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Steve Hubrecht
Email: steve@cv-pioneer.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.

COUNCIL CONTEMPLATION — Councillor Nancy 
Hugunin and Mayor Greg Deck mull over financial numbers at a council meeting on Tuesday, April 15th. Photo by Steve Hubrecht

First three readings given for Jumbo financial plan bylaw

Posted on April 19th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Mountain Resort Municipality of Jumbo Glacier gave three readings to its financial plan bylaw at its most recent council meeting, and will likely adopt it at next month’s council meeting.
The five-year financial plan — which projects revenues of $200,000 per year from 2014 to 2018, mostly stemming from the provincial Small Communities Grant — has sparked considerable commentary across the province and generated discussion, although not debate, at the April 15th council meeting.
Council voted unanimously to give the bylaw three readings and direct staff to reconcile …

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TOURISM TEAM — Tourism association board members, seen here last spring, were successful in gaining a community directed funds grant. Pioneer file photo

Cultural Tourism group granted $37,000 per year

Posted on April 19th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Columbia Valley Directed Funds committee voted at its most recent meeting to give a big funding boost for the next three years to the Columbia Cultural Tourism Association, a move that will help the association hire a full-time research coordinator.
The committee voted unanimously to give the association $37,000 a year from 2014 through to 2016, conditional to the association raising an additional $20,000 from other sources. The association will report quarterly to the committee and the third year of funding is pending the renewal of the …

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CHASING KUBOTA - The Kubota L3560 would make an excellent Whiteway maintenance machine, says the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club. Photo submitted

Nordic club pursuing Kubota machine for Whiteway

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club presented to Invermere council its plans to purchase a piece of maintenance equipment that will boost its capacity to maintain the Whiteway, but which comes with a much lower price tag than the previously talked about LayMor 400 Sweepmaster, at the most recent committee of the whole meeting.
The plan now is to raise funds for a Kubota L3560, which will allow the club to plow and sweep at the same time, much as the LayMor would, but will cost the nordic …

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Cod Gone Wild meld various musical backgrounds into a modern Celtic sound. Photo submitted

Celtic cod ambling towards Edgewater

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The valley will get a taste of modern Celtic music when B.C. band Cod Gone Wild comes to Edgewater later this month.
“Modern Celtic is really a brand we’ve created,” said lead singer Andrew Mercer. “It’s an exciting twist on traditional songs, basically we modernize them with non-traditional instrumentation.”
The Vernon-based band took form when lead singer Andrew Mercer moved west from his native Newfoundland in 2009, eventually settling in the Okanagan. Mr. Mercer had been in bands performing traditional Newfoundland folk and Celtic music since he was in …

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UPDATED: Orders-in-council overturned; would have exempted ski resorts from environmental assessments

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by


NOTE: the two orders-in-council referred to in this story were announced on Monday and rescinded on Wednesday.
By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A provincial order-in-council signed late last week may smooth the path to development for Jumbo Glacier Resort and other ski resorts in B.C.
The order, which was approved and ordered on Friday, April 11th and deposited on Monday, April 14th, will exempt new ski resorts yet to be built and existing ski resort wishing to expand from the environmental assessment process, starting on January 1st next year.
B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polak …

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Council listens as Carlisle Group developers Doug McIntosh and Gordon Mross explain their bid to develop 11 waterfront homes on a parcel of land adjacent to Pete’s Marina at a committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, April 8th. Photo by Steve Hubrecht

Council hears latest on Athalmer lakeshore development bid

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Carlisle Group (owners of the Pointe of View condos) updated council on their plans for developing what is often called the Windermere Resort property in Athalmer (the area behind the old Lakeside pub, near Pete’s Marina).
The development plan was first floated 20 years ago and the would-be developers have talked with Invermere council in the ensuing years, but no building progress has been made. At the April 8th committee of the whole meeting, representatives Gordon Mross and Doug McIntosh presented conceptual designs of their latest plans, …

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Skiers enjoy a run down the Jumbo Glacier in years past.
Pioneer file photo

MLAs, mayors debate Jumbo funding B.C.-wide

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Public funding for Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality leapt to provincial attention last week, sparking combative commentary in the B.C. legislature and on provincial radio shows.
Jumbo municipality’s recently released five-year financial plan shows a projected $200,000 a year in funding, mainly from provincial and federal grant money, the Small Community Grant in particular. That revelation prompted strong rhetoric from Columbia-River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald, Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungal and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes during question period in the legislature on Monday, March …

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An aerial view of Jumbo Mountain. Pioneer file photo

Invermere council balks at $1 million for Jumbo

Posted on March 28th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality provoked a torrent of discussion at Invermere’s most recent council meeting, as council passed a resolution to ask the province to reallocate funding for the resort municipality.
Invermere mayor Gerry Taft said he put forward the motion for the Tuesday, March 25th Invermere council meeting after reading the Jumbo municipality’s five-year plan online (posted following Jumbo council’s most recent council meeting in mid-February) and learning Jumbo municipality will get $200,000 a year in provincial funding from 2014 through 2018, for a total of …

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BEAMING BOARD — Pictured, from left to right: Catrien Dainard, Maxine Jones, Maria Kliavkoff, Donna Power, Karen Arif and Dr. Chris Gooch. Pioneer file photo

Hospice open house set to mark dual milestones

Posted on March 28th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley is set to celebrate both the opening of its new office space and the end of its first fiscal year with an open house next week.
The April 1st open house will be an opportunity to show the community the new office, which the society opened just a month ago, said the society’s executive director Maria Kliavkoff.
“Every day it looks different and we get more set up; we should have our computers in before the open house,” said Ms. Kliavkoff. “It’s …

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FATAL CRASH — Firefighters deal with the aftermath of the crash in July 2011, for which Mr. Bagri is now on trial. Pioneer file photo

Collision analyst takes stand at Bagri trial

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The trial stemming from a fatal crash in Kootenay National Park in 2011 got underway in Invermere provincial court earlier this week, with a Vancouver man facing four counts of dangerous driving causing death.
Jaswinder Singh Bagri, the driver of a semi involved in the collision, has pleaded not guilty to all charges and was in court, more than two and a half years after the crash occurred, for the first four days of the multi-day trial this past week.
Mr. Bagri was driving his unloaded flatdeck B-train commercial …

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JUDO IN ACTION — In blue, judogi Marcia Paget (left) of the Invermere Judo Club avoids an opponent’s attack. Invermere Judo Club head instructor Hermann Mauthner is happy to have the same amount of space allocated to the club in the new centre as what the club enjoys in the current hall. 	             Valley Echo file photo

Community centre can fit judo

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Invermere Judo Club will most likely be able to fit in the new community centre after all.
Consulting architect Bruce Carscadden had told Invermere council at council’s February 25th meeting — as subsequently reported in The Pioneer — that it would be difficult to fit the judo club into the new community centre since the club required a 10-metre by 10-metre fighting space, surrounded by a four-metre perimeter, which Mr. Carscadden said would account for about 75 to 80 per cent of the whole size of the …

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RAGING WATERS — A flood rips through Fairmont Creek last summer, in what’s 
become a serious concern for residents of that area. A proposed new flood service area could provide a means of funding measures to prevent it from happening again. 
Photo by Dan Walton

Proposed flood service area sees support in Fairmont

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Fairmont Hot Springs residents are encouraged by a proposed community-wide flood and landslide service area, which would help control floods and mitigate debris flows, after hearing about it at two open house meetings and presentations in Fairmont last week.
The proposal for the Fairmont-wide service area comes after two straight years of significant debris flows or flooding in late spring in the area. Currently there are two flood control service areas in Fairmont — the Fairmont Creek service area and the Cold Spring Creek service area, but each …

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Invermere praised for being carbon neutral

Posted on March 14th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The District of Invermere was lauded for being carbon neutral on its 2012 emissions, during the most recent Invermere council meeting.
“You were the only East Kootenay community to be carbon neutral for 2012, so that’s quite a leadership stance,” Regional District of East Kootenay community energy manager Megan Lohmann told council members at council’s March 11th meeting, during her summary of the Carbon Neutral Kootenay project.
Mrs. Lohmann said the district has several options to make its 2013 emissions neutral, including buying offsets; investing in home energy retrofits; …

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FOREVER YOUNG — Joe Klein, seen here with his wife Elizabeth in their Te Papa Nui antiques store, is remembered as a vibrant entrepreneur, a dedicated community member, and a kind, loving person, after he tragically drowned while on a recent vacation in Maui, Hawaii. Pioneer file photo

Antique store owner remembered as charming host

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Columbia Valley lost one of its most vibrant members last month when Joe Klein died in a snorkelling accident in Hawaii.
“Joe was a really outgoing person and people always seemed to love him. He was always enthusiatic — about family, about antiques, about everything really,” said his wife Elizabeth. “He was truly loving and kind. And he was still making me laugh after 34 years (of marriage).”
The couple were originally from Scotland, where Joe was born in Glasgow and — after attending the Tailor Academy …

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GO FIGURE - Members of the Columbia Valley Figure Skating Club are excited to show off a year’s worth of improved skills at the ice carnival on March 12th at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.
Photo submitted

Valley figure skaters get set for big showcase

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Figure skaters big and small are busy preparing to dazzle Invermere residents at this year’s carnival.
The Columbia Valley Figure Skating Club’s March 12th carnival is its biggest fundraiser of the year and a great chance for families, friends and the public at large to see the skaters’ best moves.
“It’s a chance for all our skaters to showcase their ability. They’ll be able to share with everybody what they’ve learned, from the little tots who just shuffle on their feet through to our top skaters in the …

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Columbia Valley RCMP bids farewell to extra eyes and ears

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Columbia Valley RCMP detachment said farewell to its final auxiliary officer late last month.
Kent Ervin began in the volunteer role in 2005 and wrapped up his duties in 2012, although it wasn’t until a week ago that Mr. Ervin, who is moving to Alberta, formally said goodbye to the detachment and received a certificate of service and had his badge encased.
“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, but I wasn’t sure about becoming a full-time officer, that’s why I joined the auxiliary,” said Mr. Ervin, …

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CONCEPTUAL CROWD — Invermere councillor Paul Denchuk talks with Invermere residents about some of the design concepts created by architect Bruce Carscadden for the new Invermere community centre during an open house on February 25th. 
Photo by Steve Hubrecht

Community centre design options narrowed down

Posted on February 28th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Invermere’s new community centre drew a fair bit of attention last week, as consulting architect Bruce Carscadden unveiled some design concepts for the centre at an open house and then presented his ideas at Invermere council’s most recent meeting.
At the February 25th open house at the Invermere Community Hall, Mr. Carscadden presented two design options, mostly as an exercise to generate public comments. He had originally created eight options but left six out since they included constructing aspects such as a library and municipal offices.
Those building components …

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Dangerous new drug results in eight overdoses in the East Kootenay region

Posted on February 28th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Illicitly manufactured Fentanyl is being peddled on the streets across the East Kootenay, including here in Invermere, and has resulted in eight overdoses — one of them fatal — in recent months.
“We are concerned because the dosage in the pills is really variable and that’s why we are seeing people getting into overdoses, because they don’t know what they are taking,” said East Kootenay Addiction Services executive director Dean Nicholson. “It’s tending to be younger people who are overdosing, people in their late teens or early 20s.”
Some …

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Council ponders national street hockey championship

Posted on February 28th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff
Although talk at Invermere council’s most recent meeting was dominated by the new community centre (see story below), several other items generated some discussion as well, including potentially playing host to a national street hockey championship, a Canal Flats request for more funding for its arena and the idea of a national dementia strategy.
Council sent a letter of support to district events coordinator Theresa Wood, letting organizers of the Redwood Cup (the Canadian national street hockey championship tournament) know the district will provide road closures, the …

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Star gazer group presents Night Delight astronomy event

Posted on February 28th, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Star gazers are in for a special treat with the valley’s informal astronomy group Invermere Under the Stars putting on a “Night Delight” show next week.
The evening will feature an array of stunning
astrophotos, stories, handouts and lively star-focused discussion hosted by Arnor Larson and Bob Ede at the David Thompson Secondary School theatre on Friday, March 7th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“It’s informative and it’s fun,” said organizer Brian Fenerty. “Basically, the idea is to enhance a great slide show with talks, handouts and other supplements. …

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