Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cottonwood Treasure

One of the defining characteristics of Coalmont is the cottonwoods. These floodplain pioneers have laid the foundation of our local ecosystem but have mostly been pushed away by the invasion of people. This is the case everywhere in this corner of the continent where these interesting trees live.

Cottonwood riparian forests are a biological treasure. They house an amazing variety of plants and animals. Unfortunately, these ecosystems are at risk in British Columbia. The problem is that they are located on level and fertile land, which is exactly where people like to settle. Human activities have destroyed many old cottonwood forests and only fragments remain. It is estimated that we have lost 85 percent of valley bottom riparian habitat and much of what is left is in poor health.

In semi-arid areas like the South Okanagan and Lower Similkameen, riparian areas are important for maintaining plant and animal diversity for the whole region. Studies have shown that 80 percent of wildlife are either directly dependent on riparian ecosystems or use them more frequently than other habitats. Extensive, healthy riparian systems are critical for wildlife, and habitat restoration and protection are high priorities for wildlife management. Since wetland and riparian areas cover only 4 percent of the region yet are critical for so many species, the loss of small areas can have a dramatic effect on local wildlife populations.

Here in Coalmont we have cut down many of the large old trees because they are unsafe to have near our houses. This is unfortunate, but cannot be avoided. However, we are lucky that there are still some intact areas nearby which can serve their important environmental purpose if we take care of them.

Black Cottonwoods at foot of main Street

Montgomery Warren Sings About Hattie

Montgomery Warren

Diane Sterne writes: “A musician named Montgomery Warren stayed with us and has written a song about Hattie McBride. I have posted it on YouTube.

Written and performed by musician Montgomery Warren, this song depicts the life of Madam Hattie McBride who was murdered in Coalmont, B.C. in November, 1920. Her beautiful headstone can be seen at the Granite Creek Cemetery and fortunate visitors may smell her flowery perfume as she drifts through town. Her murder was never solved.   §

New Look for CoCo

The first edition of the original Coalmont Courier was printed with ink on wrapping paper. The New Coalmont Courier is printed with ones and zeros right on your screen. It’s a lot less messy, and also easier to reformat.

First edition Courier headline

It’s time for a new look. As you see, the Coalmont Courier is now different, and we’ll be making some more changes over the next little while. Some parts are old, obsolete, or downright deprecated, and they’ll have to go. In the meanwhile, the publication will continue as usual and the older stories will still be there.   §

Offensive Driving

With the Victoria Day weekend coming up, we’re seeing a steady stream of vehicles along the Coalmont road. What most people don’t notice is that none of them are honking their horn. Why is that?

Some readers may suggest that of course they’re not honking, that would be pretty offensive if they did. Well we’ve go news for you! According to the BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, it’s an offense not to. In fact, for a driver charged with this contravention there is currently a $109 fine and 2 points on your license.

The Motor Vehicle Act states specifically:

Travelling through canyons

196 When travelling through defiles or canyons or on mountain highways, the driver of a motor vehicle must hold the motor vehicle under control and as near the right hand edge of the highway as reasonably possible, and on approaching a curve where the view is obstructed within a distance of 60 m along the highway, must give audible warning with the horn of the motor vehicle.

One can argue about the steepness of the mountain sides and whether the Coalmont road goes through a “canyon” or if it’s just a valley, but there is no doubt that it’s a mountain highway. Neither is there any doubt that the slide area is a “defile” since a single lane is the very definition thereof.

So, how many places do you count along the road where your vision is obstructed 60 meters (200 feet) along? This is a bit of a conundrum. If you don’t honk, you’re committing an offense. If you do honk, you’re being offensive.

Motor Vehicle Act – Current to April 29, 2015
Fines and points for B.C. traffic offences

Unusual Visitor to Coalmont

California Quail April 20, 2015

I thought you might be interested in this. On Monday, April 20, we spotted an unusual visitor to Coalmont. This lovely California Quail spent well over an hour perched on some brush in our little community.

It is extremely unusual to see them around here. It certainly is the first one we have seen here during our 6 years in Coalmont. Many long-timers we have talked to say they have never seen or heard of one in the Tulameen/Coalmont/Princeton area. We don’t know if he has decided to stay in the area, or if he has any other friends or family with him, but we would be thrilled if he decided to make Coalmont his home.

Hopefully others will get to see him, and find that he has set up housekeeping here. He would be a welcome neighbour, in our opinion.

~ Faye Davidson

April Snow

Just as we thought we had seen the last April fool’s jinx, it started snowing late in the evening. So far no one has claimed responsibility, but here is a picture from the morning of April 2nd to show that it actually did happen. Fortunately, by early afternoon it was all gone again.

Snow on branches, April 2, 2015

Haloween Winner

Lonnie At Halloween

The night was completely dark and quiet except for the sounds of deer moving about in the shadows. Suddenly, there it was. Outside of the odd post-party morning, most of us here don’t usually see things like this. This was real. Other creatures walking about in the night knew it, and kept their distance. Scary! . . . Until a soft voice spoke out: “I’m wearing the blue lights so I don’t get run over”. Hello? I’m sure I saw several cars drive into the ditch. You’re not going to get run over! Who are you?

It was Lonnie Boyd on her way to a party. In the end she won the best costume award. The Coalmont will be providing her with a free one night staycation in the honeymoon suite. This prize includes a $50 gift certificate for use in the pub on Saturday evening and breakfast served ensuite on Sunday morning. Congratulations Lonnie!   §

Ride the Clyde

Coalmont Energy also has a bus, but unlike the local BC Transit one it gets a lot of use here. Most of the 12 seats are occupied on each trip.
Clyde on Front Street

The bus is a 4×4 van conversion by Clydesdale of BC. Yes, it’s a BC product, but not a friendly one. This writer was barred from their web site, though Google cache did come to the rescue:

There are probably many of you who do not know that we exist, but we are a conversion company based out of British Columbia Canada. We have been around since 1979, and have been doing conversions since the mid `80s. Original development was based on a need for crew vehicles, ambulances, buses and other vehicles of such to be able to handle the winters in a more capable way.

This vehicle is a recent acquisition by the mine, but the idea was first mentioned a long time ago when Steve Dimond came to talk to our community. With the number of employees planned, there was a concern about the amount of traffic going up the Blakeburn Road. Now that the mine is up and running the bus has become a necessity. It saves wear and tear on the road, and makes travel safer because of the reduced traffic. This is also environmentally preferable to having a couple dozen employee’s trucks putting on the miles.

The bus makes two round trips per day as it picks people up and drops them off after each shift. The first trip starts in Princeton at about quarter to 6 in the morning and you’ll see it stop in Coalmont. Here you see the Clyde on Parrish as the workers are making the homeward journey after the first shift.
Clyde on Parish Avenue

Coalmont-Princeton Bus Schedule

The Coalmont to Princeton bus rides on Fridays only. There needs to be two or more passengers and the trip must be booked in advance. Ideally one should call two days ahead but the day before could be sufficient – depending on what the driver already has booked.

Pickup is in front of the Coalmont Hotel at 9 a.m. and the return trip will start 3 p.m. at the Cooper’s Foods parking lot in Princeton.

To book the bus, call 250-295-6666 Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The fare is $3 each way, cash only. §

Coalmont Transit System

Fare Information: Between Princeton and Coalmont – $3.00

Is that for real? Almost, but not quite. Well . . . sort of. You can find the Princeton and Area Transit System on the net and see the “Welcome Aboard!” message and “Everything you need to know about using the public transit in Princeton and Area”. Navigate to fares and there it is: Cash Fare: One Way – Princeton to Coalmont – $3.00.

You can get transit information by calling 250.295.6666. As of this writing, a schedule was not available, but we will publish it here as soon as it arrives.

Funding for the service is cost shared among the Town of Princeton, the Village of Keremeos, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and BC Transit. Decisions about fares, routes and service levels are made by the Town of Princeton based on information and planning provided by BC Transit. The transit system is operated by Princeton & District Community Services.

As one would expect for such a thinly populated area, the service is quite limited. In fact, you have to call ahead and make an appointment. The real kicker in our situation is that they will not come out here unless there is a minimum of two people. That generally makes it impossible to use for doctor’s appointments though it would work for someone in a wheelchair who travels with a companion. There is nobody like that in Coalmont at the moment, but it could happen.

The fact is that it is really a non-service, and for BC Transit to claim that there is a bus to Coalmont is confusing at best, and perhaps a little misleading.

It is possible that this could change. BC Transit is currently running a program to determine what they can do to meet the future. The Transit Future Plan is guided by a working group consisting of BC Transit staff, local government staff from the municipalities of Penticton, Osoyoos, Princeton, Summerland, Keremeos, from the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, and also representatives from the operating companies that run buses within the region.

The South Okanagan Transit Future Plan is designed to forecast people’s needs, consider planned changes and growth in towns, and also human and environmental health. With this information the plan envisions what a community’s transit network should look like 25 years from now. BC Transit wants to reconfirm with its customers and stakeholders before making planning recommendations to the elected officials who set routes, schedules and service hours.

At this point in time, it seems hard to imagine Coalmontians using a bus. After all, people like their freedom, and their cars. It’s the historical situation, although not all are so well off here. Also, the population is aging. Here is how the Transit Future people see it:

The coming decades will present environmental, economic and social challenges. They also present an opportunity to transform our communities into places that are even healthier and more livable. Building sustainable transportation networks that integrate and promote walking, cycling and transit will be key in realizing that vision.

An automobile trip to Princeton and back currently costs something like $10 to $15 in gas, insurance, maintenance, and depreciation. Not to mention that an SUV/4wd would leave a carbon footprint of about 37 pounds. Some people do that drive once a day, sometimes even twice, and in 20 years from now that could be an unaffordable luxury. It does look like perhaps one day there might be a bus to Coalmont.

(Visit The South Okanagan Transit Future Plan web page for more information.)


The Crusher - front viewWe’ve talked about the cars of Coalmont before. This one is currently parked outside Randy Folk’s house with a for sale sign. Look out quads!

Many people here are in favour of keeping the KVR “multi use”, but not everybody is in favour of quads on the trail. Meet the KVR CRUSHER. Randy says it’s called that because it “goes down the KVR and crushes all quads.”

Although it’s not street legal, hopefully you won’t see this high-rider on the trail, but you never know. They used to run trains there, and this is really only a “Caddy on a 4×4 frame”. If you’re driving a quad it could certainly be a highly competitive encounter, and will no doubt inspire some insight into the imbalance of power that some trail users feel when they approach something bigger and badder than what they’re currently driving.

If you’re a super competitive KVR trail user, or if you just want to buy this to prevent others from being so, here’s you chance. Call Randy at Krankin’ Vintage Restoration, 250-295-6924.

KVR Crusher - side view

Little Free Library Film Festival

The Coalmont Little Free Library has been quite a success. You will find it on the south east corner of Parrish and Main, mounted on the fence. Yes, you read that right. If you haven’t seen it yet, do have a look. The concept is simple: take a book, leave a book. If you don’t have one to leave, take one anyway. Nobody should be without something to read.

In the past year, Little Free Libraries have grown and spread around the world. We know that there are funny, heartwarming and inspirational stories behind many of these Libraries. We want to hear those stories! So, we are excited to announce Little Free Library’s first ever Online Film Festival.

You can watch our local entry from Bob and Diane on YouTube. Diane says “This is a contest, so if you like us, please click that you do on YouTube and that will get us votes.” Have a look, click like, then go have a read. §

Coalmont On Google Street View

You can now tour Coalmont as a virtual tourist – or perhaps you just want to look around the corner without having to go out in the snow. In any case the Google street view camera car has been here and anyone, anywhere in the world, can see what Coalmont looks like from the street.
Front Street at Parrish

If you’re not familiar with Google Street View, this is a wonderful way to explore the world. The photographic tour is recorded by a special camera car so it stays the same. You will not be able to see if your neighbor’s car is in the driveway this afternoon – this is not real time. It does have an eerie reality to it though. Simply type “Coalmont BC” into Google and click on “maps”. Or click here. Then drag the little yellow man to the part of the map you want to explore from the street. Since Google is primarily an advertising company, half the screen will be irrelevant, but you can click “hide panel” to remove that part and get a whole-screen view. If you wish to learn more about this system, there is a good article on Wikipedea. §

Happy New Year

It has just turned 2013, the Magic Tree has been welcoming to all who enter town, and 2012 has been a good year for Coalmont.
Magic Tree Christmas 2012

In a sense, this year has been another anniversary for Coalmont. The General store turned 100 in January, and we’ve had another major town party around the 100th anniversary of the Hotel.

The major news for the year is that the Arthon road crews have been working up the hill and some workers are staying at the Hotel and forming a little community within a community there. With a new road built from the mine to the Coquihalla, and a brand new coal crusher installed by crews from England, the mine will be ready to go in the new year under the name of Coalmont Energy Corporation.

Other than that, the community association has not imploded, and we survived the Mayan calendar circus, so there is really not a lot to worry about. The weather hasn’t been very cold and we haven’t had a lot of snow, though there’s enough to keep the sledders happy and the town sounds like a hornet’s nest on the weekends.

Tonight, there was a little party at the Hotel, and fireworks could be heard around town at midnight. We’re only a couple of hours into the new year, and so far so good. Coalmont is basically looking like it’s right on track to continue business as usual – and that’s how we like it. §