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Athalmer boat launch in need of upgrade

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


Invermere council will look at the possibility of improvements to the Athalmer boat launch, after receiving a report at the most recent meeting suggesting some upgrades need to be done. 
Aquaparian Environmental Consulting Ltd. completed an assessment of both of Invermere’s boat launches (Athalmer and Bayshore), which was received by council at its Tuesday, May 10th meeting. Council voted to integrate boat launch improvements details into the review process for the 2017 budget. 
The report outlines multiple problems with the Athalmer boat launch, stating that “the existing concrete boat ramp is inadequate and impacts to both the upland and the aquatic environment at the Athalmer launch are expected to increase over time if nothing is done to improve the facility. Conflicts between ramp users are also an ongoing issue at the site. The site has multiple land ownership and no existing infrastructure to control visitors or to install a user-pay system for subsidizing improvements and maintenance costs over time.” 
The site of the boat launch has been highly impacted, according to the report, resulting in a lack of upland habitat and degraded aquatic habitat in the area right in front of the launch. 
The report makes several recommendations to improve the situation, including excavating and regrading the boat ramp footprint to make it steeper and deeper; removing the north half of the existing concrete slab and replacing it with a similar sized new addition on the south side; creating a manned or patrolled parking lot with designated spaces for vehicles and trails as well as a user-pay system; and limiting use of the ramp to shallow draft boats (suitable for water 1.5 metres deep). 
“The District of Invermere has recently attempted to improve launching with the placement of cobble material, but the site continues to have significant disturbance impacts and cannot continue to be used safely without considering dredging excess material,” reads the report. 
“The boat launch needs some work,” Invermere director of development services Rory Hromadnik told council during the meeting, adding that district staff will need some direction from council on what kind of public consultation to undertake. 
“We need to get a site survey, get a river profile and find out what we’re asking to excavate,” he said, adding the project could be quite timeconsuming as it will involve permits, approval or authorization from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans; the provincial Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operation’s (FLNRO) water stewardship branch; FLRNO’s ecosystems branch; FLNRO’s Crown Lands division; and Transport Canada. He pointed out that some of these steps and approvals can take more than a month, with the lease application from Crown Lands division possibly taking up to a year. 
“The cost will be $40,000 to $50,000 per launch just for the application. The engineering and design is $15,000 to $20,000 and the consultation is at least $10,000, and with the other steps, it adds up. It’s possible (the application) could end up only being $35,000 per launch, but that’s a really conservative estimate at the low end,” said Hromadnik. “When you actually get to constructing the site, woooo, that’s a big number, probably at least $160,000 but possibly more than $200,000. But you can’t even think about that until you’ve invested in getting shovel-ready (by doing the application process).” 
Hromadnik told council that the launching situation at the Athalmer launch is bad enough that he knows three separate people who have damaged their boats there.  
“We may have to close (the launch) when the water gets too shallow,” he said. 
Invermere mayor Gerry Taft said he would see if there is any possibility of securing some funding for the project from the Regional District of East Kootenay.  
“It (the Athalmer launch) is in Invermere, but the reality is it’s not just for Invermere boats. This is the key launch for the lake and the main one in the valley,” he said. 
Taft added that the parking situation in the area is complicated, since not much land near the launch is actually municipal right of way, and a lot is private land . 

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Radium course debris trucked to Alberta

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


The demolition debris pile at the Radium Course that came to provincial attention when it caught fire earlier this year is being hauled away to Alberta, a move that one of contractors doing the work has pointed out means a substantial chunk of lost revenue for the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).
Valley resident Glenn Findlay is helping to haul the waste material. He told The Pioneer that initially it was heading to the landfill in Windermere, run by the RDEK, but that the Radium Course switched to dumping …

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Doug Clovechok

Clovechok selected as candidate for 2017 provincial election

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


After coming up short on his bid to become an MLA in the 2013 provincial election, Fairmont Hot Springs resident Doug Clovechok is taking aim once more at becoming the elected member of the legislative assembly for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding in 2017.
Mr. Clovechok previously ran for office as the riding’s Liberal candidate in 2013 but came up 1,616 votes short of usurping incumbent NDP Norm Macdonald’s seat in Victoria, earning 36.19 per cent of the vote.
He said from the moment he knew he was mathematically eliminated in 2013, he’s …

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Conservation Investigating Illegal Mature Cow Moose Poaching

Posted on May 27th, 2016 by


On Saturday, May 7th, conservation officers received information of a potential wildlife act violation of an animal being poached out of season. The violation took place on Bruce Creek Forestry Road west of Lake Enid.
“On May 8th, officers responded and located the remains of a moose, a moose gut pile. So we determined that it was a mature cow moose,” said Invermere conservation officer Greg Kruger.
Upon further investigation, conservation officers were able to identify three individuals involved in the Wildlife Act violation. Two of the three individuals are B.C. residents …

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SITE PREP — Construction on the new Columbia Valley Centre has officially begun, with an expected completion date of spring 2017. Photo by Eric Elliott

Construction begins on new community centre in Invermere

Posted on May 24th, 2016 by


On Friday, May 20th, work began on the new community centre in Invermere. Once completed, the new facility will be able to accommodate functions and small conventions of up to 500 people; house the Invermere Public Library; and provide a gathering place for residents. The building is projected to open to the public in fall 2017, replacing the previous Community Hall which first opened in 1946.
The $7.9 million project will receive $2 million through the federal Gas Tax Fund. In addition, the Columbia Basin Trust will provide $500,000; the Regional …

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REACH-ing FOR THE STARS — Grade 10 David Thompson Secondary School art student Sydney Demmon is the poster winner for this year’s REACH Art Show, which highlights the unique creativity of local high school students at Pynelogs Cultural Centre.
Photo Nikki Fredrikson

Invermere art student chosen as REACH poster winner

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by


By Nikki Fredrikson
Pioneer Staff
For Sydney Demmon, a Grade 10 student at David Thompson Secondary School, finding out that her art piece was chosen as the poster piece for the REACH Art Show came as a surprise.
“I went to get my report card and our art teacher had set my report card aside… and it had art show written across the front of it. She told me that (my painting) was picked for the poster and I was just shocked because I never thought that I would have been picked,” …

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BEAR JAM — A grizzly family crosses Highway 93  north of Olive Lake in June 2014. Apart from allowing bears to cross, a no stopping rule is now in effect. File photo by Brian Spreadbury

No stopping zone in place for Kootenay National Park

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
It’s that time of year again when bears emerge from hibernation up in the mountains to look for food at lower elevations.
While this may seem like an opportune moment to catch a glimpse of bears, it can actually be more dangerous than you think.
“I think a lot of people don’t necessarily understand that if a bear is roadside, it’s still a wild animal,” said Jon Stuart-Smith, Human-Wildlife Conflict Specialist with Parks Canada. “People start to think that it’s more like a zoo situation and the animal doesn’t …

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Crew shooting feature film in Invermere

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff

Invermere is about to see a little bit of lights, camera and action as cast and crew for a new feature film descend on the community from Halifax and Toronto to shoot their movie starting next week.
Those behind the film, entitled Suck It Up, have been working on it for several years and are excited to be on the verge of filming, which is scheduled to happen in and around Invermere from May 25th to June 15th.
“I still don’t believe that we are finally at this point,” …

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New signs to help tourists in the Columbia Valley

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff

New to the Columbia Valley and looking for activities to do? Soon that information will be readily available as the Columbia Valley Tourism Marketing Committee is planning to erect multiple road signs to direct people to the must-see areas throughout the valley.
The Tourism Marketing Committee came together looking for new ideas to help visitors and newly-arrived residents find ways to the area’s biggest attractions such as beaches, museums, golf courses, libraries and ski hills in the area that aren’t well-known.
Currently, if people wanted to get this type …

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Windermere Valley Dirt Riders Club to host first-ever race

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
It’s been a long time coming for the Windermere Valley Dirt Riders Club but after four years in existence, they will be hosting their first off-road motorcycle race, the “Panorama Hare Scramble,” at Panorama Mountain Resort.
Started in 2012, the club was essentially a group of people from around the valley who had a direct interest in dirt bike racing. Gradually, interest grew within the dirt biking community as more and more people brought their dirt bikes out to ride together.
Almost a year ago now, Kendyl Hart, president …

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Craft Beer Fest returns to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
Craft beer enthusiasts from around the valley, get ready, the East Kootenay Beer Festival will be returning for the fifth consecutive year at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.
The event will take place on Saturday, June 18th starting at 4 p.m. with 45 different varieties of beer from over 12 different breweries. This year’s Beer Fest marks the fifth annual festival after the resort sold out last year’s event with 500 tickets.
This year, organizers have decided to add an additional 200 tickets, bringing their maximum capacity to 700 people. …

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Valley community rallies in support of fire relief

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
Residents of Fort McMurray, Alberta had their worst dreams realized on May 3rd as an out-of-control wildfire ripped through the city and surrounding area, destroying thousands of homes in its wake.
That Tuesday afternoon, the city was placed under mandatory evacuation with 80,000 people forced to flee from their homes, with warnings, in some cases, of only 30 minutes. As of May 10th, the fire, stretching over 85,000 hectares, destroyed 2,400 buildings with 25,000 saved by relief efforts.
In the Columbia Valley, local businesses are joining together …

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Horsepower limit proponent corrects misinformation

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Transport Canada’s public comment period on the proposed 20-horsepower limit for the main stem of the Columbia River may have closed a few weeks ago, but discussion on the matter continues to swirl in the Upper Columbia Valley, and proponents of the regulation are not only attempting to make their views known, but also frequently trying to clarify that the horsepower limit would not apply to Lake Windermere or Columbia Lake.
Several sources have conveyed, incorrectly, that the lakes would be part of the proposed regulations, including a …

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Grants enable women’s workshops

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
Columbia Valley women looking to learn more about running their own businesses or getting into the trades will have more opportunity to do so this year, with two local women having received separate grants to run a series of workshops.
Invermere residents Steph Van de Kemp and Theresa Wood are among 19 women across the whole province to earn Catalyst for Growth grants, which are given out by the Women’s Enterprise Centre to initiatives that help encourage more B.C. women to get involved in business, trades or other …

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Facility fundraising explained

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


Submitted by Justin Atterbury
Councillor DOI/Chair CV Fundraising Committee
We had some great news a couple of weeks ago when District of Invermere (DOI) council awarded the contract to build the new Columbia Valley Community Centre to Rendeck and Assoc. This project has taken over 20 years to get to this point and I believe this is cause for celebration.
After the announcement there seems to be some confusion as to what the costing includes and what is still being fundraised. There also seems to be confusion as to what the meaning …

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BALANCING ACT — Maren Gillies on beam at the Kootenay Zone Championship. Photo submitted

Glacier Peaks shines in zone championship

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Glacier Peaks Gymnastics club recently attended the Kootenay Zone Championship for the first time ever and put in a fantastic performance, with the club’s Junior Olympic girls Level 1 to 3 team winning the championship.
The Level 1 to 3 team (Megan Bell, Maren Gillies, Emily Bell and Aurora St. Amand) had a complete podium sweep in the all-around event as well as in several individual events.
“I was overwhelmed with excitement. We train in such a small facility and we were going up against girls that train …

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Telus, one of the raptors to be released.

Two raptors to be released during Wings festival

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
As part of the 20th annual Wings over the Rockies festival this week, spectators will have the chance to view two raptors being rehabilitated into the wild on Sunday, May 15th.
The release is all part of Project Take Flight Raptor Rehabilitation Flight Cage, which allows formerly injured raptors to learn to fly once their injuries have healed. Commonly known as birds of prey, raptors include a number of species such as hawks, eagles, osprey and harriers, to name a few.
Mark Zehnder and Judy Burns, both veterinarians …

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MAVERICK MOUNTAINEER — Valley resident and CMH co-founder Leo Grillmair, now in his 80s, is the focus of a new film that’s screening at Pynelogs on May 25th. Photo submitted

Film documents life of famous valley resident

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
A film featuring the outrageous yet true stories of one of the Upper Columbia Valley’s most famous residents will be shown at Pynelogs.
The hour-and-a-half-long film centres around Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) co-founder Leo Grillmair (who, along with fellow co-founder Hans Gmoser, pioneered heliskiing) reminiscing about some of his more hair-raising exploits.
The project was the idea of valley resident David Goldsmith, who has been hiking with Mr. Grillmair for almost two decades.
“You would be sitting around the campfire listening to his stories — surviving a helicopter crash, …

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HOSPITAL DROP — Dr. Fernando Vasquez Pe’rez (holding the NJT documentation) with Jane Tames (centre) and Marlene Chabot (right) outside the Cira Garcia hospital in Havana, Cuba. Photo submitted

Local travellers become more than just tourists

Posted on May 13th, 2016 by


By Eric Elliott
Pioneer Staff
Packing for a vacation can be a thought-consuming and time-intensive process. You carefully select what to pack, including your swimsuit, clothes and basic utilities.
For Marlene Chabot and Jane Tames, a rather unique item was added to the packing list: a suitcase filled with medical supplies.
The two friends planned a two-week vacation to Cuba where Ms. Chabot’s cousin Iris Cogger was staying, and Ms. Cogger mentioned to her cousin a not-for-profit organization called Not Just Tourists.
Created in the 1990s by Dr. Ken Taylor and his wife …

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Wetlands conservation proposal incites backlash

Posted on May 6th, 2016 by


By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff
The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors recently passed a motion in support of the proposed horsepower limit on the main channel of the Columbia River, with the issue continuing to generate discussion here in the Columbia Valley.
The board voted at its Friday, April 8th meeting to send a letter to the federal Minister of Transport requesting that the proposed 20-horsepower limit on the river (excluding Lake Windermere and Columbia Lake) be approved.
“The RDEK has worked closely with the proponents of this regulation …

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