Coalmont Town Meeting 7 p.m. April 21, Coalmont Hotel.

Citizens have organized a town meeting at the historic Coalmont Hotel with officials from the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, the Regional Health Authority, the District planning and engineering staff, the local elected representative, and a representative from the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors and Sewerage System Regulation Improvement Coalition.

Everyone with an interest in BC’s septic regulations and a concern for Coalmont’s future is invited. This is also an opportunity for press to learn more about this regulatory failure which is sure to be an election issue.


The RDOS Area H Official Community Plan is written to ensure that development is done with regard to the aspirations of the people and for the benefit of the whole community. How that applies to Coalmont is not exactly clear – especially after reading it. I know that many people won’t bother to read it themselves even though there is a handy link on the Webmont page, so here are some interesting parts – from a Coalmontian’s point of view.
Continue reading RDOS COMMUNITY PLAN


Easter Tree in ParkThe Coalmont Easter Bunny has worked it’s magic and the little trees in the park at the entrance to town are starting to bud.

Decorating trees at this time of year is an old practice in the west and traces it’s roots back to Germany. This festive tradition is both Christian and secular but nobody can deny that there is
magic in the air at this special time of year. Continue reading SPRING IS HERE


When regulations trump drinking water safety and quality, then what? The recent letter from Interior Health regarding our concerns highlights this problem.

Everyone in Coalmont has been concerned about the development of 25 foot lots on the old Works Yard. People have different views and are concerned about various aspects, but the real stickler is how can a developer get away with putting septics and wells that close together?

That is indeed a serious issue and we now know that the septic rules and regulations have changed to accommodate that kind of development. It turns out that this is a “tip of the iceberg” kind of issue. There are likely problems in other communities which just haven’t surfaced yet. Our concerns here have been presented to various authorities with little result other than they now know that Coalmont exists. Oh well. That’s a start.

Truck Traffic Concerns

Truck traffic through town is an ongoing concern. Both coal and logging trucks kick up a lot of dust, and make noise around the clock. They also pose a safety hazard when they speed, especially going through the stop sign.

The issue of dust does not have an easy solution as it is part of the normal operation of big trucks. Perhaps another route is better, and perhaps Argo could clean up the winter sanding better. To deal with noise and speed, we may get signs at the entrances to town asking truckers to consider our community. Not all issues can be solved overnight but it does look like our concerns are meeting with some response, and things are looking up. Continue reading Truck Traffic Concerns

The Story of Similkameen

On the Coalmont Community History page you will find links to the best and most comprehensive information on our past. However, the history of our area is mostly documented in old newspapers and a few key books which are not easy to get hold of.

Mr. and Mrs. John Fall AllisonPerhaps the best known is Don Blake’s book “Blakeburn, From Dust to Dust” which has been out of print so long that when the odd copy surfaces, it sells for well over $100.

The Story of Similkameen, by Rev. John Goodfellow is another key book. This little book was originally published in 1958 and has become almost impossible to find.
Continue reading The Story of Similkameen

Basin Coal Mine

We know it as Blakeburn, but it has many other names such as Basin Coal, Coalmont Colliery, Blakeburn Strip Mine, Mullin’s Strip Mine, Mount Carbon Colliery, Tulameen Coal, Columbia Coal, B.C. Coal, and Pacific West. Whatever you call it, it’s still our neighbourhood. The news is that it’s no longer Canadian. Continue reading Basin Coal Mine

Interior Health Septic Review

Not everyone is aware of the septic rules, and how they are changing. Some people who have unnescessarily sold property because they thought they couldn’t put a septic on it, when in fact they could, feel they have been wronged. Other situations exist where things have gone awry. The government administration’s lack of communication, clarity, and coherent operations, is causing hardship for some people.

When it comes to government regulations, history will show us that foresight is often lacking. However, if you read the following story, I think you will agree that in this case, hindsight is lacking as well. The regulations in question appear to be neither properly researched nor carefully considered. What can we do about it? Bob Sterne has been working on this for awhile and gotten nowhere – until now. Continue reading Interior Health Septic Review

The Cars of Coalmont

Last edition I wrote an article called Our Cultural Icons which probably brought mixed reactions. There is a wide range of people here, and to me that is a wonderful thing. I am happy to know that not everyone thinks like me. The article was mostly about the questionable actions of the RDOS bylaws officer regarding tidy premises, but I will leave that alone for now and instead continue about the car culture of our area and how it might be seen by people from other parts of the world.

Old car on Columbia
Continue reading The Cars of Coalmont

The Town of Welldo

More than a few little towns have sprung up out of nowhere, developed into busy places, and then disappeared back into the dust. Granite Creek is supposedly a record holder in that catagory, but what other records have been set in town development?

Did you know about the town of Welldo located just a little over a mile from here? Yes, this came as a surprise to me too. Continue reading The Town of Welldo

Septic Skeptic

Home septic systems are always a concern in our town. Clearly, everyone needs to get rid of their sewage, but nowadays there are different systems for doing that. At the recent meeting of Coalmont residents with the regional director, Brad Hope, there were some interesting questions raised, and some even more interesting answers.

Regarding this subject, the opening question was “What rights do we have regarding the Cottages of Coalmont?” As everyone knows, this is a proposal for 24 seasonal homes on 26 lots. That was a hot topic, and as it turned out, Brad had already done some research on it. He had determined that the rules regarding septic systems had changed recently. Yes, again. Continue reading Septic Skeptic


The most important thing about any community is the people. Several people have passed away this last year and we are reminded of the fragility, as well as the value, of life.

Ruby and Jim English moved here in 1972 and Coalmont is just not going to be the same without Ruby. Her full obituary is in this edition.

Last summer there was a wake for Linda Pudsey at the Granite Creek campground where she had been host for a number of years. She was much loved by the regulars there. Many people showed up to pay their respects and a bench was erected in her honour. Linda was only 44 when she died.

Peggy Falk, née Lakeland, was born June 20, 1916, and went to school in Blakeburn. Her father was a police officer there. She died July 30, 2008 at the age of 92. Peggy wanted to be buried up here and already had her plot reserved in Princeton some years ago. Her son Al Falk still lives with wife Sheila here in Coalmont.

Just recently, we have had the death of Ken Thompson who had lived here for many years. I saw him not too long before he died. I’ll miss going to his charming little house at the end of Fraser street. He always had Christmas lights on. He called them his “happy lights”.

~ Ole Juul

Ruby English

Ruby Blanche (Ready) Devoted wife and beloved mother, grandma and great-grandma passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 25, 2008 in Princeton, BC at the age of 81. She died of cancer related issues with her family by her side. She was very brave right to the end.
Born in Kindersley, SK on July 1, 1927. Ruby moved to Vancouver with her sister in the mid 40’s where she met and fell in love with her future husband, Jim. After a yearlong courtship they were married on March 27, 1948. They had two children whom they raised at their home in Port Coquitlam and acreage in Coalmont, BC. They so loved the peaceful mountains that in 1972 they moved to Coalmont permanently. Continue reading Ruby English

Local Lifestyle Narrative & Community Forum