2013: July in review

Looking back on the top news stories from July of last year

Canim Lake Band Elders and youth smudged the ancient Green Lake burial site on July 12 after the First Nations remains were relocated farther away from the steep and eroding shoreline to protect them. After years of preparation

Canim Lake Band Elders and youth smudged the ancient Green Lake burial site on July 12 after the First Nations remains were relocated farther away from the steep and eroding shoreline to protect them. After years of preparation

Week 27 – July 3

Gales perish in plane crash

On June 29, South Cariboo residents Terry Gale and Rita Turnbull-Gale, of Buffalo Creek, perished in their Cessna 150 airplane along with their dog in a mid-air collision.

A powered glider pilot from Pemberton, Rudy Rozsypalek, and his passenger also died in the crash.

The tragedy occurred over Nairn Falls Provincial Park campground near Pemberton, which was packed with people at the time.

B.C. Budget tweaked

The 2013 provincial budget handed down on June 27 had some minor differences from the budget tabled in February.

Revenues were down, forecasts showed the economy would grow steadily over the next three years, and the carbon tax was frozen until 2018.

Meanwhile, a $500-million budget reduction would be undertaken for government operations across the ministries.

Provincial debt tick-tocks

Jordan Bateman, British Columbia director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) committed to bring the B.C. Debt Clock to 100 Mile House on July 9, as part of his rapid fire tour of 30 communities in 14 days.

He said B.C.’s provincial debt was ticking upward at $215 per second and headed to nearly $70 billion by 2016, so the CTF decided it was time to send its iconic debt clock around the B.C.


Week 28 – July 10

Local schools to be sold

More than a dozen schools and properties across the Cariboo-Chilcotin were listed for sale by School District #27 in the summer of 2013.

Five properties in the South End went on the block, including Buffalo Creek Elementary School and 100 Mile House Junior Secondary School. However, the Junior Secondary’s gymnasium was to be used for Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School physical education classes in 2013/14.

Timber supply, land use discussed

A report on the mid-term timber supply and potential for a science-based review to open up the Cariboo Chilcotin Land Use Plan was presented to District of 100 Mile House council.

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations director Rodger Stewart discussed the gravity of the regional situation, but also cautioned stakeholders that if the plan was opened up for review and changes, things could swing the other way, and end up reducing timber supply.

Teachers reject intervention

B.C’s public school teachers voted overwhelmingly in favour of opposing government interference in their contract negotiation process.

Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers’ Federation acting president Joan Erb said it almost seemed like the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association was then working together with the union to resist government intervention in the bargaining process they have underway.


Week 29 – July 17

Green Lake burial site relocated

A solemn crowd gathered at Green Lake to witness the relocation of the ancient remains of 15 First Nations people.

Eight leading archeologists toiled for about 10 days prior to the ceremony, painstakingly sifting through the soil to remove the ancestral remains. Their task was to move them to safer ground a few steps further away from the lake, before erosion could further disturb the site – possibly losing the remains forever.

Exciting eagle rescue at Interlakes

Jim Smith of Hathaway Lake rescued an injured bald eagle in a dramatic capture and subsequent thrilling release.

After the huge bird was found stunned, he was advised by Second Chance Wildlife Rescue (SCWR) in Quesnel how to carefully cover the bird for capture. Smith walked up to the intimidating raptor, gently wrapped it in a blanket and put it in the box, while his wife stood well back suggesting he be careful. SCWR then rehabilitated the eagle, and returned it to Smith for release.


Mountain trek turns perilous

South Cariboo Search and Rescue (SAR) had 14 members respond to assist BC Ambulance Services (BCAS) when a group of hikers called in for help to a remote, high-elevation mountain site near Crooked Lake.

SAR trekked through steep and challenging terrain beyond Hendrix Lake to help rescue a 13-year-old hiker who had suddenly succumbed to stomach pains. BCAS airlifted the youth to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.


Week 30 – July 24

Local forester firefights in Yukon

100 Mile House forest protection officer Chris Betuzzi was one of a team of people from British Columbia that travelled to the Yukon to help fight rampant wildfires.

Betuzzi headed north on June 20 to supervise firefighting efforts from a base in Whitehorse.

He went with a couple of other senior officers and 21 firefighters to help with the Yukon fire situation, after numerous lightning storms hit the area forests and started fires unmanageable by local crews.

Land use plan changes protested

Dave Neads helped create the Cariboo-Chilcotin Land Use Plan (CCLUP) back in the 1980’s-’90s, and expressed his profound dismay at a movement to open it up for logging in sensitive areas.

Neads talked openly about the “so-called scientific-review rhetoric,” and said the science hasn’t changed or become obsolete, but the timber supply has shrunk. He called it an “unwarranted attack” to undermine and remove agreed-upon protections in the CCLUP.

BCPSEA ousted from bargaining

New Education Minister Peter Fassbender enacted a significant change to public school teacher bargaining as one of his first actions.

He said government was moving to a co-governance model for provincial bargaining directly with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. The BC Public School Employers’ Association would instead function as an “important supporting role” in providing “expert advice” to school boards on daily labour issues.


Week 31 – July 31

School board chair resigns

Will Van Osch stepped down from his position as chair of the School District #27 board.

He planned to continue as Zone 1 trustee until the next local-government election in 2014, and wanted to ensure someone experienced in the role of chair remained in place.

Van Osch said other trustees would have a better opportunity to train and serve as chair while he is still on the board, in case he doesn’t run for trustee again in the fall of 2014.


Prosperity panel hears passionate pleas

The New Prosperity Gold-Copper Project public hearings in Williams Lake were emotionally charged by Day 2 (July 23).

Three 100 Mile House businesspersons – Al Roberts, Nick Christianson and Len Doucette – spoke passionately to the review panel about the positive socioeconomic impact they believe the mine would have on their families and community.

They asked the panel to recommend that the mine project be passed in the federal environmental review.


Centennial Park area singed

A fire near Centennial Park was quickly nipped in the bud by 11 members of 100 Mile House Fire-Rescue along with four trucks.

The small blaze of less than a hectare in size involved a couple of candling trees just above a wooden bridge over Bridge Creek. The Wildfire Management Branch also dispatched four crew members and a helicopter to assist, but subsequently stood down as the local fire department had it contained.