At this time, we present our annual year in review, looking back at the events of 2011 as recorded in the pages of the Creston Valley Advance.
4 — New landscaping on the College of the Rockies (COTR) ground was about much more than esthetics. It was a visible culmination of the college’s foray into xeriscaping, the environmental design of residential and park land using various methods for minimizing the need for water use.
Greenhouse program staff and volunteers have been busy in the last few weeks creating a new look for the 16th Avenue frontage of the community college. The new garden, which included a locally built bridge over a “waterless river”, was designed by COTR staff member Carmen Rockwell-Hoover.
• After delays caused by a cool, wet spring and early summer, construction on the Ramada Inn and conference centre was finally in full swing. The 71-room hotel, with the first new hospitality rooms built in Creston since the 1960s, would also accommodate meetings and conferences for up to 100 people. Negotiations were underway for a restaurant to be built on the property, which was given a tentative release from the Agriculture Land Reserve in 2009 by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
• Representatives of a company conducting mineral exploration in and near the Arrow Creek watershed were on the hot seat on July 26. About 40 people attended a meeting of the Arrow Creek Water Commission to learn more about test drilling, which began last year, conducted by Cranbrook-based Eagle Plains Resources Ltd. and TerraLogic Explo-ration Services.
Project geologist Jim Harley presented an outline of the company’s activities in the Iron Range area, explaining how the area was mapped and subject to airborne surveys before several test holes were drilled. Some of those holes, which average 300-350 meters in depth, were in the upper reaches of the Arrow Creek watershed, he said.
11 — The discovery of a string of unanticipated structural problems pushed the estimated costs of renewing and rejuvenating the Creston and District Community Complex arena up by more than $1 million.
When the original arena floor was removed, a belowground water flow was discovered. A structural steel beam holding up the north end of the Creston Room did not extend the full length of the room, leaving contractors to wonder how the room didn’t collapse. Asbestos insulation was found not only in the exterior concrete block walls, but interior walls, too.
• Creston’s Coffin Dodgers were ready to play slo-pitch in the BC Seniors Games on Aug. 16-20 in Trail, Castlegar and Nelson. With a team ranging in age from 55-74, the Dodgers would take on teams from around the province.
18 — The high costs that forced the Town of Creston to delay necessary upgrades to the waste water treatment plant below Highway 21 could result in a superior system with a lower price tag.
The preferred option would depend on negotiating with the Columbia Brewery to operate the portion of the system that pre-treats brewery effluent before it enters the main system. The brewery, which pays for half of the current plant’s operating costs, would then pay only for its proportion of the main plant’s operations, estimated at about 40 per cent of the total.
When tenders for upgrades designed by the engineering company that designed the plant originally went out in 2010, bids came in at around $8 million, about a third higher than the town had available after being approved for some government grants.
• Conservation officer Arnold Deboon implored town council to reconsider a bylaw to mesh with the efforts of the Bear Aware program. Later in the meeting, Mayor Ron Toyota had to break a tie vote, sending the bylaw issue back to staff for further recommendations.
• The beauty of the Creston Valley caught the eyes of Saskatchewan filmmakers Nils Sorenson and Leanne Schinkel, who were in Creston to shoot the trailer for an online fantasy series, Mila’s Fountain, in which a Sirdar waterfall will play a major role.
The series, which will be comprised of 11 eight-minute episodes to be shot next summer, concerns the Wanderer, a man who discovers the fountain and its initially hostile resident, Mila. The pair develops a rapport, and the series follows their intimate conversation.
25 — The Spokane channels Shaw cable subscribers had been watching for years were back on the air. The ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox affiliates returned Aug. 24 after subscribers complained when the channels were switched to Seattle and Detroit affiliates in July. After an outcry over losing regional coverage, subscribers in Nelson, Trail and Castlegar had their Spokane stations returned on Aug. 4, but it took a bit longer for Creston’s switch.
• “Decent crop, lousy market” was the sentiment of late season cherry growers. After a miserably cool and wet spring, warm weather in late July and August helped produce a fair to good quality crop of Lapins, Staccatoes, Sweethearts and other late season varieties. But a flood of Washington fruit into international and Canadian markets dropped prices to levels that could have been unprofitable.
• Residents with overabundant gardens or unpicked fruit trees could once again turn to Harvest Share, which uses volunteers to harvest the fruit and vegetables. Volunteers can keep one-third of what they pick and the remainder is divided between the property owner and local agencies that pass on the produce people with low incomes.