Year In Review: July, August

Happy Canada Day, eh? Local RV tour operators Michael and Carla Van Der Kraats say they were harassed and threatened through social media.

Sparkles in the sky: A spectacular fireworks show wrapped up the day at the Blind Bay Canada Day celebration.

Sparkles in the sky: A spectacular fireworks show wrapped up the day at the Blind Bay Canada Day celebration.


• Happy Canada Day, eh? Local RV tour operators Michael and Carla Van Der Kraats say they were harassed and threatened through social media, their phone and email following a series of articles published by national news sources that feature their business Canadian Camping Adventures.

The articles focused on Canadian Camping Adventures’ practice of working with European travel agencies to book space in highly coveted provincial campsites as well as other activities for European tourists. Their rates are higher than those found when booking through the B.C. government’s Discover Camping website. Carla said the couple has shut down the company’s Facebook page following posted threats and have been avoiding phone calls and emails in the wake of the articles.

• Fentanyl has been implicated in the deaths of two people in Salmon Arm this year.

A report issued by the B.C. Coroners Service in July 2016 indicates that in the first five months of 2016, there were 188 deaths across the province due to the illicit use of Fentanyl – 31 of them in Interior Health. Dr. Silvina Mema, a medical health officer with Interior Health, says the number of deaths relate to all opioids in the health region totalled 64 at the end of June, two more than for all of 2015.

• Many people in search of long-term rental accommodations in the Shuswap found it difficult to find a place to live. Popular message boards such as Kijiji were filled with ads made by people looking for accommodations. Local Kijiji pages on July 18 reflected the shortage of rental accommodations with 21 of 22 ads in the house rental section and seven of 12 in the apartments and condos section posted by people looking for a place to live.

“Well, it’s that there are almost zero places to rent in general, and if you find a place, they don’t accept pets and/ or children. Sometimes there are even age restrictions,” said April Dodds, who had difficulties finding a place.

• The City of Salmon Arm will be seeking the B.C. government’s approval to implement a two per cent hotel room tax. Provincial government approval will be based on a Municipal Regional District Business Plan and Application, put together by the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society.

• At his first board meeting since being appointed special trustee of the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District, Mike McKay didn’t promise that his decisions would please everyone. But he did promise the public that there would be no surprises. The meeting looked remarkably different from previous board sessions, as McKay sat at the front of a crowded room flanked by the superintendent and secretary-treasurer.

• Local photographer Jerre Paquette brings a Van Gogh-like impressionist style to nature photography. Paquette first developed an interest in photography by experimenting with his father’s camera when he was young, but it was later, as a way of coping with the loss of his son, that he developed his unique style.

“I was bitter and angry with the world. I started to use photography as a way of finding beauty in ugly places because I was in an ugly place myself,” Paquette said.

He describes how by shooting in ditches and dumps he began seeing subject matter worthy of a photograph everywhere he went.


• Salmon Arm council agreed to have the city co-sign a $750,000 loan from the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union to the Salmon Arm Tennis Club for the construction of an indoor tennis facility. Council voted Tuesday, Aug. 2 to initiate an alternative approval process that gave Salmon Arm residents the opportunity to petition against the city co-signing the loan. To succeed, 10 per cent of the electorate, or 1,336 people, would need to sign the counter-petition by Oct. 28.

• Salmon Arm’s Rebecca Howard followed up her disappointment at the London 2012 Games with Canada’s best placement in Individual Eventing at the 2016 Rio Games.

Canada’s lone representative in the Individual Eventing Final, Howard and Riddle Master roared up the standings to place 10th in Tuesday’s event final at the Olympic Equestrian Center.

• The City of Salmon Arm has taken the first steps towards moving its public works yard, and making room to expand the Little Mountain Sports Complex. At their Aug. 8  meeting, city councillors approved a short-term borrowing plan that will provide the city the funds necessary to purchase the South Canoe School from School District #83.

• A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) are using trees planted near the Salmon Arm landfill to study the use of poplar trees for recycling and soil remediation.

• The swimming advisory at the Sunnybrae Community Waterfront Park, operated by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, has been lifted. The CSRD reports recent water samples were collected and analyzed and bacteriological levels have returned to normal, safe conditions.

• Selkirk Swim Club teammates Molly Fogarty, Chantel Jeffrey and Ethan Skofteby swam well at the Canadian Age Group Long Course Championships. The trio performed very well, led by Jeffrey’s five top-eight finishes in the pool, including her first gold medal in the 1500-metre freestyle. Fogarty had three top-15 finishes while Skofteby had one.

• The forecast was sunny for the Roots & Blues festival and organizers were feeling the event was going to be a hot ticket for patrons.

“We’ve had the best pre-sales for the festival since 2010,” said festival director David Gonella. “Sales have been strong with people coming out of the Lower Mainland, so it looks like we’ll have a lot of travellers in the audience this year.”

• The warmth of the community radiated as intensely as the sun on Sunday, Aug. 14 at Marine Peace Park. The four Syrian refugee families were officially welcomed to the community during a picnic in the park.

• It didn’t break attendance records but this year’s Roots & Blues Festival did break the downward trend in the number of festivalgoers with the 24th edition of the event at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds over the weekend. With headliners Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin proving to be a big draw, the Friday night attendance is among the largest in the history of the festival, and the highest since computer data tracking began in 2010.

• A Salmon Arm family is warning others about the dangers of rabies, after their nine-year-old son was bitten by a bat confirmed to be infected with the potentially fatal virus.


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