Revelstoke 2015 Year in Review – Part 1

A look back at the biggest stories in Revelstoke from January to March 2015.

City crews clear the streets after a snowstorm dumped anywhere from 55 to 100 centimetres of snow in 48 hours

January 7

Revelstoke property values up

Revelstoke home values increased for the first time in five years — but just barely.

BC Assessment released its assessment rolls this morning and for the first time since 2010 the total value of Revelstoke homes went up — but only by a measly third of a per cent.

The overall value of business and industrial properties in Revelstoke increased by 4.17 per cent.

The total value of all properties in Revelstoke increased by $18,769,000 to $1,415,538,000 in 2015, up from $1,396,769,000 last year. Of that, $4.2 million was due to new construction.

January 14

Avalanche Canada launches Mountain Information Network

You’re out in backcountry skiing, standing at the top of your line, ready to drop in. The danger rating is considerable so you ease into the slope, placing a big ski cut to see how the snowpack reacts.

Boom! A small slab avalanche releases below you. You watch it slide away, heart pumping, thankful you didn’t get caught. A look at the fracture line shows it likely released on that December 17 surface hoar layer the avalanche bulletin warned about.

You whip out your smart phone, turn it on, take a picture, fire up your Avalanche Canada app and within moments you’re sending in a report to the new Mountain Information Network — a web-based tool introduced this season by Avalanche Canada to help backcountry users share information.

“We’ve created a database and mobile app and web app that people can use to input data from the field that they see, very similar to the way professionals do it,” said Karl Klassen, the public avalanche warning service manager for Avalanche Canada. “It’s not as in depth or as detailed as a pro system, but it’s more or less the same idea — try to mine the data from the public that’s out in the mountains every day.”

PHOTO: The community was shocked and saddened in January by the sudden death of Sgt. Kim Hall on January 12. She died surrounded by her family after experiencing a stroke. “Kim Hall was compassionate, considerate and took things to heart,” said Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky at a memorial at the United Church. “Kim was a good friend, a good person and a loving mother and grandmother.” ~ Photo by Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Review

January 21

TSB investigating derailment in Glacier National Park

CP Rail took more than a day to notify the Transportation Safety Board about a derailment that took place in Glacier National Park, the Times Review was told.

James Carmichael, a senior investigator with the TSB, said they were notified of the derailment more than 24 hours after five cars jumped the track on the Stoney Creek Bridge last week.

“It is a concern,” he said. “The head office will be looking into the delay in reporting.”

TSB regulations require railway companies to report incidents “as soon as possible and by the quickest means available.”

A CP Rail train derailed on the Stoney Creek Bridge near the east end of Glacier National Park on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at around 5:30 a.m. The incident wasn’t reported to the TSB until Wednesday morning.

A CP Rail spokesperson said the company would also be looking into the delay. “It is part of our processes to contact them immediately,” said Salem Woodrow.

Woodrow said five empty flat cars derailed. She denied reports the cars were dangling in the air off the bridge, which sits almost 100 metres above Stoney Creek.

January 28

$5.7 million price tag put on Big Eddy Waterworks upgrades

The cost for upgrading the Big Eddy Waterworks has come in at a cool $5.69 million, according to a new report that will be discussed at next Tuesday’s council meeting.

The report by MMM Group, the engineering firm tasked with studying the waterworks, looks at the deficiencies in the current system and puts forward a 20-year capital plan for upgrades. It recommends the city take over the water system.

“It is expected that certain components of the system are ageing, undersized and/or lacking,” the report states. “As such, it is evident that the system is in need of upgrades to bring it up to current standards.”

The report contains two main parts — a study of the water system and a list of recommendations to bring it up to Interior Health standards.

BC Cup race a “phenomenal success”

The Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club is riding high after hosting a successful BC Cup race at Mount Macpherson last weekend.

“It was absolutely fantastic. It was a phenomenal success,” said Sarah Newton, one of the race organizers for the club. “It’s always dicey having a big race in Revelstoke because of the highways and weather. Everyone got in and out of town and the rain held off.”

The BC Cup is the biggest race series held in the province. About 375 athletes from all over the province came to Revelstoke for the event, with as many spectators on hand. About 120 volunteers helped things run smoothly.

February 4

Trial underway for man accused of killing Daniel Levesque

The trial for the man accused of first degree murder in connection with the death of Revelstoke youth Daniel Levesque began Wednesday in a Victoria courtroom.

Joshua Tyler Bredo is charged with first degree murder, sexual assault and unlawful confinement in connection with Levesque’s death following an altercation in a Victoria condominium on Aug. 3, 2011.

Bredo pleaded not guilty to the charges.

February 11

A major development for Arrow Heights

A major mixed-use development is in the works for Upper Arrow Heights.

A package unveiled at last week’s meeting of the Advisory Planning Commission (APC) lays out the plans for Mackenzie Landing, a development that could see more than 1,000 units built on a 35-acre parcel off Nichol Road.

“The idea is to build something higher density than Revelstoke is used to, with the view that would give quality new housing at the right price, hopefully more affordable pricing to both first time buyers, retirees and recreational users from out of town,” said David Evans, who owns the land along with his wife Shelley Sharpe.

Evans and Sharpe are also the developers planning on building the boutique treehouse hotel at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. They recently moved to Revelstoke from Whistler.

The land in question consists of two large lots bounded by Nichol Road in the south, Upper Arrow Heights in the north, Hay Road in the east and Arrow Heights Elementary and the Arrow Drive trailer park in the west.

The proposal they are pushing is for a multi-phase development that would include townhomes, condominiums, row-houses, duplexes, fourplexes and single-family lots.

February 18

CP Rail engineers, conductors end strike

A strike by CP Rail engineers and conductors ended Monday less than two days after workers took to the picket lines across the country.

The end of the strike was announced by Kellie Leitch, the Federal Minister of Labour, Monday morning, who told reporters in Ottawa the two sides had agreed to arbitration.

The announcement was followed by statements from CP Rail and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.

The move came moments before Leitch was set to table back-to-work legislation in Parliament.

“We took this strike action to improve the quality of life and the working conditions for our membership,” said Doug Finnson, the president of the TCRC in a news release. “Our preference is to negotiate these improvements through collective bargaining, and the worst thing that could happen is a legislated process.These issues are far too important to our members to have a legislated process decide the issue.”

Tim Palmer retires as City of Revelstoke CAO

Tim Palmer, the Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Revelstoke, has retired, the city announced on Friday.

Palmer has been with the city since January 2011, when he was hired for the CAO position from Burns Lake, B.C.

He led a restructuring of city hall, merging the planning and engineering departments in a move that was designed to lower costs by reducing staff, and make the city more customer friendly. He has also overseen efforts to address the city’s financial issues by reducing reliance on borrowing, increasing reserves and minimizing tax increases.

His time has not been without controversy. Notably, in 2013 he started a renovation of city hall that stalled after a few months when the city ran out of money to complete the project. The downstairs offices at city hall have sat empty for more than 1.5 years, and work is not expected to be completed until this spring.

PHOTO: The Revelstoke Grizzlies salute their fans after their final game last season.

Grizzlies playoff push winds up just short despite weekend wins

The Grizzly’s season came to a heartbreaking end this weekend. Despite winning two more back-to-back home games, they couldn’t squeeze their way into a playoff position.

“It’s kind of bittersweet. We have been so strong lately, and I don’t think there was a better team in the league since the Christmas Break, so it’s unfortunate we couldn’t secure our spot in the playoffs,” said coach Ryan Parent following Saturday night’s game.

Revelstoke started the weekend one point back of the Sicamous Eagles. They needed to finish ahead of them in the standings because Sicamous held the tie-breaker. Instead, the two teams finished the season tied in points, with the Eagles advancing to the playoffs because they had more wins.

February 25

Fire causes severe damage to RCEC

A fire late Sunday night caused serious damage to the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation heating plant.

Fire chief Rob Girard says Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services were called to the fire shortly before midnight on Sunday, Feb. 22.

“Upon arrival, fire crews found heavy smoke pouring from all sides of the building and began an interior fire attack,” said Girard. “Within minutes the fire conditions changed and and we had heavy fire in the roof of the structure and had to withdraw our interior fire crew and transitioned to an exterior attack.”

A team of 23 fire fighters and full complement of vehicles attended the fire. The department made use of its new aerial ladder truck to attack the blaze from above.

“This really turned the fire around for us,” he said.

The fire was extinguished and overhauled in a little more than three hours, with no injuries to any fire fighters.

The building was empty when the fire broke out.

March 4

Emily Suchy wins three gold medals at Canada Winter Games

Emily Suchy won all three of her para-Nordic sit-ski races at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C., last week.

“It’s pretty amazing. I’m super stoked. I’m really happy,” she said on her return home to Revelstoke Monday morning. “It was a really fun week.”

She went into the competition aiming to podium in all of her races. In the end, she stood on top each time, easily topping the women’s field and posting times that were competitive with the men.

March 11

Telus bringing broadband to town

Revelstoke’s wait for true high speed Internet may be finally over.

The City of Revelstoke announced last Thursday morning that Telus will be connecting more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Revelstoke directly to fibre optic cables — a move that will make Internet speeds of up to 100 megabits per second available to customers.

“Revelstoke is thrilled to be selected for this project and we’re especially happy that it’s coming at no cost to the municipality or its citizens” said Mayor Mark McKee. “We recognize that fast internet connection speeds make a community more attractive, and that we have to stay competitive in this area to attract visitors, residents and businesses to our community. We’re grateful to Telus for their investment in our community and helping us to achieve our goals.”

Mistrial declared in Joshua Bredo case

The trial of a Victoria man accused of the first-degree murder of Revelstoke’s Daniel Levesque in August 2011 has ended in a mistrial.

Joshua Bredo’s trial for the murder, sexual assault and unlawful confinement of Levesque began Jan. 28 in B.C. Supreme Court and was expected to last seven weeks. But after hearing evidence from police, paramedics and forensic experts, the trial became bogged down in legal issues.

Last Tuesday, Mar. 3, Justice Malcolm Macaulay declared a mistrial and discharged the jurors of their duties.

“As has been apparent for some time, there has been an unusually lengthy list of matters that have had to be addressed in your absence,” Macaulay told the jury.

“It is now apparent to me that this matter was not properly ready for trial with a jury in all the circumstances. There are simply too many unresolved issues that require your absence and there are still too many others in the future for this trial to continue.”

March 18

New date set for trial of man accused of killing Daniel Levesque

A new date has been set for the trial of a Victoria man accused of the first-degree murder of a young Revelstoke musician in August 2011.

Joshua Bredo is charged with murder, sexual assault and unlawful confinement in the death of 20-year-old Daniel Jordan Levesque.

Bredo’s trial began Jan. 28 in B.C. Supreme Court but ended in a mistrial last week. The reason for the mistrial cannot be reported due to a publication ban.

March 25

Bantam boys finish third at Provincials

Fourteen local Bantam hockey players were in Fraser Lake to compete in the Tier 4 Provincial Championships this past week. Six teams from around the province competed for the right to host the championship banner.

Revelstoke closed the tournament with a match against Burns Lake to decide who would finish third. Jake ‘Top-gun’ Ancell’s hat-trick, plus goals from Mackenzie and Speerbrecker helped Revelstoke to a 6-5 win.

PHOTO: The Revelstoke Museum & Archives opened Land of Thundering Snow, an exhibit on the history of avalanches  and snow science, in March. The exhibit has both physical and online components, highlighted by research into every known avalanche fatality in Canadian history. It garnered national attention when it launched online at the Virtual Museum of Canada in the fall. ~ Photo by Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Review

 

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