Smoke billows out of a residence in Thompson Crossing manufactured housing park in Blackpool in January as firefighters assess the scene. One complication was ammunition stored in the trailer going off.

Year in Review: January – April, 2017

Summary of stories from last year's back issues of the Times


Property assessments in District of Clearwater changed plus or minus 10 per cent from the year before, according to BC Assessment.Those in Barriere went up from zero to 15 per cent.

Shirley McMillan won a Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 in a Buy-Low contest. “To see the prize come to Clearwater out of all the Buy-Lows in B.C. and Alberta, and to see it go to people I’ve known for 40 years makes me very happy,” said Clearwater Buy-Low manager Sandy Toma.

Carol Schaffer, the TNRD director for Area A (Wells Gray Country), and Tim Pennell, the former director, exchanged comments about changes to hobby farm zoning proposed by the regional district.

Barriere resident Kevin Fadear, age 76, came forward to claim the $1 million he won from Lotto 6/49. Asked how it felt to be a millionaire, he said, “I don’t know. I’ve never been one before.”

Fire destroyed a home in Thompson Crossing manufactured home park in Blackpool. Complications included -22 temperature, a propane tank next to the residence, and rounds of ammunition going off as they cooked.

In what was described as a “dramatic rescue,” members of Wells Gray Search and Rescue, Kamloops Search and Rescue and others evacuated an injured snowmobiler from the mountains near Avola. The snowmobiler had gone off a 15-foot cliff and broken his leg. He had to wait overnight to be rescued.

Willow MacDonald, TNRD director for Area B (Thompson Headwaters), confirmed that she and her family had at least partially moved from Blue River to 100 Mile House. Her husband had made the switch because of his job as a paramedic with BC Ambulance, she said.

John Cornell won first place in the 16th annual Ice Man fishing derby on Dutch Lake with a 49 cm long kokanee. He had entered every year but this was the first time he had won, he said.

A new Tim Hortons coffee shop opened in Clearwater. Owners were Lyle Hryniuk, Laura Olivier, Roger Toews, and Wayne Hryniuk.

A tractor-trailer that went into the North Thompson River near Avola resulted in a Do Not Consume order going to users of the Vavenby water system. The community draws its water from beside the river.February

Evergreen Acres planned to log land located east of Ed Buck Manor, said finance chair Linda Selbee and director Dave Meehan. Purpose of the logging was to make room for 20 independent housing units for seniors.

A report from TRUE Consulting said District of Clearwater continued to use much more water than it should on a per capita basis. Over the previous three years, water use had gone up by 20 per cent while population growth had been much less. Several leaks had been plugged but winter nighttime use continued to to be high.

Clearwater’s Brett Turcotte celebrated his 29th birthday by winning a silver medal for best snowmobile trick at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

First boy of the year was Dawson Thomas Arlin-Hatcher. The son of Lea-Ann McClelland and Robert Thorbergson, he was born on Jan. 11. There was reportedly a girl from this area born in Vancouver on the same date but no details were available.

Vikings pillaged again along the Candle Creek cross-country ski trails as Wells Gray Outdoors Club hosted the annual Birchleg. The event commemorated the escape over the mountains by two Norwegian vikings and their infant king in the 13th Century.

District of Barriere hosted a community-to-community forum. A total of 29 representatives from around the region took part.

Upper Clearwater naturalist Trevor Goward was lukewarm about the provincial government’s new mountain caribou recovery plan. He said the BC Liberals had been focussing on birthing pens, transplants, liberalized moose and deer hunts, and wolf and cougar culls. “All stopgap measures that simply aren’t working,” he said.

Trans Mountain explained its plans for its proposed twinning of its pipeline during an open house in Clearwater. “If you’re a local worker, we’re looking at you first,” said company spokesperson Kate Stebbing.

Clearwater youngster Devin Holland lined up with the Vancouver Canucks for the national anthems before a game in Vancouver. The Clearwater Peewee team member had won a contest called “Every Kids Dream.”

An exploding heavy machine tire damaged a tire shop in Clearwater. Police arrived to find the tire lying on top of what was left of the large garage bay door. Luckily, due to the time of day, no one was inside the shop at the time.

Air Cadet (Zephram) Tino won a gold medal in a regional speaking competition. The impromptu topic was “How do you know your goldfish needs therapy?”

Wells Gray Park was formally nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Dr. Cathie Hickson, a member of the organizing committee, described the park as a shoo-in for four of the 10 World Heritage criteria.

Too many avalanche deaths mean the snowmobiling culture has to change, said Giles Valade, executive director of Avalanche Canada. While the majority of snowmobilers are responsible, too many do not have the right training and equipment, and do not make use of the information that’s available to them to make prudent decisions. He was speaking during a presentation made in Clearwater.

BC Conservation Officer Service reported that two individuals had been charged for snowmobiling in the Berry/Peddie area, which was closed to protect mountain caribou. Two snowbikes had also been seized.March

Minor Hockey president Ole Kjenstad congratulated the Clearwater Peewees for winning their league and their playoff pennants. Coaches were Jamie Fischer and Mark Green.

Barbara Nederpel, the NDP candidate for Kamloops-North Thompson, was campaigning in Clearwater. The riding had the most severe doctor shortage in B.C., she said, which she found ironic as the minister of health was the MLA.

Clearwater Midgets celebrated winning their playoff pennant. They defeated Chase in Chase during the final game.

District of Clearwater was to receive a $240,000 Rural Dividend grant to construct a 1.6 km multi-use trail from the hospital to the shopping centre. Some of the money was also to go to help develop four km of mountain bike trails.

Esther Therres won a 60-second shopping spree at Buy-Low. The retired post office worker collected $236 worth of groceries during her one-minute sprint.

After an absence of five years, Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce was planning an Of the Year awards banquet. About 70 nominations were received for Citizen of the Year, Tourism Business of the Year, Employee of the Year, Volunteer Group of the Year, Retail/Service Business of the Year, and Rookie Business of the Year.

Japanese knotweed could become a problem in Clearwater, according to Dr. Catherine Tarasoff, speaking during a workshop on invasive plants. The knotweed’s stems resemble bamboo but it has broad leaves.

First baby girl of the year was Kadence Rose Dresher. She had been born in New Westminster on Jan. 11 and was the daughter of Amanda Durham and Steven Dresher.

Canfor-Vavenby won the Polar Cup for the third year in a row by raising $37,000 for the United Way. The trophy goes to the Canfor division that collected the most money per capita.

Upper Clearwater residents Fritz and Ursula Schaer hosted a slideshow in Upper Clearwater Hall of photos taken during a recent trip to Antarctica.

Hazel Wadlegger won Citizen of the Year. Over 150 people attended the awards banquet at the Clearwater ski hill chalet. Wells Gray Inn, Hop n’ Hog and Interior Whitewater shared the Tourism of the Year prize, Employee of the Year went to Leona Nicholas, Wells Gray Community Forest took home Volunteer Group of the Year, Retail/Service Business of the Year was a tie between Pharmasave and Candle Creek Veterinary Services, Super Save Gas and Verge of Dawn canine training tied for Rookie Business of the Year.

Only a handful of people showed up at an open house to discuss local forest companies’ forest stewardship plans. Most members of the public who took part were ranchers, trappers, and others with specific interests in any changes, said Michael Scott, forest superintend with Interfor.

Clearwater hosted the Tier 4 Midget hockey provincials. Teams came from Chase, Creston, Fraser Lake, Windemere and Vanderhoof to compete. Chase won the event.

A photo of a robin taken in mid-March proved that spring was on the way.

The federal and provincial governments were contributing $1.75 million towards the cost of a new well for Clearwater. District of Clearwater was to pay about $360,000 for the $2.1 million project. “It’s very exciting to us,” said CAO Leslie Groulx.

BC Transit announced changes to the Clearwater and area transit system. Service on the 3-Clearwater Loop was to be provided year round, while on-demand service was being introduced for Wyndhaven, Sunshine Valley and Lower Blackpool.

Willow MacDonald, the TNRD director for Area B (Thompson Headwaters) won a school board seat in 100 Mile House. She had recently moved from Blue River to the Cariboo but intended to continue as regional district director.

Dan Hines, the Green Party candidate for Kamloops-North Thompson, reported that he had a positive experience while out door-knocking in Clearwater. “People are not happy with the Liberals,” he said.

Vavenby resident Vienna Moilliet returned home after studying how to be a midwife and missionary in the Philippines for 2 ½ years. The program had been a dream since she heard about it when she was 15.April

Firefighters from Blue River, Pritchard, Barriere, Little Fort, Vavenby and Blackpool took part in live fire exercises put on at Blackpool Fire Department.

The province gave environmental approval for a new mountain resort near Valemount. Valemount Glacier Destination ski and sightseeing resort would be located in the Premier Range west of the community.

TNRD staff wanted to begin a consultation process for a new official community plan (OCP) for the North Thompson Valley. A report to the regional district board said the new OCP would consolidate the existing Blue River, Avola, rural Clearwater and rural Barriere OCPs. It would not include the districts of Clearwater and Barriere but staff recommended they take part in the consultations.

A coalition of environmental groups, including the Upper Clearwater Referral Group, applied to the federal Ministry of Environment to block logging in caribou habitat outside of Wells Gray Park north of Clearwater. According to the provincial forests ministry, one cutting permit had been issued and other applied for.

Two Clearwater women, Jocelyn and Barbara Ripley, narrowly escaped serious injury when a car crashed into their Abbotsford hotel room. “It was terrifying,” said Jocelyn Ripley.

Jim Tenier of Prairie Garden Seeds in Saskatchewan gave a presentation on growing wheat and other food crops during Seedy Saturday at Clearwater ski hill. Upper Clearwater resident Sharon Neufeld challenged everyone to grow a 10’x10′ plot of wheat during the summer.

Wells Gray Community Forest has completed 10 years of operation and its second cut control, general manager George Brcko reported during its annual general meeting. Volume harvested during 2016was 24,000 cubic metres, while 210,600 seedlings were planted.

Clearwater Theatre Collective’s inaugural production was to be “A Bad Year for Tomatoes” – the story of a major movie star who settles in a small town.

The TNRD board approved a public assent process (“negative petition”) to determine public support for seeking UNESCO Geopark status for the North Thompson Valley. That meant that if 10 per cent of the eligible voters in the designated area said they were against the Geopark proposal, it would not go ahead.

Wells Gray Search and Rescue hosted 72 participants from across B.C. to a rope rescue course on the bluffs west of Blackpool.

Members of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment stayed overnight in the Sportsplex on their way from their base in Edmonton to Chilliwack for exercises.

READ MORE: Year in Review – May to August, 2017

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