Smithers 2022 Year in Review – July

Babine Lake Road is washed out at 30 km near Smithers. Detour is available through Granisle. See DriveBC for more details. (Facebook photo)

Babine Lake Road is washed out at 30 km near Smithers. Detour is available through Granisle. See DriveBC for more details. (Facebook photo)

JULY

Fire destroys family home near Malkow

A single family home was destroyed by fire on McCabe Road. The blaze erupted on July 3 afternoon. Smithers Fire Deputy Chief Alle De Vries said 20 of their members attended with four fire trucks.

“With the high temperatures and a fully involved structure fire, it was a challenge for the firefighters,” he said.

Firefighters had to get water from Canyon Creek. “We had to set up a water shuttle and Telkwa Fire also responded to assist us with water supply,” De Vries said.

No fatalities and no injuries were reported.

BV pool expansion grant application to proceed

Two of the three partners in the BV Regional Pool and Recreation Centre approved a request by the Pool Advisory Committee to apply for a grant for phase 1 of the pool expansion project.

Smithers which has two votes and the RDBN, which has one, both voted yes to support the application.

At its June 21 regular meeting, Telkwa council did not vote on the request because deputy mayor Derek Meerdink advised council he had previously voted no on the Village’s behalf at the BV Pool Advisory Committee meeting May 30.

Telkwa councillors did express their concern to the delegation that taxes most likely would have to be raised in later phases of the project, and although phase one costs will not raise taxes, starting the process would eventually lead to higher taxes, which the councillors did not support.

“Telkwa does not have the tax base to support the increases that will eventually be needed to expand the pool,” Meerdink said.

Smithers/Telkwa hope to upgrade communication infrastructure

The Town of Smithers and the Village of Telkwa are working together to strengthen their Emergency Operation Centre’s communication infrastructures. At the June 28 regular council meeting, Smithers council supported submitting a joint grant application with the village for the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for Emergency Operations Centres and Training for $50,000. Councillors also authorized town staff to fully manage grant funding and purchasing on behalf of both the town and village.

If the grant is successful, the money will be used to purchase 17 Lenovo Think Pad Laptops; install a Grand Control satellite internet and communication system, a radio repeater system, a mast antenna, a BaseCamp radio communication system and a Smart Board in the Smithers Fire Rescue Command Truck; and purchase a laptop charging station and lockbox cart for the Village of Telkwa.

Re-landscaping of Main Street’s budget increases

The re-landscaping of Main Street in Smithers got more expensive in July. Town council agreed to increase the Downtown Landscaping Revitalization total project budget to $1,260,000.00 from $1,160,000.00, with the additional funds to come from the Northern Capital Planning Grant.

During construction, the crews from Lyons Landscaping, out of Kamloops, discovered the irrigation lines had been severely damaged due to freezing water in some of the medians. Town staff told council that in order to maintain the original design and contract landscape replacement areas, the irrigation lines had to be repaired.

Repairing the irrigation lines in the medians involved removing the red brick pavers in the median, removing curb and gutter, and removing asphalt on Main Street to replace the branch supply line to the median and lateral lines within the medians.

Wetzin’kwa Community Forest gives out $350K in annual grants

The Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation once again handed out money to community programs in July.

The profits from the community forest tenure are distributed annually to a broad range of projects that will return the greatest long-term benefit to Bulkley Valley residents. This year more than $350,000 was distributed.

The program has been around since 2007 and in the past 15 years has given out more than $2 million.

Tatlow Fest 2022 returns with high water levels

With the river roaring and after several years off, Tatlow Fest 2022 Paddling Festival, was resurrected with great success.

There was surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, river runs, competitions and live music, at Tatlow Falls on the Bulkley River near Smithers, July 8, 9 and 10.

The Bulkley Valley Kayak and Canoe Club organized the event after several years of hiatus, and paddlers came from across northern B.C. to enjoy water fun and competitions in Tatlow Falls.

Several local paddlers dazzled the crowds with tricks in the big surf and one paddler took part in two different competitions for the first time in 20 years.

Telkwa installs computers for seniors digital learning program

The Village of Telkwa received funding from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to purchase and install computers at specific locations within the Village, which will be accessible to seniors.

The funding includes virtual training workshops through Connected Canadians, empowering seniors’ digital knowledge on topics including how to use Zoom, recognizing email phishing scams, safe digital communication, and more.

Hwy 16 and King Street flagged as most dangerous intersection in Smithers

New data from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) released in July showed concerning trends for some of the more accident-prone intersections in Smithers.

Smithers recorded 20 crashes in 2021 that resulted in injury or death according to ICBC data.

There were 36 crashes reported that resulted in only property damage bringing the total number of crashes in 2021 to 56 in Smithers. Over the past five years, there have been 397 crashes reported in Smithers.

The Hwy 16 and King Street intersection is by the far the most dangerous location in town. That intersection has seen 31 crashes in the past five years.

Thieves rob campers then break into home

Campers at Tyhee Lake Provincial Campground not only had their campsite stolen from, but thieves continued on to ransack their home later that night near Smithers.

It started with a theft from a vehicle that was parked at the campground in Telkwa. Items left in the vehicle, such as wallet, phone, and keys, were stolen from the vehicle.

“It is believed the suspect(s) likely referenced the insurance papers or the victim’s driver’s license to obtain a home address,” said Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, spokesperson for the RCMP North Division. “Knowing it would most likely be unoccupied, the suspect(s) later broke into the victim’s residence and stole a number of items, including firearms.

They also found keys to another vehicle which had been left at the residence which were also stolen. The vehicle was later found.

Triathlon team makes a splash at BC Summer Games

The North West (Zone 7) Triathlon team had a breakout weekend on the provincial stage at the Summer Games in Prince George, the first one held in four years.

Led by Smithers mother-son duo coaches Cindy and Konrad Thummerer, the team’s preparation, training, and race plans paid off with exceptional results. The event schedule was a grueling series of five different multi-sport (swim-bike-run combination) events across three days at West Lake park, leaving athletes exhausted by day’s end and needing to recover for the next morning competition.

All told, the team of four athletes pulled in 10 medals across three days (half of all Northwest medals at the Games).

Smithers Steelheads launch return to the CIHL

The Smithers Steelheads announced they would return for the 2022-2023 season in July.

The CIHL team went on hiatus after the 2016 season, got a new board and returned for the 2019 season only to be put on hold after that because of COVID.

“We are excited to welcome back the staff and members, as well as new and returning athletes,” said spokesperson Danielle Nixon.

“We look forward to hosting on home ice and continuing our goals started in 2019 before COVID put a hold on things, and, additionally, dressing rooms holding us back last year. We are pleased to say the town has been working on that issue this summer and has reassured us that they will be open and operating this season.”

 

Mayor Atrill having fun at the skatepark in Smithers with helpers Christy Sawchuk and Ryder Euverman. (Submitted photo)

Mayor Atrill having fun at the skatepark in Smithers with helpers Christy Sawchuk and Ryder Euverman. (Submitted photo)

Crews from Lyons Landscaping start removal of trees and other landscaping and hardscaping features on Main Street April 25. (Thom Barker photo)

Crews from Lyons Landscaping start removal of trees and other landscaping and hardscaping features on Main Street April 25. (Thom Barker photo)

Competitors head out to surf Tatlow Falls July 9, on the Bulkley River. (Deb Meissner photo)

Competitors head out to surf Tatlow Falls July 9, on the Bulkley River. (Deb Meissner photo)

Smithereen and two-time Stanley Cup champion Joe Watson addresses a capacity crowd at Boston Pizza during the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournaments Celebrity Auction. (Thom Barker photo)

Smithereen and two-time Stanley Cup champion Joe Watson addresses a capacity crowd at Boston Pizza during the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournaments Celebrity Auction. (Thom Barker photo)

Festival-goers did not let a little rain Sunday morning dampen their spirits during the Kispiox Valley Music Festival July 22-24. (Melissa Ash photo)

Festival-goers did not let a little rain Sunday morning dampen their spirits during the Kispiox Valley Music Festival July 22-24. (Melissa Ash photo)

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