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Council sticks to its guns

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
Another pitch made to develop the Athalmer waterfront — and another unenthusiastic response from the District of Invermere council.
Instead of a few good-looking homes, services and paved roads, the area adjacent to Pete’s Marina will likely continue to sit as a dusty expanse of undeveloped lots and basking grounds for the odd river otter. In the long-term, that may be a good thing.
The lack of foreshore access around Invermere is a legacy of poor planning and short-sighted decision making in the past, as well as a …

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Enter Bill 4?

Posted on April 4th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
In Steve Hubrecht’s story about Columbia Lake access in Fairmont Hot Springs (page 5), one must appreciate the idealism expressed by Mr. Chin.
After all, it’s precisely this attitude one expects and hopes for in a Ministry of Environment staff member — to (in his words) “steward this piece of land as an environmental trust.”
Our tax dollars pay people like him to hold such values dear to heart, to protect these tracts of wildlife for perpetuity in the context of an exploding global population and an ever-increasing …

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Governments clueless on proper spending

Posted on March 28th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
The provincial government spends $200,000 per year on a municipality without residents. The federal government is set to cut health care equalization payments by $16.5 billion dollars.
It seems governments at these levels are capable of making some very poor choices with taxpayers’ dollars.
While municipalities face ever increasing costs and downloaded responsibilities from the provincial level, the province feels its alright to lavish operational funding on a municipality that’s non-operational. I have no problem with money to help keep a community going through tough times, and …

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Curling, coffee and a collision

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
I never thought I would take up the sport of curling — yet now I can tell you what it means to hurry hard, curl it to the button, throw a raise or perform a takeout.
For myself and my Runty’s Wild Card teammates, the Invermere Curling Club turned us from skeptics to believers over the course of just a few months. These were winless months until we caught on to some playoff magic, making a (lucky) run that was stopped only by the eventual recreation league …

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Thoughts on a Pi-oneer production day

Posted on March 14th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
Math nerds rejoice — today is March 14th, sometimes denoted as 3-14 — and now commonly known as Pi Day.
If the graphic on this newspaper’s cover has confounded you, let me explain: pi is a constant used to compare the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The number is roughly 3.14159, though as an irrational number, it’s decimal figures never end. Every year, memory champions devise new ways to remember more decimal places of the number — in 2006, Akira Haraguchi, a retired …

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Deer more lovable than shellfish

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
“We only want to protect the cute ones, folks.”
This line from Denis Leary’s 1992 comedy album No Cure for Cancer is highly relevant to the current situation in the East Kootenays, where a few individuals have turned towards lawlessness after failing to prevent deer culls using the legal system.
The bright-eyed ungulates clearly inspire far more devotion than some lesser creatures — namely scallops harvested commercially in the Vancouver Island area, who endured an unnatural cull to the tune of 10 million deaths recently, after pH levels …

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Employment holes prove tough to fill

Posted on February 28th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos
Pioneer Staff
Jobs, jobs everywhere, and not a person to fill them. This is the reality in the Columbia Valley, where the seasonal nature of our tourism-based economy creates an employment feeding frenzy every spring.
Want work in a hotel, restaurant, golf course, or resort? You got it — and bring a couple friends while you’re at it. It’s about making hay while the sun shines, and if you’re prepared to work long hours for modest wages, you can save up a good bundle before heading back to the …

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The pace of place

Posted on February 21st, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
The Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, where I spent some travel time in January, is similar to the Columbia Valley in that the region is made up of a main centre surrounded by a number of smaller communities, linked together via one main traffic artery.
When I first arrived, I took a bus to travel up this road and check out these coastal communities. To my horror, as the bus hurtled down the jungle-lined roadway, it was narrowly missing pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and even freely roaming dogs, …

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Protect what you love

Posted on February 14th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
It’s a headline 500-million years in the making:
Kootenay National Park is proving to be a more valuable national treasure than its founders could have dreamed.
The significance of the Burgess Shale in nearby Yoho National Park is not lost on anyone who has even a passing interest in paleontology. It’s a world treasure, and the new find near Marble Canyon may prove to be just as valuable.
It’s high time that the provincial government gets busy on protecting our fossil heritage. Shockingly, B.C. lags behind …

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Paying deerly for poor decisions

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos
Pioneer Staff
As most valley residents could have predicted, the B.C. Supreme Court has not lent a sympathetic ear to the Invermere Deer Protection Society’s legal attempt to shut down Invermere’s deer cull. After dismissing the lawsuit last November, they’ve now awarded partial costs to the District of Invermere, lessening the hit on taxpayers by nearly $15,000.
The society has every right to fight for what they believe in, though the monetary loss they’ve incured on themselves could not be an easy pill to swallow. But it pales in comparison …

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Idiots on ice need oversight

Posted on January 31st, 2014 by


By Steve Hubrecht, Pioneer Staff
On almost any weekend visit to Lake Windermere (to ice fish, skate or cross-country ski the Whiteway, or to
simply enjoy the lake) you are bound to encounter the lake’s idiots on ice — those drivers who feel the need to rip around the ice at high speed, purposefully fishtailing and sliding for kicks or to display how infinitely cool they really are.
So this week’s news (see page 25) that an allegedly drunk driver hit an ice-fishing shack is hardly surprising. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to …

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Wrapping your head around numbers

Posted on January 24th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
There’s no shortage of budget numbers for any journalist in Canada to contemplate. Just for fun, let’s take a look at the latest number-crunching arising from the B.C. government’s June budget update.
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy has looked at the province’s balance sheets, and conveniently scaled the provincial government spending habits down to that of an average family in British Columbia.
The results: it would earn $68,733 this year — the provincial average household income. It would spend $68,200 this year — leaving $467 for …

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Always-unpredictable frozen landscapes

Posted on January 17th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
An email on Monday morning from the Regional District of East Kootenay got straight to the point.
“The Windermere Fire Department is urging the public to use caution on the ice,” read the warning from Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue Service fire chief Jim Miller. “While the ice is 15 inches or thicker in many areas, it can be five inches or less in others. We are urging everyone who uses and recreates on the lake to use common sense and caution, especially in areas like …

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Whiteways of the future?

Posted on January 10th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
Thanks to some tremendous efforts from a few dedicated locals, the 31-kilometre Whiteway on Lake Windermere is a fantastic attraction for the region this year.
I learned a few of the nuances of maintaining such a vast trail system by speaking with the Toby Creek Nordic Club’s Brad Kitching last week. (Check out the superb map Brad made, printed on page 3 of this paper.) While consistent winter temperatures are a big part of the equation, so too is being vigilant in keeping the ice track clear …

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From tragedy to inspiration

Posted on January 3rd, 2014 by


By Greg Amos
Pioneer Staff
You can’t talk to a paralympic athlete without feeling a little inspired to make more out of what you’ve got.
That’s the conclusion I’ve gained from conversations I’ve had over the last month with Kurt Oatway, Josh Dueck, and Mac Marcoux — three guys who’ve each converted their own loss into a determined athletic drive that’s enabled them to compete with the best in the world on the Paralympic stage.
These three, and their teammates on the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team (CPAST) embody what human spirit is all about …

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The peaks and valleys of 2013

Posted on January 2nd, 2014 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
A year ago, excited chatter amongst some in the valley centred around the end of the Mayan calendar, and all the world-ending or world-renewing possibilities that woud bring.
Fast forward a year later, and some would say we’re facing the same question — only this time, the
subject at hand is last Thursday’s conditional approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.
While it’s not quite the oil-spill-apocalypse-in-waiting that many paint it to be, it’s impossible to ignore the climate change implications of opening access to a new fossil-fuel-hungry market in …

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The makings of a merry Christmas

Posted on December 20th, 2013 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
With the recently-revealed recommendations around B.C. liquor laws that call for B.C. to join the other provinces in allowing pubs to offer discounted drinks for happy hour, seasonal cheer could look different in a year from now.
And that’s a good thing, because this province seems to be stuck in the Prohibition era when it comes to controlling alcohol. For rural areas like the Columbia Valley, these changes are even better.
Royal Canadian Legion branches and pubs would have the freedom to admit under-age family members, and …

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Sense and Sensible BC

Posted on December 13th, 2013 by


By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff
The push to reform B.C.’s enforcement of laws around marijuana possession has puffed out, gone up in smoke, burned out — there’s no shortage of metaphors for this one.
In a failed campaign that had a distinctly different result from the anti-HST frenzy that resulted in a successful citizens’ petition two years ago, Sensible BC’s push for change got stalled around the stigma many feel when signing a petition that has to do with marijuana.
It’s ironic that the local organizer saw how much interest the petition …

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Deer appeal disappointing

Posted on December 6th, 2013 by


By Greg Amos
Pioneer Staff
There’s something to be said for accepting defeat with dignity, even when it comes to deeply-held convictions around a deer’s right to live.
Though I didn’t vote in favour of using culls as a tool to manage Invermere’s urban deer, there’s no way I can support the Invermere Deer Protection Society’s latest attempt to keep the issue alive in the courts. The B.C. Supreme Court’s ruling was clear — that avenue is now as closed as Invermere’s main street was during Light Up Night — and kicking a …

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If you build it, will they come?

Posted on November 29th, 2013 by


By Greg Amos
Pioneer Staff
Thus far, the two 90-amp electric vehicle chargers found in Invermere have been far from a smashing success.With little signage and even fewer actual electric vehicles owned by local people, the charging stations are well-intentioned but little-used pieces of local infrastructure.
But despite the anemic amperage flowing from the meters, it would be a mistake for taxpayer watchdogs to make these units the target of an attack of local government spending. The cost was minimal, and a decade from now we’ll probably see this as a deal.
Local government …

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