Revelstoke 2015 Year in Review – Part 3

A look back at the biggest stories in Revelstoke from July to September 2015.

  • Jan. 1, 2016 1:00 p.m.

The Modern helped Revelstoke celebrate Canada Day with their incredible cake.

July 1

Record-breaking heat wave scorches Revelstoke

A new record high temperature was set in Revelstoke on Sunday. The thermometer peaked at an oppressive 39.9 C at around 5 p.m., shattering the old mark for June 28 set 90 years in 1925, when it was a breezy 35 C.

Friday and Saturday were also scorchers – the high was 34.2 C both days – but not hot enough to top the 1925 heat wave, when the temperature topped 36 C both days.

Sunday’s high wasn’t quite an all-time record, but it did come close. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Revelstoke happened on July 17, 1941, when the thermometer hit 40.6 C. Records for Revelstoke go back to 1898.

Still, Sunday’s high did set an extreme record for June.

“No matter how you slice, it was one hot day,” said Lisa Coldwells, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Revelstoke Adventure Park proposal going back to province

New applications for the Revelstoke Adventure Park are expected to be filed within the month, the proponent told council last week.

Jason Roe appeared in front of council last Tuesday, June 23, to provide an update on the proposed tourism destination, and get a vote of support for the project.

The bold plans call for lift-accessed mountain biking, bungee jumping, a zip line course, a mountain roller coaster, and an artificial lake with a mechanical surfing wave, all in the Greeley area about 10 kilometres east of Revelstoke.

“RAP offers recreational activities spanning all skill levels, and there are several attractions planned that have never been seen before in BC,” states a project summary presented to council. “This unique slate of activities all in one location combined with incredibly easy access on a major national thoroughfare makes RAP a singular offering within Canada.”

Survey says labour market tightening

More than half of Revelstoke businesses are having trouble finding workers, according to the recently released Labour Market Survey.

That finding is one of many in the comprehensive survey of the local labour market conducted last winter by Garry Pendergast and Janet Lemieux for the City of Revelstoke.

“It was no surprise it’s becoming harder and harder to find workers and retain them,” said Alan Mason, the city’s director of economic development. “I think that’s because there’s lots of opportunities in nearby provinces that pay higher wages.”

July 15

Shopping centre proposed for highway site

A proposal has come forward to build a shopping centre along the Trans-Canada Highway through Revelstoke.

Hall Pacific Enterprises wants to develop a commercial zone that would include a grocery store and a pharmacy as anchor retailers.

“Its a retail shopping village that’s highway oriented,” said Fraser Hall, the principal partner in Hall Pacific Enterprises.

The shopping centre would be located on two large empty lots off the highway along Bend Road. The area was the proposed site for a hotel and restaurant development until property owner Steve Platt dropped his plans several years ago, citing an unfavourable development climate at city hall.

According to a site plan, the proposed development would include a grocery store, drug store, liquor store, auto mechanic, bank, two restaurants and four other storefronts on 9.5 acres of land along the highway.

July 29

Police want help identifying RONA break-in suspects

A major break-in took place at the RONA Building Centre last weekend, and police are looking for help identifying the man and woman caught on tape leaving the building.

Employees arrived at the store Saturday morning to find a major theft occurred sometime overnight. They didn’t know exactly what had been taken at that point, but it didn’t look good, said store general manager Bobby McLelland, sitting in his truck outside while police were inside.

“To what extreme… it’s bad,” he said.

He said thieves cut the wires to the building to disable the security system, which included alarms and video cameras. No alarm went off when the break-in occurred. Police say the suspects also damaged the hard drive for the video surveillance system.

Photo: The Fog Duckers were one of 67 teams to take part in the Glacier Challenge in August — the lowest turnout in the tournament’s 27 year history. That prompted a committee to be formed to look at ways to revitalize the event.

August 5

Former Revelstoke resident Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker facing sex-related charges

Lieutenant-Colonel Mason Stalker was suspended from his command after several serious, sex-related charges were laid against him last week.

Stalker, a former Revelstoke resident, was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Prince Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

The Department of National Defence announced on Tuesday, July 28, that Stalker was charged with a number of sex-related offences relating to a time when he mentored a military cadet corps in Edmonton between 1998 and 2007.

Feds, province commit funding for Big Eddy Waterworks

The City of Revelstoke will receive funding to upgrade the Big Eddy Waterworks, but first it will need electoral approval to move ahead.

David Wilks, the MP for Kootenay-Columbia, joined Mayor Mark McKee on the steps of the Second Street entrance to city hall on Friday to make the funding announcement.

“This project is going to not only ensure the quality of the water of the Big Eddy is even better than it is today, but it’s going to also increase the quantity that’s available,” said Mayor Mark McKee, speaking from the steps of the Second Street entrance to city hall. “Development will be able to move forward unhampered. I’m looking forward to great things happening in the Big Eddy water district.”

The three levels of government will each contribute about $1.9 million for the upgrades. The city portion will be borne by the property owners in the Big Eddy, should they vote to go ahead with the works.

August 12

Man sentenced for child sex related offences

A Revelstoke man was sentenced to almost three years in prison after pleading guilty to several sex-related charges involving children.

The man, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban designed to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty to accessing child pornography, sexual interference of someone under the age of 16, and production of a controlled substance in January.

Last Thursday, Aug. 6, he was sentenced for his crimes, which included accessing disturbing videos and images of children, and the molestation of a girl over several years from the time she was 10.

“There is no question your behaviour, even though you considered it innocuous, is far from that,” Judge Lisa Mrozinski told the man in sentencing.

August 19

RMR announces terrain park for upcoming ski season

It wasn’t just a tease.

The terrain park that popped up at Revelstoke Mountain Resort at the end of last winter will be expanded for the upcoming ski season, the resort announced last week in a news release.

“Our guests have been asking for a terrain park for quite some time, so we are really thrilled to have the resources and team in place to build a full-size progression park,” said Peter Nielsen, the vice-president of RMR. “We are designing the park to appeal to a wide range of ages and abilities, and I think it is going to be a great addition to our winter offerings.”

Dan Boltwood and his mighty Percheron horses were a big hit at the BC Interior Forestry Museum during Heritage Weekend in September.

September 2

Opponent takes up fight against new gravel pit proposal

The proposed new gravel pit off Westside Road is a money grab that will cause public health problems, an opponent told council last week.

Stuart Andrews addressed council last week with his concerns about the proposed new pit, which would be located off Westside Road, across the river from the golf course.

“The matter is very contentious and controversial because of the other gravel pits in the surrounding area,” he said.

The gravel pit application is being made by Revelstoke Sand & Gravel, a company who’s lone director is John McKinnon. The company has applied for a land use permit with the Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations; and a development permit with the City of Revelstoke.

September 9

Trains collide, derail near Golden

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating a collision between two CP Rail trains east of Revelstoke early Sunday morning.

The collision resulted in both trains derailing at the Beavermouth siding 50 kilometres west of Golden at around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6. It happened when an eastbound train collided with the westbound train while entering the siding, said Chris Krepski, a spokesperson with the Transportation Safety Board.

Collapse of golf course deal ‘he said, she said’ situation

Everything seemed to be going well. A multi-million dollar deal that would have seen Citrus Capital take over operations of the Revelstoke Golf Club seemed imminent to all sides.

Which is why it’s sudden collapse following a meeting late last month has come as such a shock.

The deal between the city and Citrus Capital fell apart in minutes during a meeting between Larry Shelley of Citrus Capital, and Allan Chabot, the new Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Revelstoke. What has emerged is a he-said, she-said story, with city officials left confused, and Shelley left angry at his perceived treatment.

“I’m a little bit surprised, a little bit shocked, a lot disappointed,” said Mayor Mark McKee after the deal collapsed.

“I gave him a list that was intended to bring clarity to items that I understand had previously been discussed and canvassed with him, but needed a little more clarity on some of the key business terms,” said Chabot. “We met with the intention of advancing the negotiation of the lease.”

According to Shelley, the list amounted to a “21-point edict” that materially changed the terms of the lease.

“Things like changing the rent, the lease amount we agreed to, terms of the lease, underlying liens and encumbrances — the list goes on and on,” said Shelley.

The end result was Shelley walking away from the table, with no intention of going back.

September 16

RMR building mountain coaster

Hold on tight!

Revelstoke Mountain Resort is building a mountain coaster that will stretch from the mid-mountain lodge to the resort base.

According to a report by RMR that was presented to Revelstoke council last week the single-track coaster would stretch 1.4 kilometres down the lower portion of the resort, from the gondola mid-station to the base village.

Just don’t call it a roller coaster.

“The experience is really different. It’s gliding through natural terrain and almost mirroring a downhill mountain bike, without having the skills,” said Peter Neilsen, the vice-president of RMR. “It’s that kind of feel, that flow through the woods. It’s definitely very different from a roller coaster.”

The coaster would reach speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour, and riders would be able to use a braking mechanism to adjust their speed.

September 30

Focus shifts to future following first Axis Mundi

The first Axis Mundi has come and gone and the reviews have been almost entirely positive. The lineup was great, the vibe was excellent, and things ran mostly smoothly. Only one thing went wrong.

“The weather was devastating,” said organizer Hugo Rampen.

“That aside, I thought the event design was really good. I thought it worked very well. People seemed appreciative of the music and what we tried to achieve with the lecture series, the adventure market and the activities we could do considering the rain.”

Council hears strong opposition to highway shopping centre

It’s the busiest council chambers has been, in years, perhaps ever.

A passionate and generally united crowd spoke against the proposed Revelstoke Crossing shopping centre for the Trans-Canada Highway at a public hearing on Tuesday.

It was standing room only as more than 50 people crowded into council chambers and spilled out into the hallway for the hearing about the proposal by Hall Pacific to develop a shopping centre with a grocery store and pharmacy as anchor tenants at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 23 North.

The hearing was a chance for council to hear from the public. Mayor and council didn’t make any pronouncements of their own, but instead the five of them that were there – Trevor English was away and Scott Duke recused himself because he works with the property owner Steve Platt.

The majority of voices – both written and spoken – were against the proposal, with only a few speaking in favour.

The Nyundo School Roadshow from Rwanda was one of the big hits of the first Axis Mundi festival. The group of music students played several shows and were a hit everywhere they went. The festival was a success artistically, but not financially, leaving its future uncertain heading into 2016. Photo by Keri Knapp

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