A look back at the big Revelstoke stories from 2018

Some of the big news, sports and community happenings of note in 2018…

Revelstoke and CSRD fire protection agreement

A new fire protection agreement has been negotiated between the City of Revelstoke and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

The bylaw was read a first, second and third time at the regular council meeting in August.

Under the agreement, Revelstoke Fire Rescue will provide fire suppression, highway and road rescue, medical first responder, fire investigations and fire inspection services to residents of Electoral Area B of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, however the agreement does not require the fire department to respond to grass or forest fires in the regional district except in BC Hydro Draw Down Lands.

Development Cost Charges

City council began the process to upgrade the current Development Cost Charge Bylaw, which was made in 2008, in April.

The purpose of the bylaw is to allow the city to charge developers for and use the money to assist in paying for new infrastructure that is a result of increased population, such as roads, sewer and water, instead of that burden falling only on existing taxpayers.

The city contracted McElhanney Consulting for the project which involved reviewing the existing bylaw, estimating future growth, engaging with the community, determining development related projects and costs, calculating DCC rates by incorporating the municipal assist factor, revising the bylaw and stakeholder feedback.

Many developers in Revelstoke expressed their disagreement with the proposed changes to the bylaw as it would increase the cost of building in the city.

On the other hand adjusting the municipal assist factor would increase taxpayers contribution to water and sewer infrastructure projects thus raising taxes.

The numbers presented to council were significantly lower than the numbers recommended by the consulting company. And though the bylaw passed first reading, council requested that city staff remove infrastructure projects in order to further decrease the charges.

The numbers presented to council for a second reading were again lower than previously recommended, as city staff had removed four projects from the docket, therefor decreasing the total amount of money needed and reducing the charges.

However, city council split the vote and therefore defeated the proposed changes to the bylaw.

The newly elected city council has expressed interest in re-opening the conversation about the updating the Development Cost Charge Bylaw.

Interior Health was joined by the Revelstoke District Health Foundation and other community partners today to celebrate the completion of the Queen Victoria Hospital heliport (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Queen Victoria Hospital Heliport

Construction of the new heliport began in fall of 2017. The project was approved by the ministry of transportation in May.

The Revelstoke and District Health Foundation and the community celebrated the grand opening in October.

The project cost more than $600,000 was made possible through funding support of the Revelstoke District Health Foundation (RDHF), the North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap Regional Hospital District, the City of Revelstoke Tourism Infrastructure Committee, donated services from local contractors as well as many community members.

“So many times I was speechless and awed at the generosity. And I had to ask myself why. I realized that Revelstoke is a community and we’re special. We care for one another,” said Steven Hui, board chair for the foundation on opening day.

It only took four month to raise the needed funds.

Revelstoke’s new skate park opened in October. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Skate park completion

Construction of the Kovach Skate Park began at the end of May and officially opened in October.

The park was more than seven years in the making and funded by the city, the Columbia Basin Trust and the provincial Resort Municipality Initiative as well as fundraising efforts of the Columbia Valley Skatepark Association.

Back in February Mayor Mark McKee praised the volunteers that made the project happen.

“Just like every major project the city undertakes, it takes a dedicated group of volunteers,” said McKee. “The city is there to help, but every project needs and requires a champion.”

The final design of the park was presented in March.

“In the beginning, the scale was quite grand. They had a vision, which was awesome,” said Kyle Dion, president and lead designer of New Line Skateparks at the time. “It’s a little bit smaller, but it’s not that far off the original vision of what they were hoping to do.”

Barb Byman, Lexi Ast and Pat McKee stand with the cheque presented by the Women of Revelstoke to the Farwell Splash Park Society on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. (Nathan Kunz/Revelstoke Review)

Farwell Splash Park

With $610,000 of the needed $653,000 in the bank, the Farwell Splash Park Society is planning on breaking ground on the project in May 6, 2019.

At a council meeting at the end of September Pat McKee, chair of the society, requested in-kind services from city council, similar to those they have provided for other recreational facilities such as landscaping and site servicing.

“We are committed to ensuring that the Farwell Splash Park Society contributes to attracting and retaining families and employees by supporting the most critical reason we all want to live and visit here and that is quality of life,” McKee said.

The society was formed in March 2017. That summer they had raised $51,000. By Oct. 1, 2017 they had $201,000 and almost a year later they have more than $610,000.

Glacier Challenge cancelled

After 30 years of play, Revelstoke’s Glacier Challenge Slo-Pitch Tournament is calling it quits.

The event’s board announced the end of the August long-weekend tournament last week.

In a press release, they referenced an increasingly difficult environment to host the event as part of why they made the decision to fold the tournament.

Haley Johnson recently joined the StartUp Revelstoke team as the coordinator, alongside Jean Marc LaFlamme, community leader and business coach. (Submitted)

Startup Revelstoke launched

It’s exciting, says Jean Marc LaFlamme in February. He had been part of building Startup Revelstoke over the last two years, and whose partnership with Community Futures has guaranteed the organization will continue to thrive for years to come.

Those involved think it could radically transform the economy of this community, and help solve some big picture problems like climate change by connecting the local to the global. As LaFlamme said during his speech at the launch, a central part of the mission of Startup Revelstoke has to do with “social impact.” But it is also about creating community.

“In the past I wish I had the same thing, there are so many difficult times as an entrepreneur,” says Laflamme, during his address.

In October the Startup Revelstoke team began implementation of Phase 2.

Through entrepreneur nights and innovation nights, the team at StartUp Revelstoke wants to help people navigate the landscape of creating a new business, nurture new ideas and build business networks.

“If you’ve got a great idea, whatever that is, we want to try to bring it forward,” said Hayley Johnson, StartUp Revelstoke Coordinator.

Entrepreneur nights are straightforward, someone presents about their business and there is networking opportunities, however, innovation nights are more collaborative. A problem is presented, ideas are pitched to address the problem and then the crowd breaks up into groups to do a strengths/weakness, opportunities/threats analysis for each of the ideas. In the end there is a framework for all of these different business ideas, which is then posted on the StartUp Revelstoke website for anyone to grab and use.

“We want to build this event series so that at every single stage you are coming in with a set of deliverable and you are coming out with another set,” said Jean Marc LaFlamme, StartUp business coach, in October.

It is a super cool, interactive and motivating way to move an idea forward, LaFlamme added, much better than sitting around a boardroom table.

The team is also hosting a StartUp Bootcamp in January.

“Anyone with a business idea or a problem that they want to solve can talk to specialists in each field,” Johnson said.

Grizzlies lose in KIJHL finals

Despite outplaying the Kimberley Dynamiters for the full 60 minutes in game six of the KIJHL final on Friday night, the Dynamiters took a 5 – 3 victory to clinch the championship.

It was the first time the Grizzlies had outshot their opponents in the series.

Head coach Ryan Parentsaid he was impressed with his team, who came prepared to play every night, and fought hard until the very end.

“I like the way we played last night, I thought for 60 minutes we were the better team,” said Parent. “But that’s hockey. Sometimes you don’t get the bounces.”

The KIJHL Coach of the Year nominee said he has nothing but good things to say about his players, who contributed to the Grizzlies best season in recent memory, and have raised the profile of the local hockey club.

The last time the Revelstoke Grizzlies made the KIJHL final was in the 2009/2010 season, when they took the championship.

Revelstoke Fire Chief Rob Girard retired on March 23. (Jake Sherman/ Revelstoke Review)

Fire chief retires

After more than 10 years of service with the Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services, Fire Chief Rob Girard is set to hang up his helmet on March 23.

“It was our pleasure having Chief Girard as the leader of our Fire Department,” said Allan Chabot, Chief Administrative Officer. “Rob worked tirelessly for his department to strive for excellence in the fire rescue services they provide to our community.”

Girard became fire chief in 2008 and has led a team of 49 career and volunteer firefighters for the last 10 years.

Syrian refugee shares art with Revelstoke

In March, after only being in Canda for four months, Sam Aiden, a gay Syrian refugee who fled the war in Syria to build a new life in Canada, had slowly integrated himself into the community. It didn’t come without its challenges.

The 23 year-old said at the time that ideas about sexuality in Revelstoke are not what he thought they’d be, but that he is grateful just to be able to express himself.

“When I was in my hometown, and even in Lebanon, I couldn’t talk. But now I can. I can express my opinion, and share who I am,” said Aiden. “Now I am free.”

Sharing his opinions and sexuality with the world is part of the idea behind his new art exhibit — “Al Ain the Eye: I am different but I am #human” — opened at the United Church on March 30. The exhibit begins at 4:44 p.m. Four is Aiden’s lucky number.

David Cooke, the minister of the Revelstoke United Church, said that he was beyond amazed at how integrated and involved with the community Aiden has been during his short time in Revelstoke. He also said that he feels it’s important to educate people about the diversity of gender identity.

“I think that recognition that a diverse spectrum of gender exists is extremely important,” said Cooke. “It’s important for people who identify differently to feel accepted and to not feel they are persecuted.”

“Al Ain the Eye” told Aiden’s life story. He hopes his story will help break down the stigma that surrounds his life as someone who identifies as queer.

The 23-year-old said his artistic practice is a way of coping with some of his traumatic memories and past.

The multimedia show will feature Aiden’s writing, painting, graphic design and pictures, which he says chronicle both his life in Syria, and transition to small-town Canada.

Revelstoke Peewees win bronze at provincials

The Revelstoke Pee Wee team travelled to Invermere for hockey provincials March 18-23, 2018.

During the five days of hockey games, this team of 10 to 13-year-olds from Revelstoke, Golden, Nakusp and Sicamous showed that they could work together to achieve a common goal.

Revelstoke’s first game against Fort Nelson was a solid 10-0 win with scoring from a variety of players. The second day of provincials saw successes against the Vancouver Thunderbirds (7-3) and Windermere Valley (9-2).

On the third day of provincials, Revelstoke was unable to capitalize on some five-on-three chances while playing Vanderhoof, so took an 8-4 loss.

The next morning, in an 8 a.m. game against Kimberley, Revelstoke also fell short with a 7-1 loss.

Kimberley and Vanderhoof went on to play the final game of the tournament with Kimberley victorious in a 7-0 win over Vanderhoof.

RCU 65th anniversary

According to the 2010 Annual Report of the Revelstoke Credit Union “ The Revelstoke and District Credit Union incorporated September 18, 1953, received charter number 275 and had total assets of $35.00. The first loan granted by Revelstoke Credit Union was to E.J. Todd in the amount of $100.00.” By March 4, 1954, the date of the first annual meeting, the Revelstoke and District total assets were $ 1806.67 and there were 106 members.

Fast-forward to 2017 where the RCU’s assets reported are $177,120,819, and the membership stands at over 4,800. The population of Revelstoke has remained relatively stable at around 8,000.

Today, as in the past, the Revelstoke Credit Union is an independent single branch credit union. RCU’s mission is ”Maintain profitability while being sensitive to the needs of our Members” with a tagline “Locally Owed and Operated.”

The RCU is a member of Central One as are all the credit unions in B.C. and Ontario.

Roberta Bobicki, RCU’s CEO, is an unabashed Revelstoke Community Credit Union supporter. Bobicki believes strongly in the cooperative values on which the credit union movement was formed

Bobicki explains that although RCU has to follow rules and regulations, but that as an independent the RCU has the ability to be flexible, to push against the walls, and to be creative when dealing with members’ individual situations. RCU isn’t just answering to a head office “where you have to do everything exactly like this.”

National skiing victory

The Junior Girls on the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Team continue to demonstrate their dominance in the five-kilometre classic race at nationals.

Alana Brittin, 17, skied to her first win at a national ski championship, finishing the interval start event in 15 minutes and 56.6 seconds.

“It’s really nice to have your hard work pay off,” she said by telephone from Thunder Bay, Ont. in March.

Teammate Beth Granstrom, 17, who won this race at nationals in Canmore, Alta. last year, finished 29.8 seconds back in second place.

Granstrom said she is happy with her result and that sharing the podium with Brittin “makes it really special.”

The other two Revelstoke skiers in the event also placed in the top 10. Elizabeth Elliott was 37.3 seconds back from Brittin in sixth, while Kate Granstrom (+43.7 seconds) finished in eighth.

Dustin Ruskam is the founder of Peak Axe Throwing, a new business in Revelstoke last year. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)

Axe throwing comes to Revelstoke

Dustin Roskam is hoping to create an “authentically Revelstoke” experience.

Earlier this month, he opened the doors to Peak Axe Throwing, a project nearly a year in the making.

“I love experience,” said Roskam. “I’m trying to share that with people.”

Peak officially opened on Feb. 10.

This summer Roskam took axe throwing on the road, building a trailer with a cage so that he could travel to events.

McKee not seeking re-election

Mayor Mark McKee announced in April that he would not be seeking re-election in October.

“I felt it was time to announce so that anyone that is thinking about or contemplating running for council or mayor can have the time to think about whether or not it is the right decision for them,” said McKee at the time. “It’s been a great experience.”

McKee said he was grateful for his three terms and that it has been a pleasure to see the community evolve and mature over the course of his time serving the people of Revelstoke.

He had been a member of City Council for over twenty years.

McKee served two consecutive terms as mayor from 2000 – 2008.

During his first two terms he oversaw the sale and development of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

In 2009 he ran for the BC Liberals as the MLA for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding but lost to incumbent Norm Macdonald of the BCNDP.

He said this will likely be the end of his career in politics.

Aaron Davidson of Chronometer was presented the Entrepreneurial Excellence award at the Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards in the fall.

Cronometer sets up shop

Before taking on Cronometer full time, Aaron Davidson had been interested in what he calls a “nerdy diet” known as Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition. The basic idea behind it is that you can prolong your lifespan by limiting the number of calories you consume in a day.

However, you still need to satisfy your body’s basic nutritional requirements. In his effort to live healthy, he couldn’t find any software available to monitor his caloric input against his output; so he decided to build his own.

His open source software (which he developed on the side of his day job) grew organically, and Davidson maintained it as a hobby until eventually he decided to launch it as a formal service.

“It had grown, and I was getting a lot of e-mails. So I relaunched it as a service. It was really ugly and basic, but I started migrating users over to it. It was making a couple grand in revenue a month by the end of that year, but it wasn’t going to pay rent,” said Davidson.

At the same time as Davidson had begun to monetize the service, his friends who he had worked for in Edmonton, were laid off. So they decided to put their minds together and start a Seattle based startup that lasted about two years. All the while Cronomoter ran neglected in the background, but doubled in size each year.

Davidson then ended up working in another startup, and again left Cronometer running on its own. Still, Cronometer continued to grow. In fact, it grew another 60 per cent that year.

All of it was organic, and word of mouth. It made him realize that he had a business, and that he’d have to devote some serious time to it.

“It’s been like a rocket ship,” said Davidson. “That’s how you know it’s a good business.”

So he moved to Revelstoke, bought a house in the Big Eddy, and decided to take Cronometer on full time.

Now, downtown Revelstoke has became Cronometer’s home base, and it could be just one of many budding and succesful tech startups to call our little valley home over the next decade.

Petting zoo owner charge with animal cruelty

The owner of the Revelstoke Petting Zoo, James Richard Bruvall, has been charged with 24 counts of animal cruelty, the BCSPCA announced in April.

If convicted Bruvall faces a maximum sentence of up to five years, a $75,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals.

The SPCA removed 15 animals, including a deceased pig from the property during a warrant executed in July 2017.

The animals found in distress included five horses, three pigs, two mini-horses, a lamb, an alpaca, a goat and a peacock.

They were suffering from lack of adequate food, shelter and veterinary control.

Between June and September 2017 the BCSPCA received 13 animal cruelty complaints about the Revelstoke Petting Zoo.

The petting zoo property in question is located just west of Revelstoke.

According to the BCSPCA all but one of the animals have been adopted into new homes.

Bruvall’s is scheduled to appear in court for trial on June 5, 2019.

Matt LeBourdais, Thunderbirds men’s volleyball assistant coach (left) and Kerry MacDonald, head coach, stand with the banner after the men’s volleyball team ended a 35-year drought at the national championships. (Will Dickson/UBC Thunderbirds)

Revelstoke athlete coaches UBC men’s volleyball team to national title

A former Revelstoke volleyball player coached the University of British Columbia’s men’s volleyball team to its first national title in 35 years in March.

At the TELUS 2018 Men’s Volleyball Championships hosted by Ontario’s McMaster University, the UBC Thunderbirds downed the two-time defending champion Trinity Western Spartans in straight sets.

It was a victory for the players, but also for coach Kerry MacDonald, who stepped up to the helm of the men’s volleyball program in 2016.

“I’m really happy for the school and the program that we were able to break that streak,” said MacDonald at the time. The UBC men’s volleyball team last won the national championship in 1983. The victory this year is their fourth. The team also won in 1967 and 1976. “There are many incredible teams and athletes that have come in between, so I am just hoping that they get to feel some of this success.”

MacDonald grew up in Revelstoke playing volleyball. He attended afternoon practices with Terry Beitel and Mark Watson and morning practices with John Campbell.

“Growing up and playing in Revelstoke has probably made me feel like David in the David vs. Goliath saga. We were always the small school playing against the big city teams. I would also say that our coaches in Revy instilled a solid work ethic in us that I have maintained,” said MacDonald. “I think we were just prepared to work harder and put in more time than our competition.”

Columbia River treaty negotiations begin

Canada and the United States will begin renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty on May 29.

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy, who serves as B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development, said she is looking forward to representing the provincial government in the upcoming talks between the federal and American governments.

“The fundamental principle of the Columbia River Treaty must continue to be maximizing benefits for Canada and the U.S., and sharing them equitably,” said Conroy, in a government press release issued Tuesday.

“We want to continue our engagement with Columbia Basin First Nations in B.C., and ensure that local communities are kept informed, as negotiations progress.”

The Columbia River Treaty, which was signed by both countries and ratified in 1964, is a water management agreement. At the time, the U.S. agreed to pay Canada $64 million over 60 years to adjust reservoir levels of 15.5 million acre-feet of water behind Canada’s Duncan, Mica and Hugh Keenleyside dams in order to control American flooding and power generation.

B.C. also currently receives a payment of approximately $250 million worth of electricity each year.

New men’s group started in Revelstoke

We like to joke that for some men, getting to the root of their emotions can be like moving mountains. But a new men’s group hopes that by joining forces, anything can be conquered.

“In my experience, the times that we are the least connected are the times that are the most difficult, ” Moving Mountains program coordinator Taha Attiah said in May. “This group will provide support when you need it or an activity when you’re feeling less inclined to talk. Choose your own level of involvement.”

Isolation can be an issue in Revelstoke. Whether it’s working out of town and not having a social network or the difficulties that come with trying to build connection in a transient place. This group plans to connect men and provide an outlet.

“You might hear something in a conversation that is inspiring or really changes your perspective on a problem,” Attiah said.

Attiah has a background in psychology and most recently worked with youth in Prince Rupert.

He grew up in the small Ontario town of Deep River, which is what set him on his path, “I didn’t have a ton of access to services and I don’t think my development would have been the same without the support of others,” Attiah said.

The Moving Mountains group launched with a weekly gathering from May 22 to June 12 and is still going.

Dorothy and Steven Hui, who have owned Pharmasave for the last 30 years, have sold the business and plan on travelling and spending more time together. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

Steven and Dorothy Hui retire

In 1987 Steven Hui bought Pharmasave from his employer and Dorothy moved to Revelstoke to help with the business.

“I worked three years for the previous owner, prior to buying it, and then the opportunity came up and I was like ‘why not?!’,” Steven said in May, laughing at how naive he was about business at the time. “The business was a bit of a leap but I had good mentorship.”

Dorothy Hui sang high praises of the Moody’s, who owned Pharmasave before she and Steven did.

“People like that don’t come along very often,” she said in May. “Very gracious, very generous, and really wanted [us] to succeed.”

Even before the Hui’s bought the business Pharmasave had a long history in the community and though each new owner reinvented the business a little bit, it was the Hui’s who moved, in 2002, from the original location on Mackenzie Ave. to where it is now.

“That was a big psychological barrier to overcome, to actually physically move the store from where it had been traditionally for 50 plus years,” Dorothy recalled.

“It was very emotional,” Steven added. “There was a lot of sentiment attached to the old location.”

It took about a year for the business to re-adjust to the move, but the Hui’s pushed onward.

“The market changes every few years and every five years I say you have to really look at your business and say ‘is this working?’,” Steven said. “If you were to start up the business right now, knowing what the market is now, would you be doing the same thing, if you say yes you are going to find yourself falling behind so quickly.”

Three Valley Gap letter writing campaign

Last October Shannon Smith was caught in a rockslide at Three Valley Gap, breaking her back.

While she was recovering she wrote letters to the premier, the minister in charge of highways as well as the city.

The city also wrote to the province asking for safety improvements as Three Valley Gap.

Smith said the response from the premier “was pretty much a shrug off, it is just another thing in the interior.”

In May Smith asked that everyone write a letter asking for change to happen.

“Through my recovery I decided that the reason I made it through was to make a change, to be the one to get something fixed at Three Valley,” she said.

In the letter, Smith implores the premier to recognize, acknowledge and act on the dire safety crisis.

“We have no alternative route,” she writes. “We pass through Three Valley Gap to catch flights, go to orthodontists, buy new vehicles and attend work functions. This transportation corridor is vital and we deserve to be safe.”

In July a netting system was approved for installation at Three Valley Gap, called a Rockfall Attenuator System.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Smith said at the time. “I know a lot of people are saying it’s a waste of time and money, but when you drive out through Three Valley – I’ve heard so many stories – and we shouldn’t be afraid to leave town. It’s not fair.”

Debra Wozniak retires

Debra Wozniak had been working behind the scenes to build the community through Community Futures since 1990 and retired at the end of June.

“The work was so varied and so interesting, every day was a new challenge,” Wozniak said at the time. “It kept me wanting to come back and do more and do better for the community.”

Wozniak has deep roots in Revelstoke as her family moved to the area in the early 1900s. Though she did leave for almost 10 years to pursue a degree at U of C in commerce, as well as other things, she came back.

At the time Doug Weir, the original manager at Community Futures, approached her to do some work with him, and that is where it all began.

Since then Wozniak has worked on a wide variety of projects with many different people and non-profit organizations including the Revelstoke Housing Society, the early caribou recovering programming, the development of the Railway Museum as well as the Columbia Basin Trust community initiatives programming.

Nearest and dearest to her heart however, is the creation of the Revelstoke Community Foundation.

“It’s one of those projects that just keeps bringing back rewards every year,” she said.

Owner Andy Freeland with the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro at the Revelstoke Show and Shine the day before it was reported stolen. (Supplied Photo)

Camaro stolen

A prize winning car the ‘Mountain Paradise Show and Shine’ was reported stolen from a Revelstoke hotel in June.

The vehicle, a blue stock 1969 Chevrolet Camaro 427 convertible, was reported stolen from the parking lot of the Sandman Hotel in Revelstoke.

The attached B.C. licence plate on the vehicle reads B35-476, and the identification number is 124679N648614.

The car is identifiable by it’s white interior, top and stripes along the sides, as well as ZL1 badges on the exterior.

Owner Andy Freeland reported the vehicle to the be stolen to RCMP.

“I’d gone for fuel early that evening and parked it and watched the hockey game,” said Freeland at the time. “And I got up the next morning to put bags in the car and it was gone.”

Freeland, who travelled to Revelstoke from Vernon to attend the show, received the award for ‘Competitor’s Choice’ at the Revelstoke Vintage Car Club’s event the day before.

Lagoon equipment replaced

Equipment issues, contractor timing and the recent heat wave has caused a repeat of the sewer odour issue, according to a public notice from the city in July.

Two blowers have been intermittent for the past week, meaning less air getting into the ponds.

Chemical dosing and manual management of the blowers have been implemented to mitigate impacts, the release continued.

“External testing has been completed to determine the issue and staff are pursuing options for repair and replacement.”

Work on the replacement of the aeration system started mid July, with completion anticipated for Thursday afternoon. Some odour, as a result of this work, will occur as it does involve pulling existing equipment from the bottom of the pond and replacing it with more aggressive aeration and mixing.

Telus Insights project

A partnership with TELUS could soon give Revelstokians a better idea of who’s living in their city.

During a city council meeting in July, council recommended that the CSRD Board of Directors allocate $55,000 from the Economic Opportunity Fund to finance the Revelstoke TELUS Insights Collection Project.

The project would provide a one year regional analysis of Revelstoke’s population through utilization of aggregated cell phone data, giving greater insight into origin and quantity of visitors, movement to and from the region, monthly comparisons of population metrics and average dwell times by demographic metrics.

Leah Allison of Big Eddy Glassworks eyes down a glass bulb in the making.

Glass blowing studio opens

Leah Allison fired up the kiln at Big Eddy Glassworks on June 30.

“I’ve been waiting so long for this shop,” she said at the time.

Allison previously drove back and forth to Invermere to work at Bavin Glassworks but the commute was wearing on her, so she and her husband decided to invest in the glass blowing business.

Man suffers complete, partial limb loss

Mounties in Revelstoke said a man is in hospital with serious injuries, including lost limbs, after falling off a CP Rail train before being struck by further train cars on June 20.

In a statement, Revelstoke RCMP said they received reports of a trespasser on the CP Rail tracks along Victoria Road at about 4:30 a.m.

Upon searching the tracks, officers found a conscious, 25-year-old Australian foreign national near Victoria Road and Wright street.

The man spoke of riding the train, police said, and was suffering from injuries including complete and partial limb amputations.

Police said the man was under the influence of alcohol but was able to provide basic information to the officers before being taken to Queen Victoria Hospital

The area of tracks was closed during the police investigation, but has since been re-opened.

RCMP are reminding the public to use caution when crossing rail way tracks, and that trespassing on CP Rail property and riding on trains is a criminal offence.

Fires in local national parks

A mid-August lighting storm resulted in three new fires in Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks–one in the St. Cyr area of Mt. Revelstoke, one on Mt. Cheops in Glacier and another on Patience Mountain in Glacier.

All three of the newly reported fires are less than one hectare, said a news release from Parks Canada.

The weather system moving through the area also brought rain, helping to slow fire activity, though the Clachnacudainn East fire burns at approximately 275 hectares and the 30-Mile fire in Glacier National Park burns at approximately 990 hectares.

None of the fires currently pose a risk to people or assets, said the release.

Parks Canada fire crews are actively managing current wildfires and continue to monitor Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier national parks for new wildfires.

The Clachnacudainn East fire, smoke and fire management activities may be visible from the Trans Canada Highway. For safety, stop only in designated pull offs or day use areas along the highway.

Smoke from these and other regional wildfires may affect visibility on the highway through the national parks. Parks Canada asks that drivers check DriveBC for the latest road conditions.

At the moment, due to active fire and fire operations the the Silvertip Canyon climbing area and trail in Mt. Revelstoke is closed and the Beaver Valley area and trails in Glacier National Park is closed.

There is a fire ban in effect for both Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks as well as Yoho, Kootenay and Banff National Parks.

So far this summer the Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National parks’ fire management team has responded to eight lightning-caused wildfires, two human-caused wildfires and three illegal campfires.

Five wildfires have been extinguished and five are being actively managed.

Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services responded to the fire in Johnson Heights Mobile Home Park on Monday night, in which a mobile home and adjacent motorhome were engulfed. (Nathan Kunz/Revelstoke Review)

Fire in Johnson Heights

Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services responded to a fire in the Johnson Heights Mobile Home Park on Aug. 6 at 11:50 p.m.

On arrival the fire department found the structure and adjacent motorhome fully engulfed.

Firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control.

A gofundme page was set up for the family and collected $2,125.

CP rail manger found guilty

A CP Rail manager, who directed staff to leave a train parked east of Revelstoke without hand brakes in Feb. 2015, was found guilty under the Railway Safety Act in July.

Tim McClelland was found guilty on two counts while CP Rail, which was also charged, was found not guilty.

“I am satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of the offences,” said Judge Richard Hewson in his decision document.

On Feb. 15, 2015, the crew of CPR Train 401 left 58 rail cars, 19 with oil and two with ammonium nitrate, unattended on the main track at the Greerly staging point, east of Revelstoke. Only emergency brakes were applied.

“The crew left the cars in that condition because they acted on their understanding of direction relayed to them by the Rail Traffic controller, who had received those directions from two members of the railway’s management,” the judge said.

Under the Transportation Ministry’s Emergency Directive, key trains–trains with more than 20 cars with dangerous goods–cannot be left unattended on the main track. The directive also specifies the number of hand brakes required to be applied to unattended railway equipment, based on the grade of the rail line and the weight of the train.

Hallmark is filming a Christmas movie in downtown Revelstoke this week. It will be released sometime during the Countdown to Christmas lineup on the Hallmark Channel which starts on Oct. 26. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

Hallmark films in Revelstoke again

At the end of September, Mackenzie Ave was draped in reds, greens, presents and fake cotton snow. People walk to and fro into shops wearing puffy jackets and scarfs. If it wasn’t for the yellowing trees and grass, you might expect to see Santa Claus.

Hallmark was filming a new Christmas movie that was scheduled to play on the Countdown to Christmas series that started Oct. 26 on the Hallmark Channel. This is the third film that has been made by Hallmark in Revelstoke.

“It’s a beautiful and unique setting,” said Producer Trevor McWhinney at the time. “The people are wonderful and inviting. It’s easy to film here.”

Plane wreckage found

The Transportation Safety Board has deployed a team of investigators to assess the wreckage of the Mooney M20 aircraft that went missing Nov. 25, 2017 and was found in early September.

The location of the wreckage is along the Trans-Canada Highway in the Glacier National Park, approximately 60 km east of Revelstoke.

It was spotted by BC Ambulance Services flying over the area in a helicopter on Monday and RCMP arrived at the wreckage site on Sept. 12 with an RCMP Integrated Forensic Identification Section and Parks Canada.

“At this time we can confirm that the plane was the one in question,” said Staff Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky with the Revelstoke RCMP, in a news release. “The plane had significant structural damage, and showed clear signs of a sudden and traumatic impact.”

The remains found at the scene were identified as Ashley Bourgeault and Dominic Neron, who were the pilot and passenger when the plane went missing.

Cathy English, director of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives, celebrated the completion of her new book Revesltoke- Creating a Community Brown Bag History Volume II, with an event at the museum on Sept. 12. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

Cathy English releases second book

At the launch party of her new book in September, Revelstoke-Creating a Community Brown Bag History Volume II, Cathy English joked that everyone was just there for the cake.

But the event was a celebration of community, and the role English has played.

“I really want to express my thanks to you for what you have been doing in this community, congratulate you on this new book on behalf of the city, city staff and all the residents of Revelstoke, thank you for your dedication to history in the community,” said Gary Sulz, city councilor, on behalf of the City of Revelstoke.

English’s first Brown Bag History book was published in 2015, 12 years after English began the Brown Bag History lunch hour talks on Revelstoke History.

“The challenges of writing a book, especially a book about the history of Revelstoke, is what to include and what to leave out,” English said last week. “And I am waiting for the dozens of people who will come up to me and ask ‘Why didn’t you include x, y or z?’ and my stock answer is going to be ‘I’ll try to get that in the next book’.”

Revelstoke’s vast history will never be written down in its entirety, English said.

“The important thing is that all of us here and all who have gone before us and all who have yet to come are part of Revelstoke’s story. And through our lives and our interactions and our words we create this community and make it the incredible place that it is.”

New president at RMR

Revelstoke Mountain Resort announced the appointment of Dave Brownlie as president in the beginning of September.

Brownlie brings 29 years of experience in the ski industry with Whistler Blackcomb and Intrawest. He began his career with Blackcomb Mountain in 1989, rising through the ranks to president and CEO of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.

Stories beneath the surface exhibition at museum

Stories Beneath the Surface explores life in the Columbia valley between Revelstoke and the Upper Arrow Lake prior to the flooding of the region by the Hugh Keenleyside Dam at Castlegar 50 years ago.

The exhibition at the Revelstoke Museum & Archives opened in October.

Travelers waiting at the Shelter Bay ferry terminal on Highway 23 South can look across the lake to the former location of the once-thriving community of Arrowhead.

It is difficult to imagine that the area was once home to several hundred people, and that it served as the terminal for the Canadian Pacific Railway’s fleet of steamships as they connected with the train from Revelstoke.

Stories Beneath the Surface looks at the history of the valley and the way of life that it sustained. The communities of Arrowhead, Beaton, Sidmouth, Twelve Mile, and Mount Cartier are all featured, with photographs, artifacts and information about each of them.

Loni Parker not running for re-election

Loni Parker was the director of Area B for the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District for 25 years. This year she did not run for re-election.

“As your representative I did my best to represent your interests in an honest, fair and balanced fashion. Over the course of my time with the CSRD we have grown substantially and along with that growth we have adopted bylaws and policies to guide us as we continue our path forward,” she said in mid-October.

Stony Nakano was forcibly sent to a work camp in 1942 to build the Trans-Canada highway.

Japanese internment camp road signs

This project grew out of a partnership between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Japanese Canadian Legacy Committee to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Japanese internment by the Canadian government.

The unveiling took place near Three Valley Lake Chateau, roughly 24 km west of Revelstoke on Sept. 28.

Fearing a Japanese invasion the Canadian government from 1942 to 1949 detained 22,000 Japanese Canadians. They confiscated their homes, businesses, and properties to help pay for detainment. Japanese Canadians became prisoners within their own country.

Up to 1,700 men were separated from their families and sent to road camps to build highways that were deemed priority for national security. Nakano was sent to the Griffin Lake Road Camp to build part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

“What happened to our family during the war years was unjust and grew out of racism,” said Stony Nakano at the unveiling.

Other roads in B.C. built by Japanese Canadians include Highway 3 (Hope to Princeton) and Highway 5 (Yellowhead to Blue River).

“It was difficult work, treacherous and under very poor conditions,” said B.C. Minister of State for Trade George Chow.

The men were paid 20 cents a day.

“These signs help to tell the story of the thousands of Canadian Japanese that wrongfully had their homes and businesses confiscated,” said Chow.

If there was protest, the Japanese Canadians were sent to prisoner of war camps.

The sign describes the work camps and where they were located. They aim to educate the public on a dark period in Canada’s history.

However, racism against Japanese Canadians existed in Canada long before the Second World War.

“Before the war, Japanese Canadians were not allowed to live within the City of Revelstoke, simply because they were Japanese,” said Chow.

These signs show a dark part of Canada’s past with an aim to educate.

“Today our dream has come true. History will not be forgotten,” said Laura Saimoto from the Japanese Canadian Legacy Committee, her voice cracking with emotion.

“We must never allow such racism to happen again in Canada or the world.”

2018 municipal election

Gary Sulz was elected mayor. The new councillors are Mike Brooks-Hill, Nicole Cherlet, Steven Cross, Rob Elliott, Jackie Rhind and Cody Younker.

The school board trustees are Alan Chell, Bill Macfarlane, Garry Pendergast, Elmer Rorstad and Sarah Zimmer. David Brooks-Hill is the new Area B director.

Funding for Avalanche Canada

The non-profit and non-government organization will receive an endowment of $25 million. The organization is Canada’s national public avalanche safety agency and is based in Revelstoke, B.C. Avalanche Canada provides avalanche forecasting avalanche warnings, and education of avalanche safety.

This was announced in November.

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