The Town of Smithers will be re-landscaping Main Street this summer. (Town of Smithers graphic)

The Town of Smithers will be re-landscaping Main Street this summer. (Town of Smithers graphic)

2022 Year in Review: April

2022 Year in Review: April

APRIL

COUNCIL PASSES 11.8% RESIDENTIAL TAX HIKE

Single-family residential property tax payers will pay, on average, $170 more this year, according to the Town of Smithers Five-Year Financial Plan (2022-2026).

Utility costs will also increase by 10 per cent again this year based on the provincial mandate for municipalities to implement an asset management plan to replace aging infrastructure.

CANFOR ANNOUNCES ANOTHER PARTIAL CLOSURE

Canfor trimmed back production at its mill in Houston and at the rest of its mills in western Canada, April 4, for at least four weeks, citing continuing troubles in moving its products to market. The cutback in Houston meant a four-day week with Friday being the closure day.

“We are experiencing extreme supply chain challenges that are significantly impacting our operations and it has become imperative to reduce operating schedules to address our unsustainable inventory levels,” Canfor president Don Kayne said.

BACHRACH CRITICIZES “HANDS-OFF APPROACH” TO RAIL SAFETY

Taylor Bachrach, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley and the NDP’s transportation critic, spoke out about rail safety in response to the Transportation Safety Board’s findings connected to the fatal derailment in Field that left three dead.

The report, released March 31, highlighted what Bachrach called a ‘hands-off approach’ to rail safety from the federal government, which he says allows rail companies to self-monitor and self-investigate incidents such as these.

As transportation critic, Bachrach is able to initiate parliamentary hearings on rail safety, which have been occurring over the last year. He is also part of a committee that is drafting a report that will include addressing safety management systems used by rail companies that are failing to create safe work conditions.

SMITHERS SNOWBOARDER FLIES INTO FINALS OF AIR NATION TOUR

Smithers snowboarder slid his way into the finals on two stops of the Air Nation Tour. First, Tosh Krauskopf competed in the Air Nation Beaver Valley in Ontario March 17-20, the third Freestyle stop of the Air Nation Tour that brings together the best freestyle athletes in North America to compete in slopestyle and big air events. In the slopestyle, Krauskopf placed 5th and 9th and third place in one big air.

Next he went to Air Nation Stoneham in Quebec which was the final leg of the tour and where he placed 9th in one slopestyle event and 8th in big air. Krauskopf said he was happy with the results and his dad Jason echoed the sentiment.

“Making top ten is really nice, there are about 40-50 riders and it is all high calibre riders,” Jason said.

ALEX CUBA WINS GRAMMY FOR BEST LATIN POP ALBUM

Alex Cuba and his family were driving back from concerts in Kelowna and Cranbrook when he got the news he had won his very first Grammy on Sunday, April 3.

“It was snowing like crazy, and my publicist called from New York to tell me of the win. What a surreal moment, man,” Cuba said.

“I’m still in shock,” he continued after taking a few moments to regroup. “I’m still in shock because I won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album. Unbelievable, I’m so happy beyond words. I want to thank everybody that participated on the album, from the bottom of my heart.”

SSS VOLLEYBALL PLAYER SIGNS WITH CAPILANO BLUES

A Smithers Secondary School volleyball player secured a spot on the Capilano University Blues team in North Vancouver. Melissa Pesch graduated in the spring from high school and signed to play for the Blues in September 2022.

“I was offered a red shirt position for my first year which basically means I get to practice, train and do everything with the team but I don’t get to participate in the games yet. That is mainly because we haven’t had a club team here because of COVID so I haven’t had as much practice as some of the other players.”

Smithers Secondary Sr. girls volleyball coach Kristina Stefanek said she is a leader on and off the court. “She was our captain, she was our morale leader, very positive and very upbeat,” Stefanek said.

SMITHERS RESIDENTS RAISE FUNDS FOR UKRAINE

Smithers residents ran on-line fundraising auctions, gathered donations and sent the money and donations to those in desperate need in Ukraine.

“We are trying to run fundraisers and help different organizations who are in Ukraine helping people on the ground or to those who are struggling right now, like orphanages, seniors homes, etc.,” said Luba Kasum, one of the organizers.

“We have already sent money to an orphanage with special needs children in Odessa, to an orphanage in Sumy and to the city volunteer organization in Chernihiv that helps people with medication, food, and everyday necessities.”

SMITHERS STORM U18 REP TEAM WINS BRONZE AT PROVINCIALS

“Trust the process,” was a quote used a lot this season according to Smithers U18 Rep Team Manager Danielle Nixon. And trusting the process would ultimately lead to a bronze medal at provincials for The Storm after winning zones in Vanderhoof.

“Five graduating athletes played their three senior years within the pandemic, which has impacted everybody, including our youth, yet they and the team showed gains in leadership, determination, skill development and growth. “We are so proud that they got to participate in provincials in their final year of minor hockey. What a way to end this chapter for them,” Nixon said.

FIRST UKRAINIANS FLEEING CONFLICT ARRIVE IN SMITHERS

The first Ukrainians fleeing war arrived in Smithers in April. A young father arrived on April 13 and hoped to be joined soon by his family. Another family group arrived on Good Friday – a mother, her teenage son and her elderly aunt.

Local volunteers and donors made it possible for the displaced Ukrainians to get to Canada, but in both cases the initial contact was made by a Telkwa man, Paul Murphy. Murphy, 54, reached halfway around the world to help the victims of the devastating war in Ukraine. Murphy says after seeing media reports about the conflict in Ukraine, he was inspired to do something.

GOLF CLUB WELCOMES NEW HEAD PRO

The Smithers Golf and Country Club has a new golf pro. For Steven Coulthard, now in his mid-forties, golf has been an integral part of his life since he was 14 when his parents opened a driving range in West Kelowna.

“I’ve never been here, took the job without ever seeing Smithers,” he said. “I did some research online and all the reviews seemed great.” He said so far it has lived up to its reputation.

COLLISION CENTRE FIRE CAUSED BY SPARK IN STACK: FIRE CHIEF

Nobody was injured when a fire struck in a ventilation stack at Northline Collision April 19.

Fire Chief Kelly Zacharias said Northline staff were cleaning one of the paint booths when a spark ignited the interior of the stack.

Quick-thinking on the part of the staff to shut down the ventilation system effectively suppressed the flames. Zacharias said 22 members of Smithers Fire Rescue responded to the call.

SMITHERS KNOCKED OUT OF BEST SMALL TOWN CONTEST

Smithers made it all the way to the semi-finals of the CBC’s Best Small Town contest only to be beaten out by Kimberley. The two matched up well as small mountain towns with picturesque downtowns, ski hills, thriving tourism sectors and historical resource-based economies. In the end, however, Kimberly collected the most votes and went on to beat Ucluelet in the final.

Of the 128 communities that started the friendly seven-week competition, Smithers did, however, have the honour of making the semifinals and unofficial bragging rights as Best Small Town in the North.

 

Tosh Krauskopf (far left) places third in a big air event in Beaver Valley, Ontario. (Contributed photo)

Tosh Krauskopf (far left) places third in a big air event in Beaver Valley, Ontario. (Contributed photo)

Opening night performance at SSS. Musical Theatre Production of “What You Will,” Friday April 8 (Deb Meissner photo

Opening night performance at SSS. Musical Theatre Production of “What You Will,” Friday April 8 (Deb Meissner photo

Zanna & the Zig Zags play for Schnai Dai 2022 on HBM April 10. (FB photo)

Zanna & the Zig Zags play for Schnai Dai 2022 on HBM April 10. (FB photo)

Alex Cuba and Dancin Wayne. (Contributed photo)

Alex Cuba and Dancin Wayne. (Contributed photo)

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