2013: May in review

Looking back on the top news stories from May 2013

B.C. Liberal Cariboo-Chilcotin candidate Donna Barnett was all smiles and gave the thumbs up during her victory speech at her campaign office in 100 Mile House on election night May 14. She won by a landslide margin of almost 2

B.C. Liberal Cariboo-Chilcotin candidate Donna Barnett was all smiles and gave the thumbs up during her victory speech at her campaign office in 100 Mile House on election night May 14. She won by a landslide margin of almost 2

Week 18 – May 1

Chamber president resigns

South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce president Tom Bachynski shocked many of the 40 members and directors present when he announced he was stepping down at its annual general meeting on April 25.

If any barrier exists for the chamber to move forward, he said it is in its relationships with government, local government in particular, and he believed his position on the board was at times “a hindrance.”


NDP: oops, didn’t mean that

Election shrapnel was flying at an all-candidates forum after Cariboo-Chilcotin NDP candidate Charlie Wyse said his party supported a two-year moratorium on natural gas development.

Industry leaders and B.C. Liberals reacted swiftly to point out a moratorium would kill liquefied natural gas extraction in British Columbia. Wyse later said his statements regarding a potential moratorium and his party’s policy platform on fracking were “simply in error.”


School District audited

Auditor General John Doyle selected School District #27 (SD27) as one of three B.C. school districts to audit.

His recommendations for the Cariboo-Chilcotin school board included that it create formal whistle-blower and conflict-of-interest policies, as well as to continually review its governance activities and to ensure the board sufficiently delegates operational activities to management.


Week 19 – May 8

Premier pops in at 100 Mile House

Premier Christy Clark visited 100 Mile House during a tour of the Interior on May 2.

After a public reception at the Red Rock Grill, the B.C. Liberal Leader talked about increasing jobs and resource revenues, and paused to compliment Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.

“Donna [Barnett] makes sure we get it done…. I don’t think this community has been so well represented since Alex Fraser … she is so good.”


Public education assessments assessed

The Ministry of Education initiated an advisory group to examine the ability of provincial student assessments, including Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) testing, to generate appropriate information.

Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers’ Association president Joan Erb said she had some concerns.

“The FSA has always been … used as an attack against the public school system because they are compared with the private school system.”


Flight 21 cairn plan set in stone

Ruth Peterson’s vision to build a rock cairn as a memorial to the 52 people who perished in a tragic plane crash near 100 Mile House nearly 48 years ago moved closer to reality.

On April 23, 2013, council approved a change in proposed location and design for the monument. Meanwhile, cairn fundraising was boosted by a $1,000 donation from a man from New York who lost both of his parents on Flight 21.


Week 20 – May 15

NCLGA convention collaborative

The North Central Local Government Association’s 58th AGM and Convention in Quesnel was touted as one of the recent best.

Three South Cariboo delegates – District of 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall, Councillor Spence Henderson and Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond – all said it was excellent with timely topics and resolutions for local governments.


Ranchers rail at CN managers

Representatives of Canadian National Railways (CN) got an earful from some local ranchers at a meeting to talk about fencing problems and livestock on the tracks leading to animal losses and schedule delays.

Ranchers noted a previous fencing agreement with BC Rail was dissolved when CN began leasing the railway from BC Rail, so when ranchers went onto rights-of-way to fix broken fences, CN police kicked them off with threats of fines.


Age-friendly community café

A community café on attracted a large spectrum of age groups, during which people were asked what could be done toward making the South Cariboo more age friendly.

About 50 people turned out to talk about communication, relationships between local seniors and younger folks, how the elderly can stay active; and other rural challenges and solutions. It was co-hosted by the South Cariboo Community Planning Council and the District of 100 Mile House.


Week 21 – May 22

B.C. Liberals, Barnett win election

The B.C. Liberals under Christy Clark won the May 14 provincial election to form another majority government.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett retained her seat with a landslide victory. Gaining 56 per cent of the riding votes, she held a resounding margin over NDP candidate Charlie Wyse, at 35 per cent, trailed by Green Party of BC’s Dustin Price (five per cent) and Independent candidate Gary Young (four per cent).


Bart the bear comes home

An orphaned bear cub rescued in the South Cariboo by 100 Mile House Conservation Officers in the fall of 2012 was soon ready to be released back to his home territory.

Raised by the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter in Smithers, the male black bear cub, Bart, had matured by May 2013, and was returned to the wild just north of Clinton.


Gateway water makes headway

Residents on the Gateway Water System (GWS) finally saw progress toward their new water supply.

After $125,000 was granted by the province for the project, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) board added about $375,000 from a Community Works grant, and approved designs and cost estimates on May 10, 2013. The 25 or so residents on the GWS were set to pay the remaining $250,000 in project costs, amortized over 30 years in their CRD water fees.


Week 22 – May 29

Ainsworth asked CN for answers

Ainsworth Engineered-100 Mile House OSB plant representatives called for some answers from Canadian National Railways (CN) representatives to tackle problems with rail car supply.

The discussion took place at a Rotary Club of 100 Mile House function held for the railway’s local stakeholders, during which CN heard that ongoing peaks and valleys in the supply of rail cars had hit the local mill hard.


Residential school stories shared

Cultural Day at Eliza Archie Memorial School saw students join in the Indian Residential School Heritage Days events at Canim Lake Band.

Prior to 1981, about 159 children from Canim Lake Band attended either St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, or another one in Kamloops. The event called attention to the negative happenings at residential schools and the significant resulting effects on those students and their families.


B.C. Crime Stoppers award

The British Columbia Crime Stoppers President of the Year Award was bestowed upon Al Blannin of 108 Mile Ranch.

Blannin had been with Crime Stoppers of the South Cariboo since 1994, and worked diligently to keep the organization afloat and operating successfully for 19 years.

100 Mile House RCMP Sgt. Don McLean noted the program was in jeopardy of closing in 2009, but Blannin combined forces with board member Chris Nickless to prevent that from happening.