Category Archives: Local Issues

KVR Blocked by Slide

The KVR Trans Canada Trail has been blocked by a slide. A large part of the mountain has given way and the debris is more than trail crews can deal with, even with machinery. The situation will likely require geotechnical expertise and special equipment. There is currently no word on whether this will become available, or when the trail will again be open between Coalmont and Princeton. For the time being this section is impassable by quads, and it is unsafe to cross on foot.

The first picture shows the blockage as seen from the trestle facing Princeton. The second picture is taken from across the Tulameen River. The end of the trestle is now covered or gone down with the slide into the river below.

Slide blocking KVR at Second Trestle

Slide blocking KVR - view from across the river

Photo: John Moss

Fortis Leaves Us Powerless All Day

The power went down this morning (Saturday) at 11:40 and when it came back on at 1:38 p.m. it was a great relief – which lasted for approximately two minutes until it was down again. Crews were already on their way home, but were called back before they got far from the scene. This time it took them an hour and 35 minutes to restore power.

People who restarted their computers, or ventured into the shower, or whatever they had put off that required electricity, were in for a rude surprise because this repair only lasted 55 minutes. It then took a long time before power came back again. In all, the power was off for nine and a half hours today.

The Fortis web site still lists a maximum 4 hour blackout for Tuesday.   §

Power Outage Notice

Fortis Outage Notice Sign

There is an announced electrical outage for next Tuesday March 24, 10 a.m to 2 p.m. This will effect all customers along Coalmont Rd including Coalmont and Tulameen. Also includes customers on Blackmine [sic] Rd. Approximately 524 customers are involved.

The reason given is equipment repairs and upgrades, but another announcement posted on the web three days later indicates that they decided to do “Emergency repairs” along “Areas of Coalmont Rd, Tulameen Rd and Blackmine [sic] Rd as well. That action is purported to effect about 594​ customers.

Make sure you have plenty of water set aside, or gas in your generator so you can make a cup of coffee or flush the toilet. And, of course, don’t forget to check your email before 10 a.m.   §

Power Went Off – Again

One could be tempted to say that the power went off “as usual”, but that would perhaps be a bit harsh. On the other hand we’ve had a lot of power outages lately. Today it was only off for 1 hour and 45 minutes, which coincidentally was the same length of time it was off the other day. The times that it goes off for only a few seconds and then comes back on with an electronics damaging surge should also be mentioned.

And we all remember a couple of months ago when it went off for most of the day and we all froze, went without water, and for the most part were unable to communicate with the rest of the world. That was actually an excusable situation because of extreme weather. What excuses Fortis can cook up for all the other situations is beyond me. I suppose this is just one of the side effects of them selling electricity to us at such a low price that they don’t have enough money to do basic maintenance. Perhaps we should take up a collection to help them out.   ~ Ole Juul

Still Hope For Coal Mine

Things might be warming up a little in the saga of the Blakeburn Coal Mine.

It’s been a long couple of winters for the mine. Operating mostly under the name Coalmont Energy Corporation (CEC) the mine stopped production in October of 2013 because of lack of profitability combined with a surfeit of debt. Nevertheless Coalmont managed to get a stay of proceedings which ended on February 18 of last month. That is when the inevitable declaration of bankruptcy occurred. The first meeting of creditors is tomorrow.

There are 145 known unsecured creditors who are owed a total of $37.5 million. However, at this point Coalmont has no asserts, those having been sold to a company by the name of Sandhill Materials last month. Former employees will not be eligible for termination pay under the Wage Earners Protection Act because of the length of time that has passed.

Depending on the economic climate and the price of coal, it looks like the mine may well come back into operation at some point. For those who have not followed the whole story, there were a number of companies involved with Coalmont Energy. The main one was Arthon, of which CEC was a subsidiary. Although not drawn into the bankruptcy proceedings, Sandhill Materials is part of the Arthon group and now the owners of the CEC assets. This means that we could be seeing the same people return to the mine, and some locals could get their jobs back.   §

Coalmont Energy plant in winter

District Budget – 2015

Have you ever wondered what services you receive from the Regional District for the rural taxes you pay?

Come to a public budget meeting to find out. The RDOS finance staff will be in Princeton to present the 2015 financial plan. Wednesday, February 18, 2015 – 7:00 p.m.
Riverside Centre – 148 Old Hedley Rd, Princeton, BC

For general inquiries please email or call 250-492-0237 (toll free 1-877-610-3737    §

River Update

Message from the Tulameen & District Volunteer Fire Department:

The river has cut a channel through the ice jam. There is high debris flow and high water levels, but the pressure behind the jam has been released. We will continue to monitor. ~ Chief Woodford

Tulameen River high with debris
Bob Sterne sent in this photo and writes:

Here is a photo we just took (9:30 am) of the river at the Coalmont bridge…. Fairly high and lots of debris, but certainly not a problem….

Evacuation Concerns for Coalmont

The Tulameen River this morning looks like time has forwarded to Spring freshet. It is amazing the havoc weather can create and so suddenly. As I look out, the temperature has been plummeting and the downpour of rain all night abruptly turned to snow. At least it is a dry snow, not the heavy wet that contributed to the ice jam on the river. We will have to wait to see if we are out of the woods yet.

Come spring there should be less debris floating down the river to cause problems if what is going by our place is an indication.

The Tulameen Fire Department deserves commendation for their proactive action in going door to door alerting residents of the possible danger, and to be prepared in case an evacuation was needed.

I would like to be able to commend Argo Road Maintenance as well, but they have done nothing in our community to be commended for as we waited to see what might happen.

If you own a 4×4, or live along Coalmont Road, evacuation would not have been a problem, as it is well maintained.

For those of us who do not fall into that group, the condition of the side roads was and still is this morning deplorable. Unnecessary delays and serious problems may have occurred. Normally I would not consider this an issue as I realize we are low on the priority list for ploughing, and every one works around this.

When such a serious issue as this occurs, standard procedure would be to alert all civil authorities of the danger. If Argo was proactive, the very first thing on their priority list should have been to dispatch a plough truck to address the situation.

Thankfully we seem to have dodged a bullet this time and may we never need to be placed in this position again.

~ Ken Davidson

Flood Warning for Coalmont

There is a flood warning for Coalmont and anyone along the Tulameen river. People are asked to remain on standby and be ready to leave town on short notice. Apparently there is a significant ice jam about 7 km up the river and it was already looking dangerous before it got dark.

Fire Department volunteers have been walking about town and knocking on every door to make sure that people are aware of the situation. Residents are being told that if they hear a siren, to leave immediately and head toward Princeton. The siren will be from the fire truck.

The last time there was a flood in Coalmont was in 1995 about this same time of year. That one caused considerable damage and it reached from the river up as far as the Hotel. Hopefully the dyke which was built then, will be protection enough if the current ice jam breaches.

The Tulameen & District Volunteer FD Fire Chief is Jody Woodford, and the hall number is (250) 295-6688. Emergencies should be reported to 911.   §

Our Health Care

Being almost 20 minutes from the Princeton Hospital has always been an issue for emergencies, but regular health care has also been sparse in recent years. There has been much discussion about the operating room being closed down. Emergency services were even spotty for a while. Many people don’t have a family doctor any more. However, it looks like this downward trend is going to slowly turn around.

Several organizations are mostly responsible for this. One is the Support Our Health Care (SOHC) society which has been active for several years. First to get 24/7 emergency services, and now continuing to work on a general plan to get better and adequate health care on all levels.

Also, as a reaction to the low level of available care and lack of doctors, the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee (PHCSC) was established. This provides a mechanism for the major stakeholders to work together effectively. There is now a new web site where you can read what they are doing. Please visit for details. One thing which you will notice is that the site is focused on recruiting doctors and other medical professionals to our area – specifically to Princeton General Hospital and the Cascade Medical Clinic. This is a first, since until now this function has not been fulfilled well.

After more than a hundred years in operation, the Hospital Auxiliary has also just hit the WWW. Their new web site is at Many of us enjoy shopping at their thrift shop, but it may not be so well known that they raise considerable sums of money for the hospital and other health related services. They even have an annual $2000.00 bursary for a local graduating student to further their education in the health care field.   §

Area ‘H’ Candidates – Princeton 2014

Continuing with our 2014 Area ‘H’ election coverage of the three candidates for a director to represent us, here is a report from the Princeton Chamber of Commerce All Candidates forum held October 29.

Overall it was less engaging than the one here, due mostly to the strict rules and format which prevented real conversation with the candidates. Nevertheless, it was informative and offered us an important source of additional information about the candidates.

The meeting started with the usual self introductions of the candidates. Jamie Frandsen is originally from North Vancouver and has been visiting the area since he was 10. He sees this now as an opportunity to get involved with the community. Charles Weber spent 25 years teaching and has been involved with farming for many years. Him and his wife came to Princeton 13 years ago. Many also know him in this area because of his involvement with community groups and the Princeton Pool. Bob Coyne is also a farmer, but has worked as a mechanic for years before. Also worked for the Town of Princeton and operated a number of businesses in this area. His family goes back some generations here.

The presentation continued with more platform related talk.

Frandsen says he is anti fracking, an environmentalist, and is concerned about the hospital and getting doctors.

Coyne’s first concern is that everyone in Area ‘H’ gets represented. Putting Community forest money to good use is another issue and he would like to consult with the communities about that. He thinks that in some cases it could be used as seed money for larger projects. His view of the hospital and doctor situation starts with an understanding that “healthcare is ever evolving”. He will be stepping down from his presidency of the China Ridge Trails Society so as to avoid conflict of interest if he is elected.

Weber points out that there are all sorts of opportunities for young people such as sports and Highland Dancing. However, he mainly wants to promote growth by increasing the population. “Promote, promote, promote” he says. He suggests that when he first moved to this town it was more active. “We want to bring that back”. Regarding health care, he thinks it’s time for “hard bargaining, hard negotiation” with IHA (Interior Health).

The forum went on to questions from the floor. Ed Staples asked:
What is the most important issue facing health care here?

Weber said that “doctors and nurses are most important”. “Why are they leaving? We need to ask them. We need to grow this community”. He then reiterated his earlier solution “We need to do hard bargaining with IHA and advocate for our community”. Coyne was more nuanced, suggesting that we need sustainable staff on all levels. “The whole process needs to be managed”. Frandsen sees the retention problem as a competition with other communities. He also mentioned the idea of an expanded facility down the road and things like transportation for older people and education on how to avoid falls and such.

A question about the Library was raised. Its funding will apparently be cut back, and the fact that Area ‘H’ does not pay taxes toward the library was questioned. (Residents currently pay $75 for an adult library card instead of a general tax. Ed.) Frandsen said “it sounds right to pay and share”. Weber said “more young people come out of Area ‘H’ than come out of the community”. Coyne seemed to understand the history of the issue when he said “Princeton Fringe would say yes in a heartbeat. Those in Eastgate, who are all going to vote, will say no”. “It’s a very good question for discussion among the communities”.

The healthcare issue then came back to the discussion. Weber insisted that “we need amenities”. Coyne suggested that times are different and it’s not the same situation that it used to be: “I don’t have the answers.” Frandsen enhanced his earlier statement with, “we just need to get past that first hurdle”. “We need to get ahead of those other communities”.

Next question from the public was:
Do you support an aquatic centre?

Coyne: “It’s a big question”. “People are still very emotional from the last time”. He recognizes the reality that we are left with when he says “People are not willing to participate at this time”. Nevertheless, he emphasizes a democratic process and says “I would have to meet with the communities”.

Frandsen had no doubts: “I stand 100% behind it. We need a facility that is family friendly, and is top notch”.

Weber, perhaps because of his own colourful involvement, described the issue in a more colourful manner. “It’s a swamp”. He went on: “(We need to) find out our costs out front … We can work something out”. “We don’t need to get split”. “(we can) rebuild that trust”.

The next topic brought consensus among the candidates.
What is your opinion on fracking?

Frandsen: “100% against” “We have so many other sources of energy … “this is very clear cut”.
Weber: “No, No, and No . . . and No!”
Coyne: “emphatic No!”

How will you distinguish yourself from your illustrious predecessor?

Weber: “We want to go in a slightly different direction, but Brad has done a good job with communities”. (I want)  “More role for government,  APC, etc. . . . expand governance role and use that to make decisions”. “Take it to the next level”.

Coyne: “That’s a rather distasteful question”. He preferred instead to bring greater recognition to what has actually been done and sees the current direction as positive, saying “Thank you very much Brad!” “My goal is to continue on the work that Brad has done”.

Frandsen: “You’re looking at a fresh face”. “No baggage”.

Do you have a web site?

Coyne: Yes, (direct contact on there)
Frandsen: No site.
Weber: No site. “work in progress … it’s coming”.

Question from Linda Allison: What is your position on maintaining thriving agricultural lands in our area?

Frandsen: “leave it there” this is the backbone of our area”.
Weber: “We need to bring younger people into it”.
Coyne: “I’ve grown up on farms”. “It (agricultural land) comes up all the time when we talk about development”. “Agriculture is changing”.

Closing Statements

Weber: “Growth. We need to grow”. “If we get some growth, the rest will follow”. He used the words “positive” and “exciting” “We need strong presence in Penticton … Strong presence with IHA”.

Frandsen: (quoting recent article) “47 percent of Vancouverites are considering moving out of the city”. “If we could get some of that money . . .Doctors will stay here”. As director “I’ll hit the pavement, running”.

Coyne: “Thank you all for coming out”. “Thank you to the other candidates for running”. “Vote with a clear conscience – vote nov. 15”.

Someone asked if the Princeton Town Hall sign on Bridge Street could advertise the location of the voting poll, which is at Riverside this election. Many people would think voting is at the Legion where it has been before. Mayor Frank Armitage said “I’ll look into it in the morning”.   §

The Candidates Speak – Election 2014

The “Meet The Candidates” evening at the Coalmont was well attended. In fact it looked like a full house. People came from Missezula, Erris, Eastgate, and other communities.

The evening started out with a welcome from Chris Berringer who managed the whole event with skill and sensitivity. The three candidates each gave a short description of their platform and point of view. The incumbent Area ‘H’ director, Brad Hope, was also on hand to answer questions.

Charles Weber described the life he and his wife live on their farm. “We have been rural people all our lives.” He touched on his more basic philosophy when he said “Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.” Then he went on to list a lot of the things to do in this area, including many in Princeton. He thinks that we need to increase the tax base, but when he says “we’re open to positive ideas for sustainable growth” it is not clear how he distinguishes between Princeton and Area ‘H’, which he hopes to represent. Centralization comes to mind when he says “we’re a hub, not a

Bob Coyne presented next. He recognizes the importance of our diversity in Area ‘H’. “I count about 8 communities” and “I’m impressed with what Brad has done here in the last years”. “We’re all together in Area ‘H’ and we need a strong voice. He also spoke about the Forest Corporation and “what are we going to do? . . . I need answers from you”. Regarding doctors and the hospital: “We have to work with the big employers to get health care here”. “That’s one of the things we need to work together on.”

Jamie Frandsen spoke next. Many years of him and his family visiting the Area makes him well connected here. He considers safety on the highways important’ and a pressing reason to improve the hospital. About himself he said: “I’ve got business sense” and mentions his history with the printing business. “I’ve got environmental sense” and mentions that his company was a pioneer in the use of environmentally friendly ink. He mostly considers what Weber said to be his platform too.

The meeting continued with more statements from candidates and some questions from the floor.

Two people asked about Charles Weber’s slogan “Time To Grow” but again his answers did not clarify whether he meant Princeton or the communities, or what kind of growth he is referring to. He did say that he thinks “we need more revenue” and we can achieve that by getting more people to move into the area which will lead to more industry.

Jamie Frandsen said that there is revenue from Weyerhaeuser coming in, but Bob Coyne corrected him, saying that this is the Forest Corp money we’ve been talking about.

Regarding the Forest Corporation (community forest) money, someone asked how it is to be divided up. Brad Hope said “we’ve looked at the tax base to determine percentages”. Weber said “I guess it comes down to each director’s personal vision”

Coalmont resident Bob Sterne asked about the supposed $350,000 that Princeton expects (according to Princeton mayor Frank Armitage in a recent newspaper article) from the merging of Copper Mountain as a satellite to their town and how the candidates viewed that, or planned to get that money back to area ‘H’.

Bob Coyne said “what was in the paper may, or may not, be happening. There’s 160 properties involved, but where the town (Princeton) got the numbers from is not known.” Weber said “I think that’s still a work in progress”. Regarding the general idea of a municipality annexing a community as a satellite, and specifically Princeton getting Copper Mountain, Brad Hope commented, “I doubt it’s going to happen here”

The situation at Kennedy Lake was mentioned. Charles said he had been up to Kennedy Lake for a visit but was not clear on where to go with that yet. Frandsen said “I just heard about this; I can’t comment”

The subject then moved to the seemingly ever present Princeton pool discussion.

Frandsen said “they’re going ahead” and when asked if we (Area ‘H’) would get to vote, said “I hope so”. Bob Coyne was more specific and said “there would have to be a referendum”.

A question from the floor for Charles Weber: “What is your position on a pool in Princeton and if your view is different than your constituents wishes, are you willing to follow their lead?” Weber replied simply, “Of course”.

But the pool questions continued: “The reason I’m asking is that three years ago, over 900 taxpayers signed a petition asking for a separate vote in the referendum. However, you spoke at the public RDOS meeting and tried to convince the board to force area ‘H’ to a combined vote with Princeton. My question is, would you again go against the wishes of the majority of area ‘H’ residents about any issues arising.” Weber’s reply was, “That was a different situation”.

Weber went on to say that “it split the community” and put a lot of pressure on him. Who put that pressure on you, someone asked. He replied, “Some people would say I did, some people would say Brad did.” He was also asked “Are you for the regional district or are you for Princeton?”. His response was “I’m for the regional district”.

Regarding the last pool vote, someone from Eastgate asked why we couldn’t have one vote per property instead of one per person. There was no clear answer, though there was a general deferral to the BC elections laws. Bob Coyne asked the person if he thought that his neighbour who had 60 properties, should get 60 votes.

The discussion then moved on with another question from the floor. “What are the priority questions about health care”. Jamie Frandsen said “doctors, doctors, doctors – and we could use a heli-pad”, and added “the golf course is all set up.”

Bob Coyne was more specific: “we need a stable hospital with enough staff to operate in a sustainable manner” suggesting too that doctor retention is a priority.

Weber added some more: “doctors should be at the table” and “this is part of what growth is all about”. He also thought that “we need to insist that paramedics are upgraded” and “we need a walk-in clinic”.

Getting back to the talk of communities, Weber said “A big part of what Brad has done in the last years is build these communities”. But, someone asked, “all the communities have different priorities, how do you differentiate?”. Weber’s response was, “I would like to see the APC (Advisory Planning Commission) have an expanded role” but added “I think you need representation from the different communities”.

At this point a break was called. People chatted and enjoyed the warm and colourful atmosphere at The Coalmont. The conversation with the candidates then resumed with some miscellaneous questions.

A woman mentioned the Missezula lake road and their special situation with something like 80% part time residents. When it comes to election issues, “it’s hard to get them going”. Also “nothing gets done with the road”. It’s such an issue that people who haven’t been there in years still ask “what’s the road like now?”. Bob Coyne was able to add some clarity to that issue and said that “The government doesn’t own that road. It is on private land and they only maintain the running surface”.

The main questions having been discussed, and the audience seemingly satisfied that they got what they came for, Berringer asked the candidates for closing remarks.

Jamie Frandsen: “Thanks very much for coming”.
Bob Coyne: “Awesome experience” and “it doesn’t matter who you elect, but please get out and vote”.
Charles Weber: “Thank you for coming. This is a pretty unique forum … sitting in a 100 year old pub.”

It was indeed a special night and perhaps one of the most friendly and social political discussions that one is likely to see. Having people from the different Area ‘H’ communities come to Coalmont made this a particularly special event for us here.    §

Answers From The Candidates

We are getting requests for information about the election from people in other communities or who are not currently in the area. Many people will be using the mail-in voting option and the net offers their only solution. An effort was therefore made to contact all three candidates at the end of last week and an e-mail was sent to the last known address of each of them. Charles Weber promptly indicated his intention to respond before the end of the weekend (as requested), and Bob Coyne sent in his answers right away. The third was returned undeliverable.*

It is now Monday and this article must go up as promised. It is unfortunate that not all of the three candidates are making themselves available on-line to the community and thus those who cannot physically be here at this time. Nevertheless, if any response is received after this, it will be added to this article as an update. Update: We have received a response from Charles Weber. Here then, is what we have so far:

Bob Coyne: Thanks for the opportunity to answer the questions that you have put forth for the benefit of your readers.

1 – How do you plan to support our individual communities and their differences?

BC: We have 7 distinct communities in area H . I believe that the only way to deal
with all these communities is to meet with each group both individually and in some
cases get representatives of all groups together to discuss issues as they arise.

2 – What committees and community groups have and do you participate in here?

BC: I have served the last 3 years on Brads advisory planning committee. Which is
where I first became interested in the workings of the RDOS. I am the president of
China Ridge Trails and have been a very active member for about 15 years, I teach
cross country skiing every Saturday at no cost to anyone that shows up. I spent many
years as the local CUPE representative for the Town of Princeton employees. My wife
and I were very active in the local Fall Fair for many years, we were also very
active with 4H for 25 years.

3 – How should the Community Forest money be divided?

BC: The community forest money is going to be a very important decision that
we the people of Area H are going to have to deal with. There is going to be a lot
of money come in for a few years then it will probably be a lot less. This is
based on discussion with one of the planners. I would meet with reps from all the
communities to come to a plan that would work for the majority. I personally think
that this is a rare opportunity for most of our communities to invest in
infrastructure. I understand that any money being spent from the forest corp. must
be approved by the board of directors of RDOS.

4 – What do you say to the people who feel threatned by the recurring Princeton pool issue?

BC: As far as the pool issue is concerned we had a referendum weather or not to
build a pool, both the people of the town of Princeton and residents and land
owners of RDOS, said No. There is no proposal at this time to reopen this
discussion. If there is ever a reasonable proposal put forward it would again go
to referendum for the residents and land owners to decide if they would support it
or not.

5 – Are the 46% who are not full time residents equal to those who are here all the time?

BC: To the 46% of land owners who are not full time residents of course you are
equal to the rest of us that live here full time. As land owners you have the
opportunity to vote in all elections or referendums. The seasonal residents are
of a great importance to the overall economy of our region, they all shop while
here and support the local trades.

Update: Charles Weber has sent in his answers:

Charles Weber: Let me make an effort to answer some of the concerns you have asked about as editor of the Coalmont Courier.

1. How do you plan to support our individual communities and their differences?

CW: Currently, there is a process in place to support these communities that the current director has been using. Most of these communities have community clubs, fire departments, ratepayers associations etc. and they have regular meetings where “the orders of the day” are discussed, Minutes taken and concerns forwarded to the elected Director. I plan to continue that process. As well those communities will have access to the Advisory Planning Commission that will be in place to support and advise the Director. Access for support for the various communities in Area H should not be a problem.

2. What Communities and community groups do you participate in here?

CW: Presently, I am involved in a number of groups in the community and enjoying all of them. Bev and I are both involved in the curling club and curl at least once a week and I sometimes curl twice a week. We are both avid bridge players and play bridge once a week and I am currently teaching a bridge course for beginning bridge players. Bev and I are avid cross country skiers and cannot wait for the snow to fly. Every year for the past five years we take a group for an overnight trip to the China Ridge cabin. Always a challenge, and always a huge hit with the participants. I also belong to the to the Vermillion Forks Field Naturalists and currently sit on the board as the vice president. I also have a membership in the Museum Society.

3. How should the community forests money be divided?

CW: The community forests money is currently shared between the town, Area H, and the Upper Similkameen Indian Band. I am not entirely sure how much money is in that account for Area H and would only be going by hearsay were I to hazard a guess. Any use of funds or commitment of funds would have to involve a consultative process with the whole of Area H. My understanding is there is a substantial amount of money from the community forest fund.

4.What do you say to the people who feel threatened by the recurring Princeton pool issue ?

CW: Princeton is in need of amenities if it is going to attract Doctors, health care professionals, and necessary professionals to the community. The community of Princeton is most likely going to forge ahead and pursue a pool and they will approach Area H for support. At that time Area H will have to make a decision. Using the APC (Advisory Planning Commission) people will be consulted and asked their opinion. Any venture into the pool will have to be affordable, not involve a huge tax increase, well managed , on budget, and have people behind it. Area H will not commit to a project that does not have substantial outside funding, provincial funding and support from industry. Resources have been taken out of this area for far too long and little has been returned. Time a few things changed.

5. Are the 45% who are not full time residents equal to those that are here full time?

CW: Of course, Ole. I am surprised you would ask such a question. We are all equal and the strengths of one group should enhance the strengths of another. I see very little reason for those groups to be polarized and will work to bring the residents and non-residents closer together.

* Four hours of intensive internet research and many attempts at telephone communication over a period of several days, has not resulted in contact nor information about Jamie Frandsen which is directly relevant to this article.

Meet The Candidates In Coalmont

The Coalmont Hotel is sponsoring an All Candidates meeting on Tuesday October 28 at 7 p.m. and everyone is invited.

This is an opportunity to ask questions and hear what the three candidates for Area ‘H’ director have to say. They will each have an opportunity to speak, followed by questions from the floor.

Unlike the similar event sponsored by the Princeton Chamber of Commerce, this will be much more relaxed. After the meeting, which shouldn’t be too long, everyone can continue the discussion in the meeting room or in the saloon.

People from all the communities are encouraged to come, and this should be especially convenient for Tulamenians who will not need to go all the way to Princeton to hear what the candidates have to say.

The next term will be increased from three to four years so it is even more important that electors make a good choice. Election day is November 15 and Voters in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen are eligible to vote using a mail-in ballot. To receive a mail-in ballot package you must first submit a Mail-in Ballot Application to the Regional District office between October 20, 2014 and 4:00 pm November 7, 2014.

Click here for more information on Mail-In Ballot Voting.

Municipal Election and Area ‘H’

As most people know by now, Saturday November 15 is election day and we’ll be voting for a new Area ‘H’ representative. The incumbent, Brad Hope will not run again.

There are three candidates. Charles Weber, who has run before and is known to many here; Jamie Frandsen, who is a newcomer at Allison Lake; and Bob Coyne, who has lived in this area all his life.

The Coalmont Courier will have more information on these three people as we near voting day. However, before that we may well see them all in Coalmont so you can hear for yourself what they each have to say. Chris Berringer, the proprietor of The Coalmont, has said he would like to sponsor an All Candidates Meeting. We will announce the time and date here as soon as we know more.  §

Gov’t On Board With KVR Mixed Use

Many Coalmontians will be happy to know that as a result of continued dialogue with Vermilion Trails Society as well as various BC motorsports clubs and related organizations, the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has responded with a revised strategic plan.

Gary Townsend, Assistant Deputy Minister, from the Integrated Resource Division has sent out a letter to explain how the department is now looking at the situation. Bill Allinott, President of the Vermillion Trails Society, received the following:

As a partner in the management and development of BC’s rail trails, I am writing to inform you of a revised strategic approach to rail trail management by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Perhaps the statement can be best summed up with the recognition of the fact that the past approach has not been realistic.

The ministry sees the need to adopt a more realistic approach to rail trails management, one that represents the geographic and demographic variability across the landscape and supports the multiple interests of the communities that the trails pass through. Available funding needs to be prioritized to specific trail segments using a risk management strategy based on community support, use levels, type of use, and tourism potential.

There is recognition of the importance of non-motorized use and consideration of how everyone may be able to work together.

In many communities along the trails, non-motorized use provides residents and visitors with exceptional, high quality recreational opportunities. Centered around developed areas where use is highest, non-motorized designations protect public safety, ensure an enjoyable recreation experience, and minimize conflicts. Non-motorized trails also offer a great opportunity for the development of destination tourism.

However, it is clear that there is a commitment to support motorized use where it is appropriate. The government also recognizes that off road vehicles need to have ways to connect between Greenway segments across the province.

In the more rural and wilderness portions of the trails, non-motorized designations are impractical to implement and not always supported by local residents. Due to higher ORV use in these areas, trail surface conditions tend to deteriorate and cycling use is lower. Managing these types of areas for non-motorized use does not justify the exceptional costs required to maintain high quality tread surfaces.

In short, the government now supports the idea of the Trans Canada Trail being
multi use in places like ours. For those to whom this is most important, this is quite a win. And a hard earned one

This long term goal has been achieved as a result of the efforts of many people. Thanks go to the directors and members of the Vermilion Trails Society, as well as the Province, Regional District, ATV/BC, and the individual communities. As Bill Allinott points out:

This could not have been done by any one person or organization.

Click here to read the whole document.

Coalmont Road Delays Continue

We can expect the delays from road work on the Coalmont Road to continue until the end of August. It’s a big job and they will be working 7 days a week. Most times they hold up traffic for about 20 minutes before they let people through in both directions.

The work performed is rock slope stabilization at Peterson Bluff. There are always rocks coming down on the road there, sometimes very large ones, and Argo has their work cut out to keep that stretch passable. The most noticeable visual change will be the addition of wire mesh. Here is how the Ministry of Transportation describes it:

Rock scaling 4425 m2 of slope to remove loose rock and debris. Supply and Install 192 m of rock bolts, 85 m3 of shotcrete, 16 m of horizontal drains and 4425 m2 of slope mesh.

Peterson Bluff proposed work