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.   §

Horses Gone

Earlier this week the owners of the seven horses came back. They had been away on a working trip for about four weeks. While they were gone, the horses were penned up in a tiny space on crown land next to The Bailey Bridge. The situation had become a community concern and several people put in a lot of work to make sure the animals were fed and watered.

It’s one of those strange Coalmont Stories. Shortly after returning, the couple left town again but the circumstances are less clear this time. According to reports, the horses were taken away in a trailer. All that remains is a well trampled patch and the posts from the electric fence. We can take it for granted that there is also a lot of horse manure and an old travel trailer.

The crown land lot by river

Campfire Ban Here Now

Effective immediately, there is a campfire ban within the Tulameen & District Fire Protection Area.

Although small camp fires are still allowed in other parts of the Kamloops Fire Centre, due to irresponsible campfire use and in the interest of public safety, there is now a restriction here. Please be advised that this also applies to private land. Failure to comply with a ban can result in fines, and there are heavy penalties for those found to be responsible for starting a wildfire.   §

UPDATE: Effective at noon on Friday, July 3, 2015, all open fires – including campfires – will be prohibited throughout the entire Kamloops Fire Centre. This prohibition will remain in place until the public is otherwise notified.

Hot Weather

The current British Columbia heat wave is even more impressive here. Yesterday we got up to 38°C – possibly more. The last time it was this hot around here was in 1996, and that was “only” 34 degrees. There were records broken in several other areas. At 41.1°C Lytton takes the prize as usual.

Perhaps because it is still early in the summer, there are fewer restrictions on fires than one might expect. Specifically, forest use is unrestricted and campfires are permitted, but burning of waste is prohibited as is grass burning and anything more than a small well controlled fire. For ban and restriction details, see the Open Fire Bans in Kamloops Fire Centre page.

The British Columbia Wildfire Management Branch has an up-to-date web page of Fire Prohibitions and Area Restrictions. It’s probably a good idea to bookmark that.   §

Joe Lucas of Coalmont

Information from Joe Lucas of Coalmont, B.C. Recorded before his move to assisted living in Penticton, B.C. June 24, 2015. ~ By Diane Sterne

Joe Lucas in Coalmont, 2015Joe Lucas was born in London on October 8, 1930. He was a true Cockney because he was born within hearing distance of the Church bells of St. Mary Le Bow. He has a sister and two brothers (plus one deceased). Joe lied about his age to get in the Merchant Marine at the tail end of WWII. The first ship he was on was a tanker. He was in the British Merchant Navy for 10 years. While in London, Joe was a butcher in Brixton, England. He made sausage and cut meat. Joe sailed with his brother, Jack, from Liverpool to New York on the Saxonia. When they arrived in New York they had planned to fly to Vancouver, however there had been a huge snowfall. They were stranded in New York for three days and then took a bus to Chicago and another bus to Vancouver.

Joe continued his trade as a butcher in Vancouver and worked for Kelly Douglas & Co. of the Super Valu chain. From there he went to work for H.Y. Louie Co. of the IGA chain and opened their new store in North Vancouver. Wishing to work for himself, Joe ventured into the cabaret business and owned the El Mocambo Dine and Dance in Burnaby. He was partnered with his wife’s brother. His first wife, Myrna, was a singer in the club. It was the first licensed cabaret in Vancouver that didn’t have a restaurant license. This was in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.

Eventually Joe and Marilyn left this business and worked for a customs broker in Vancouver.

When Joe and Marilyn decided to retire, they planned on moving to Princeton. They put down a deposit on a house, but it turned out an offer had already been accepted on the property. The Lucas’ decided to move to Coalmont and purchased a building that was about 3 years old. It had not been finished and the lower half of the house was originally built to be a Firehall in Coalmont. This never happened so the Lucas’ purchased it and made it their home. At first they owned three lots and then expanded it by two more lots to include what Joe owns today. The property was eventually amalgamated into one large lot on the corner of Columbia St. and Bettes Ave. Their plan was to live in Coalmont in the summer and Arizona in the winter. Unfortunately on April 2, 2001 while coming home from Arizona, Joe’s wife passed away in Nevada.

Joe has lived in Coalmont for about 25 years and has one son, Mike, who is a professional drag racer in Fort St. John. Joe has travelled the world throughout his exciting life and will be missed when he moves to Penticton sometime in July.

Joe Lucas' house in Coalmont, 2015

Heather Deanne Lutz

Heather Lutz

Heather Lutz

January 24, 1968 – June 4, 2015

Survived by her much loved partner Todd Lester, her mother Margaret Tissuer (Ron) and brother Trevor Lutz (Laura) and her extended Tisseur and Lester families. Predeceased by her father Daniel Lutz in 1996.

Todd has a little house on Columbia and Heather first came here seven years ago. She initially enjoyed walking, rollerblading and bicycling around town, until the disease made it too uncomfortable to do so.

Heather is deeply missed by her family, as well as extended family members, friends, and collegues who loved her.

There will be a Celebration of Life: Sunday, July5, 2015 at 1pm Sullivan Hall at 6306-152 St., Surrey, BC.

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.   §

Horses In Coalmont Again

There are horses in Coalmont again. This little equine family, which includes a new baby, was looking for a place to stay and has temporarily settled next to Nick’s Gold Pan Inn down by the river. The owners are actively looking for a permanent place. Although the horses are well looked after and happy for the moment, they will need more suitable lodging before the winter – ideally much sooner. Please contact the Courier if you can help.

Family of horses beside Gold Pan Inn

Coalmont used to have lots of horses when the town was first established. There were two liveries on Front Street which were built right at the beginning. One is still there. The Colliers had their stable in upper town and were transporting coal by wagon in the summer and sled in the winter.

A few years back regulations were enacted which disallow the keeping of farm animals in most areas. In fact land use zoning and other by-laws do not actually permit quite a few of the freedoms which Colmontians enjoy. We all want laws to apply to others while we prefer our own exception. That’s human nature. Now we have some horses here again. Hopefully they will be welcome for a little while. Horses represent an important and colourful piece of our history and this could be seen as an opportunity to engage in a little nostalgia – and perhaps also a little tolerance.
~ Ole Juul

Smart Meter Concentrator

First smart meter repeater in town

It looks like Fortis installed the first smart meter concentrator here yesterday.

Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) requires a medium to provide continuous point-to-point communication connectivity. Your smart meter (to be installed next week) needs to connect to an aggregation node and have a data uplink to the AMI Control center. Typically, a local AMI system includes smart meters and data concentrators. Also, each smart meter can serve as a hub or repeater for other smart meter communication with data concentrators.

There are more steps to the whole chain. Obviously what starts at your meter will have to end up in a Fortis control centre. The equipment shown here, located on Main Street, will have backhaul communication. It could connect to satellite or possibly the China Creek Internet tower.   §

Parkland Donation

The last meeting of the Regional District had an important agenda item.

COMMUNITY SERVICES – Rural Projects
1. Area H Parkland Donation: To accept the offer of parkland donation.
It was MOVED and SECONDED THAT the Board of Directors accept the offer of parkland dedication in Coalmont, pending the results of the proposed environmental audit.

CARRIED

Map of lots along KVR

Our New Telus Phone Is Here

new payphone on Front Street, 2015
Our new payphone came today. There was no ceremony, no speeches, no band. A pickup drove up and within minutes the job was done. It looks good though. Kudos to Telus for coming through.

It’s a very functional unit from which one can make free 911 calls and all the other calling features which one would expect. No coins, which is probably a good thing because it’s just one less thing to break and for Telus to deal with. There’s a soft glow light inside the top of the hood which is both welcoming and functional. One can also imagine that with the unit being on the wall of the Telus building, the technicians who frequent this location will keep an eye on it, and perhaps even change the light when it goes out.

The new location has advantages and there is no question that the phone looks good there. It’s also nice and private for those who enjoy that. Perhaps the biggest advantage is being off the street so the snow plow won’t block it in the winter time. That driveway is typically kept clear when it snows.

The only drawback of being on the Telus Building, is that it can’t be seen from the Coalmont Road (Parrish Avenue) or the KVR trail. A blue sign was placed on the telephone pole on the corner, right where the old phone booth was located, and that makes it clear that there is a telephone around. But it can’t be seen from there since it is in the woods now. Another sign could probably fix that problem.

It’s been 10 weeks since the original payphone got destroyed on March 29th (story here), but it’s all good now. Telus came up with a phone, and it looks great.

new payphone on Front Street Telus building

new payphone in the woods at dusk

Trail Widening Moving Along

Argo has been ditching the Coalmont Road and when they do that there’s free fill to be had. Today they continued using it to widen the stretch of the KVR between Parrish and the Betts shortcut. As seen in the pictures below, the first half of the block has been done previously, and now they’re continuing on the second half. Area ‘H’ representative Bob Coyne was not aware of any plan involving this work, and the Regional District Parks and Facilities Coordinator, Justin Shuttleworth, was not available for comment. If anybody has any knowledge of what the plan is, and who is behind it, please say so in the comments below.
KVR Parrish to Betts 2015 East

KVR Parrish to Betts 2015 West

UPDATE: Several people with an interest in the KVR have called to say that this is the area where there was a sidetrack on the old railway and because of the width, this would be a good place for a staging area for trail users, and perhaps also a helicopter landing.

Edith Rice and the Overwaitea Timbers

Edith Rice 2015The old Princeton Overwaitea building has been demolished. They started the Friday before Mother’s day and they took pains to save the big beams and stack them carefully to the side. Who knows how far those will survive into the future and what new history they will embody.

Overwaitea has been in Princeton since the thirties. The first store was on the corner where the drugstore now is, and it was there all through WWII. The second store was on Vermilion about where the museum is now, and that location lasted until the big new store was built on Bridge Street.

Edith Rice saw the construction of that building and she remembers some of the people who used to serve her there. Maria Sadegur worked in the new store. And Judy Robinson worked in the Vermilion store and was an employee until she retired. But it was seeing those big timbers that really brought back memories.

Edith lived at the Roany Creek Ranch with her husband Eugene Rice where they operated the E.C. Rice Logging and Sawmilling Company. Eugene passed away in 1999, but Edith is still there and the mill, under the same name, is now operated by their son Ernie Rice.

The original mill was built by Eugene in 1952. Edith says “it was more of a tie mill”, meaning for cutting railway ties. In 1965 Eugene rebuilt the mill to a larger version. He did a lot of the work himself, like the panograph, live rollers and carriage, but the log turner was built in Penticton. Custom sawing became his specialty, and that’s what Ernie still does there.

It was in 1968 before the snow when they got an order from the contractor for those huge beams that went into the Overwaitea building. The beams were 32 feet in length, the longest they could cut. Nobody else in the area could handle lumber that size. Edith remembers taking the invoice to the building site and they had already put the timbers in place. “This would have been fir, pine is not strong enough. The inspectors wouldn’t have passed it otherwise.” It is interesting to note that trees big enough to produce timbers that size would have started growing in the century before Canada’s confederation.

The Overwaitea beams came from the Roany Creek Canyon, which is where Eugene was cutting at the time. He would have bid on lumber and got forestry permission. “It was quite a process – lots of paperwork” Edith said, adding “Once we had a rail car of lumber destined for Africa – through some lumber broker. There was sure a lot of paperwork for that.”

Eugene also cut lumber for customers in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver. He always left at night so he’d be there with the order in the morning. One time he was to go down with a load of wood but the order wasn’t quite finished, so he had to phone down to say that he’d be there the next day instead. That was the night of the largest land slide in Canadian history. The famous Hope slide. Had the order been finished, he would have been right about there when the slide occurred, and the history of the Roany Creek Ranch and Sawmill would have turned out quite differently.   §

Our Payphone Is Coming Back

Telus has just informed us that they intend to replace the payphone. David Fowler, who manages the payphone business for Telus, contacted the Sterns with the good news. He will be working with their technicians to ensure that this new payphone is installed and operational as soon as possible.

Diane Sterne writes:

Mr. Fowler operates out of the Calgary office. He will be working with their technicians to ensure that this new payphone is installed and operational as soon as possible. We are very grateful to Telus for listening to us and coming to a compromise that should work for everyone. We also wish to thank Alex Atamanenko (Federal MP), Jackie Tegart (BC MLA), Bob Coyne (RDOS Area H Rep.), all of their staff, members of the public and the press who instilled in Telus the importance of this much-needed phone. They were all instrumental in helping us arrive at this workable solution.

Mr. Fowler supplied the following details:

  1. The payphone inside the Coalmont Hotel will be removed and replaced by one accessible to the public 24/7 in an outdoor location.
  2. They will be installing that new payphone on the Telus building on the north side of Front Street, just east of the Coalmont Road.
  3. They will be installing a payphone sign(s) at the original booth location directing people to the nearby, new location.
  4. The new payphone will be of a robust design with free calling to 911, credit card calling, collect calls through an operator, but no coin slots.

Smart Meters Here Next Month

FortisBC will soon be installing advanced meters in Coalmont. We have confirmed that there is indeed a work order for our town, and they will be doing the work between June 22 and June 26. Meter exchanges will take place Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Just like when your meter is normally read, you do not need to be at home.

Despite motions opposing the installation of smart meters in many municipalities, the provincial government has insisted that installations would proceed. FortisBC started installing the new meters in late 2014, are doing the Similkameen area now, and will finish with the Kootenays in late 2015.

Although the basic technology is considered by some experts to have been outdated long before it was even proposed, Fortis still believes that their implementation carries many advantages. It is not clear just how many of those are of benefit to the end user but they place more billing options, fewer estimates, and online tools, at the top of their list. For a more complete sales pitch on Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) visit Fortisbc.com/ami. Current privacy concerns appear minimal, but future advanced options offer significant intrusion. At this time three years of data will be available for immediate retrieval and four additional years will be archived.

FortisBC was unable to tell us what the actual implementation of the Coalmont rollout will look like. The basic technology utilizes the spectrum between 902-928 MHz but how the connection will be made here could be different. With no cell coverage, it will likely be through satellite backhaul. The latter is expensive but FortisBC claims that it is still worth it to them in many cases. We will have answers to these kinds of questions after the first meter goes in on June 22nd.   §

A Tale of Three Trails

Friday evening’s informational meeting in Tulameen regarding trails was very well attended. In fact one person in the audience pointed out that he hadn’t seen such a turnout for a while and that this was surely testimony to the fact that here is an issue which many people care about. However, the issue which many in the audience had expected to confront, was apparently not the thrust of what the presenters had intended.

Planned speakers were the Regional District Parks and Facilities Coordinator Justin Shuttleworth, president of the China Ride Trails and historical trail researcher Kelly Cook, and Bob Coyne who is our Regional Representative, but for this occasion was here on behalf of China Ridge Trails Society. On hand also was Ken Reeve from the Vermilion Trails Society.

The meeting was sponsored by the Tulameen Community Club who had sent out notice with the following call.

ATTENTION! Mountain bikers, hikers, walkers, quadders, dirt bikers, snowmobilers. ALL users of the Trans Canada Trail and all other trails in our area…. now is the time to find out what/where/when/how you can and will be able to use the trails now and in the future.

Perhaps that is what set the audience’s expectation. It certainly became clear soon after the meeting started that a fair section of the audience, and certainly the notable number of Coalmontians present, were there to air their displeasure with how they felt about their access to the trails in general – mostly regarding the new Provincial off-road motorized vehicle regulations as this has fired up many people.

Justin Shuttleworth is the Parks and Facilities Coordinator for the Regional District. He claims to have no agenda regarding the KVR trail but says he has put a lot of time into this. He is concerned with trail maintenance and explains that it is currently being done through Vermilion Trails Society. His stance on usage is that it is, and should be, “respect based”. It is interesting to note that there are 5 active Trans Canada Trail groups in the RDOS. Currently the district jurisdiction stops 11 km short of Brookmere, but they’re trying to get that section included. The most interesting part of his presentation was regarding the recent slide by the second trestle on the KVR. Shuttleworth says that the geotech report just came in today and they will be looking at that to determine the way forward. He feels confident that money will be found to clear up the slide but it could take a little while. The best case scenario would see the job finished by the end of summer.

Bob Coyne’s presentation about the China Creek trails was short but informative. He points out that the reason that they request non-motorized only use is that it causes a lot of damage to the snow grooming equipment and actually costs them time and money, neither of which they have a lot of. Here, Kelly Cook interjects that it would really be better to avoid the negative expression “non-motorized” and instead talk about “self propelled”. They have single track bike trails and 40 km of trail which they maintain in the winter time. Coyne also says that the China Creek trails are all designed for family use. There was some argumentative resistance from the floor regarding the China Creek policies, but in the end it looked like people understood that there is access for everybody to that area and that it is imperative that certain trails be designated for specific uses or it won’t work.

Kelly Cook presented on her research and work with the Hudson Bay Heritage Trail. This is the fur trail, and not to be confused with the Dewdney Trail. In fact it has roots going back much further in history. But perhaps the most significant local role, indeed in Canadian history, is that this trail as used by the Hudson’s Bay formed the basis of Canada establishing sovereignty in this area. The trailhead is at the Tulameen museum and it goes all the way to the Coquihalla. It is unfortunate that there is no parking in Tulameen for those who want to start a hike there, but perhaps that can be remedied in the future. More work will be done to manage trail usage and we can expect to hear a lot about this exciting project in the future.

There was not anything to fault or argue with in Kelly Cook’s presentation, but throughout the rest of the meeting one could sense that much of the audience was there to get answers about motorized trail usage – specifically on the KVR.

Ken Reeve gave an inspired talk about community based choices. He advocates that the communities through which the KVR trail runs, should have the major say in what it will look like in their section. No one disagreed with that. However, as it turns out, Reeve was well prepared to answer the questions that many had really come with. He has talked with the RCMP regarding their plans. They have funding to enforce the new law and they intend to pursue a zero tolerance policy. Unregistered off-road vehicles will be confiscated – even if they are being transported, as there is a hope that this will cut down on thefts. Also, drivers must be 16 or over and hold a valid drivers license. This elicited some reaction from the audience, with one person yelling “you gotta be an idiot to not let your kid ride a dirt bike!” It seems that the new regulations will take some time for people to accept. Many want to vent about the changes, but at this point there is not really much to discuss. The information is available many places and will be given to people when they go to get their ORV license and insurance. (see earlier article) The issues about what to do with trail maintenance and individual community choices is still alive and well. Perhaps most important to many people who attended this meeting is that, at least in our area, the KVR will remain open to quads.   §

Coalmont Food Cart

Bratwurst

Coalmont Burger

Chicken on bun

The Coalmont Food Cart is now open and here to stay. Opening times are noon ’til after dinner, Tuesday through Sunday. Prompt service, but if you’re really in a hurry you can call ahead: 250-295-6066.

MENU
Coalmont Burger
    Home made beef paddy with lettuce, Monterey Jack cheese, and of course, our smoked onions.

Big Game Bratwurst
    Bison, Venison, and Elk. With smoked onions, Dijon mustard, on a Parisienne bun.

Chicken Sub
    Grilled chicken breast with Tzatziki, cucumber and lettuce.

Good Ol’ Smokie
    The traditional standby with smoked onion and cheese.

Weekend Specials
Watch for smoked meats, pulled pork, smoked brisket, baby back ribs. Menu changes every week.

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Chris Berringer

Chris Berringer came here with his partner Sylvia to operate the historic Coalmont Hotel about a year and a half ago (see Coalmont Hotel Open). It has been a great success, not the least because Chris knows how to give people what they want. Now he’s going one step further and offering the food service that customers, indeed the Coalmont area, has been asking for. Open 6 days a week. With the Coalmont Food Cart conveniently right outside the door to the Saloon, you can take your food inside and enjoy it with a beer and company, or you can just pick it up like it was a drive-through. Perhaps the best part is that Chris has been cooking since before many people were born and that means that you know it’s going to be good.   §

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