Revelstoke was a hive of activity in 2011. A new wave of construction continued around town, including the new Revelstoke Secondary School, the new Best Western Hotel and the substantial completion of the third building at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. That’s on top of Revelstoke 5 and the start of Mica units 5 & 6. Much of this work was conceived and begun before the global economic downturn came along, and Revelstoke was certainly fortunate to have the opportunity to build them all.
In a town with just one of them, nothing can define community experience quite like a high school. The new Revelstoke Secondary School is the story of the year, since it’s emblematic of this construction wave and will continue to be a community hub for decades.
Of course, it wasn’t all hard hats ‘n’ hammers. In our annual Year in Review issue, we summarize some of the biggest news, community, sports and business stories of the year.
Happy New Year Revelstoke, and we’re looking forward to seeing you again in 2012.
Here are the biggest news stories of the second-half of 2011.
Council approves new bike network
Revelstoke is set to get a series of bike paths and trails that will run through the city from Revelstoke Mountain Resort all the way out to Mt. Macpherson.
The network will be made possible by $289,141 of tourism infrastructure funding that was recommended by the city’s Tourism Infrastrucuture Committee and approved by city council at their July 12 meeting.
Extended smoking ban proposed
City council got their first chance to comment on the details of proposed new municipal smoking ban rules for Revelstoke at their Aug. 23 public meeting.
Council unanimously adopted the first and second reading of the new bylaw at the meeting, opening up a public comment period as the bylaw moves towards final adoption. The proposed new ban was first recommended to council in September of 2010 by the city’s health advisory committee. Since then, city staff worked to develop the proposed bylaw that was presented today. The ban would extend existing bans to more public spaces.
PT Sign sparks public protest
The City of Revelstoke has given the owner of the moveable letterboard sign located out front of the former P&T Farm Market until Sept. 9 to get rid of it or face legal action.
The move sparked a protest by the sign’s owner, who on Aug. 29 took action. “City says sign bad must go,” he wrote on one side. “So much for free speech,” he posted on the other.
Neighbouring business Jacobson Ford got into the action too: “Ford says sign good!! Please stay!!” Not missing a beat, on the other side they added: “Buy a car and speak your mind!”
The sign has been a source of amusement to commuters who looked forward to the sign’s frequently-changing messages. When they started several months ago, they sought to entice potential clients into the vacant building on the lot.
Developer says lawsuit could cost city up to $14 million
A Revelstoke developer has filed a statement of claim against the City of Revelstoke, saying the city could be on the hook for damages up to about $14 million for allegedly failing to live up to an agreement regarding access across his property near Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
The statement of claim was filed by the Selkirk Land and Cattle Corporation at the Kelowna registry of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Sept. 28, 2011.
The statement says in 2004 the plaintiff entered into an agreement with the city to allow access across its 106-acre parcel of land located up-slope of Camozzi Road in Arrow Heights near the Joe Kozek Sawmills. The city wanted access to build and service a water reservoir there.
They say the city never lived up to the terms of the nominal-fee agreement to build a dedicated road, but instead built a dirt road across the property. The plaintiff says since then they have been struggling with successive city administrators to have the situation rectified, but have been rebuffed or largely ignored.
Aaron Volpatti makes Vancouver Canucks roster
Revelstoke native Aaron Volpatti secured a spot in the Vancouver Canucks starting lineup when the team opens the 2011-12 season at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
Volpatti, 26, won the opportunity to skate on the right side on a line with centre Maxime Lapierre and left winger Viktor Oreskovich after a pre-season that saw him garner attention for his hard hits and willingness to drop the gloves.
Loni Parker acclaimed for seventh term as CSRD director
Loni Parker thought she would step down as director for rural Revelstoke two years ago. Instead, she decided to keep going to work on the Official Community Plan for Area B of the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District.
Now, she has chosen to stand for a seventh term in order to deal with some outstanding issues and since no one ran against her, she will be sitting on the CSRD’s board of directors for another three years – 21 in total.
“I’m really into it,” she told the Times Review last week after being officially acclaimed. “There’s so much to learn all the time. It’s something I feel comfortable with, I enjoy it and I try to make things better for people.”
The issues Parker said she wants to deal with are water problems caused by development at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, continued lowering of taxes and completion of the parks plan and first zoning bylaw for the region.
Search for missing elderly woman ends in tragedy
The search for an elderly woman who went missing while driving from Nakusp to Revelstoke on Oct. 24 has ended with a tragic discovery.
Kay Mansour, 83, left Nakusp for an eye appointment in Revelstoke on Oct. 24, but never made it to that appointment.
Nakusp RCMP say she was believed to be staying with friends in Revelstoke for the past 11 days, but when she didn’t get in contact with family back in Nakusp, it was discovered she wasn’t staying with those friends in Revelstoke.
The search began for Mansour on Friday, Nov. 4 when authorities were notified of her disappearance. The next day, an RCMP helicopter spotted a completely submerged vehicle in the man-made reservoir located at the side of Highway 23 about halfway between Shelter Bay and Revelstoke.
New Revelstoke Secondary School opens
Revelstoke welcomed B.C. Minister of Education George Abbott to the grand opening ceremony of the new Revelstoke Secondary School on Nov. 9. Later that day, the new school opened its doors to the whole community, allowing many their first chance to have a look inside.
They marvelled at the bright, open spaces at the school and the many large windows that allow natural light inside. They admired the woodwork, including the large structural beams that hold the roof up in the gym and the two entrances, all the way down to the solid-wood locker doors.
RSS Principal Mike Hooker emceed the event, introducing Revelstoke Board of Education chairperson Alan Chell. Chell welcomed attendees at the formal morning ceremony in the gym. “On behalf of the Revelstoke School District, I would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Province of British Columbia, the Ministry of Education and the Honourable Minister of Education George Abbott for your decision to invest in the future of our education system and the future of our community,” Chell said. He thanked superintendent Anne Cooper and district principal Earl Woodhurst for their dedicated work on the project. “[They] have lived and breathed this project for the past three years, and their vision, dedication and skilled work has been one of the key factors in us being able to open this magnificent new school today. Thank you Anne, thank you Earl.”
Incumbents elected; two newcomers join council
Despite an election campaign dominated by criticism of city hall’s spending problems, Revelstoke voters returned all four incumbent candidates to the council table in Saturday’s municipal election, according to the unofficial results.
Tony Scarcella, Linda Nixon, Chris Johnston, Phil Welock, Gary Starling and Steve Bender (listed in order of votes) were the six top vote getters after vote counting ended Saturday night.
Mayor David Raven offered his congratulations to the winners.
“The fact four of them were on council before gives me the message that some of the stuff we are doing is good,” he said. “However there are some real learnings within the platforms and concerns raised during the campaign that we’ll have to be very careful with and considerate of.”