- Our Town
Cranbrook 2013: The year in review
From fire to flood, new construction and saved heritage buildings, 2013 was a busy year in Cranbrook and Kimberley.
From our viewpoint at the Townsman, we have picked the biggest stories of the year.
In Part One, we look at the news of January through March.
As 2013 began Kimberley's fire department was still mopping up after a fire destroyed the Kootenay Cycle Works building in the Platzl on Dec. 28, 2012.
If it weren't for the department's latest purchase, a ladder truck, the fire would have quickly spread to neighbouring businesses in the Platzl.
As it was, the Gilded Goat also sustained some damage.
It didn't take long for Kootenay Cycle Works to rise from the ashes, joining Rocky's Ski and Snowboard, also on the Platzl, to form Kootenay Mountain Works in March.
A Kimberley tradition came to an end after 39 years. In January, the Kimberley International Accordion Championships announced that the festival would not run again.
Organizers said that increasing costs and falling revenue meant the festival was no longer economically viable.
Accolades and tributes to the festival poured in from all over North America. Some visitors asked the festival committee to reconsider, instead holding the festival one last time in 2013 for its 40th anniversary. But it was not to be.
A 52-year-old Wasa man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Jan. 7.
Dale Andrew Davis was driving a pickup truck through Wasa on Highway 95 when it hit the ditch and rolled. Davis was killed instantly.
Cranbrook Search and Rescue paid it forward after purchasing a new rescue truck. The volunteer-run organization took advantage of donations and grants to replace a rescue truck it had outgrown.
After its new truck arrived, Cranbrook Search and Rescue put the word out to other B.C. Search and Rescue groups who may be smaller and have good use for the older vehicle.
The very grateful Keremeos Search and Rescue took advantage of the offer to replace a truck that was on its last legs.
Cranbrook City Council supported a liquor license application for the then-unnamed Heid-Out Restaurant and Brewhouse. Owner Heidi Romich revealed plans to turn her popular restaurant, Heidi's, into a brewhouse where customers could sample beer brewed on-site.
The development sailed through the approval process. After a competition to name the pub was run in the Townsman, the Heid-Out was chosen and the restaurant opened in June.
The United Church of Canada Kootenay Presbytery threw its support behind the Ktunaxa's bid to save its sacred Qat'muk territory from the development of Jumbo Glacier Resort.
The support came as the United Church met with Ktunaxa elders to reaffirm its apology for the harm done to First Nations children and their families in the residential school program.
Beloved Cranbrook citizen Ruby Sinclair passed away in January at the age of 95. The long-time volunteer and Kootenay Ice fan will be remembered for many years to come.
Canadian rock legends the Tragically Hip played to a sold-out crowd at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook in January, kicking off their "Now For Plan A" Canadian road trip. Barely a week later, Jaffray hometown favourite and country music star Dean Brody played at the Key City Theatre, "a couple of walls away" from where he went to high school.
A gala celebration at the Heritage Inn in January celebrated Citizen of the Year Jason Wheeldon. The local realtor, volunteer and fundraiser extraordinaire was recognized by the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce in front of his colleagues, peers, family and friends.
The federal government proposed reshuffling its riding to include Nelson in the Kootenay-Columbia riding, with a seat held by Conservative MP David Wilks. After a public consultation period, the new riding boundaries were finalized in June.
Wycliffe residents Peter Moody and Susan Bond opened up to the Bulletin about their harrowing encounter with a grizzly bear in Nov. 2012. The pair told how they stumbled upon a sow grizzly with her two cubs, feeding on a deer carcass. Acting in defence, the sow attacked Susan and Peter, causing serious injuries to their heads, arms and legs. They were able to walk to a nearby home for help, but spent several weeks in hospital in Calgary recovering.
In February, a trial got underway in Kamloops for three Cranbrook men charged over a plot to kill a local drug rival.
A criminal turned police agent John Garry Shank testified against Lorne Carry, Lonnie Adams and Colin Correia. Shank became a police agent in the investigation after he was arrested on breach of parole. He then wore a recording device in meetings with the three men, while they discussed a plan to kill Doug Mahon.
The trial continued until April when the three men were found guilty. In August, Correia was sentenced to 12 years in jail. Carry received a 10 year sentence. Adams, who was found guilty of counselling to commit murder, instead of the more serious conspiracy to commit murder, was sentenced to five years in jail.
te Gord McArthur was chosen to represent Canada at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. The Cranbrook resident was selected by the Alpine Club of Canada to participate in the demonstration sport of ice climbing.
Cranbrook high-school student Keltie Murdoch travelled to Taiwan in February. Keltie was presenting her award-winning project, Geo Air, at the Taiwan International Science Fair.
On Feb. 19, the Jumbo Mountain Resort Municipality was officially incorporated with an appointed mayor and council. At the same time, the West Kootenay Eco Society filed an injunction against the B.C. government, asking for a judicial review of the creation of the municipality. Environmental group Wildsight held a rally in front of the municipality’s first council meeting in Radium.
When the B.C. government announced its budget in February, it included a multi-million dollar investment in the East Kootenay Regional Hospital. Together with the Hospital District, the Ministry of Health are funding a $19.9 million renovation at the hospital to create a new Intensive Care Unit and upgrade the electrical system. The project is expected to break ground in spring 2014.
The City of Cranbrook conducted its second urban deer cull in February, taking 24 deer in an 18-day period. During the cull, two of the borrowed clover traps were vandalized, and a protest was held in Cranbrook. Mayor Wayne Stetski said council was left with little choice but to cull because the province has not approved other methods of wildlife control such as relocation.
Master gardener, volunteer and arts enthusiast Jenny Humphrey was named Woman of the Year by the Canadian Federation of University Women – Cranbrook chapter. Humphrey was celebrated in a touching ceremony in March before family, friends and colleagues.
Young filmmaker Kaio Kathriner was in his hometown of Cranbrook in February to make a short film, The Hunt for the Mad Trapper. With a cast made up of Kaio’s high-school friends and Vancouver actors, The Mad Trapper told a version of the Northwest Territories legend. A Cranbrook oldtimer who heard about the filming got in touch with the filmmaker to tell what he knew secondhand from an old buddy who had taken part in the real-life hunt for the mad trapper. Those interviews will be used in some capacity in the film, Kathriner said.
A group of three friends from Cranbrook who formed a video game company launched its first product at a Boston video game convention. The Eon Alter is a hybrid video game and role-playing game that uses smart devices and is played by a group of people together in real time.
A 19-year-old Marysville woman had a harrowing story to tell after her vehicle plunged off the road near the McPhee bridge in February. Lillie Young broke her back in the accident that occurred just after midnight. But no one saw the accident, and Lillie’s vehicle was hidden from view down the embankment. The tenacious teen spent the frigid night in the upside down car under a blanket. The next morning she managed to crawl up the steep embankment and wave to passing cars for help. Several vehicles passed by the injured woman before a driver finally stopped and took her to get help.
Students at Laurie Middle School organized a rally against bullying, Pink the Rink, during a Kootenay Ice game on March 2. Hundreds of Cranbrook school kids performed a flash mob during the first period to the Selena Gomez hit “Who Says”.
The East Kootenay celebrated the success of the Clear View campaign to buy a digital mammography machine for East Kootenay Regional Hospital. Over 11 months, the campaign raised $1 million through enormous community support. The machine was put to work right away.
A 37-year-old woman was charged with murder and arson over the March death of a 47-year-old Marysville man. Claudia de Assumpcao was the girlfriend of Jordon Lomsnes. Her case is continuing in Cranbrook’s criminal court, with her next court appearance scheduled for Jan. 13, 2014.
CP Rail laid off 22 per cent of its Cranbrook-based running trade workforce – 46 locomotive engineers, conductors and train men. The company said the layoffs were related to seasonal ebbs and flows and fluctuations in the commodities that are transported from Cranbrook.
A continuing saga began in March when Cranbrook City Council decided not to save a crumbling historic brick building behind City Hall. Since that original decision, a local group has stepped forward, offering to fund the preservation of the old electrical building that was built in 1936 with bricks from Cranbrook’s brick yard. Council has reversed its decision, giving the group one year to raise the necessary funds to protect the building.
While on the topic of buildings old and new, council reluctantly approved the construction of a new complex near Wal-Mart in March, despite concerns about traffic congestion in the area. Construction is now underway on the building that will contain Sport Chek and Dollar Tree stores.
A coalition of environmental group called for a moratorium on coal mining in the Elk Valley after a March U.S. study into river pollution. Researchers at the University of Montana found that levels of nitrogen, sulphate and selenium were as much as 1,000 times the background rate in the Elk River. Teck immediately took action through a Selenium Management Action Plan, one of the largest water quality management programs of its kind in the world. In April, the B.C. Ministry of Environment gave Teck an Area Based Management Plan Order, directing it on how to move forward with mining activities in light of the environmental concerns.
A Kimberley man was killed in an avalanche in March. He was one of a group of snowmobilers who travelled to the Hellroaring Creek area on a memorial run for another Kimberley resident who also died in an avalanche there four years ago. The Canadian Avalanche Centre warned other backcountry users that the risk was high in many parts of the province.
In March, Tembec sold its Skookumchuck pulp mill to Vancouver-based Paper Excellence Canada. Almost 300 people work at the pulp mill, and their jobs were included in the $89 million sale.