Creston Valley in 2013: A look back at March

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  • Dec. 27, 2013 8:00 p.m.
Special Olympics player Dodi Benincasa during a  game of floor hockey in March. (Story at

Special Olympics player Dodi Benincasa during a game of floor hockey in March. (Story at

7—The Creston Museum began using modern technology to bring the past to life, with a new app leading cellphone users on a scavenger hunt of Creston’s heritage buildings. A photo of one popular artifact was uploaded to Twitter, and retweeted many times, which led manager Tammy Hardwick to create a heritage building scavenger hunt through, where users can download an app through iTunes or Google Play.

•Sustainability issues have been on the table at Creston Town Hall since it co-sponsored a two-year sustainability pilot project 20 years ago. How to deal with environmental, social and economic impacts in the Creston Valley took another step forward on Feb. 26 when council adopted an integrated community sustainability plan.

“Cultivating Creston gives us a vision of the future as seen by local residents,” said Mayor Ron Toyota. “I think it will be an important tool for many years, and one that will help inform our official community plan, which should be updated in the next few years.”

14—Twenty-five members of Creston Fire Rescue and the Wynndel-Lakeview and Canyon-Lister fire departments joined forces on March 9 for a fire practice that saw the former Lower Kootenay Band office on Highway 21 burned to the ground. The office was built in the 1960s and had not been used in several years. Its destruction was part of the chief and council’s desire to clean up the area.

•The Creston Valley Farmers’ Market was preparing to kick off another season on March 23 at a new site, now operating on land adjacent to the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“This is a giant move toward our long-term plan to become a year-round market,” said volunteer Len Parkin.

Victoria Bowns finally made it to the top, being named the winner of Creston’s Best Singer on March 7, with Ben Lansing and Marybeth Stenhouse placing just behind her. It was her third time in the contest, having competed in the 2011 and 2012 editions, and making it to third place last year.

“It’s the cherry on top of the cake,” the 16-year-old said.

21—The possibility of Creston becoming a city was slated to be discussed in the fall at a strategic planning session. Steffan Klassen, finance and corporate services director, reported that Creston can be designated as a city now that its population exceeds 5,000.

Klassen said there are no direct benefits to the designation, but there are costs, including changing legal documents and all signage and stationery. Such a move would require approval of 50 per cent of those voting in a plebiscite, which would also have a cost, he said.

•At least 18 vehicles were damaged early in the morning on March 11 and Creston RCMP were asking for local residents to help identify suspects. Police had a number of clues from various scenes, as well as video taken by victims, but they needed more information.

28— Two men arrested in a home invasion on Seventh Avenue suspected to be linked to a drug dispute remained in custody as Creston RCMP continue their investigation. The men, later determined to be in breach of probation orders, were being held pending a court appearance. One suspect was believed to have shot a lock to open an exterior door.

•Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board chair John Kettle said he was satisfied with a 2013-14 budget that will increase by just over one per cent over the previous year. The projected 2013 budget, expected to be approved March 28 at the board’s regular meeting, totaled $58,686,050, up by 1.14 per cent over 2012’s $58,022,994.

“We worked very hard to keep the budget in check,” Kettle said. “There are some increases, such as 25 per cent to the cost of water for Erickson residents, that I’m not very happy with, but overall I think it’s a good budget.”

•The federal budget announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty would be good for Canada and the Kootenay-Columbia riding, MP David Wilks said from Ottawa. He said it is important for people to recognize that the government is ensuring a balanced budget by 2015. It would be the first balanced Canadian budget since 2008, the year the Conservatives lowered the GST to five per cent, which ended a string of 11 consecutive surplus budgets.

•To most of the world, Peter Duryea was best known for a role in the pilot episode of the original Star Trek series. But on Kootenay Lake, he was a revered East Shore elder and environmentalist who fought against clearcut logging and started a now-thriving nature retreat. Duryea, who was also a writer, director, tree planter, cook, boat guide and naturalist, died at home March 24 at 73 after a long illness.

“He was a visionary — one of the most amazing I’ve ever met,” says Susan Hulland, who like Duryea, came to the area in the 1970s. “He always insisted on figuring out a good way to do things. … He was always looking for win-win scenarios, even during down and dirty environmental squabbles.”