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Smithers 2022 Year in Review - December

The kids from Muheim School sold their crafts at a craft fair and donated the proceeds to BV Community Cancer Care Team. (Contributed photo)


Fire destroys work shop at Fort Telkwa

Shortly after 1 p.m. on Dec. 22, it was all hands on deck to fight a structure fire east of Telkwa.

Telkwa and Smithers fire crews, along with paramedics, RCMP, Pacific Northern Gas, and BC Hydro attended the fire at Fort Telkwa along Highway 16.

There were no injuries, and the fire remains under investigation.

The fire broke out in what was a work shop in the confines of the Fort, and due to the freezing temperatures, the amount of water used, and extensive fire damage, the roof partially collapsed, leaving the building too unstable for investigators to determine the cause.

Gymnastics club reveals plans for building expansion

In a presentation at town council’s last meeting of 2022, the Bulkley Valley Gymnastics Association (BVGA) revealed its big plans to expand its existing facility on the old LB Warner site.

The town of Smithers owns the building and the BVGA maintains it. The town has already given the club permission for a 5,000-square-foot expansion, that will go out toward Main Street.

A structural assessment of the existing facility was done in 2020, and was given a stamp of approval for building integrity.

BVGA has hired an architect to draw up plans for the Bulkley Valley Community Sports & Recreation Centre project.

The facility will include a large open space for diverse community programming, an indoor turf strip for year-round indoor walking and running, a welcoming front entryway and boot room, accessible change rooms, bathrooms, offices, and a community learning space.

Muheim students donate $2,120 to cancer care team

The students at Muheim Elementary donated $2,210 to the Bulkley Valley Community Cancer Care Team.

During December the students made all kinds of arts, crafts, bakeded goods and some even made slime. Whatever they chose to make, they were unique, fun, heartwarming, yummy and designed with the hope they could sell them to help others.

They held a craft fair to sell everything, some sold their items to friends and family at home, but they sold everything. Then they tallied it all up and were thrilled with the result.

Town council bends on mobile food vendor policy

At its Dec. 13 regular meeting, council started the process of giving a bit more flexibility to where and when mobile food vendors can set up.

Last month, the owners of Sum Shockin’ Good Food Truck wrote a letter to Smithers council asking to park a couple of times a month in the ice rink arena parking lot; Chandler Park and the museum.

At the time, council wasn’t sure what to do and directed town staff to come back to them with an idea.

Town staff reported back with what they think is a temporary recipe for success.

They suggested council approve Sum Shockin’ Good Food Truck’s request to operate at those locations for 2023 while also modifying a business bylaw to give a senior member of staff the power to authorize when and where mobile vendors can set up.

Council divided on support for community project grant applications

Town council was divided on whether to support grant applications of two community groups because it could conflict with the Town’s own application.

At its Dec. 13 meeting, council was unanimous in decided to apply to the 2023 Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) for $100,000 in funding to support economic development-related projects in 2023.

The split came later in the agenda when the Smithers Skate Park Society and Cycle 16 Trail Society both requested letters of support from the town to add to their REDIP grant applications.

The Skate Park Society is looking for money to go toward Phase 2 of the skate park expansion.

Cycle 16 is looking for grant money to pay for their detailed design drawings for Phase 3 of the Smithers to Telkwa multi-use trail.

Mayor Gladys Atrill was concerned supporting the two projects could undermine the Town’s application.

In the end, letters were approved for both projects with Atrill and Coun. John Buikema opposed to the Skate Park letter and Atrill, Buikema and Coun. Sam Raven opposed to the Cycle 16 letter.

SSS wrestlers build momentum

The Smithers Secondary wrestling team continued to build momentum in December. At the Nechako Valley Secondary School Vike’s Invitational wrestling tournament the team came in second place.

This result was almost identical to a tournament in Prince George a week earlier, with a few changes to the roster of competing athletes. All five athletes visited the podium, with one gold, one silver, two bronzes, and one fourth-place finish.

Eryn Wilkins, improving on her bronze medal from the week prior, wrestled her way to the gold medal in the 63kg weight class. Her first match was against a familiar opponent who defeated her by technical superiority (ten-point lead in points) in the first tournament.

Coastal GasLink pipeline opponents sentenced on criminal contempt

For the first time since people began protesting against the Coastal GasLink (CGL) natural gas pipeline where the route passes through Wet’suwet’en territory near Houston, arrests resulted in criminal convictions in December.

In the Supreme Court of B.C. on Dec. 12 in Smithers, five people were sentenced for breaching a court injunction, three with $500 fines and two with 25 hours of community service.

The sentences for Amanda Wong, Joshua Goskey, Nina Sylvestor, Layla Staats and Skyler Williams were the result of a joint submission by Crown and defence counsels following guilty pleas.

The five were part of a larger group arrested in November 2021 when Mounties moved into the area along the Morice River and Marten forest service roads near Houston to enforce a court injunction by removing blockades and preventing pipeline workers from accessing the work site.

Alpine Al loses his horn

In one of the most brazen acts of vandalism in years, someone broke off the horn from the Alpenhorn Man statue at the entrance to Main St. in downtown Smithers night and threw it onto the street.

Known as Alpine Al locally, the statue of a man dressed in Swiss alpine garb holding a traditional long Swiss horn has stood as a welcoming symbol for decades, matching the Swiss alpine theme adopted by the town.

Town staff retrieved the horn, repaired it and replaced it later in the month.

Cullen shuffled to water and lands portfolio

In a December cabinet shuffle B.C. Premier David Eby moved Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen, who previously held the portfolio of municipal minister, to minister of water, land and resource stewardship.

Cullen said he feels fantastic about the appointment.

“I mean, the only next feeling is I really enjoyed municipal affairs.,” he said.

The new role, however, has him responsible for a lot of issues that touch much closer to home.

“I feel good with the alignment of where I live and the work that I’m being asked to do by the premier,” he said.

The Smithers Alpenhorn Man was vandalized. The horn was broken off at the mouthpiece recently. (Deb Meissner photo)