Canyon-Lister Elementary School students volunteering with the Harvest Share program

Creston Valley in 2013: A look back at September

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  • Dec. 30, 2013 6:00 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.


5—Nearly a dozen volunteers were gearing up in the Creston half of the Nelson-Creston riding to start collecting signatures for a provincewide drive with the goal of a referendum for the decriminalization of cannabis when Sensible BC kicked off a 90-day campaign on Sept. 9.

With no plans to go door-to-door, they would set up tables around town to provide information and gather signatures.

“We don’t want to cause trouble,” said local volunteer co-ordinator Marc Archambault. “We want to be respectful.”

12—While ridership on the regular BC Transit bus increased after changes in the service were made in 2012, Regional District of Central Kootenay directors say it isn’t worth the cost.

“It is not providing the service levels to make it sustainable. It isn’t close to giving value to taxpayers,” said Area B director John Kettle at a local services committee meeting on Sept. 4, responding to a presentation by BC Transit regional manager Kevin Schubert, who presented figures showing that riders pay for less than 10 per cent of the cost of the service.

•The Creston Music and Media Society was established to better the lot of performers in the Creston Valley, with goals of promoting “local music and media arts with a particular focus on profitability and business development, and working co-operatively with other organizations and businesses,” said chair Marc Archambault. “There’s not really a history of beneficial representation for either segment of the arts community. … Musicians are viewed as disposable commodities, almost. They’re not valued. There’s an expectation they will work for free.”

The goal of CMMS is more than just entertainment, though, with education, project assistance and identification of funding also in its mandate; its philosophy statement says, “The particular focus of the CMMS will be to promote local musicians and media artists, to contribute to the local economy, and to facilitate business development in those fields.”

•Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy co-ordinator Linda Steward presented volunteer Linda Price with the annual Creston Community Literacy Award at the Creston and District Public Library on Sept. 5.

Price has a long history of working with refugee families in Creston, and in Calgary before she and her husband, Don, retired. In Calgary, her friendship with a refugee family led her to become and English language tutor.

“Tutoring is so much fun and it’s really rewarding,” she said.

•Dr. Sid Kettner remembers well the impact Dr. Hans Diehl’s Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP, now Complete Health Improvement Program) had on Creston Valley residents when it was introduced in 1988.

“The town changed in character,” said Kettner. “Walking shoes were ordered in by the hundreds, bananas by the ton, bakeries and coffee shops were trying to outdo each other in offering healthy sandwiches with the most number of grains in their breads, and restaurants were spreading flyers offering steaks at half price. But the CHIPpers and their friends weren’t buying!”

•Longtime Gigabytes print shop owner Steve Austin was presented with a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow certificate and pin in recognition of his support of the Creston Rotary Club.

“During my presidency, I approached Steve to assist with the design and development of a banner that our club could use to display when we attend events for awareness and promotion of our many activities,” said Marilin Grahn. “When the job was completed I was told there would be no charge. This is his way of ‘giving back’ to Rotary for what we have done for the community.”

17— Creston’s ability to attract new business is being hampered by the lack of high-speed Internet availability, Creston town council was told at the Sept. 10 regular meeting. KC Dyer, a local computer network specialist, told council that current service for businesses in the downtown core is woefully lacking.

“Most Kootenay communities have higher speeds and others, like Rossland, are working on it,” Dyer said. “We are losing business opportunities because there is no high-speed service in sight.”

Dyer said most Internet service providers are designed to offer much higher download speeds than upload speeds, something that will only change if the Town of Creston, like other Kootenay municipalities, takes a leadership role.

•Decades since they met, 12 seniors from around the province gathered at Lister Park on Sept. 14 to celebrate 60 years since they attended the Youth Training School, a program subsidized by the federal and provincial governments, and ran from around 1939-1959.

It allowed B.C.’s rural youth aged 16-30 to attend the University of BC for two months at a cost of just $30, with boys studying agriculture and girls learning homemaking. Attendees included Creston Valley residents Alf Wellspring, Lew Truscott, Paul Shersteboff and Mervin Montgomery.

26—In 1913 in Wynndel, Monrad Wigen took delivery of a small portable sawmill, which led to the creation of Wynndel Box and Lumber, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013.

Late in his life, Jack Wigen would describe the clever structure that Monrad created to ensure the business could be sustained without creating a rift between his two sons, Jack and Bob. The company was organized into three divisions — forest operations, the sawmill and lumber sales. When Monrad passed on, Jack and Bob each ran one division independently, but shared in the operation of the third.

“Dad’s plan was to make sure we had a vested interest in co-operating,” Jack said. “And it worked.”

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