• The Shuswap’s on-water search and rescue crew is hoping to build a boathouse for its fleet that could also serve as a classroom for teaching navigation and safety courses. Shuswap Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Station 106 leader Fred Banham said the design of the boathouse, which will be a floating structure able to shelter both of the station’s rescue boats, was expected to be completed in the early spring. Design work was being funded by the Shuswap Community Foundation and TA Structures, and naval architects from Vancouver were collaborating on the project.
• There won’t be any celebrating when Matthew Richard Taylor turns 37 this month. For the past 20 years, Feb. 25 has been a day of heavy hearts for the family of the Canmore, Alta. man who was last seen at a Sicamous truck stop on Oct. 30, 1999. Taylor was one of the missing person cold cases being rekindled by Please Bring Me Home, a Canadian organization of citizen investigators determined to keep search efforts active until those who have disappeared are found.
“Every story we’ve done in the last four years always results in tips,” said Please Bring Me Home executive director Nick Oldrieve.
• The District of Sicamous expressed concern with another delay to the replacement of the Solsqua-Sicmous Bridge. One of the latest delays involved a permit which must be issued for BC Hydro to relocate a power pole to a riparian area adjacent to the bridge site. The district received word approval of the permit could take up to 45 days. That delay, according to the district, would create other delays to the project. The district was looking to get permit approval faster. “Delays and financial impacts to projects of this scale have a distinct and visible impact to the wallets of our taxpayers,” stated the district.
• The B.C. Coroners Service concluded two deaths that occurred months apart in a popular Shuswap hiking area were accidental. On May 15, 2019, a 27-year-old Malakwa resident died after falling 140 metres down a steep embankment at Sicamous Creek Falls. The coroner’s report stated the man died from a traumatic head injury sustained in the fall.
The coroner’s investigation into the Malakwa man’s death revealed he and the two friends he was hiking with left the main trail and climbed up to a cave on a rock face. The report stated they were taking pictures when the rock gave way and the man fell.
Alcohol intoxication was a contributing factor in the accidental death.
The second tragedy on the Sicamous Falls Creek trail took place on July 29. Dave Kowalchuk, a 53-year-old elementary school principal from Sherwood Park, Alta. was hiking on the upper trail at the Falls Creek trail system with a family member.
The coroner’s report stated Kowalchuk had died from blunt force trauma resulting from a fall.
Kowalchuk’s employer, the Edmonton public school system, issued a statement following the accident expressing sympathy to his family and recounting his career as a passionate educator and leader at his school.
The trail, maintained by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, was closed to the public on July 30, 2019.