The Eagle Valley News looks back at some of the stories that made headlines in 2020.
• Plans for a new public campground in the Shuswap were dashed. A purchase offer for the former Waterway Houseboats property by the District of Sicamous Development Corporation (DOSDC) was no longer on the table after a competing bid from a Calgary-based company was approved by the B.C. Supreme Court. The property, located at 1 Meryvn Rd., on the shore of Mara Lake south of Sicamous’ town centre, was up for sale as part of the receivership process initiated by CIBC on the houseboat rental company in June.
The DOSDC, which is owned by the District of Sicamous, submitted a $2-million purchase offer for the 16.33-acre property in late November. The offer was approved by the receiver.
• Maintenance along Highway 1 was a concern for Malakwa resident Melissa Fallis, who commutes daily to Salmon Arm. “In previous years, there have been days here and there where you would white knuckle it, slow right down and pray for the best, but this year that has been happening a lot more frequently and for much longer in duration,” said Fallis. She said Highway 1 has gone from washboard conditions on Dec. 31 to sections of sheer ice.
While she understood road crews worked hard and saw posts by AIM Roads asking for patience, Fallis said she hasn’t felt safe driving on Highway 1 this winter. When asked about service to rural roads, Gabriel Nava, AIM Road operations manager for the Shuswap, said every road maintained by the company is plowed in less than 48 hours after a storm has ended. Initial focus is on Class A roads (high volume traffic, more than 5,000 vehicle daily traffic count), Class B (trunk and main routes, 1,000 daily traffic count) and Class C roads (school bus, industrial routes), as well as some Class D roads (other regularly maintained winter routes) with more hills and corners.
• Property values continued to rise in the Shuswap. According to the B.C. Assessment Authority, Salmon Arm and Sicamous are included in the Okanagan region. In Salmon Arm, the typical or median assessed value for single-family residential properties rose by three per cent to $413,000 for 2020 (as of July 1, 2019) from $401,00 for 2019 (as of July 1, 2018). In Sicamous, the assessed value of a typical single-family residential property rose by just one per cent to $298,000 from $294,000.
• Parents of Park-view Elementary students were unhappy with the lack of communication regarding mould and other air quality issues at the school on the part of the school district.
Elevated mould concentration in the air in various parts of the school was discovered during air-quality testing by a school district contractor on Sept. 19, Oct. 2 and Nov. 15, 2019. The tests were in response to a musty smell which was noticed following a rainstorm in September 2019. Classes at the school were suspended until Nov. 13, 2019, and students were bused to other schools temporarily.
A report on the monitoring efforts dated Dec. 10 was attached to the agenda for the school board’s Jan. 21 meeting. After reading the report, some parents were concerned to find it had been over a month since tests were concluded and no information from the results was provided to them.
• The fish at the heart of two fines a man was ordered to pay in Salmon Arm provincial court last month was a 20-pound chinook salmon.
William James Elliot appeared in court on Jan. 28. and pleaded guilty to two offences in relation to sport fishing regulations – fishing for a species of salmon during a closed time, as well as catching and retaining salmon above the daily quota.