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Word on the street

Posted on July 25th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
Another Vallley Appreciation Day has come and gone, and this year’s event was seemingly so successful that the District of Invermere council has unanimously agreed to follow it up with three more street parties in August.
When VAD hit 25 last summer, the Invermere Farmer’s Market moved over to 7th Avenue to help mark the occasion. For the first time, market vendors joined year-round businesses on the main street to help create a pedestrian-friendly zone rivalling those in bigger city centres with the added bonus of being …

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Sunny side up

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
As temperatures in the valley soared to 37 C last weekend, one thing is for certain: there is no shortage of sunlight in the Columbia Valley. And the B.C. government (presumably with a little prodding from Kootenay East MLA and Energy and Mines minister Bill Bennett) has taken stock of this natural inventory and invested in an innovative new solar farm — just south of Canal Flats in Kimberley.
A contaminated old mine donated by Teck Resources (which operates five open-pit coal mines in the Elk Valley) …

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Good news for a change

Posted on July 11th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
If you live in the valley, or are a regular visitor here, likely you’ve been eyeing the disappearing snow line with some skepticism, and more than a little disbelief. But the verdict is in: the annual runoff is a done deal and the valley is emerging unscathed for the first time in years.
From this point onwards, water levels will recede, the sandy beaches will grow, and everyone who’s been hit hard by the flooding events of 2012 and 2013 can breathe a sigh of relief, kick back, …

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Constitutional, or not?

Posted on July 4th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
As the development of Jumbo Glacier Resort Mountain Resort Municipality moves ahead at a glacial pace, the controversy surrounding the project remains ever present. Regular council meetings, a business-as-usual ministerial tour of the area to inspect road access, and ongoing provincial funding of the project don’t seem to be doing the trick when it comes to convincing naysayers the future resort is legit and on its way to being realized.
Set aside the 20 years of debate and community conflict that preceded the government’s approval of the …

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What the TFW?

Posted on June 27th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
The suspension of the federal Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program was disappointing news for business owners in the Columbia Valley who have relied on the labour force it’s provided over the years to fill jobs they have otherwise been unable to fill.
The revisions to the program by federal Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney came much faster than anyone expected; and are an even bigger disappointment than the suspension.
Abuses of the program were supposed to be corrected in the interim, but the wide-sweeping changes …

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Life is a song

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
Readers were probably as surprised as we were when The Pioneer came out last week with a little snippet of whimsical storytelling filling the page 3 news box where last week’s teachers’ strike story was supposed to start.
Anyone expecting to read about the latest development in the ongoing B.C. teachers’ strike were instead poetically introduced to a young local talent, Abby Wells, who will be performing at the upcoming Steamboat Mountain Music Festival.
A computer glitch followed by two separate incidents of human oversight caused the glaring error, …

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Holding education hostage

Posted on June 13th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
What kind of government rips up a negotiated collective bargaining contract? Well, the previous BC Liberal government under Gordon Campbell’s leadership also sprung the HST surprise on B.C. residents and locked BC Hydro into a $55 billion debt with IPPs (independant power projects). That this same administration was found guilty by the Supreme Court of B.C. for unlawfully stripping the teachers’ collective agreement of many previously negotiated guarantees seems par for the course.
Campbell’s unpopular legacy — which led to his resignation in 2010 — left his …

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The Whiteway cracks a Guinness

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
Local restaurants and bars might find that they have a hot commodity in stock in the coming months as word spreads about the Lake Windermere Whiteway being named the world’s longest ice skating trail in The Guinness Book of Records.
The link between the book and the brew is quite real. The world record book was the brainchild of a Sir Hugh Beaver in 1951, who at the time was the managing director of the Guinness Breweries. An argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe …

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Home is where the art is

Posted on May 29th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
If there is one thing the Columbia Valley community can’t be faulted for, it’s caring. People here care, almost too much (if there is such a thing). Hence, the divisive debate over Jumbo Glacier Resort, over the deer cull, and as of late, over the planned multi-use centre in Invermere. Recently, library supporters have been outspoken about their desire to see the Invermere library included in phase one, not phase two, of the new building’s construction. Admittedly, thirty years is a long time to wait for improvements …

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If schools were dams

Posted on May 23rd, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
Once again, B.C. students are faced with stepped-up job action by teachers. Teachers, if they do end up on the picket lines this coming Monday, likely stand to lose as much money over the next six weeks than the wage increase they’re fighting for if a settlement isn’t reached before the end of the school year, as the strike action is scheduled to continue to the end of June if the government doesn’t come to the table with what the BC Teachers’ Federation deems to be a …

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Eye on Lake Enid

Posted on May 16th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
The May long weekend in the Columbia Valley means a lot of great things to a lot of great people. It’s the time of year when the warmer weather lures everyone out of any lingering winter hibernation: hikers, bikers, golfers, patio patrons, watersports lovers, campers… you name the activity, and its enthusiasts will be out in droves for these much-anticipated three days that mark the early start of summer here on the warm side of the Rockies.
Understandably, like everywhere else, the celebration tends to get a …

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A+ for Area F

Posted on May 9th, 2014 by


By Nicole Trigg
Pioneer Staff
Fairmont Hot Springs has seen its fair share of growing pains over the last couple of years. Flooding events in 2012 and 2013 damaged homes and disrupted business owners’ livelihoods. The community has had to cope with tragedy after a fire ripped through the partially built Columbia Eagle condominium block in late 2012. More recently, a BC Parks plan to formally alter the community’s access to Columbia Lake ignited heated debate.
But luck may be turning for the little resort community with the newest announcement that government …

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Two tales of justice

Posted on May 2nd, 2014 by


By Greg Amos,
Pioneer Staff
On Monday, Invermere saw the final chapters in two high-profile court cases: one a case of justice served, the other a tale of justice being straight-jacketed.
The careless actions of a Vancouver truck driver resulted in guilty verdicts on all four counts of dangerous driving causing death after a horrific July 2011 accident. It won’t bring back the family of four who died in a terrible way, but will at least shine a light on a Canadian justice system that works slowly, but in the end — two …

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Giving ain’t easy

Posted on April 25th, 2014 by


By Greg Amos
Pioneer Staff
Don’t believe everything you read — especially what I wrote last week about donating blood in Cranbrook.
As it turns out, that can’t be done. Although Cranbrook is a regional hub city with a Red Cross office, blood donation is not an option there. In fact, after a quick chat with a Canadian Red Cross agent, I learned one has to travel as far as Canmore in order to donate blood — and only if you’re there on the right day.
The next mobile blood clinic to hit …

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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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