Creston Valley in 2013: A look back at April

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  • Dec. 27, 2013 8:00 p.m.
Nine Cubs and two Scouts took part in their sixth annual Kub Kar race held at the Royal Canadian Legion on April 8. Isaiah Persad placed first

Nine Cubs and two Scouts took part in their sixth annual Kub Kar race held at the Royal Canadian Legion on April 8. Isaiah Persad placed first

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.

DECEMBER

4— For the first time since its inception, the Independent Investigations Office made a report to Crown counsel, which left it to the Crown to determine whether charges should be laid against a Creston RCMP officer.

In a review of an incident at a Creston pub on Oct. 6, 2012, the chief civilian director report indicates that “an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment,” according to a press release. “While police were dealing with the situation, an adult male became involved and a physical altercation ensued. This resulted in the male sustaining serious facial injuries.”

•Creston property owners were told to expect a 5.8 per cent tax increase, all of it going into the town’s share of policing costs. In his presentation at the March 26 council meeting, finance and corporate services director Steffan Klassen, indicated that police and victim services now make up 16 per cent of the town’s general fund expenses, accounting for $1,095,767 of the 2013 budget total of $6,818,120. The taxpayers’ cost for policing is being buffered by a $425,000 transfer from the policing reserve fund, which will be drained in 2015.

Technology use — including Wi-Fi and online communication — was a strong focus at the March 26 School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board of education meeting. The board moved to have the policy committee discuss a proposed resolution by Creston trustee Annette Hambler-Pruden to instruct SD8 staff to use discretion and take precautions when allowing students, particularly in primary grades, to use Wi-Fi connected devices.

“Heaven knows the little devils have enough of them at home,” said Hambler-Pruden.

•Critically ill patients and their families are the beneficiaries of a 60th anniversary legacy grant from the Creston and District Credit Union. The Butterfly Suite, once a two-bed acute care room in the Creston Valley Hospital, was decorated with warm colours and artwork, and furnished with comfortable seating for family and friends of palliative care patients.

•A debate about reducing the required lot sizes in Lister from 20 to 10 acres wasn’t going away quietly, if sentiments expressed at the April 1 Creston Valley Food Action Coalition meeting were any indication. Following remarks by Lister farmers Randy Meyer and Wayne Harris, not a word was spoken in support for the Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B’s advisory planning commission’s proposed changes to the official community plan (OCP).

Harris, whose family runs Kootenay Meadows Farm, an organic operation whose products include cheese and milk, told the meeting that the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), created in 1973, made B.C. “probably the first place in the world to preserve agricultural land in legislation.”

•At the March 26 regular meeting of the School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board of education, trustees considered moving a professional development day then scheduled for Sept. 20 to either Sept. 3 or Oct. 24; the latter could be added to an Oct. 25 professional-development day, which could make it easier for teachers to travel to a Provincial Specialist Association conference in Vancouver.

“I’m shocked that the board is considering a travel day as a pro-d,” said Creston Valley Teachers Association president Rebecca Blair, when the board asked for her opinion.

11Tilley Kaye became another senior who has fallen victim to the Ministry of Justice’s DriveAble program, a combination of verbal and driving exams designed to take cognitively impaired drivers off the road.

Kaye’s troubles started last year, when her foot slipped off the brake and onto the gas pedal in a Canyon Street parking lot. By the time she came to a stop, the car had driven through a steel railing and across 20th Avenue.

“I’m a bum now,” she said. “I have to walk past my own car to beg rides from friends to get around.”

•Creston RCMP learned that Crown counsel was proceeding with obstruction charges against two men involved in a barroom incident last year. The decision follows lengthy investigation by Delta Police Department and the Independent Investigations Office (IIO).

Although the IIO did not exonerate the police officers after one of the men suffered facial injuries during the incident, Crown counsel did not proceed with criminal charges against them, after concluding there was little likelihood of a successful prosecution.

“This is relief to all of us in the detachment,” said Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan. “I have always believed our members acted professionally and used force only when necessary for the safety of themselves and the others in the premises.”

18—Regional District of Central Kootenay Area C director Larry Binks offered a $2,000 reward to anyone providing information about dumping on Kootenay River Road that led to a conviction under the Pollution Control Act. In addition, he promised to arrange for the installation of hidden motion-triggered video cameras that could help identify future culprits.

“It’s a select few adults — disrespectful, self-centred people who are too lazy to drive to the landfill,” the Area C director said on Monday. “This isn’t about the kids who go down there and party, it’s adults and even commercial businesses.”

•A 29-year-old Creston man faced charges of production of a substance and possession of a substance for the purpose of trafficking following a raid at his house on April 12. Two hundred plants were seized from the residence, along with a collection of marijuana-growing equipment.

•“Not a week goes by that I don’t get a phone call about DriveAble,” said MLA Michelle Mungall. In Creston for the opening of her election campaign office, she said that the NDP rural caucus has raised concerns about the program to test seniors’ ability to drive safely. Despite protests and petitions, the government hasn’t made further changes.

•At least three dogs died after being caught in beaver traps along the dikes on the Creston flats, said RDCK Area C director Larry Binks.

“The beavers create havoc with the dykes and they can’t be shot, so I don’t have a problem with the traps,” he said. “But I do have a problem with there being no signage and flags to warn dog owners who walk their animals in the area.”

•A year after it elected to end its long-running grant-in-aid program as a cost saving measure, Creston town council continues to struggle with how to handle requests from community groups. At the April 9 regular council meeting, one request was rejected, another succeeded and a third also got money, after previously being turned down. Hit with huge policing costs in 2012, the grant-in-aid program was pulled, but some money was set aside in what was then called the “mayor’s discretionary fund”.

25Vicki McDonald was preparing to leave the Creston Valley after 15 years of volunteering with Creston’s Pet Adoption and Welfare Society, many of those as president. During that time, she oversaw PAWS purchase land off Lower Wynndel Road in 2004, and open a shelter in 2010.

“If I was in the least bit concerned about leaving PAWS in their hands, I’d maybe be having second thoughts about leaving,” she said. “The best kind of people are the people here. They are here because they care and love animals, and to me, those are the best kind of people.”

•A steady stream of criminal record check requests was piling up on Creston RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan’s desk, fuelled by the federal government’s plan to start licensing private medical marijuana producers in 2014. But approved producers will have to meet a number of strict criteria, starting with meeting local government regulations.

“There are people who think they are going to grow medical marijuana in their homes,” he said. “But that wouldn’t be allowed in the Town of Creston or RDCK (Regional District of Central Kootenay) zoning bylaws.”