Sicamous Chamber of Commerce executive director Sheila Devost and Mayor Terry Rysz pose for a photo with the Old Town Road signs which will be for sale through the Chamber of Commerce. (Jim Elliot - Eagle Valley News)

Eagle Valley News year in review – August

A look back of the events that made the news in 2019.

What was only a road sign in 2018 became a minor tourist attraction in the summer of 2019 — and then it was stolen. A road sign has marked Old Town Road leading out to Sicamous’ Old Town Bay for decades, but after the release of a smash hit single by hip hop artist Lil Nas X, the sign took on a new significance for fans of the song. Theft of the sign prompted the District of Sicamous to not only replace the sign but also make copies promoting the district, one of which was sent to Lil Nas X.

A trio of firefighters from the Sicamous fire department helped battle the Eagle Bluff fire burning near Oliver. Responding to a request from the Office of the Fire Commissioner, fire chief Brett Ogino and firefighters Shane McKellar and Peterson Bailey left Sicamous to help efforts to keep the fire away from populated areas.

The Communities in Bloom judges left paise for Sicamous’ progress while seeding suggestions for future improvement. Sicamous Communities in Bloom chair, Deb Heap, said although a few marquee projects were not completed in time for the judges’ visit, they left many favourable comments, suggesting the district is on its way to very favourable results next year.

Salmon Arm’s Sebastien Archambault, a former Sicamous Eagle, was grateful for the opportunity to play Junior A level hockey this season with the Humboldt Broncos. “I definitely think it will be an unreal environment,” Archambault said. “Like most people from Saskatchewan and small towns, they’re very supportive. And with the tragedy that happened, I think that will only bring people together more and make them more supporting.”

Sicamous resident Ruzena Labanic was fighting to keep her analog hydro meter, citing health concerns posed by newer radio-transmitting meters. Labanic found a final disconnection notice in her mailbox on Friday, Aug. 9. The notice, dated July 31, explained the meter Labanic had was an expired ‘legacy meter’ that must be replaced.

Shuswap Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) received far fewer calls for service this summer than in previous years. The calls for service the local first responder group has responded to were primarily on remote corners of the shores of Shuswap Lake rather than involving boats.

Alberta school principal Dave Kowalchuk died after falling from the edge a gorge at Sicamous Creek Falls. “This is the second occurrence in a year so we’d like to remind everyone to remain on the marked trail and, of course, there is significant danger when approaching the cliffside when off-trail at that location,” commented Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil.

• Around noon on Aug. 27, BC Hydro crews came to the home of Ruzena Labanic and gave her an ultimatum. They informed her they would be shutting off her power if she did not agree to replacing her analog hydro meter. Labanic refused and, approximately half-an-hour later the power was disconnected.

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