|  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.

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University group visits little-known valley heritage trail

Posted on September 23rd, 2016 by


A group of Edgewater volunteers has been busy for some time now restoring an old heritage trail leading to Kootenay National Park, and a few weeks ago played host on the trail to a group of University of Calgary students, archeologist and geologists.
The Luxor Trail extends from Edgewater, over the Little Vermillion Pass (Luxor Pass), down to Kootenay Crossing (in the national park) before continuing onto the Paint Pots area.
It was originally used by local First Nations as a trade route, and then later by European-descendant settlers, before falling …

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College launches hospitality program

Posted on September 23rd, 2016 by


The Invermere College of the Rockies campus is introducing a new course that it hopes will help fill in some of the gaps in the labour shortage hindering the Columbia Valley’s seasonal tourism industry.
The college will launch a six-week Mountain Hospitality program this fall, with the course beginning in late October and running through early December.
“We are in the process of developing a two-year Hospitality diploma program to start in the fall of 2017, which would include a co-op placement with regional employers during the spring and summer season. Extensive …

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Kimberley teenage band The Inferiors will rock DTSS in late September

Teen band tours stops at DTSS

Posted on September 23rd, 2016 by


An up-and-coming teenage band from Kimberley is getting ready to rock David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) later this month.
The Inferiors have been playing together for about a year and a half now, and have quickly developed a reputation in the East Kootenay as a band of no small repute.
The band is comprised of four students from the Kimberley Rock Academy and initially went by the name 145, playing their first shows at Kimberley open mic nights. After switching their name, the students, who range in age from 13 to 18, …

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Sgt. Bob Vatamaniuk

New RCMP commander imitates inimitable predecessor

Posted on September 16th, 2016 by


The Upper Columbia Valley has a new commander for its RCMP detachment.
Last week, Sergeant Bob Vatamaniuk stepped into the role vacated by former Columbia Valley Staff Sergeant Marko Shehovac in March, and although Mr. Shehovac (or Marko, as he was affectionately called up and down the valley) was an inimitable presence here, Mr. Vatamaniuk is doing is utmost to fill the large shoes left by his predecessor.
Sgt. Vatamaniuk made clear last week, during a visit to The Pioneer, just how seriously (and how literally) he takes this quest — …

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A map of the proposed Barbour Rock Recreation Trails

Posted on September 16th, 2016 by


The proposed Barbour Rock biking and hiking trail network is now in the formal referral process of the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operation’s (FLNRO’s) Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. division.
The trail proposal was jointly put forward by the Columbia Valley Cycling Society and Greenways Trail Alliance.
“We are hoping that once it is completed, it will be 35 kilometres to 40 kilometres of trail. We are describing it as a multi-purpose, non-motorized recreational trail for bikers, hikers and runners,” said cycling society director of trail development Dave Lammerse, …

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New bear-proof bins at the Invermere transfer station

Invermere gets bear-proof bins

Posted on September 16th, 2016 by


The Invermere transfer station’s new bear-proof bins arrived and were installed last week, and district staff are currently busy electrifying the fence around the transfer station.
According to local authorities the moves couldn’t have come at a better time, as Invermere is experiencing one of its busiest years for bears.
“We’ve heard of a lot of reports of black bears, in every segment and every corner of town,” said Invermere chief administrative officer Chris Prosser, adding much of the activity has been reported around the Westridge subdivision, Eileen Madson Primary School and …

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Parks Canada is planning to fund substantial upgrades at the Radium pools. This photo was taken of the hot pools facility by a concerned reader in August and submitted to the Pioneer.

Radium hot pools will not be privatized

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by


Operation of Radium Hot Springs — and other hot springs in Parks Canada’s mountain parks — will not be privatized.
Federal Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna announced last week, on Friday, September 2nd, that Parks Canada will maintain operational responsibility for the Radium, Banff Upper and Miette hot springs and that the federal government will no longer be seeking a private operator for these hot springs, putting to rest an issue that has bubbling for more than eight years.
“We’re ready to turn the page and move forward,” Parks Canada Lake Louise-Yoho-Kootenay …

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Terry Fox run set for Sept. 18th

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by


The Columbia Valley is once again gearing up for the annual Terry Fox Run.
This year is the 36th edition of the event, and the run promises to be as great as ever.
Local organizer Terri Lightfoot has been involved with helping run the event for almost 20 years, and says she was inspired to do so by Mr. Fox.
“I remember when he passed away. I was just a little kid, but I still recall how everybody paused for a moment of silence,” Ms. Lightfoot told The Pioneer. “I have always just …

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Architects of new Radium community hall seek public input

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by


Radium Hot Springs residents will soon get a chance to learn more about the new community hall planned for Radium during several information and public consultation sessions taking place in the village next week.
A new community hall for the village has been a topic of discussion for Radium council for the better part of a decade, and building a new one has been part of the village’s five-year plan for the past several years.
“The part we are at now is that we have hired architects and next week they are …

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A black bear grabs lunch from the Invermere transfer station in August

Invermere transfer station gets bear-proof bins

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by


The District of Invermere will soon get bear-proof bins in its transfer station.
Invermere council agreed on the move during a committee of the whole meeting in August and the new bins should be in place by mid-September.
“The bears are already out in town near the dump. In the past, we simply closed the transfer station while the bears were out, but with them now showing up as early as August and sometimes staying out as late as early December, that gets to be a pretty long time to have the …

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Panorama Mountain Resort is one of four shorlisted for the World Snow Awards North American resort of the year

Panorama reaches shortlist for best resort on continent

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by


Panorama Mountain Resort has been shortlisted for one of the most prestigious awards in the ski industry.
The local ski hill is one of four resorts to make the shortlist for the 2016 World Snow Awards’ North American resort of the year. Its Ski and Ride Centre is also one of seven shortlisted in the Awards’ Snowsports School of the Year category.
“We’re incredibly proud to be named among resorts we regard as the best in the business. This nomination is a reflection of work in many areas, but really revolves around …

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Salmon Festival returns

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by


The Ktunaxa First Nation’s annual Columbia Salmon Festival is back again this year.
The festival will be, just as last year, held on the weekend following the Labour Day long weekend, on Saturday, September 10th. This year is the sixth edition of the event.
“It’s a free festival meant to bring awareness to the loss of salmon on the Columbia River,” said organizer Vickie Thomas. “It will have education and outreach showing the impact of the loss of salmon and the building of dams all along the river. It’s an opportunity to …

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Former Ontario attorney general presenting

Posted on August 26th, 2016 by


The Shuswap Indian Band is bringing former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant to the valley for a speaking engagement later this month.
Mr. Bryant will be here Thursday, September 15th at Copper Point Resort, giving his presentation 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy and Hope.
“It will be an eye-opening tale of tragedy and addiction,” said Shuswap Indian Band community support work and communications co-ordinator Morgan Floesser. “We wanted to bring somebody to speak, searched through Speakers Spotlight (a website that functions almost as a database of Canadian …

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Construction begins on abattoir

Posted on August 26th, 2016 by


The Windermere District Farmers’ Institute’s (WDFI) micro abattoir project continues to press ahead, with construction having already begun this summer.
The project, located just south of the Crossroads, has been years in the making, and those involved with it hope to have it open for business this October.
“It feels so satisfying to finally be here,” said Farmers’ Institute projects co-ordinator Hedi Trescher. “The building is up, the roof is on, the concrete is poured and the corral is ready.”
The Farmers’ Institute formed a committee to build a small-scale local abattoir in …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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