|  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.

Time for the valley to be proud

Posted on February 27th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
There is much cause for pride and celebration in the valley this week, with local skiers earning a veritable treasure trove of medals last weekend at the B.C. Special Olympics Winter Games and with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships coming to town starting tomorrow.
The IPC World Championships are a top-flight international event, second in importance only to the Olympics and, by playing host to it for the next 10 days, Panorama Mountain Resort and Invermere will be catapulted onto the world stage (see the Pioneer’s …

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Conservation officers collar cougar

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Local conservation officers caught another cougar prowling around the edge of Invermere last week, but this time were able to tranquilize and collar the feline.
“We dealt with another cat today, a healthy adult female,” said conservation officer Greg Kruger on Thursday, February 12th. “We don’t have a history with this particular cougar of coming into town, there are no threats to public safety or pets and so she meets the the qualifications to put on a satellite radio collar and track her.”
On Wednesday, February 11th, the conservation …

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Local group pushes for free birth control

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A local group here in the valley is leading the charge to introduce publicly funded access to birth control — similar to what’s offered in Europe — in B.C.
Accessible Birth Control Committee member Bridget Atterbury gave a presentation on the matter to Invermere council during its Tuesday, February 10th meeting.
“Our plan to tackle and execute this project uses two strategies simultaneously — have a municipal government champion this project, where it is taken to the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) and then onto the …

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Jumbo council moves forward with Official Community Plan

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by


Jumbo municipality continues to move forward with its Official Community Plan (OCP). At its Tuesday, February 17th council meeting, Jumbo council rescinded the first reading given to its OCP bylaw (given during January’s Jumbo council meeting), and gave first reading to an amended version of the bylaw.
Jumbo chief administrative officer Mark Read said the amendments were minor in nature and focused mostly on changing wording such as ‘shall’ and ‘must’ to something softer (leaving some discretion for interpretation to future councils).
The resort municipality had asked neighbouring municipal councils (Invermere and …

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West Kootenay EcoSociety’s legal challenge to Jumbo municipality comes to court

Posted on February 17th, 2015 by


Almost two years after filing its petition challenging the provincial government’s incorporation of Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality, the West Kootenay EcoSociety will see its case come to court.
The petition for a judicial review of the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development’s decision to incorporate Jumbo was first filed in Nelson in February 2013, was amended this past August and will finally be heard in the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver this coming Monday, February 23rd and Tuesday, February 24th.
The Pioneer attempted to get comment from EcoSociety lawyer Judah …

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UPDATE: Canfor to cut Canal Flats mill operations in half

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Canfor announced last week that come May, owing to a dearth of affordably retrievable timber, it will be halving its operations at the Canal Flats mill from two shifts to one, resulting in dozens of layoffs.
“This reduction (from two shifts to one) will affect 81 Canal Flats-based employees, all of whom will be offered positions elsewhere in the company,” said Canfor public affairs director Corinne Stavness, citing a lack of what the company calls economically available fibre in the region as the reason for the cut.
The plan …

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LOOKING TO LOAN — J. A. Laird Elementary School Grade 5 and Grade 7 students and teacher Mrs. Gauthier are taking applications from valley residents for their microcredit loan of $860, a project the students have been working on for more than a year. Photo by Steve Hubrecht

Students ready to help with microcredit loans

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Grade 5 and 7 students at J. A. Laird Elementary School are ready to take applications for their microcredit loan program.
The students, under the guidance of J.A. Laird teacher Alyssan Gauthier, have been developing the program for more than a year and had raised $899.40 just prior to a bake sale on Thursday, January 29th.
The amount is available to anybody in the valley regardless of age, particularly those who might have trouble securing a loan from a regular financial institution, and is meant to help …

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Crime rates drop in Columbia Valley

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Columbia Valley RCMP Staff Sergeant Marko Shehovac has been appearing before the valley’s municipal councils and First Nations band councils, delivering the local detachment’s quarterly report.
At the Tuesday, January 27th Invermere council meeting, Mr. Shehovac highlighted the significant drop in crime rate across the valley seen by the Columbia Valley detachment in 2014.
“It stems from work (detachment) officers have done in going after prolific offenders,” he said.
Person violent criminal codes offenses dropped to 97 in 2014 from 141 in 2013; property crime offenses dropped to 304 in …

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Local teen skier set to hit the slopes at Canada Winter Games

Posted on January 28th, 2015 by


An Invermere teen will line up at the start gate for the alpine skiing events at the Canada Winter Games in a few weeks.
Grade 10 David Thompson Secondary School student Liam Haynes will be racing down the slopes in slalom, GS (giant slalom), super G (super giant slalom) and skier cross at the Games, which will be held in Prince George from February 13th to March 1st, competing for team Alberta.
“I’m really excited and it’ll be a lot of fun,” said Liam, who has never raced before in the Canada …

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EMP EMERGENCY — Students, parents and traffic mesh haphazardly on 20th Street, where the Eileen Madson Primary School Parents’ Advisory Committee is asking the district to consider building a dedicated walkway for students. Since these photos were taken, the district has put up temporary No Parking signs on the north side of the street. Photo submitted

Parents’ group presses council to include student pathway in budget

Posted on January 27th, 2015 by


The Eileen Madson Primary school Parents Advisory Committee (PAC) is pushing hard for a designated walkway along 20th Street to be included in the district of Invermere’s 2015 budget, even as time to do so runs short.
The PAC had presented their safe concerns about students walking to and from the primary school along congested 20th Street, and proposed a walkway as a solution, at a council meeting this past November. Council resolved at the meeting to put up temporary No Parking signs to relieve congestion on the street (which was …

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New cougar spotted in CastleRock area

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by


The cougar that had become too comfortable with close proximity to humans was killed in CastleRock yesterday, but another has been spotted in the area today.
Local conservation officer Greg Kruger said there have been two calls this morning reporting a cougar walking through the CastleRock area, adding both reports said the cougar appeared to be just passing through and left quickly as soon as it became aware of humans being present.
“We’re going to monitor this cougar’s activity and if there a public safety issue we’ll respond accordingly again,” said Mr. …

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Ever-popular Wild Game Banquet returns

Posted on January 21st, 2015 by


The Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club is gearing up once again for its ever-popular Wild Game Banquet. This year is the club’s 96th anniversary, and the formal banquet has been running for at least 20 years.
“It’s a dinner and dance thing and it’s a tremendously fun time.
We get constant feedback from people on how much fun they had. People look forward to this event every year,” said club president Rick Hoar. “It’s also the club’s major fundraiser of the year.”
The menu at the banquet traditionally includes a scrumptious …

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CHARITABLE CHRISTMAS — From left to right are Stephen Ostrander (food bank), Pat McLaughlin (food bank), Gabe Quenneville (lifeguard), Tim Lynch (lifeguard), Shonna Murphy (pool manager) and Pascal vanDijk (FHSR president and CEO). Photo by Dean Midyette

Free Christmas soak at Fairmont pools brings in big donation

Posted on January 16th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Christmas spirit was in the air at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort during the holiday season.
The resort’s annual Swim Free with a Donation event — combined with money raised during the resort’s staff Christmas party — resulted in the resort handing over $3,805 and a SUV full of food to the Columbia Valley Food Bank.
“We were really pleased with the donations. It’s probably the most the event has raised so far,” said Fairmont Hot Springs director of sales and marketing Nancy Hetherington. “We really appreciate the support we …

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Local resident wins travel photo contest on 70th birthday

Posted on January 16th, 2015 by


Timing couldn’t have been better for this year’s Pioneer travel photo contest winners.
Radium Hot Springs residents David and Marilyn Goldsmith were randomly drawn as the winners of the annual photo contest (in which readers submit photos taken with a copy of the Pioneer at destinations around the world) on Wednesday, January 14th — which just so happened to be David’s 70th birthday. And if that wasn’t coincidence enough, when the Pioneer phoned the couple to inform them, it turned out they not in Radium as normal, but instead were celebrating …

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New B.C. hunting allocations causing concern

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The local rod and gun club is joining its voice with that of the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF) to raise concerns over the province’s proposed changes to hunting allocation policies.
The new changes to the Wildlife Allocation Policy outlined by provincial Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation Steve Thomson in a letter to the BCWF range from an 80-20 split favouring resident hunters in some regions for some species to a 60-40 split favouring resident hunters in other regions for other species. The splits …

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Valley remembers charitable spirit of Tiger Open founder

Posted on January 7th, 2015 by


A man with longstanding connections to valley passed away just before Christmas, but many will remember him for years to come.
Robert “Tiger” Thygesen is probably most widely known in the valley for starting and running the Tiger Open golf tournament at the Windermere Valley Golf Course. The charitable events raised funds for the Alberta Children’s Hospital. It was held 19 times and raised a cumulative total of $1.4 million.
“He was kind of a social organizer at the mill (in Skookumchuk, where Tiger worked for more than 30 years), always organizing …

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Rod and Gun Club sets its scope on deer relocation

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Columbia Valley Rod and Gun Club is volunteering to help with any efforts to relocate the urban deer living in Invermere.
In a letter to Invermere council sent in late November, and received at the most recent council meeting on Tuesday, December 16th the club volunteered its labour, equipment and expertise to the district for the live capture, transport and relocation of mule deer.
“We have the skill base, we have the expertise and we have equipment,” club president Rick Hoar told The Pioneer, pointing out the club …

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MMBC leaves valley with no styrofoam recycling option

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A local resident is shining a light on how the province’s new recycling program, Multi Material B.C. (MMBC), fails to provide an option for dealing with styrofoam products located here in the Upper Columbia Valley.
Wayne Collens was surprised to learn that, under MMBC, the only recycling depots in the East Kootenay accepting styrofoam products are in Cranbrook, almost an hour and half’s drive away.
“This means that no styrofoam will be recycled in the Columbia Valley, with an estimated population of 8,000, because of distance,” wrote Mr. Collens …

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New festival highlights winter events in valley

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The valley will mark this winter season with a new festival.
The Winter In Motion festival, which runs through January and February, bundles many of the valley’s longstanding winter events into a single package.
“We just wanted to highlight everything that does go on here (in the winter) in one wrapping,” Columbia Valley Tourism Marketing Committee chair Andrea Tubbs told The Pioneer.
Doing so makes it easy for visitors to look up everything going on in the valley at once, rather than having each individual event clamouring for …

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EMP EMERGENCY — Students, parents and traffic mesh haphazardly on 20th Street, where the Eileen Madson Primary School Parents’ Advisory Committee is asking the district to consider building a dedicated walkway for students. Since these photos were taken, the district has put up temporary No Parking signs on the north side of the street. Photo submitted

Advocacy for EMP walkway ramps up

Posted on December 29th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The walk to and from school is a bit safer for Eileen Madson Primary students now that Temporary No Parking signs are up on the road near the east entrance and back parking lot of the school, but the issue of student safety in the area is not yet fully resolved.
Representatives from the school’s Parents’ Advisory Committee (PAC) were at the Tuesday, December 16th Invermere council meeting to thank council and district staff for the signs along 20th Street, but also to ask the district to consider …

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