November 4th, 2016 by


A grizzly bear was caught in a wolf trap east of Invermere last week, but was set free by conservation officers and is in good shape.
A trapper working his registered trap line in the Palliser Road area, south of Nipika Mountain Resort, set leg-hold traps for wolves on Sunday, October 22nd. When he came back the next day to check the traps, he found one had set off and was missing.
“He followed the trail (on October 23rd), expecting to find a wolf, but was surprised to find a grizzly …

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Panorama earns North American Resort of the Year

Posted on November 4th, 2016 by


Panorama Mountain Resort has won the North American Resort of the Year at the World Snow Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in the ski industry.
The local ski hill earned the award on Thursday, October 27th during the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard Show in London, UK, one of the largest ski shows of the season, beating out three other shortlisted candidates — Whistler, Mt. Tremblant and Breckenridge.
“Certainly the resort and all the employees are pleased and proud to be the recipient of this award,” said Panorama chief executive officer …

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Expanded terrain planned for Panorama

Posted on November 4th, 2016 by


Valley residents and visiting skiers heading up to Panorama Mountain Resort will find even more terrain waiting for them this year, with the resort opening up several new acres in Taynton Bowl, all part of the resort’s ambitious future expansion plans.
The resort has brought in bounds 16.2 acres (6.5 hectares) of previously just-out-of-bounds terrain in Taynton Bowl and, in addition, has spent $120,000 on new glading to open up parts of both the frontside and backside (Taynton Bowl) of the mountain.
The new terrain is part of even larger expansion plans …

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Columbia Valley RCMP investigate Shuswap finances

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by


Local RCMP are formally investigating the finances of the former Shuswap Indian Band leadership.
As reported in The Vancouver Sun and National Post earlier this week, a federal-government funded Ernst & Young audit report on the money managed between 2011 and 2014 by the previous Shuswap council led by former chief Paul Sam was sent to band members and the RCMP in July, prompting the police to delve into the matter.
The audit report has been made public by an anonymous Shuswap Indian Band member just as the First Nation gears up …

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Transport Canada limits horsepower on Columbia River

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by


The federal government has formally adopted a 20-horsepower limit for boats on the main stem of the Columbia River between Invermere and Donald (north of Golden), and around Fairmont Hot Springs.
The horsepower limit has been subject of discussion for almost two decades, and the issue was brought to renewed attention earlier this year, when the federal Ministry of Transport sought public input on the long-proposed idea. The regulation does not apply to Columbia Lake or Lake Windermere.
The regulation was published in The Canada Gazette, the government’s official newspaper, on Wednesday, …

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Options for Sexual Health – A decade of difference

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by


Invermere’s Options for Sexual Health organization is celebrating a decade of operation as of this month.
The clinic first opened in October 2006, based out of the Public Health Unit next to the Invermere Hospital, and 10 years later it’s still in the same spot, having helped countless clients during that time.
“People think of us as just birth control, but we focus on a whole range of sexual health topics. We do education and counselling on sexual health. We have birth control options at low cost. We do pregnancy tests, we …

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