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Radium elects new councillor, votes in favour of new community centre

Posted on January 16th, 2017 by


Voters in the village of Radium Hot Spring elected a new councillor and gave the go-ahead to borrow money to build a new community centre last weekend.
On Saturday, January 14th Radium residents went to polls for a by-election to replace councillor Karen Larsen, who has left the Upper Columbia Valley for Vancouver Island along with her family, and elected Mike Gray by a narrow margin.
Mr. Gray garnered 115 votes, compared with Dale Shudra’s 109 and Tamara Olson’s 14. All three were well-known in the community, Mr. Gray as the owner …

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Locals can enjoy day of leisure at Fairmont ski area

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By James Rose
Special to The Pioneer
For the third consecutive year, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Ski Area is pleased to offer Local’s Day this Saturday, January 14th.
For one single Toonie per person, guests can enjoy a day on the slopes or in the tube park with same-day access to the hot springs included as well (same-day access to the hot springs is only valid with a same-day ski lift ticket — not tubing). And with the recent fresh snow, in addition to the ski hill’s manmade snow, the ski conditions …

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New Columbia Valley website launched

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A new website promoting the Columbia Valley has been recently launched by the Columbia Valley Co-op Marketing Project, which is gearing up for an important stakeholder meeting later this month.
The website — www.travelcolumbiavalley.com — went live last week on Thursday, January 5th and features the valley’s new logo and brand, including the catchphrase “Columbia Valley: Relax. It’s time to unwind.”, along with a bevy of eye-catching photos and visuals, and a wealth of information on things to do in the valley, complete with plenty of links to …

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Columbia Valley home assessment values remain consistent

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Property assessments will soon be mailed out, and although staggering rises in assessed property values may be grabbing attention in coastal and urban parts of B.C., local homeowners can expect to see things here in Upper Columbia Valley stay more or less the same as the previous year.
The increase in assessed value in urban areas of the province is reportedly as high as 50 per cent in some cases, but the deputy provincial assessor based in the Kootenay region says housing prices here are a different story.
“There’s …

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Snowflake Festival returns for 8th year

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
After weeks of chilling cold weather in the Columbia Valley, the highly anticipated Snowflake Festival will be making its return to Invermere on Friday, January 20th at Kinsmen Beach in Invermere.
A free event planned for the whole community, the 8th Annual Snowflake Festival will coincide with the widely popular Taste of the Valley event and the 34th annual Bonspiel on the Lake that will start on Friday evening and carry on into the weekend.
This year, food connoisseurs will be able to enjoy dishes from nine …

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Bonspiel on the Lake ready to rock

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
In addition to the delectable dishes being served as part of the Taste of the Valley and the 8th Annual Snowflake Festival, curlers from across the continent will be throwing their rocks outdoors to kick off Invermere’s annual Bonspiel on the Lake on Friday, January 20th.
Running in its 34th year, the annual Bonspiel on the Lake will be bringing in 64 teams of curlers this year to compete on eight sheets of ice located on the frozen lake just off Kinsmen Beach. If the weather remains …

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Panorama opens its slopes to National Ski Day

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
Skiers and snowboarders looking to catch a great deal on a thrilling ride will have the perfect chance this weekend at Panorama Mountain Resort as part of National Ski Day on Saturday, January 14th.
This will be the third annual CIBC National Ski Day with 17 resorts including Panorama participating across the country.
Panorama has participated for all three years and the day has been wildly successful each year said Laura Matthew, media relations at Panorama Mountain Resort.
“Panorama has a proud ski racing history and as a …

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Fairmont family lucks out with Ellen

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
There are few people who are able to say that they’ve seen Ellen DeGeneres, one of the most famous television hosts in the world, on her show in person. Fewer still are in the lucky group of people who are a part of her 12 Days of Giveaways show.
The Walstrom family of Fairmont Hot Springs can check off both of those boxes, though.
“It was Kirby’s birthday weekend getaway for us so ultimately it was just to go to the show,” Kym said. “Who knew it would …

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Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA candidates debate new housing measures

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The provincial government has recently come out with several measures designed to help homeowners.
In early January, the government announced the new BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program, which aims to help first-time homeowners with a mortgage down payment.
The program will see the government provide up to $37,500, or up to five per cent of the purchase price, through a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.
A week later, the government announced it is increasing the home owner grant …

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Ice dam causes Toby Creek to breach dike

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by


Speedy action by Invermere’s Public Works team in the face of an ice dam-choked and rapidly rising Toby Creek averted a potential disaster just before Christmas.
Ice jams, building up to the point of actually becoming ice dams, do occur on the lower reaches of Toby Creek some winters, and that was the case again this year in the week before Christmas, but with much more dramatic consequences than usual with water coming over portions of the dike running along the south bank of the river.
“It could have been a big …

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Mainroad CEO visits East Kootenay in wake of complaints

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by


With winter conditions at full bluster in the Columbia Valley, valley residents have once again taken up the annual tradition of complaining about the ploughing and clearing of local roads.
The latest complaints in the valley centre on the clearing — or lack of clearing — around Wilmer, and mirror similar complaints elsewhere in the East Kootenay.
Mainroad group president and chief executive officer Peter Ashcroft travelled to Cranbrook just before Christmas to meet with local provincial Ministry of Transportation staff, as well as East Kootenay residents and other stakeholders, and address …

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Valley readies for 16th annual Snow Golf tournament

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by


One of the valley’s more surreal sporting events is set to return in a few weeks time, with the local Kinsmen Club is gearing up for its annual snow golf tournament.
The sight of duffers carting their clubs and whacking away at coloured golf balls out on the frozen open space of Lake Windermere may be eye-catching to first-timers, but is nothing new to valley residents, since this year marks the 16th edition of the annual event.
The tournament will take place on Saturday, January 14th and offers — as it has …

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Helicopters active during avalanche training

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
About a week or so prior to the start of the Christmas holidays, Invermere residents and visitors may have noticed plenty of helicopters flying overhead, the result of a large scale avalanche rescue simulation conducted by several valley organizations.
The training exercise was initiated by Coldstream Helicopters and involved Columbia Valley Search and Rescue, Panorama Mountain Resort ski patrol, RK Heliski, the Panorama fire department and the Columbia Valley RCMP.
“This is the first time we’ve done a multi-agency response simulation,” Coldstream president Robert Gallagher told The Pioneer. “We …

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Whiteway manager encourages users to get out while it’s good

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Skaters, cross-country skiers, fat tire bikers, winter trail runners and many others got an early Christmas present with the world-famous Lake Windermere Whiteway open and in excellent shape by December 25th.
Whiteway-creating conditions — cold temperatures and calm nights — for the two weeks or so prior to Christmas Day were about as ideal as they can get and Whiteway maintainer Brad Kitching had cleared the skate track a few days before Christmas, with the ice ultra-smooth in some places and bit windblown in others, making for generally …

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Return to heaven: a Louisiana couple’s story

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
When James and Sharillynn Aucoin stood in front of their home in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, August 16th, all they could do was cry.
“We just stood there and cried,” Sharillyn told The Pioneer, remembering the day they returned to their home after the flood forced her and thousands of others in Louisiana to flee their homes for safety. “I’m still emotional about it.”
“You would see your neighbours and you would go across the street and just hug one another and be so thankful that each …

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Panorama hits a high note with new festival

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 by


By James Rose
Special to The Pioneer
Panorama Mountain Resort is hosting for the first time a music festival this coming March and tickets are now available for purchase. Taking place March 17th to 19th, festival organizers have packed the lineup with some of Canada’s best independent artists sure to fill the resort with the rhythmic sounds of blues, folk, rock and pop.
“For the lineup, we’ve selected some of our favourites, plus some of this country’s best up-and-comers,” said Panorama’s manager of signature events and partnership marketing Clarissa Amaro. “With legendary musicians …

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Christmas Star shopping spree winner gives back

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 by


By Dean Midyette
Pioneer Publisher
This year’s Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce Christmas Star $1,000 shopping spree winner was Robyn Oliver, who teaches art at David Thompson Secondary School. While on her whirlwind shopping spree, Robyn was accompanied by her shopping buddy Angel Christensen, Chamber executive director Susan Clovechok and Pioneer/Echo publisher Dean Midyette. The foursome departed from the Chamber offices shortly after noon on December 21st and began by heading north to shop at the Radium PetroCan.
As the winner was limited to an hour of in-store shopping, Robyn was well-organized …

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Leo Burrito buys Gerry’s Gelati

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by


In what may be the biggest local business scoop (pun intended) of the year, a local couple is about to become the official owners of one of Invermere’s most iconic downtown business.
Crystal Leonard and Stuart Cope, already well-known in the Columbia Valley as the owners and operators of Leo Burrito in Radium Hot Springs, have bought Gerry’s Gelati Cafe and Stolen Church coffee (along with the un-missable giant red ice cream truck, and the mini golf course) from Invermere mayor and Gerry’s Gelati business founder Gerry Taft, and are set …

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Whiteway could be up before Christmas

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by


Warm conditions well into early December resulted in a late freeze for Lake Windermere, but the ensuing cold snap in mid-December caused the lake to frost over quickly thereafter, leaving Whiteway maintenance manager Brad Kitching to think (as of The Pioneer’s press deadline) that maybe, just maybe, the Whiteway could be up and running a day or two before Christmas.
On Monday, December 19th when The Pioneer went to press, the lake had about eight inches of ice.
The lake needs at least 10 or 11 inches (25 to 29 centimetres) …

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Anonymous part-time Radium reside makes hefty donation for the community hall

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by


A substantial — and for now, anonymous — donation has dramatically cut down the cost of the proposed new Radium Hot Springs Community Hall.
The hall, which has already been the subject of much discussion and a stir of minor controversy over the public approval method for it, was projected to cost $3.2 million (over and above funding already in place) in a November estimate.
In its December newsletter, however, the village announced that a part-time Radium resident, who is particularly fond of the community, has donated $500,000 to the project.
“I understand …

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