|  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.

Juno-awarding winning musician coming to Valley

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by


A veteran roots musician is making his way to Invermere for a pair of showS the first weekend in April, drawn here by his past as a snowboarding trailblazer.
Lester Quitzau spent much of his time in the late 1980s helping develop what eventually became the sport of snowboarding, and the friendships he formed then are bringing him to the Easy Rider Snowboard Cup at Panorama Mountain Resort where he will play during the awards ceremony on Sunday, April 2nd, preceded by a more intimate show at Safta’s in Invermere on …

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Valley business community wary of propane takeover deal

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by


Concerns about a takeover deal between a pair of Canada’s largest propane companies continue to reverberate through the Columbia Valley.
As reported in the March 10th edition of The Pioneer, the $412 million deal signed in mid-February by Superior Plus Corp. to take over Canwest Propane from its parent company Gibson Engery Inc. — a deal that is scheduled to close later this year — is raising some wary eyebrows here in the Upper Columbia Valley since these are currently the only two major propane companies in the area.
Local politicians have …

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Locals push for cell phone coverage in Kootenay Park

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by


A group of valley residents are lobbying to get cell phone coverage established in Kootenay National Park.
The idea of extending cell coverage had first been discussed as early as 2011, and eventually grew into a tentative proposal to build six cell towers in the park, but the plan ultimately never went through, with Telus citing, in 2014, the expense and lack of power sources for the towers as the main reasons it chose not to proceed.
Now, however, efforts — led by Invermere resident Tracy Litchfield — are underway to get …

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Jumbo petition presented in provincial legislature

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by


The long-proposed Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort project may be at a standstill, but the issue continues to draw attention, most recently on March 14th when it was subject of what may be the largest single petition ever presented in the provincial legislature.
More than 61,000 signatures adorned a petition presented by Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald and Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall (both members of the opposition NDP) during question period in Victoria on Tuesday. The day prior, the petition had been presented by local environmental group Wildsight and apparel company Patagonia …

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Valley resident scores high at renowned cooking school

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by


A valley resident with creative culinary flair recently made waves at one of the most prestigious cooking schools in the world, and is setting his sights high for his cooking career.
Lucas Ruault spent last fall attending the Ballymaloe Cookery School, which is based on an organic farm near Shanagarry at the southern tip of Ireland. While honing his already considerable kitchen skills, he enjoyed 4 a.m. morning tromps to visit the cows and pick fresh garnishes — and scored some of the highest grades the school has ever given out.
“It’s not …

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Relocation study tracks local deer, variable results

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by


A recent update report on the East Kootenay urban mule deer trial translocation study that began last winter shows anything but a single clear trend.
The trial involved capturing urban deer living in several East Kootenay communities last winter, including Invermere, and relocating them to backcountry areas nearby. As many of the deer as possible were fitted with GPS radio collars, and biologists have tracked their movements ever since.
Lead study biologist Ian Adams emphasized that the results so far have been incredibly variable, with some deer having moved tremendous distances, and …

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Green Party choses local candidate

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by


The race to become the next Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA in this spring’s provincial election, which for so long was a two-horse race to replace retiring long-time NDP MLA Norm Macdonald, now features a nearly full slate of candidate, with a fourth contender announcing his intention to run under the Green Party banner earlier this week.
Columere Park resident Samson Connery Boyer may be just 18 years old, but he is gunning hard to make large gains — it not win this riding outright — for the Green Party come this May.
Mr. …

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Westside Legacy Trail prepares for spring construction

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by


The long-proposed Westside Legacy Trail took another big step closer to reality last week, when it received a major funding boost from the B.C. Rural Dividend Fund.
Greenways Trail Alliance, which is spearheading efforts on the planned paved bike trail (that, when complete, will run between Invermere and Fairmont Hot Springs), discovered on Thursday, March 2nd that it will receive a $500,000 grant from the fund — the single large piece of funding for the project so far.
“It’s really exciting, it’s big news,” Greenways executive director Mark Halwa told The Pioneer.
The …

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Planned propane deal raised competition questions

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by


A business takeover deal involving two major energy companies has left some Upper Columbia Valley residents worrying about a lack of competition for propane heating here.
Superior Plus Corp. signed a deal in mid-February to buy Canwest Propane from parent company Gibson Energy Inc. for $412 million, with the deal set to close some time later in 2017, once the necessary approvals are obtained.
The deal has prompted concern here in the valley, and has already resulted in one local municipal council — Invermere — firing off a letter, registering this concern …

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Avalanche Canada warns backcountry users to be careful in March

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by


Avalanche Canada put out a special warning on March 2nd, reminding backcountry users to take extra care over the new few weeks
The bulletin was a generalized message rather than a specific warning, but cautioned that March is one of the worst months for avalanche fatalities in Canada, and targeted snowmobilers as well as backcountry skiers, pointing out that last year 80 per cent of the country’s avalanche victims were snowmobilers.
Invermere-based Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) certified ski guide and Canadian Avalanche Association professional member Brodie Smith, who has taught …

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Valley residents hand-knitted toques dispersed province wide

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by


A local resident with a passion for knitting has seen her toques distributed to oncology patients and burn victim right across the province, from the East Kootenay and Okanagan to Vancouver.
Jo Wilkins has been knitting as a hobby her entire life, but four years ago she started doing it to help those in need. At the time, Mrs. Wilkins had been volunteering with the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary, and was approached by the East Kootenay Foundation for Health (EKFH), which has just lost its knitter. The organization was curious …

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Conservation officer nab alleged elk poacher

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by


The Invermere Conservation Officer Service and Akisqnuk First Nation worked together to investigate an alleged elk poaching incident on Akisqnuk land last week, resulting in an Alberta man being charged.
The man will appear in Invermere court later this spring.
The local conservation officers were made aware of a possible poaching incident by the First Nation on Sunday, February 19th.
“We were told that a band resident had heard a gunshot in the early morning, at first light, close to his house. He looked out his window and saw what he …

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Coffee and tea Expo at Copper Point Resort prepares for biggest year yet

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by


Invermere’s annual Coffee Fest will be in full swing this weekend, and its marquee event — the Coffee and Tea Expo — is promising to delight coffee and tea lovers from the valley and beyond.
The expo, held at Copper Point Resort, will be packed with some of the country’s best coffee roasters, specialty tea sellers, wholesalers, drinkware makers, coffee and tea equipment dealers, and a few boutique chocolate makers, and is aimed at valley residents and visitors with an interest in hot drinks as well as those more directly involved …

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Federal and provincial governments promise Trans Canada twinning

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by


The federal and provincial governments recently jointly announced a project that will see twinning of sections of the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden.
On Friday, February 17th, Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi and B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone said together that $469 million will be spent upgrading two parts of the Trans Canada — $450 million to improve the notorious Kicking Horse Canyon section of the road, which runs from the Alberta border to Golden, and more than $19 million for the Donald to Forde Station section …

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Conservation officers bring starving bobcat to vet

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by


A bobcat struggling to deal with tough winter conditions was captured by Invermere conservation officers near Windermere last week, but later passed away at the Invermere veterinarian clinic.
Prior to being caught, the bobcat had been the subject of a couple calls to the conservations officers from the Windermere area.
On Monday, February 13th, a report came in from a homeowner on Dell Road in Windermere that “a bobcat had been on their property and killed their domestic cat over the previous night, and had then come back into their dog run …

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Independent candidate enters Columbia River-Revelstoke race

Posted on February 17th, 2017 by


The upcoming provincial election taking place this spring just got a little more interesting on a local level, with the entry of a new independent candidate into the race here in Columbia River-Revelstoke.
Longtime Kimberley resident Justin Hooles had been eyeing up the possibility of running as an independent since the start of the new year, and formally announced his candidacy last week, citing his distaste for party politics as the reason he’s choosing to run on his own.
“I’d thought about politics as a long-term future plan for a while, but …

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Wildly successful Invermere Coffee Fest grows even bigger

Posted on February 17th, 2017 by


The Invermere Coffee Fest is just around the corner, having burgeoned into an even-larger event this year.
The fourth annual edition of the festival will be held over the first weekend of March, from Friday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 5th, and this year comprises 16 workshops — explosive growth when compared with the three workshops held during the first-ever Coffee Fest in 2013.
“It has really grown since we started, especially for visitors. So far only one-third of the registrations are local. So second homeowners or people who are otherwise from …

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Puppy Love returns for sixth year

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by


Lovers of puppies, tattoos or — better yet — both, should make their way to Puppy Love this weekend as Fire Vixen Tattoos gears up for another edition of its ever-popular fundraiser.
This year marks the sixth edition of the annual event, which raises money for the Invermere-based animal rescue group Global Animals Lovers Society (GALS), and according to organizer and Fire Vixen owner Sarah Eastick, it promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Fire Vixen tattoo artists as well as several guest tattoo artists — seven tattoo artists in total …

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Nelson country-folk musician prepares for Pynelogs show with son

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by


Kootenay folk music lovers will be pleased to learn Nelson-based singer-songwriter Johnny P. Johnson will be playing at Pynelogs later this month as part of the ongoing Love It Live concert series.
Although Johnny P. has played in Invermere before, this will be his first show at Pynelogs and he’s looking forward to playing in the intimate, historical venue — a location ideally suited to his unique and ever-evolving sound.
“We play what I call ranch rock. There’s no drummer or electric guitar, but it’s still got a rock sound, with heavy …

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Windermere Valley Child Care kicks up fundraising for new playground

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by


The Windermere Valley Child Care Society has been hard at work fundraising for a new playground for its daycare, and over the next few weeks will be gearing up those efforts with the aim of starting construction this spring.
To that end, the society has once again started selling the popular Little Ceasar’s pizza kits, and is planning on hosting a family fun dance at the Invermere Community Hall in early March.
“We’ve been fundraising for a few years (for the new playground),” society member Brigitte Perrault told The Pioneer. “We’d really …

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