Year in review

A monthly recap of the stories that made headlines in 2011.


• Salmon Arm city council continues discussing proposed changes to the Pesticide Use Control Bylaw, and approves motions to allow the application of pesticides by a certified applicator on new seeded lawns, but not new turf lawns; and an exemption during “pest epidemics.” Council defeats the motion to add vegetable gardens to the exemption for fruit trees in the bylaw. Changes approved by council for incorporation into a new bylaw will be considered at a future meeting.

• Eagle Bay residents Gordon and Olia Bullen are parents to the New Year’s baby, Oliver, born at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 1, at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

• Conservative MP Colin Mayes says that 2010 should be remembered as one of the greatest years for Canada.

“We have such solid financial institutions and framework,” he says. “We have shown the world that we have a sound banking system and our government has worked to keep our debt load down and maintain a good balance between taxation and debt levels.”

• Top Salmon Arm Secondary School student Cody Bell wins the Governor General’s Award for Academic Excellence.  Bell wins the award for attaining a 96.9 grade point average during Grades 11 and 12.

• The Mary Thomas Cultural Centre and Heritage Sanctuary project becomes a reality, thanks to the commitment of a number of area groups and funding through Community Futures, whose  economic development co-ordinator, Tanja Carlson puts the total cost of the initial project at $262,000. Dorothy Argent, longtime friend of Mary and founding member of the Switzmalph Cultural Society that will host the sanctuary and centre, says the initiative will help to implement the Shuswap Tourism Development Plan, helping not only the Neskonlith community but the rest of the region as well.

• The new curbside garbage and recyclable connection program gets off to a slow start with participation at about 50 percent of what was expected, due in part to heavy snow, lack of knowledge about the new service and many residents still being on holiday.

• City council grants a development permit for the construction of a new Dairy Queen at 1121 25th Street NE. The developer agrees to extend a sidewalk along 11th  Avenue NE,  tying into the one along the Holiday Inn property.

• Salmon Arm’s Alyson Marshall earns a place on the Canadian World U23 World Championship Team after a double win at Lappe Nordic near Thunder Bay as top U23 and overall bronze medalist in the Senior Women’s 1.2 km classic sprints.

• Brain McKeever, triple gold medal Paralympian, who has just 10 percent peripheral vision, wins the 27th Annual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet, finishing the race in 1:45:58 – four minutes ahead of the closest competitor. Jesse Heckrodt was the top local skier at the loppet, coming in fourth overall, and top local female was Abbigail May, coming in 18th overall.

• Salmon Arm SilverBacks acquire the league’s top scorer in Mike Hammond from the Cowichan Valley, in exchange for Matt Cassidy and future considerations.

• Patients in need of CT scans are still forced to travel out of town, as Interior Health is funding far fewer scans at Shuswap Lake General than at other hospitals in the region. Doctors are frustrated by the long waitlists, particularly in view of the fact that residents raised $1.5 million for the equipment and the hospital foundation produced another $500,000 to assist with operating costs. As of April 1, the CT service at SLGH will be expanded to include a 24/7 life and limb service, which will address some of the issues, says local radiologist Dr. Kevin Beckner,  but not the inequitable quota which results in SLGH having the lowest funding in the region.

• A vicious low-pressure system howls into the Shuswap, gusting to 74 km/h and knocking out power to about 8,000 homes.

• Staff Sgt. Kevin Keane presents a year-end review to council, reporting that overall, person crimes were down 29 percent in 2010, while drug offences in Salmon Arm went up from 116 in 2009 to 217 in 2010.  In 2010, Salmon Arm saw 108 marijuana possession offences, up from 49 in 2009,  36 marijuana cultivation offences compared to 14 in 2009, and 28 cocaine/heroin trafficking offences compared to 12 in 2009. Overall, property crime increased by nine percent in 2010. In keeping with council’s priority of traffic enforcement, there were 3,359 traffic stops in 2010 compared to 2,105 in 2009.

• Local citizen and Shuswap Search and Rescue’s retiring senior search manager Don Reed, is honoured for 22 years of service with plaques of appreciation from the Provincial Emergency Program, RCMP and Columbia Shuswap Regional District. PEP Regional Manager Mike Knauff declares Reed’s many years of dedication to the community through SAR to be “beyond value to the citizens of B.C.”




• Anger from customers continues to be an issue at the Salmon Arm Landfill, after attendant Debbie Dystant is injured for the second time in three months, by a customer upset over the 4 p.m. closing time.

• A 63-year-old Vancouver man is charged with trafficking in and possession of a  controlled substance, after Salmon Arm RCMP discover seven kilos of cocaine hidden in his car, which they pulled over at a routine police stop on the Trans-Canada Highway near Tappen.

• Decades of visual records belonging to the community’s longest publishing newspaper are gifted to the community archives by the Salmon Arm Observer. Salmon Arm museum staff member Deborah Chapman says the photos and negatives are a once-in-a-lifetime gift – a unique record of Salmon Arm during the last three decades of the last century.

• Daron Mark Crown, a  former youth leader at a Salmon Arm church, is sentenced to a nine-month conditional sentence and one year probation after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl he met through church work.

• The Salmon Arm Farmers Institute petitions the City of Salmon Arm and the Agricultural Land Commission to deny the proposed RV park, beer gardens and vendor venues for the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music festival on the Moore Farm property at the northwest quadrant of 10th Avenue SW and the Trans-Canada Highway.

• Local residents Lawrence Williams, Harry Welton and Bill Reid are awarded the Royal Canadian Legion’s Certificate of Merit and Branch Service Medal for their efforts on behalf of the legion and the community.

• Shuswap Trail Alliance Awards are granted to Shuswap Outdoors and the Larch Hills Nordic Society, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to trails and greenways throughout the region.

• City council holds a public meeting to speak to a special events bylaw created in response to the proposed Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally, and the message  from the public is clear – the bylaw should be put on hold. The intent of the bylaw is to enable the city to collect fees associated with special events with 5,000 or more participants, particularly in relation to costs associated with policing, fire control and municipal public works.

• R.J. Haney Heritage Village and the Mall at Piccadilly present the 15th Annual Heritage Week at the mall. The many heritage displays and exhibits focus on “A Century of Conservation Parks and Cultural Landscapes.”

• RCMP issue a safety alert after two incidents in Salmon Arm and Enderby respectively, where a man in a white van or truck requested students to come to his vehicle, and in the Salmon Arm incident, where he offered the students free pizza.  “Both were reported in the late afternoon to early evening,” said Gord Molendyk, police spokesperson. The man is described as Caucasian, about 30 years old and unshaven with dark hair.

• The Salmon Arm Secondary wrestling team wins an armful of medals at the Okanagan Championships held at North Kamloops High, finishing third out of 15 teams.

• A Salmon Arm woman, Lousie Phillips, dies under suspicious circumstances at her Timms Road Residence in rural Salmon Arm. Well liked at the Salmon Arm Observer, where she was employed as office manager, Phillip’s death comes as a shock to  Observer staff and community members alike. Police confirm that the incident does not pose any risk to the general public or community at large, and are progressing with their determination as to whether or not her death is of a criminal nature.

• Salmon Arm city council accepts an offer of $40,000 from the organizers of the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally for additional policing costs for the event.

• There is an outbreak in Salmon Arm of the Norwalk virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.  At most risk are the frail elderly, those with compromised immune systems and babies. To minimize the spread of the virus, visits to the hospital and Bastion Place are being discouraged.

• Following the discovery of raw sewage in downtown storm sewers, city workers dig up a portion of the line and flush out the system. Crews will be conducting smoke testing of the sewer system in spring to determine if there are other possible cross connections in on-site sewer systems that do not meet current plumbing code regulations, says Dale McTaggart, the city’s director of engineering and public works.

• Salmon Arm cross-country skier Alysson Marshall attends the Canada Winter Games in Halifax, winning three gold medals in the 1,000-m sprint, the 10-km classic, and the 4 by 3.75-km relay, and a silver medal in the 7.5-km free event.

• Larch Hills Ski Club is awarded the Cross Country B.C. Club Championship Trophy for 2011.  This award is presented annually to the club which earns the most points at the B.C. Championships.




• Christy Clark beats Kevin Falcon on the final ballot in the British Columbia Liberal Party leadership election and is elected B.C.’s Premier.

• City council gives final reading to the amended pesticide bylaw that includes a number of new exceptions, namely, city staff have the go-ahead to use pesticides to treat infestations, and on municipal infrastructure when all other methods of control have been exhausted.  Lawn care professionals argue that a similar exception should be made for persons with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) certification, as the Kamloops and Kelowna pesticide bylaws do.

• The Salmon Arm Wrestling Team makes its mark at the B.C. Wrestling Championships in Abbotsford, with nine wrestlers travelling to the provincials. Grade 9 student Shay-Lyn Steiger brought home a gold medal, finishing first in the 40-kilogram division.

• James Douglas Phillips, husband of Lousie Phillips who was found dead in her rural Salmon Arm apartment, is now facing second-degree murder charges.

• School District #83 issues a request for proposals (RFP) for a portion of its 12.3 acre site bounded by Shuswap Street SW to the east and Third Street SW to the east. The request focuses on the long-term lease of seven acres being targeted for retail, on which permitted uses also include office and residential.  To be developed along with the retail area are 1.6 acres designated for affordable housing, 1.5 acres possibly for offices for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the school district, and one acre of green space.

• With regard to the proposed SmartCentres development, concerns that there has not been a study of water movement in the Salmon River delta result in Mattias Jakob being invited by WA:TER to address a meeting.

• A new bylaw is proposed to allow City of Salmon Arm staff to temporarily withhold a building permit requesting the demolition or moving of a building on the City of Salmon Arm Community Heritage Registry, which was adopted in February 2010. When the registry was first adopted, it was not accompanied by a bylaw.

• Salmon Arm residents Davin Hoffman, Rick Hofmann and Alyssa Skaalid win gold, silver and iron speedskating medals respectively, at the WorkSafeBC Speed Skating Short Track Championship in Port Coquitlam. Alyssa is now ranked fifth in the province for her age group and will be one of five skaters representing B.C. in the upcoming Canada West Short Track Championships.

• The day after Japan’s Consul General Hideki visits Salmon Arm to host an evening of celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Salmon Arm’s long-term sister city relationship with Inashiki, Japan, Salmon Arm students are forced to cancel their plans. This was due to a large scale earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.

• Shuswap MLA George Abbott is named education minister by Premier Christy Clark. An excited Abbott says he was hoping to be returned to his former position and looks forward to re-engaging with the education ministry and stakeholders.

• The Salmon Arm SilverBacks blaze their way through to the conference finals after a 4-2 road win over the Penticton Vees in Game 5. The SilverBacks now await the winner of the Westside Warriors/Vernon Vipers series, against whom they will play in the conference finals.

• CSRD’s fire services co-ordinator, Jack Blair makes some pertinent observations at a time when Salmon Arm is enveloped by smoke:  temperature inversion and the smoke venting index play an important role in open fire planning; the CSRD does not have burning bylaws and so cannot enforce regulations; some fires are not being supervised; and, the Ministry of Forests now has the ability to enforce provincial open-burning regulations and are able to respond far quicker than the Ministry of Environment.

• SmartCentres submits its development permit application to the city, but it is some time before the public will see it.   In response to whether flood hazard and risk will be addressed in the process, Corey Paiement, the city’s director of development services says the application received did not include a report on the issue, but Smart Centres will be making application for an ‘environmentally hazardous areas’ permit.

• The Salmon Arm Observer is named a finalist for the top newspaper in its circulation class in B.C. Also earning individual honours are photographer James Murray, who is nominated in the sports and spot news photo categories, and reporter/photographer Lachlan Labere, who is nominated for a feature photo.

• Hydro technical engineer Paul Doyle and Alan Bates, a river engineer, address a meeting convened in Salmon Arm by WA:TER.  Doyle cites flow constriction caused by the highway and railroad embankments and the uncertainties of the effects of climate change as two of the factors which make the Salmon River delta hydrology complicated. He says that the major historical flood of 1894 was poorly documented but dwarfed those of ’48 and ’72.

• An 80-year-old Salmon Arm resident is injured while sitting at a picnic table near the wharf in Marine Park, after a car driven by a 94-year-old-man jumped the curb and struck the table. The senior was knocked over and pinned underneath the cement table.  Police are now requesting an ICBC review of the 94-year-old senior’s driving privileges.

• 26-year-old Salmon Arm artist Greg Sczebel brings home his second Juno award for his CD Love and the Lack Thereof in the Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year Category. The singer/songwriter is also nominated for nine awards in the BC Interior Music Awards in Kelowna in April.




Preliminary figures for the new residential garbage and recycling collection program show a steady increase in material being picked up for recycling. Coun. Ivan Idzan notes it is positive to see this kind of division of material that would otherwise move the city closer to having to replace its landfill.

• Recommendations from the Greenways committee for budget allocations are approved by city council.  From $108,000 budgeted for greenways projects, $45,000 will go towards improvements for the South Canoe trail system, $10,000 will go to a study to improve a section of the SABNES trail that suffers annually from erosion, and the Haney Village trail plan will receive $50,000 for trail improvements.  An additional $3,000 is being set aside for miscellaneous trail improvements.

• Salmon Arm is ranked 78th overall, out of 180 communities surveyed in Money Sense magazine’s survey of Canada’s bestplaces to live. Ranked 10th best for weather, the second-highest ranking was 17th for access to health care, which looked at general practice and specialist physicians per community. One of the city’s weakest areas is affordable housing, where it ranks 164 out of 180.

• Kaisha Fagrie of Salmon Arm becomes a national champion after winning all six races in her 12-year-old girls category at the BMX Canadian Grand Nationals in Chilliwack.

• Salmon Arm Folk Music Society board members agree to a proposal to partner with the Shuswap Trail Alliance in offering tourists and locals an off-the-beaten-track adventure during this year’s Roots and Blues Festival.

• Okanagan Shuswap candidates for the federal election on May 2 are confirmed – Greig Crockett with the Greens, Liberal Janna Francis, Nikki Inouye with the NDP and Conservative Colin Mayes.

• A Salmon Arm man accused of murdering his estranged spouse dies after shooting himself in the head with a nail gun. James Douglas Phillips, 55, was airlifted by helicopter in critical condition to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops after hikers found him with self-inflicted injuries on the grounds of Herald Park. Despite surviving surgery, Philips was later declared brain dead and was removed from life support.

• Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band confirms the band land on 50th Street NW will be the venue for the main music stage for the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival.

• The Shuswap Hospital Foundation celebrates 25 years of existence and continues to raise funds to support the best care possible at the hospital and Bastion Place. The foundation appeals to the community to assist them in securing a gamma probe instrument to be used in cancer surgery, an infant care centre for the nursery and a bariatric lift unit.

• One hundred and twenty-four students from Sorrento, Sicamous and Salmon Arm schools participate in the annual Jam Can Curling event.

• Tyler Kuchta makes the National Youth 4 Steps Bowling Championships. Held in Regina, Kuchta will represent J-Lanes Bowling, Salmon Arm and B.C. in the individual five-pin competition where he will bowl 25 games in three days.

• The Shuswap Rotary Club holds its first monthly draw for its Pennies from Heaven campaign, which is a fundraiser to support the installation of a universally accessible playground for Blackburn Park, and to continue Shuswap Rotary’s efforts towards the purchase of a gamma probe.

• The CT Scanner at Shuswap Lake General Hospital becomes available on a 24-7 basis, with an on-call service made available and regular hours Monday through Friday extended by an hour each day. A third technologist is hired to accommodate the increased patient volume.

• Nurse Eileen MacDonald is honoured for education and innovation when she wins the College of Registered Nurses of B.C.’s Nursing Excellence Award at a ceremony in Vancouver. The college recognizes her as both a powerful nursing practice leader, and as an educator.

• Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors vote unanimously to support city staff’s recommendation to approve the application to the Agricultural Land Commission for the Summer Stomp.  Staff recommends the temporary use of the agricultural land for a campground and music festival for one year only, based on the fact they believe the event represents an economic benefit of regional and community significance, and the impact of the one-time event on agriculture will be negligible.

• Greg Sczebel scoops eight BC Interior Music Awards at a gala in Kelowna. His album Love and the Lack Thereof wins Songwriter of the Year, Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, Music/DVD Video of the Year, Group of the Year, Gospel/Christian Recording of the Year, R&B/Soul Recording of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Recording of the Year.




• The controversial proposal to stock McGuire Lake with 500 rainbow trout and give the under-16s a closer-to-home opportunity to fish is given one-year thumbs up at a city council development and planning services committee meeting. The public will get another chance to voice their concerns at a regular council meeting.

• Conservative MP Colin Mayes is elected for a third consecutive time in the Okanagan-Shuswap riding, giving him 31,443 votes or 55.44 percent of the vote. In second is the NDP’s Nikki Inouye with 14,961 votes or 26.38 per cent, Greig Crockett of the Green Party is third with 6,063 votes or 10.69 per cent, and Liberal Janna Francis gets 4,246 votes or 7.40 per cent.

Salmon Arm Observer staff win six gold and two bronze awards at the BC and Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA) and the Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCCNA) awards banquets held in Vancouver. In the BCYCNA category the Observer received a gold medal in its circulation category in general excellence, James Murray was awarded a gold medal for his sports photo, circulation under 25,000, and a bronze medal in the spots news, under 25,000 circulation. Lachlan Labere received a gold placing in the feature photo, under 25,000 circulation category. In the CCNA competition Labere received a second gold for the same photo and a gold medal in the feature story, circulation under 4,000 category. Martha Wickett took gold in the business writing under 10,000 category and Tracy Hughes was awarded a bronze in the local editorial under 4,000 circulation category.

• RCMP discover ecstasy, marijuana and dangerous wiring during a raid on a residence in the 4300 block of Auto Road SE. The raid revealed about 1,500 marijuana plants, several hundred tablets of ecstasy, and a quantity of ecstasy in powder form. Officers also discovered marijuana in bud form, rifle ammunition and evidence of steroid use. A Salmon Arm woman and a man from the Lower Mainland were arrested.

• After gallery and arts council director/curator Tracey Kutschker learns that SAGA would not benefit from funding for BC Lottery Corporation gaming grants, it is decided that the SAGA Public Art Gallery and the Shuswap District Arts Council are to amalgamate in January 2012. This will reduce a variety of costs and create an entity that will be financially sustainable. Kutschker said that, as she will be a full-time director for the new organization, they will be eligible for project funds from Canada Council for the Arts.

• Salmon Arm is placed on flood watch after the Salmon River rises a dramatic 1.244 metres (49 inches) in eight days as a result of spring run-off and recent rains.

• Sebastiano Burtone, 47, of Salmon Arm is sentenced to three years in jail for trafficking cocaine in the Shuswap and Enderby areas. In addition to the jail term, Burtone must provide a DNA sample and has a lifetime firearms prohibition.

• Over 1,500 people attend the 10th Annual Salty Dog Six Hour Enduro Mountain Bike Race held at South Canoe on the weekend.

• Local singer/songwriter Aimie Laws, kicks off the second part of her Only Human Tour with Rock 4 MS, an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

• A large excavator at the Federated Co-operatives’ plywood mill in Canoe is grounded by the Ministry of Environment Environmental Protection Office’s Dean Jeske, after he received an anonymous complaint that the excavator had been leaking oil into Shuswap Lake. Jeske says he works closely with the plant on environmental matters, and, “It’d be safe to say that they are not knowingly polluting the lake. If there is a minor spillage, they are making every effort to clean it up.”

• Salmon Arm residents receive a couple of unexpected guests when a black bear is discovered eating sunflower seeds from a bird feeder in the upper Lakeshore Drive area and another is seen digging for ants in a resident’s yard on Fifth Street SE. Both bears seemed thin, but conservation enforcement officer Josh Lockwood says bears are typically thin in May because they are just coming out of hibernation.  “Garbage, bird feeders and compost are three major bear attractors,” he says, and residents should refrain from using bird feeders at this time.

• School District #83 trustees have adopted the 2011/12 budget, which could only be balanced by using $540,422 in surplus funds derived largely as a result of decisions the board made last year, including the closure of Malakwa School.  What also helped in planning this year’s $64.2 million budget is guaranteed funding from the Ministry of Education, despite declining enrolment. It is anticipated that enrolment in North Okanagan-Shuswap schools next year will decrease by 101 students.




• A 22-year-old Kelowna man drowns in Shuswap Lake after the canoe he was riding in overturned. “Police believe alcohol and a lack of proper boating safety equipment are factors that contributed to this tragic incident,” says Salmon Arm Staff. Sgt. Kevin Keane.

• A Salmon Arm man is charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.  50-year-old Bruce Darcy Abar will return to Provincial Court in Salmon Arm to face one count of possession of child pornography and one of distribution of child pornography.

• Twenty-three members of Salmon Arm Secondary’s mountain bike team are now provincial champions, tallying the most points at the 2011 BC School Sports Mountain Bike Provincial Championships held at the South Canoe trails.

• Four of Salmon Arm’s RCMP officers are honoured for their work in getting drunk drivers off the road. Constables Kieran Bastians, Mike Diblee, Dan St. Amand and Cara Volz are recognized as members of Alexa’s Team 2010 by the BCAA Road Safety Foundation.

• Rotary Club of Salmon Arm president Rob Marshall presents city parks supervisor Brad Ackerman with a $40,000 cheque towards the construction of the Blackburn Community Playground.

• Salmon Arm’s Downtown Parking Commission determines, after receiving a parkade feasibility study prepared for the city by Stantec Consulting, that the Ross Street parking lot is the top contender among locations for a downtown parkade.

• Nicholas Cole Larsen, 24, of Sorrento is killed in a drive-by shooting on Blind Bay Road. No arrests have been made in connection with the case and police are not commenting on whether they have identified suspects. Police do, however, believe Larsen was specifically targeted by his assailants.

• In this year’s Relay for Life, 349 participants overall raise a celebrated $164,269 for the Canadian Cancer Society. “We met and exceeded all of our goals,” said Relay for Life co-ordinator Jen Dies, noting the regional office’s goal for Salmon Arm was $132,000.

• Salmon Arm Tennis Club is successful in securing a $5,000 grant to undertake a feasibility study for an indoor tennis facility in Salmon Arm.

• Students from Salmon Arm Secondary’s first French immersion graduating class celebrate the program’s success at a May 25 gathering. All 44 students will graduate with a Dual Dogwood Diploma representing bilingual status.

• Salmon Arm council supports Sturgis North’s plans to sell liquor on the fall fairgrounds, though the finer details remain in the hands of the liquor control board.

• Parents of 21-year-old Andrew Gawley, who grew up in Salmon Arm, find solace in the fact that a jury found Jamie Michael Cliff, (who had pleaded not guilty in the killings of Gawley and Lana Marie Christophersen), guilty on both counts of second-degree murder in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Andrew had been living in an apartment in East Vancouver in October 2008 at the time of the attack.

• The Agricultural Land Commission releases its reasons for denying the request to hold this year’s Salmon Arm Summer Stomp on agricultural land in Silver Creek.  Because organizers have not been able to secure an alternative site, 2011 will be the first year in 22 years with no Stomp.

• Longtime resident Edith Wright celebrates her 100th birthday at Pioneer Lodge, and is surprised with a presentation of artifacts from her past, including the June 16, 1911 Salmon Arm Observer, her birth announcement from the June 23, 1911 Observer and historical photographs from 1911/13, courtesy of the Salmon Arm Museum. Born in Salmon Arm, Wright says she left the community at times in her life, but always remembered to come home.

• The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) seeks a court injunction to stop any further work at West Beach Village in the North Shuswap until the landowner has obtained all necessary permits from the CSRD.

• A Mosquito device installed in downtown Salmon Arm in April to discourage vandalism, and previously set so it could typically be heard only by people younger than 25 years, is adjusted to 85 decibels, so that it can be heard by and discourage people of all ages.  The device goes on at midnight and off at 5 a.m., seven days per week.

• A mother bear and her two cubs are shot by conservation officers after more than 30 complaints are submitted from the North Canoe area.

• Chase RCMP completes their investigation into the fatal speed boat-houseboat collision that occurred a year ago on Shuswap Lake and recommend charges against the driver of the speed boat.  Crown counsel in Kamloops will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed.

• Salmon Arm Shopping Centres Ltd., one of a group of affiliated entities operating under the trade name SmartCentres, takes to the courts to prevent information in the possession of Fisheries and Oceans Canada from being made public.  Part of the reason stated in court documents for fighting the release is that such information, “would prejudice the applicant’s competitive position for a municipal land use rezoning process concerning the property.”




• Salmon Arm SiverBacks hockey Club announces the hiring of Colin O’Hara as head coach and general manager, for a three-year contract. “We are looking forward to having Colin re-join our organization,” said Randy Williams.

• Salmon Arm Secondary graduate Christine Dewitt receives a four-year, $80,000 athletic school scholarship to play NCAA Division softball at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

• Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival gears up to rock Salmon Arm, with Nazareth among bands set to perform. The festival runs July 13-17 on the upper bench lands west of Salmon Arm, and the main festival venue at the Salmon Arm fairgrounds.

• RJ Haney Heritage Village’s 2011 Villains and Vittles dinner theatre presents The Mystery of Dutch Charlie.  Written by Peter Blacklock, this Salmon Arm story is set in 1885.

• An outpouring from academia fails to prevent Salmon Arm council from approving development permits relating to flood risk on the proposed SmartCentres property, following two hearings that lasted four-and-a-half hours.  The hearings were for a development permit and for a hazardous areas development permit, which determines whether the site can be safely used for the intended purpose. City staff supported both permit applications and related variances, with conditions tied to each, one of which relates to new flooding information that could impact the northwest part of the property.

• Hunter O. Shantz, 21, of Salmon Arm, is accused of two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, and ordered to stand trial in Supreme Court in February 2012, following a collision that killed two of his friends and injured another.  Killed in the collision were Edward (Austin) Blackburn, 19, and Eric Thomas Higgins, 18, who were passengers in the car driven by Shantz.  Another 18-year-old female passenger was seriously injured.  None of the occupants of the vehicle were wearing seatbelts.

• The Salmon Arm Sockeyes host an extremely successful 39th Annual Swim Meet at the SASCU Recreation Centre swimming pool, earning top boys team, top girls team, top average points per swimmer, and top overall team awards, doubling the number of points the second-place team earned.

• The Thompson Okanagan Football Club U15 boys bring home silver from the Seattle Sounders FA cup in the Super Y League and the Shuswap Peewee Outlaws bring home a bronze medal from provincial lacrosse action in Vernon, on the weekend.

• While final attendance numbers are still being tallied, organizers of the inaugural Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival say they intend to be back next year.  The event went without a hitch for the Neskonlith Indian Band, says Chief Judy Wilson, who was on site for the full five days.

• The five days of the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival were calmer than anticipated, says RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Keane. He praised the Neskonlith site, saying it had distinct advantages. Overall, pubs and hotels in Salmon Arm were very positively affected by the event, with increased sales. However, many on-site vendors at the event were extremely disappointed, seeing far less business than they had been led to expect.

• A series of small but powerful storm cells rage through the Shuswap, swamping Sturgis North and knocking out power along the way.  The largest outage was Saturday afternoon, affecting more than 3,300 customers, and in many cases power was not restored until approximately 1 a.m. the next day.

• A presentation and request is made by WA:TER (Wetlands Alliance: The Ecological Response) to city council for the Salmon River Delta to receive consideration for addition to Salmon Arm’s heritage registry, pending any determination of First Nations rights and title to the site.  Coun. Alan Harrison, who sits on the commission, said it would look at the submission when it moves on to phase three of the heritage commission, the focus of which will be rural and farm properties.

• A recommendation by the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee for a flood risk assessment is turned down by council. Coun. Ivan Idzan points out that the cost can be expected to be approximately $70,000.

• The Neskonlith Indian Band announce they are initiating a legal challenge against the City of Salmon Arm’s issuance of a hazardous area development permit for the SmartCentres Shopping Centre.

• Hillcrest Elementary Grade 4 student Mirella Ramsay wins the third annual School District #83 Kids Fishing Story Contest with her 16-page book entitled Candy Island.  The book is dedicated to Mrs. Elder, “the best librarian ever,” and Bea Barrow, Ramsay’s tutor.




City administrator Carl Bannister confirms that the Neskonlith Indian Band has followed through on its word to take legal action against the City of Salmon Arm over the issuance of an environmentally hazardous areas development permit.

• Allen Edwardson, 31, makes a bid to break the Guinness world record for riding the longest wave on Aug. 9.  But three hours, 30 minutes and 10 seconds into the four-hour attempt he looked up, lost his concentration, and went into the water. “I thought I had it in the bag,” he said, “Just a stupid lapse of concentration and bang, there you go.”

• The CSRD board directs staff to seek a court injunction to stop all development-related activity at the West Beach Village development site, expressing “significant concerns” with legal issues around the proposed development under the Land Title Act and applicable zoning. Also in question are riparian area issues regarding an inland lagoon.

• Mayor Marty Bootsma, on behalf of the Governor General of Canada, awards Mike and Shelley Bircsak a Certificate of Commendation for rescuing a man from drowning in Adams Lake in 2009.

• Salmon Arm Sockeyes swim club experiences its best-ever finish at the Okanagan Regional Championships this weekend, taking first place at the Championships — the first time in its 41-year history.

• Sixty-eight-year old Howard Wayne Jones of 65th Street SW has been charged with indecent assault on a male and gross indecency, and is in a Hamilton, Ont. jail cell following his arrest by local RCMP officers Aug. 8. The charges relate to alleged sexual offences that occurred from 1969-1972 at a property located in nearby Ancaster, Ont. At that time, the property was known as the ‘Way-J Boys Ranch’ of Copetown, and was a group home for foster children who were wards of the court.

• Police work on their third homicide investigation of 2011, after the body of a 73-year-old woman is found in the carport of her residence. The victim has been identified as Pamela Jones, who was renting a suite at a residence at 4780 10th Ave SE. After the completion of a forensic autopsy, the death was determined to be suspicious in nature.  “The cause of death is being withheld at this time. Police continue their investigation into this matter,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Keane.

• At city council’s Aug. 8 meeting is it decided that the city will not undertake a project to extend municipal water to 77 residences in Gleneden, at a cost of approximately $3.85 million.

• Salmon Arm is hit by a violent thunderstorm, but its power to spawn wildfires is dampened by 35.8 mm of rain that fell on the city. Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist noted there were 2,800 lightning strikes in the Southern Interior between noon and midnight yesterday.

• Attendance is lower than expected at the 19th Annual Roots and Blues Festival, but festival chair Lody Kieken says the totals are similar to last year, at a time when other music festivals have reported drops in the neighbourhood of 15 to 20 per cent.

• Salmon Arm boxer Mickey Sims brings home the title of Senior Masters Middleweight World Champion after winning his final fight at the four-day Masters Ringside World Champion Boxing Tournament in Kansas City Saturday night.

• Taking top honours at the 18th Annual Salmon Arm Demolition Derby was car #35 from Hope, with driver Jim Lasser and co-pilot Dusty Smith.

• School District #83 prepares for schools opening on Sept. 6. Alice Hucul, district communications representative, reports that full-day kindergarten will be implemented in the 2011-12 school year, throughout the district.




• North-Okanagan-Shuswap Teacher’s Association, along with counterparts around the province, begin the first phase of their job action to coincide with the start of the school year. This includes the withdrawal of administrative services and teacher supervision on playgrounds outside regular instructional time.  As part of phase one, the B.C. Teacher’s Federation has committed to continue teaching and will fulfill all classroom duties.

• Silver Creek School principal Joel Menzies welcomes Premier Christy Clark’s Sept. 2 promise to make available $8 million over two years to build or upgrade 44 school playgrounds across the province.  The playground committee will continue fundraising with a revised goal of $44,000 to build primary and intermediate playground structures for use by the school and Silver Creek community.

• Attendance at the Salmon Arm Fall Fair is down to 8,000 this year compared to the 9,400 who visited the 2010 fair.  High summer-like temperatures could be part of the reason said Phil Wright, president of the Salmon Arm & Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association.

• The number of students in secondary schools in the district continues to decline, as the number of students in the younger grades starts to level off, and even see a marginal increase in some schools. “It’s a significant decline, but it follows the trend we expected,” says Dave Witt, superintendent for School District #83. Witt says over the past 12 years, student enrolment in District #83 has gone from 9,000 students to under 6,000. This has meant the closure of schools like Salmon Arm Elementary and Malakwa Elementary, and the loss of numerous teacher and support staff positions.

• The BC Coroners service releases a report on the death of 53-year-old Kenneth William Brown of Chase, the driver of the houseboat who was killed when a speedboat crashed head-on with it, deeming his death as ‘accidental.’ But that does not preclude criminal charges being laid in the incident.  Meanwhile, Kamloops Crown counsel Don Mann is reviewing large volumes of evidence provided by police to determine whether charges are appropriate.

• The B.C. Supreme Court of Appeal approves an appeal by a developer against the City of Salmon Arm. Salmon Arm city council had approved an application for a development to take place within 30 metres of Shuswap Lake on the recommendation of a qualified environmental professional, but subject to further approval by provincial and federal agencies. This has raised questions about the effectiveness of the Riparian Areas Regulation and its enforcement.

• Sturgis North releases the attendance figures for the rally and music festival. There were just under 10,000 tickets sold and close to 4,000 in free and complimentary tickets given out. “We know there was a tremendous boost to the local economy, as well as surrounding areas, helping B.C.’s tourism in the Okanagan region,” stated the release.

• Some 300 people attend the Secwepemc Traditional gathering at the Salmon River Delta to mark the World Rivers Day Celebration. About $1,400 was raised for projects dear to late elder Dr. Mary Thomas.

• The opening weekend of BCHL action in Vernon brings no wins for the Salmon Arm SilverBacks and a costly injury to local hockey player Joel Kipp, who was taken to hospital with concussion concerns but turned out to be a ruptured spleen, which was removed.  The 18-year-old will be out for at least 10 weeks.

• Sturgis North makes a commitment to return to Salmon Arm in 2012, noting the event will be expanded from five to eight days and will take place entirely on the Neskonlith Indian Band property on 50th Avenue NW.  The news has been met with mixed reaction from some business owners who continue to await payment for work done in July for the event. Sturgis North officials admit there are outstanding debts, but say they are working to rectify the situation.




• The Salmon Arm community raises an overwhelming $45,500 in just 16 days in order to send blind teenager Jody Hannah to Phoenix, Arizona, for stem cell treatment that could give her the gift of sight.

• RCMP Const. Micah Chan swims to the rescue of a woman who had been paddling near Canoe Beach when high winds caused her boat to capsize. A passerby spotted the woman clinging to the side of her canoe and called 911. Chan, who was at a nearby motor vehicle accident, immediately went to the beach and swam out to assist the 54-year-old woman and her dog back to shore.

• South Broadview Elementary School PAC president Robin Greencorn cuts a ribbon to officially open the new inclusive playground recently set up at the school. It is the first disabled-accessible playground in the community.

• After eight months in operation, Salmon Arm’s garbage and recycling curbside collection program is now running smoothly and statistics show that an average of 40,000-kg of recyclables are diverted from the landfill every month.

• Construction work on the new 71-bed Mount Ida Mews residential care facility in Salmon Arm commences. It is estimated that the facility will be complete and open by November 2012.

• Some 33,000 early run sockeye are counted this year, up substantially from the 8,000 that spawned four years ago. The early sockeye spawn has also peaked on the Seymour River and while data has not been completed, DFO officials are expecting a similar return to Scotch Creek. While the Adams River sockeye run was just getting underway last Wednesday, Rosenberger says a recent test fishery at the mouth of the Fraser River points to the return of several hundred thousand sockeye.

• An amended site plan for SmartCentres’ proposed shopping centre receives unanimous initial approval at city council’s Development and Planning Services Committee meeting. A majority of council also approved a new environmentally Hazardous Areas Development Permit.

• The Shuswap Tourism marketing campaign is the recipient of two top honours at the recent Economic Development Association of Canada’s Marketing Canada Awards: Best Brand Identity and Application, and Best Advertising Campaign, for budgets under $600,000.

• A Tappen man is sentenced to three-and-a-half more years in jail after pleading guilty to a series of criminal charges, the most serious of which was driving with a blood alcohol level of over .08 causing the death of his 18-month-old daughter. Conan Lee Taylor, 29, was sentenced in Salmon Arm Provincial Court after already serving four-and-a-half months in custody. He was also given a 10-year driving prohibition and was ordered to provide a DNA sample.

• Senior fish biologist Steve Maricle of the Fish and Wildlife Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource operations says that the program designed to encourage family fishing, in which the department partnered with the City of Salmon Arm and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) to introduce 600 sterile trout into McGuire Lake last spring, is a success. There are concerns, however, for the lake’s resident painted turtles, which are being hooked as well. To help remedy the situation, Maricle said the fishing dock will be pushed farther out into the lake next year, and an enhanced ‘basking’ area on the opposite side of McGuire may be added.

• The SAGA Public Art gallery and the Adams River Salmon Society exhibits “Peak Year,” an exciting and intense exhibition of works by 10 Shuswap and Thompson artists celebrating the extraordinary sockeye salmon run of 2010.

• Salmon Arm’s Rebecca Howard earns a silver medal as part of the Canadian eventing team at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Howard and her horse Roquefort held the second highest score for the Canadian team and individually was ranked sixth overall.




• The plan to build a 64-unit independent living facility for seniors at the corner of Lakeshore Road NE and 20th Avenue NE receives initial approval at the city’s planning and development service committee.

• Canadian Armed Forces Col. Acton Kilby, son of longtime Salmon Arm residents Barbara and Peter (Brig. Gen. Retired) Kilby, returns to Canada from Afghanistan with the Bronze Star Medal, awarded for meritorious service – the fourth highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces.

• The case of a 12-year-old girl who lost her mother to the negligence of a Salmon Arm drunk driver prompts Crown prosecutor Greg Koturbash to author a book designed to help police and prosecutors bring impaired drivers to justice. “That case really stayed with me,” explains Koturbash, “It made me think about what I could do to change things.” The book, Law Professionals Guide: Investigating Impaired Drivers, is deliberately designed and published to be convenient for police to carry in their cars and to use as an immediate reference if needed.

• Salmon Arm Secondary junior cross-country runner Emmy Sim places second overall in the Provincial Cross Country Running Championships in Kelowna, finishing in a time of 16:53, just shy of the provincial champion who clocked in at 16:40.

• After years of dedication, Shuswap Music Festival Society founding board members Jeff den Biesen and Marjorie Duncan step down as president and vice president respectively.

• Improvements to Blackburn Park, including an outdoor skating rink, top the list of projects that will be included in an application for $400,000 under the Provincial Community Recreation program.

• Local athletes dominate the Master Men’s Bonspiel at the Salmon Arm Curling Centre over the weekend, taking the two top spots overall, and winning all five of their games.

• Nancy Cooper is elected Salmon Arm’s new mayor. She will be leading a council where, for the first time in history, women are in the majority. The city’s six council members include: Alan Harrison, Ken Jamieson, Marg Kentel, Debbie Cannon, Denise Reimer and Chad Eliason. Voter turnout at the polls was brisk, but not especially high with 5,108 ballots cast out of the estimated 12,982 eligible voters, which equates to 39.4 per cent. This is lower than the 2008 election which drew 47.8 per cent of voters.

• The Salmar Community Association lowers their prices on movie tickets. Effective Dec. 1, movie prices for children aged three to 12 will drop by $2 from $7 to $5. Student and seniors rates will get a $1 reduction from $7 to $6. The Tightwad Tuesday movie special deal and matinee movies for all ages will go from $7 to $5. The surcharge on 3D movies is going from $3 to $2. Regular adult prices will remain the same at $9.

• Salmon Arm resident Debbie Stead receives a donation of a kidney from co-worker Karleen Kantymir. She made the offer after she heard that Stead was in need of a kidney donor as she suffers from a genetic disorder, polycystic kidney disease.

• Juno Award-winner Greg Sczebel reaches the number-four position on iTunes Holiday Charts – sandwiched between  Justin Bieber and Michael Bublé. “If you can say you beat Bieber it gets everyone’s attention,” says Sczebel with a laugh. “There’s a whole lot of Christmas cheer in that three-minute song, I can tell you. It’s all the things I love about Christmas, being with those you love, family and friends, making memories.”

• The Salmon Arm Secondary Golds senior boys soccer team put in a stellar performance at the AAA provincial championships in Burnaby Nov. 24 to 26, finishing in eighth place – the top half – of a tournament that featured 16 of B.C.’s best high school soccer teams.

• A motorcycle gang with ties to the Hells Angels takes up residence in Salmon Arm’s industrial park. The Kelowna-based Kingpin Crew has expanded to this area. “I can confirm that, not all, but the majority of the members of the North Shore Men’s Motorcycle Club, which had chapters in Kamloops, Salmon Arm and the North Shuswap, are now members of the Kingpin Crew,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Keane of the Salmon Arm RCMP.

• Salmon Arm council has opted to exclude three of the 20 properties recommended for Phase Two of the city’s heritage registry. Following a public input session, council agreed to exclude the Masonic Hall on Alexander Street, the Turner House on 2351 Lakeshore Road NE, and the J. Ellis Wood House at 691 – Eighth  Avenue NE.




• The facility known as the Sunwave Centre for the past 11 years will now be known as the Shaw Centre, reflecting the buyout of Sun Country Cablevision by Shaw Communications. Prior to the buyout, Sun Country Cablevision and Sunwave High Speed Internet renewed their commitment to naming rights for the centre to 2020. The renewal for the second 10 years was $415,000, which makes the total commitment for the naming rights $815,000 over 20 years.

• With expressions of thanks to outgoing Mayor Marty Bootsma and Couns. Ivan Idzan and Kevin Flynn, the new city council members take their oaths of office to begin their three-year term. Nancy Cooper was sworn in as mayor by Provincial Court Judge Ed de Walle, along with councillors Denise Reimer, Marg Kentel, Debbie Cannon, Alan Harrison, Ken Jamieson and Chad Eliason. “I am very excited about this new council and I know there is lots to do in the weeks and months ahead,” said Cooper in a brief speech in which she thanked her predecessors for their extremely hard work on behalf of the city.

• A B.C. legislature committee is trying to establish whether the B.C. health-care system can withstand the retirement of the baby boom generation. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, chair of the all-party committee, said its goal is to sort through different projections of the largest wave of retirement ever. “As the boomers move through, there are differences of opinion in the literature and in the public as to what kind of impact those boomers are going to have,” Letnick said. “Some believe that it’s going to be a little bit more money, a little increase in GDP. Others believe that the system is not sustainable.”

• Salmon Arm resident Leanne McIvor ramps up her crusade to protect painted turtles in McGuire Lake, which would effectively put an end to a family fishing program. Concerned that a number of the lake’s resident painted turtles are hooked as well, McIvor is now threatening a lawsuit under the Species at Risk Act if the program is not curtailed. But Mel Arnold, Shuswap regional president with the BC Wildlife Federation, says the program and possible remedies need to be assessed before the program is scrapped.

• Police announce that the speedboat driver involved in the fatal collision with a houseboat on Shuswap Lake now faces charges. Leon Michael Reinbrecht, 49, from Celista has been charged with criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The driver of the houseboat, 53-year-old Ken Brown, was killed in the crash and eight passengers were injured. Reinbrecht is scheduled to appear in court in Kamloops on Jan. 19.

• Shuswap residents Doug and Corrine De Patie, parents of Grant De Patie, a gas station attendant killed in 2005 following a gas-and-dash robbery, are outraged that WorkSafeBC regulations meant to prevent similar deaths are being watered down. The introduction of Grant’s law made British Columbia the first province in Canada to make drivers pay before they pump gas, and required employers to either have two workers or barriers for those who work retail graveyard shifts. However, WorkSafeBC announced amendments to Grant’s Law on Thursday, finding it wasn’t practical or feasible, for retailers to hire additional workers or erect protective barriers, like pay-thru windows.

The changes mean convenience stores can follow other safety procedures, including time-lock safes that can’t be opened during late-night hours, video surveillance, as well as keeping limited amounts of cash and lottery tickets on hand. In addition, employers will be required to do regular security audits to confirm that all the controls have been implemented.


• There are cougar sightings in the area of Okanagan Avenue and 20th Street NE, on the Turner Creek Trail, and in a wooded area between 11th Street and 17th Street SE. The animal was not aggressive when seen.



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