A house on Alfred Avenue caught on fire just before 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 in Smithers, B.C. (Photo: Kaitlyn Bailey/Smithers Interior News)

October Year in Review

October

BV Search and Rescue responds to two calls in one week

It was a busy start to fall for Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue (BVSAR) rescuing two backcountry adventurers over the course of four days.

On Sept. 28 the volunteer group received an SOS, (an international distress code in Morse code) via Zoleo from a hiker who got lost in a canyon west of Hazelton.

Fifteen volunteer searchers responded, along with helicopter support from Silver King Helicopters out of Smithers, flying them to the search area west of Hazelton.

The search party ended up hiking through the night, in grueling terrain, pulling a 26-hour shift to locate the individual. Search and Rescue from Prince George helped with a helicopter that could “long-line” lift the individual out.

BVSAR also responded to another call over on Oct.1, on Hudson Bay Mountain, where a hiker found themselves in a situation in which they could not continue up the mountain, nor could they go back down.

This time the hiker called 911, and with helicopter support once again, BV SAR was able to bring the hiker down the mountain successfully.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP’s bill to lower voting age blocked by Conservatives, Liberals

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach is frustrated by Liberal MPs who voted against his bill to lower the voting age to 16 after it was a recommendation that came out of the Liberal government’s own consultations with youth.

The Bloc Québécois, Greens and twenty Liberal MPs joined the NDP in support of the bill, but it was defeated 249 to 77 on Sept. 28, with the Conservatives and most Liberals voting against it.

Despite his frustration and disappointment that the bill was rejected, Bachrach remains determined to keep trying.

Smithers hires new economic development officer

Will George is a new face in Smithers, and new to his role as the Town of Smithers economic development officer. Hailing from the Lower Mainland, George said in October he was enjoying getting to know his new surroundings and the easy pace of life, including his commute to work these days, which is by foot not car.

He has a strong background and working knowledge of business start-up organizations across Canada, including the northern areas of B.C.

Gladys Atrill re-elected mayor of Smithers

Gladys Atrill retained the mayor’s office over challenger Murray Hawse in the October municipal election.

Following the general vote Oct. 15, Atrill garnered 983 votes compared to Hawse’s 772.

Atrill’s new council is comprised of incumbents Frank Wray, John Buikema, and newcomers Calvin Elliott, Laura Leonard (Stanton), Genevieve Paterson and Sam Raven.

Leroy Dekens declared as new Village of Telkwa Mayor

The Telkwa municipal election had a 30.7 per cent turn out of 1,044 eligible voters, to elect Leroy Dekens as Mayor.

In the end, Dekens prevailed with 169 votes to Derek Meerdink’s 152 votes. All four Councillors for the Village of Telkwa won by acclamation this year: Incumbent Councillor, Annette Morgan; Councillor Lee Ewald; Councillor Cathy Frenette and Councillor Simon Schat.

New Hazelton voters decided to keep the current mayor and council the same

New Hazelton voters decided to copy and paste during the election on Oct. 15.

The mayor and all the councillors from last term ran again and were all reelected.

Gail Lowry will once again wear the mayor’s chain after winning against Robert Henwood.

She won with 85 votes. Henwood recieved 20.

Councillors Allan Berg, Braunwyn K Henwood, Jutta Hobenshield, Ray Sturney, and Mike Weeber will all take their seat around the table again.

A familiar last name assumes the role of mayor in Hazelton

The Maitland legacy is continuing in the Village of Hazelton.

Julie Maitland won the mayoral race against Charlotte Lindford in a landslide in the municipal election on Saturday. Maitland won with 113 votes, compared to Lindford’s 23.

The daughter of one of B.C.’s longest-serving mayors, Alice Maitland, is stepping into the role. All four councillors won by acclamation.

They are: Christine M Anonuevo and incumbents Wendy C Blackstock, Buddy G Smith, and Jody F Tetreau.

Hazelton paramedic receives Long Service Award of 0ver 25 years

Lea Lemky from the Hazelton Ambulance Service received her 25 years of service recognition, although it was three years late, due to COVID-19. Lemky started her paramedic career in Hazelton in 1995 and became a part-time unit chief in that station. In 2002, she accepted a full-time position in Vancouver, and worked throughout the Lower Mainland as a paramedic, mentor, preceptor and in various supervisory positions.

In 2019, Lemky had the opportunity to come home to Hazelton as a full-time unit chief. She happily accepted, since her daughter (also a paramedic) and grandchildren live there.

House destroyed by fire in Smithers

Power lines and a Telus outage made fighting a fire on Oct. 18 difficult for Smithers Fire Rescue.

Fire Chief Kelly Zacharias said they responded to the house fire on Alfred Avenue with 25 firefighters and five units.

No injuries were sustained and the two residents that were in the house at the time got out safely.

It is believed the fire started in the garage.

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