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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.

Old community hall to be torn down

Posted on June 9th, 2017 by


Not long the after almost-completed new multi-use centre officially opens its doors — indeed, depending on the new centre’s exact opening date, it may be a matter of weeks — wrecking balls will be smashing into the current Invermere Community Hall.
The current hall — formally known as the Lake Windermere Memorial Hall — was built decades ago as a memorial to those who lost their lives fighting overseas for Canada, but owing to substantial structural issues will be torn down as early as this September.
The district is already seeking public …

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Charges laid after visitor feeds Kootenay National Park bear french fries

Posted on June 2nd, 2017 by


A person who fed french fries to a grizzly bear along Highway 93 in the south end of Kootenay National Park last weekend will face charges.
The incident, which occurred in the stretch of the national park just up from Radium Hot Springs, happened on Sunday, May 28th, on a part of the highway that for years has seen bears lounging by the roadside in late spring and early summer, grazing on dandelions and other natural edibles.
The fast food addition to the typical dandelion diet was not a welcome one, and …

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Council U-turns on open house

Posted on May 26th, 2017 by


A Rotary Club proposal to put up an electronic community message board outside AG Valley Foods will sail ahead after all, after Invermere council did an about-face on its previous decision to have the club hold an open house about the sign.
As reported in yesterday’s (May 18th) Valley Echo, the four council members present at the Thursday, May 11th council meeting (councillor Justin Atterbury was absent), had unanimously agreed to ask Rotary to hold an open house about the digital sign the club plans to put on the current AG …

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Westside Gas Station gets zoning approval

Posted on May 12th, 2017 by


A gas station and convenience store development planned for Westside Park is a step closer to going ahead, following a unanimous vote at the most recent Invermere council meeting.
During the Monday, April 28th meeting, council members all voted in favour of a zoning bylaw amendment that will allow for the development, which is proposed by valley realtor Barry Brown-John and will be located at the north end of Westside Park. Several restrictions, however, have been set in place, including that the gas station and convenience store’s hours of operation be …

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Brown water on tap in Invermere

Posted on May 5th, 2017 by


Spring is in the air in Invermere — birds chirping, sun shining, tree buds bursting, and, once again, brown water flowing from the taps of some local residents.
Sediment-choked municipal water is nothing new, and occurs almost every spring, with a handful of locals submitting complaints to the district of Invermere, and dozens more registering their misgivings anecdotally amongst friends and neighbours. This year, however, one resident — Carol Keshen, who lives on 10th Street — is approaching the problem in a new way, and submitted a bill to the district, …

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Invermere gets glimpse of candidate at forum

Posted on April 28th, 2017 by


Invermere residents got a chance to hear and see Columbia River-Revelstoke candidates up close and personal during the All Candidates Forum held at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) last week, with candidates answering questions posed by the forum’s organizing committee, and outlining opinions on a range of topics stretching from the seasonality of the valley’s economy, and balancing resource extraction with tourism, to recreation access management plans.
The candidates’ responses, during the Thursday, April 27th event, contained few major surprises for audience members, and interaction between them remained respectful throughout the …

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Stetski backs bill to help rafters

Posted on April 28th, 2017 by


Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski is strongly backing a private members bill put forward by a fellow NDP MP that, if passed and adopted, could see the end of the standoff between commercial whitewater rafters and Canadian Pacific Rail over access to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River.
In late March Mr. Stetski stood and spoke in the House of Commons in favour of a bill, introduced to parliament by Laurier-Sainte Marie MP Helene Laverdiere, which would give the federal Minister of Transport the authority to require rail …

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Creative residents seek to create makerspace in Invermere

Posted on March 31st, 2017 by


A group of local residents has banded together to bring a creative new enterprise to life, with a plan to create a “makerspace” in Invermere.
A makerspace is a collaborative, member-owned physical location, usually a large building, in which group members as well as the public can come together to share tools and resources to facilitate learning and creative projects.
“Essentially, the concept is one of an open, volunteer-run workshop that has different areas for, say, electronics, metal working, wood working or textiles,” Columbia Valley Makerspace Society member Brian McIntosh told The …

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Deer cull opponent sues mayor

Posted on March 31st, 2017 by


Long-standing division in Invermere over how to deal with urban deer has now reached a new, much more personal level with Invermere mayor and Columbia River-Revelstoke NDP candidate Gerry Taft being sued for defamation.
The lawsuit was filed months ago by Invermere resident and BC Deer Protection Society member Devin Kazakoff and is scheduled to be heard by the B.C. Supreme Court in Cranbrook in about two weeks time.
In the lawsuit, Mr. Kazakoff references an online comment by Mr. Taft, made in January 2016, in which Mr. Taft labelled Mr. Kazakoff …

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NDP candidate challenges debate forum format

Posted on March 31st, 2017 by


The four Columbia River-Revelstoke riding MLA candidates running for the upcoming provincial election are gearing up for All Candidates Forums in Invermere, Golden, Kimberley and Revelstoke, but one candidate — NDP nominee Gerry Taft — has been pushing for a change in format.
The forums in each community are usually organized by that town’s Chamber of Commerce, and although the format is slightly different in each town, up until a week ago they all involved questions picked ahead of time by the forum’s organizing committee.
Mr. Taft in recent weeks has …

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Conservation officers warn public to stay out of Dutch Creek-Findlay Creek following discovery of deliberately laid fatal poison

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by


Local conservation officers are warning the public to stay away from Dutch Creek-Findlay Creek area after confirming that somebody has been laying a lethal poison there.
Officers have confirmed and removed at least two batches of strychnine — a fatally toxic colourless, odorless, crystalline powder (which in this case was in solid format, sitting in white cupcake wrappers) — from area, which lies immediately to the west of Canal Flats, and have launched an ongoing investigation with assistance from the Columbia Valley RCMP.
“The area of concern is what is known locally …

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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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