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.
1 — There was no sign yet that the Regional District of Central Kootenay and the Town of Creston were close to agreeing about how to deliver a single Creston Valley-wide fire protection service to local residents.
Discussions looked like they were about to come to an end when RDCK fire chief Terry Swan told town council that the regional district would have to create a sub-regional service that would include all Creston Valley fire departments, including the one that the Town of Creston has operated for more than 100 years.
Such an amalgamation would mean a property tax increase for Town of Creston property owners, with no corresponding increase in the level of services. West Creston, for instance, has no formal fire department and residents don’t pay for fire protection in their taxes.
• As many as 1,000 people of all ages got a rare chance to see and even touch the Stanley Cup on Aug. 20 when hockey hall of famer John Bucyk took it first to Creston and District Community Complex and later to Swan Valley Lodge. Bucyk, who has been a Boston Bruins radio broadcaster since retiring as a player in 1978 brought the cup to Creston to inspire young players and thrill fans, even disappointed Vancouver Canucks supporters.
• Nearly 55 per cent of B.C. voters rejected the harmonized sales tax adopted last year. In the Nelson-Creston constituency, that number was over 64 per cent. Reactions, not surprisingly, were mixed.
“Like many in the business community the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce is disappointed with the outcome of the HST referendum,” president Rob Schepers said. “We now support calls for a dialogue to take place that puts jobs first under a competitive tax system.”
8 — With contract negotiations at a standstill, B.C. teachers kicked off a new school year by serving strike notice to their provincial employer.
Although School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) schools opened on Sept. 6 as planned, “Parents and staff are advised that teachers will only be providing services that have been designated as essential,” said Supt. Jeff Jones.
• School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) was faced with a repayment schedule after a provincial enrolment audit team determined the district had been overfunded in a number of areas, for a total of about $600,000. Calculations used to determine student enrolment throughout the district were found to be erroneous in a number of areas.
On a motion by Creston South Rural trustee Annette Hambler-Pruden, the board agreed to send protest letters to the Ministry of Education, the BC School Trustees Association and organizations that might share similar concerns.
• Creston RCMP arrested two females at the Rykerts border crossing when they attempted to enter the U.S.
“When the sisters stopped at U.S. customs, their vehicle registration indicated they were wanted in a robbery case in Peace River, Alta.,” said Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan.
Two males they had dropped off earlier were located in Erickson and arrested on Sept. 4. All four were transported back to Alberta to face charges.
15 — A cougar attack that left two sheep dead on Sept. 5 should serve as a reminder that cougars, like grizzly bears, are all around us, said Sgt. Arnold Deboon of the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS).
Deboon said the COS had a busy year with grizzly bears. Bears near the landfill site in Lister, in an orchard and a Lister dairy farm were been euthanized.
• A Railway Boulevard building that had been home to the Creston Valley Teachers’ Association for about 20 years was damaged by fire on Sept. 10. The CVTA uses the building for meetings and Becky Blair, the association’s full-time president, works from an office to provide services to members.
Blair said she hopes that her efforts to store paperwork in Tupperware containers last year will help preserve archives that were stored in the basement.
“My heart aches for the history that could be lost,” she said. “But we won’t know what we have lost until we get into the building.”
• The cash-strapped Creston Valley Thunder Cats junior A hockey team took a financial beating because renovations to John Bucyk Arena took longer than anticipated.
“The setback of the arena renovations at has had a significant impact,” spokesperson Michael Moore said in a report. “The direct financial impact to move training camp to Trail … was $7,705. In addition to this unexpected expense, there is a known $18,203 change in revenue or increase expenses. This amounts to a $25,708 of expenses and revenue decrease.”
• With just one vote separating first and second place, it was a tight race, but Vicky Koenig and Family Place emerged as the winner of the 2011 Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) Community Literacy Award.
Run through the Creston and District Community Resource Centre Society, Family Place is located at the Creston Education Centre and provides a home base for Success By Six, StrongStart and pregnancy outreach, among other early childhood programs.
22 — Free parking at metered spaces would continue though the end of 2011, giving town council time to consider whether meters should remain or be removed. A three-month summer study that examined parking spot usage in the downtown core indicated there was no overcrowding of metered or parking lot spaces and that there was a low rate of drivers who abuse the two-hour limit in the Cook Street parking lot.
• Town staff would seek to get clarification on the legal status of the Pioneer Phoenix Restoration Society, which received $2,000 in funds to assess the viability of Pioneer Villa for other housing uses. There was a controversy after some members moved to disband the society and have its status as a society rescinded.
29 — Shama Johnson and Sean Joy called it quits, saying that No Boundaries Health and Fitness was no longer a viable business. Johnson said the writing had been on the wall for one of the two privately operated fitness centres in Creston since the opening of the fitness centre in Creston and District Community Complex.
Arrangements were made to allow No Boundaries members to transfer their remaining membership time to Charleen Pompu’s Creston Fitness Centre. Johnson, Joy and Pompu all expressed concern when the public facility opened, saying it competed with private businesses that were at a disadvantage because they weren’t subsidized by taxpayers.
• When Bob Johnson and Petra Flaa chose the slogan “The adventure continues” for their Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery, they couldn’t have foreseen how meaningful that statement would become. The couple’s adventure continued with the appearance on their doorstep of Guy Baillie-Grohman, great-great-grandson of the winery’s namesake.
Guy, 23, a resident of Somerset, England, knew of his great-great-grandfather’s connection to the Creston Valley, but he didn’t know until last year that the historical name had been chosen for a new winery.
• The West Creston Fire Protection Society and Creston Valley Hospice Society have been announced as winners of $25,000 Legacy Awards from the Creston and District Credit Union (CDCU). The winners were chosen from five finalists and the three unsuccessful applicants each receive a $500 award.