Michellle Ollen works on her painting in the art battle held at Westgate Public Market on Saturday, June 3. -image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Michellle Ollen works on her painting in the art battle held at Westgate Public Market on Saturday, June 3. -image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

2017 in Review: June

High water threatened properties around the Shuswap and the annual kids' fishing derby broke records.

June

The weather forecast didn’t bode well for the Shuswap’s high-water levels. David Campbell, head of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations River Forecast Centre, said that while water levels in the Shuswap have declined somewhat over the last few days, the forecast for rain was a very real concern. He said the water level in Shuswap is close to 2012 levels, but two-and-a-half weeks earlier than the usual spring freshet.

For the most part, the 45 members of the nine Syrian refugee families who now call Salmon Arm home are doing very well. But there is still need for community support.

“There are two essentials; one is English, two is employment, and English comes first,” said Brian Ayotte, chair of the Salmon Arm Refugee Coalition. “Three of the families are now at the end of their sponsorship so they are becoming independent and there is a serious need for low-rent accommodation.”

Seven of the male refugees are now employed, four full-time in the building trades and three part-time as custodians in the school district.

The Salmon Arm Synergy U16 Boys’ Club Basketball Team won gold in the U16/17 Basketball BC Club Championships in Langley. Synergy defeated the Kootenay Bulls 54-44 in the final at the Langley Event Centre.

Artists battle it out for charity in a fun event held at Westgate Public Market. The fundraiser was organized by the Barley Station Brew Pub and raised more than $10,000 for the Shuswap Lake Hospital Foundation.

Jen Dies was exhausted but exhilarated following the Relay for Life event that exceeded her expectations.

“We did so much better than last year; we’re sitting just over $91,000 while last year was $76,000. Our community is so amazing, it leaves me speechless sometimes.”

While BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) internal memos described the Salmon Arm Rapattack base amenities and treatment as elitism, the man who introduced Rapattack to the province titles it teamwork. BCWS removed catering services from the base in January and will be removing accommodation next January. Their rational is that “Elitism and special treatment have combined to create a barrier between rappel crews and other firefighting crews around the province.”

But Jim Dunlop, who introduced Rapattack to the province, disagreed. “I can’t grasp the rationale. They seem to say it’s unfair to other crews who don’t have those services. There’s a certain amount of truth in that. When I was a director, you would normally try to correct those inequities. But you wouldn’t do it by taking people down, you’d do it by building people up.”

A flashy paint job on the former school board building drew a lot of attention from passersby. The red, yellow, green, blue, and orange radiate from the formerly beige building on Shuswap Street. Owner Bill Laird said the colourful plan was simple: “That building is a square box. So I wanted to do something different that would make it stand out and add a bit of colour to town. I think it’s good for the town to a have a few buildings that are little bit different.”

He added that he wasn’t finished with the outside yet. “I’m going to do one other thing, but I’ll leave it as a surprise.”

More learning is taking place outside the classroom as North Okanagan students head outdoors. The movement towards outdoor learning is gaining momentum and the school district explored an expansion of programming, including the possibility of creating an outdoor school based in South Canoe. Several teachers gave a presentation to Official Trustee Mike McKay about outdoor education in the school district. McKay gave approval to staff to continue research.

It was a record-breaking year for the Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby at the Salmon Arm wharf. Over 300 people attended the event and 90 fish were caught.

“I now have young people coming who were in the derby who are now bringing their kids,” said James Murray, who started the event 21 years ago. Cohen Coppel reeled in 18 fish single-handedly, setting a derby record. Julian Hudson caught the largest one of the day (3.558 kg), and Carson Blair caught the first fish of the day.

Salmon Arm Observer