Elementary school students taking part in National Aboriginal Day events on June 21 at the Lower Kootenay Band complex.

Creston Valley in 2013: A look back at June

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  • Dec. 28, 2013 4:00 p.m.

At this time, we present our annual year in review, looking back at the events of 2013 as recorded in the pages of the Creston Valley Advance.


6—A local forum timed to acknowledge United Nations World Environment Day drew about 40 invited guests to the Creston Valley Golf Club on June 3. Co-sponsored by the Town of Creston and Labatt’s Columbia Brewery, it brought together businesses, government and other organizations to celebrate local water conservation, collaborate on conservation best practices and explore ways of working together toward long-term sustainability in the Creston Valley.

“We all share the same planet, and the same corner of it that we call the Creston Valley,” said Creston Mayor Ron Toyota. “If we’re to grow together, we need to conserve it together, too, looking for opportunities to take action as a committed group of Creston’s leaders to address and resolve a wide range of environmental issues together.”

Gord Perrin — a Prince Charles Secondary School and Thompson Rivers University graduate who plays professional volleyball in Turkey — was among the starting six when Canada took to the court for the prestigious FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) Volleyball World League championship on June 1, defeating the Netherlands three sets to one. The game was played in front of 3,500 in the Quebec Coliseum.

13—West Creston was inching closer to having a formal fire protection service, when Area C director Larry Binks said he had received Regional District of Central Kootenay approval on the wording for a petition that, if successful, would approve taxing residents at a rate of 69 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Meanwhile, the West Creston Fire Protection Society, a volunteer group, continued to collect funds to build a fire hall. The area has been without a building since a storm two years ago destroyed the structure that housed a fire truck.

•The College of the Rockies began seeking input on a beginner farmer training program. The 10-month program, funded with seed money from the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation, and Technology, will start in February 2014, and will be one of four in Canada. Its purpose will be to prepare people from all walks of life to engage in human-scale agriculture enterprises.

BC Hydro once again stepped up as a major funder of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, with community relations manager Diane Tammen visiting Creston recently to hand over a cheque for $407,522. The money would be administered by Ducks Unlimited Canada, which now operates the management area under agreement with the province of British Columbia.

•A new program to improve maternity services at the Creston Valley Hospital was launched on June 4. MORE (Managing Obstetrical Risk Efficiently) OB, a three-year program funded by Interior Health, will allow doctors and midwives to take part in online learning, drills and workshops that will provide instruction on the most up-to-date evidence-based practices for taking care of maternity patients and families.

“It’s going to unify all the professionals in the Kootenays with what we’re doing,” said Dr. Karen Persad.

20—To raise awareness about diabetes, Lower Kootenay Band Chief Jason Louie planned to climb on a bike in Bonners Ferry on June 21 and start out his ride home by crossing the bridge over the Kootenay River and making the long uphill climb toward Three Mile.

In preparation for the 58-kilometre ride, he was training almost daily since December. Workouts at the Creston Fitness Centre, which donated a one-year gym pass that would be given out as a prize during National Aboriginal Day festivities.

Pharmasave’s Mike Ramaradhya and Jodie McBlain donated a one-year pass to the Creston and District Community Complex fitness centre, and Nadan Nessie Gear gave him “a great deal” on the use of a lightweight road bike.

•Nelson pilot Anthony Arnold Quibell, 53, was killed in a plane crash northwest of Crawford Bay on June 12, when his twin engine Cessna 337, on its way from Nelson to Saskatchewan, went down around 2 p.m. The plane crashed in the mountains at an altitude of about 1,980 meters (6,500 feet); Crawford Bay itself is at an altitude of 536 metres (1,760 feet).

•More than six months after the retirement of former fire chief Bruce Mabin, Creston Fire Rescue once again had a fire chief when deputy chief Michael Moore was promoted in a ceremony at the June 11 regular council meeting. Four firefighters were also appointed to new positions: Randall Fabbro (captain), Dayle MacRae (lieutenant), Dean Armitage (lieutenant) and Andrew Bibby (lieutenant).

•The Gray Creek Store celebrated a milestone in 2013, serving Kootenay Lake with groceries to fireplaces and books to lumber for 100 years — with 20,000 items in stock, customers can find just about anything imaginable. It recently got bigger, with a warehouse, built over the winter and replacing a row of oaks planted by founder Arthur Lymbery, housing storage for lumber, woodstoves, drywall, fenceposts and more.

“The customers become your friends,” said owner Tom Lymbery, son of founder Arthur. “I get so many interesting people in here. … You’re not sitting behind the counter selling the same thing.”

27—Experience running her own businesses helped Alison Bjorkman jump headlong into her new job as a business counsellor with Community Futures. Bjorkman, who owned Black Bear Books for many years, has been “repurposing” old items into stylish furniture and home décor items most recently, in a partnership with another experienced entrepreneur, her husband, Bart Bjorkman. They ship items all over the world.

“I have a lot of empathy with my clients,” said Bjorkman, who also makes and sells pottery. “I’ve been operating businesses for a long time — you have to walk the talk. This work inspires me to better use my skills in my own businesses, too.”

•The once familiar sound of clinking milk bottles in local dairy cases returned to the Creston Valley when Kootenay Meadows, a family-owned organic farm in Lister, began selling a full line of milk products. It was another giant step for a family farm that has laboured to create a value-added product line to sustain a future for owners Wayne and Denise Harris and their daughters, Erin and Nadine. Single source, locally bottled dairy products haven’t been available in Creston stores for more than 40 years and the community’s appetite has clearly been whetted.

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