Category Archives: Local Issues

Arthon Et Al – Is This The End?

Having been floating just below the surface for over a year, it looks like the once proud Arthon Industries Limited and their offspring, Coalmont Energy, are about to sink completely.

The Arthon web site shows a February, 2012 entry about a multi year engagement starting in April and a completion in 2013/14. However, after an initial bankruptcy order dated 2013-11-29 filed with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, nothing hopeful has surfaced. It’s been up and down – but mostly down.

Although we usually call them Arthon, there are actually six entities involved and together they are called “the petitioners”. Interestingly, the stay of proceedings order indicates that there are no less than three Arthons involved.

For a while it looked like there was some hope. There was an order granting the Petitioners the protections afforded by a stay of proceedings until December 20, 2013 while they pursue restructuring initiatives under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). This initial stay of proceedings was extended to July 31, 2014 for Arthon Industries Limited, Arthon Equipment Ltd., Coalmont Energy Corp., Robeka Projects Inc. and 0755049 B.C. Ltd. and to June 13, 2014 for Arthon Contractors Inc.

There are still three weeks to go until the deadline given the first five entities, but Arthon Contractors has hit the wall and there will be a “first meeting of creditors” July 14, 2014, 11:00 in Kelowna. A form 68 was filed last week. This document states that creditors must prove their claims against the estate of the bankrupt in order to share in any distribution of the proceeds realized from the estate.

Any chance of the remaining entities coming up with a plan before the next deadline doesn’t seem likely. Coalmont Energy has been “preserving and protecting” the Basin Mine while it seeks a joint venture partner to fund capital upgrades. However, it has been unsuccessful in locating a purchaser.

It is not clear what is to be gained by creditors since already a month ago an application response of Vitol Inc. stated that “Arthon has little to no assets remaining.” The document goes on to say that “During the past five months, the Petitioners have made no real progress towards a plan or arrangement.” The situation is that the secured debt has been refinanced, and most equipment sold. “The Basin Mine sale process has failed.”

Arthon and Coalmont Energy may effectively be out of operation, but that won’t be the end of the story. There is still a very expensive haul road, a multimillion dollar processing plant, and coal in the ground. §

Sam Hodson Wants To Sell Our Beach

You read that right. White Sands is listed on the LandQuest Realty web site and the agent is someone by the name of Sam Hodson. He does mention that it is actually a mining claim, but somehow can’t help straying into talking about recreational property.

Beautiful riverfront beach with good access, a great investment for a group of friends. Sweet ATVing, Sledding, Camping, hunting and fishing.

It’s a nice place alright. That’s why the Coalmont Community takes pride in maintaining it. They like to make sure it keeps looking nice and can be enjoyed by all.

This is a must see, literally the most beautiful spot on the Tulameen river. The claim has its own private entrance giving you amazing privacy to camp or bring your trailer in for a party with a group of friends or alone for a peaceful weekend back to nature.

After plunking down $49,000 a buyer might get a surprise if it happens to be a weekend where there’s a local family reunion planned. He’ll soon find out that this is a long time favourite place to camp for many people, though perhaps LandQuest considers “privacy” to be in the mind of the beholder and that a public beach would qualify.

This could be a fantastic investment for a group of friends who enjoy the outdoors and comrodery [sic] that accompanies working a productive piece of land.

Oh yes, work. There’s that. One only hopes that the buyer understands that they will have to file a Physical work report. Perhaps it would be a good idea to brush up their geology as well, since they will also be required to file a Technical work report. One could imagine though, that there would be considerable noise from the Coalmont Community and this “venture” would never get far before the Gold Commissioner got involved again. We’ve seen this before, but who knows how this chapter will turn out.

If you have any questions, you can call Sam. His number is on the web site. Ask about listing number 14065. While you’ve got him on the line, you might ask if he’s got a bridge to sell.  §

RDOS Regional Heritage Strategy

The Regional District has been asking people what their connection to the region is and why this place is important to them. There were several public consultations already, but that was just the first round of public engagement. However if you didn’t hear about it (many didn’t) and still want to add your input, you can go to the RDOS web site and fill out the questionnaire on-line.

The approach that is being taken is a little different from what one might expect. They put it like this:

The Strategic Plan will identify important themes in the history of the Okanagan – Similkameen and, through public consultation, identify the heritage values and historic places that are important to the community. Based on these values, the Plan will outline the vision, goals and direction for the conservation and development of the region’s heritage resources, for the benefit of all communities in the region.

These are lofty goals indeed. Whether the public input will offer sufficiently rich data to be really meaningful to this perspective remains to be seen. Most people seem to understand the value of physical history and historic sites, but are less clear on sociology as it pertains to history.

There is a preliminary report “Regional Heritage Strategic Plan for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen”. This already contains the basics, although there are a considerable number of factual errors. Some of them quite significant. Hopefully the researchers will take the time to consult with those who know the history of the area so that these errors don’t get carried forward. In any case, the intersection of academic study and the society under view is not always easy to pin down. As someone who wrote to us said:

My overall view is that it is way too deep and complex for the average person. There were parts of it I didn’t understand at all. Throughout the booklet there are orange sidebar blocks that ask specific questions. The reader is invited to give feedback on those questions to “help shape the forthcoming community consultation process, and help refine this Heritage Strategic Plan study”. An example of two of these sidebar blocks are: “Why is the theme of indigenous ingenuity so important to the heritage of Okanagan-Similkameen? What elements of this theme have not been addressed here?” and “what is the significance of regional governance to the heritage of Okanagan-Similkameen?” I found those questions too deep for my simple mind to wrap around. In fact, I felt like I was answering exam questions in school.

Hopefully we can all agree that paying attention to our heritage is important. It follows that it is a good idea to make some policy and set a course for future actions. You can read more about this project on the RDOS web site.  §

Communities Support Rail Trail

The KVR portion of The Trans Canada Trail is important to us here. Stewardship of the 113 kilometres section of which we are part, is entrusted to the Vermilion Trail Society.

Gazebo on KVR trail
The VTS News Letter has just come out and it is full of hope and enthusiasm. As many of you know, our own Bill Allinott is president of the Vermilion Trail Society. He explains how there is a renewed energy and interest in the trail and talks about what the trail could be. Much work has been done. In fact the communities have succeed in grading 48 kilometers of the trail themselves.

By bringing together Osprey Lake Rate Payers Association, Erris, Jura Station, Princeton, Coalmont Community Association, Tulameen Community Club along with the RDOS and VTS, a new excitement is developing over the very real possibility of achieving a world class trail.

Individual communities are taking pride in the trail and showing initiative and by cleaning up areas for recreational users. As an example, Coalmont Community Association removed truckloads of garbage from White Sands and built a new outhouse a couple of years ago. The site now draws many visitors and locals. Users appreciate this beautifully upgraded beach and are maintaining it that way.

With communities involved, the trails Society is clearly encouraged by the positive changes that have been taking place and especially pleased to see local towns like Coalmont taking pride in the trail. The six communities have appointed individuals to represent them as directors with the VTS so everyone is now involved in planning and developing the trail with the RDOS.

Caboose on trail at Priceton One of the new ideas to improve the trail which is being discussed is the replacement of the “tube” in the canyon between Princeton and Coalmont which does not allow emergency vehicles, fire crews or horseback riders through. This is a safety hazard. Another idea is to post kilometre signs so travelers can identify where they are and how much further they have to go. Again, this is not just a convenience but also a safety issue. Signs to encourage courtesy to other users and noting that pedestrians and horseback riders have the right away are also being talked about.

We are all users of the trail here, and especially pleased that Bill is both contributing a lot and representing us well.

As president of The Vermilion Trail Society, I am committed to maximizing community input, supporting each community the Rail Trail serves, and developing the mutual benefits of this wonderful resource. I look forward to working in partnership with the RDOS, their staff and engineers on how best to upgrade the trail for the benefit of all.
    Sincerely,
    Bill Allinott

Note: The pictures are not from Coalmont but the gazebo is located on the trail between here and Princeton and the caboose is right at Princeton. Both are VTS projects.

Cables In The Air

The work of getting our phone cable out of the ditch and up on poles has started. The result will be a relief for our town as it will mean that our wireline phone service will become more reliable. A side effect is that the landscape will look more industrial with even more wires in the air. Residents and visitors alike, may not feel that this fits well with the theme that is often touted by supporters of tourism, outdoors activity, or historical value. Presumably this has all been approved by our regional district planning department and is in accordance with their vision for our area, though that has not been confirmed. In any case, our local highways maintenance crew will likely be relieved to regain their freedom to maintain the Coalmont Road without having to delicately work around a fragile, and sometimes hidden from view, communications cable.

Power line technician stringing wires

Granite Creek Preservation Society at Princeton Museum

The Granite Creek Preservation Society is now hosting regular monthly meetings in Princeton Museum.

“I’m happy with the progress made to date,” says GCPS Chair George Elliott. “We launched a website that has been embraced by many and continues to grow as documents, photos and information is being shared with us.”

Elliott says the need to host regular monthly meetings was the natural next step. “I think in order to be accountable we need to have a great deal of transparency and one way of doing this is to hold public meetings,” he said.

Elliott approached Princeton Museum Operations Manager Robin Lowe and discussed the possibility of a partnership between the Museum Society and GCPS. “We have no intention to house artifacts as our main goal is to preserve what is left of Granite and to share what we know through the website,” Elliott says. “It also just made sense to me to have an arrangement with the Museum as I see both groups benefiting from working together.”

Through discussions with Lowe, Elliott was able to secure a regular ‘home’ for GCPS meetings and a place for any artifacts that many surface as a result of the website and further efforts of the Granite Creek Preservation Society.

Public meetings of GCPS are set for 1:00 PM the third Thursday of each month in the upstairs Archive Room at Princeton Museum.

The GCPS website is located at www.granitecreekbc.ca    §

Telus Cable Getting Fixed

After some years of deteriorating phone service in Coalmont, Telus is finally going to raise their cable off the ground. We’ve all seen it laying there in the ditch and shook our heads at what looks like the most shoddy and temporary installation one could imagine. Every time some road maintenance machine accidentally gave it a yank or the snow plough snagged it, the phones would go out for the whole area. In between, mother nature would roll a few boulders over it and sever a few wires knocking out Coalmont, Tulameen, some people in between, or any combination of those. Apparently Telus is tired of this, though perhaps not as much as we are here.

A little over a week ago Telus made application to the Crown Land Allocation people. They wish to add some infrastructure “Commencing at the eastern outskirts of Coalmont Road; intersect with the former CPR right of way and east of the Town of Coalmont”. The application is still under review, but here is what they say:

This is an application for telecommunications works consisting of overhead cables on poles, pole anchors, power and grounding and related works. These works are required to replace existing telecommunications cables which have deteriorated, resulting in service loss to customers. They will be placed on an existing Fortis powerline right of way, also under an application for a land tenure received at the same time as this application, under File 3412865.

So they’re finally going to put the telephone cable on the hydro poles. The simultaneous application by Fortis reads like this:

This is an application to legalize existing powerlines which have been there for many years. Three additional poles and one anchor to be installed. Telus Communications is also making application for a land tenure over the same area under Lands File: 3412864.

There is no indication of when this work will start, or when it will be completed. It will certainly be a treat for all of us, and having 24/7 access to 911 will be a relief.    §

Fortis Discrimination – Time to Complain

Fortis is moving to promote conservation by employing a tiered rate structure in which consumption that occurs above a certain threshold level is billed at a higher rate. This is having some nasty effects on rural customers. We don’t have gas available as an alternative, and during winter months even people with wood need to supplement with electric in many cases. Some complain that a 50% price hike is too much for them and call that discriminatory.

This was approved on January 13, 2012 and implemented on July 1, 2012 under the name RIB. Fortis subsequently renamed the concept to Residential Conservation Rate, or RCR – presumably to help avoid some of their earlier press reports.

Hopefully the discrimination against rural customers is not a done deal. Perhaps something can still be done. The British Columbia Utilities Commission is asking for a second look. Paul Wieringa, Executive Director, Electricity Policy and Regulations Ministry of Energy and Mines sends the following to Fortis:

While the RCR is in its very early stages of existence, the Commission recognizes that some customers and impacted customer groups remain concerned about the rate structure. The Commission would like FortisBC to collect additional information from potentially heavily impacted customers including residences that do not have access to other sources of heating fuel (such as natural gas) as well as customers using heat pumps. Specifically, the Commission is interested in data from customer consultations and analysis of individual monthly billing impacts for potentially heavily impacted customers. This information, as well as any proposed rate refinements, should be included in FortisBC’s next RCR report to the Commission to be filed on November 30, 2014.

This offers us an opportunity to voice our opinions about Fortis’ discrimination against many of their rural customers. As one Coalmontian puts it:

We collectively need to do everything possible to encourage those who have seen massive increases in their Electric bill under the two tier system to complain loud and long to Fortis, with copies of their complaint to the BC Utilities Commission, asking for a change in the punitive rate structure for those of us who have no choice but to heat with Electricity, and hence pay much of our bill at the higher rate.

Please send your letters of complaint to Fortis Regulatory Affairs Correspondence: electricity.regulatory.affairs@fortisbc.com. You can CC it to Complaints@bcuc.com .

Late Snow

We finally got some real snow. A month ago ski hills and businesses around the province that rely on snow were struggling with the warm weather and even Coalmontians had to trailer their sleds to higher ground to have their fun. In fact those of us more concerned with shoveling were beginning to think that we might almost be lucky this winter. Apparently not.

Other parts in BC have suffered hydro outages and travel issues, but at least we’re prepared around here. Argo even came late at night to run the grader around town.

Argo ploughing Front Street at night

Telus Service – Questionable Intentions

Perhaps a knock-on effect from Friday’s telephone disaster, but the phones were out today as well. The blackout was only three hours in the middle of the day, but that’s still well beyond what is generally considered acceptable in the 21st Century. Telus purports to “continually upgrade to better meet our needs“, though with the level of education that kids are getting these days, I suppose one could excuse them for not fully understanding the meaning of the word “better”.

Sarcasm aside, what we saw today did indeed show that Telus does not want the world to know what they are doing here. The lines went dead around 2:25 p.m. Checking the Telus Home Services Outages web page still showed nothing up until four o’clock or so. One could assume that Tulameen (the only near choice there) was not effected. However, a little while later, there it was. Click on “Current outages” and the area (though not Coalmont) was listed.

The phones came back on before 6 p.m. Not long thereafter, if one clicked on the “Resolved outages” link there was nothing there. What is particularly interesting is that right underneath it says “If you no longer see your outage here, we resolved the issue more than 24 hours ago.”  Oh really?

This outage was listed for a couple of hours, with not even a nod to Coalmont, and taken off right away. Clearly Telus doesn’t want the world to know that there is a problem here.

It gets worse than that. As mentioned many times before, most people have no alternate ability to call the phone company when the lines break. Nevertheless, Telus suggests that one “call 310-2255 to inform us of your service interruption“. What is particularly interesting is that these 310 numbers are only reliable within the company that owns them. You often can’t call them from another service such as a cell or other phone. Adding an area code will sometimes work, but likely not.

There is, however, a number for general use which can be used. Try (888) 811-2323 and after going through a lot of menus, you will end up talking to a real, and polite, person. Unfortunately you won’t be connected to the repair service. The best this agent can do is file a report. How quickly that gets picked up by the relevant repair people is unknown, but the agent will try very hard to set up an appointment to have someone come out to look at your telephone next week. Apparently people’s telephones are very interesting and they have technicians who enjoy looking at them. It is impossible to tell a Telus agent that the cable which supplies connection to this town has been pulled up by the snow plow again.

This is not looking good. In fact, Telus is not looking good. I made some effort to get a telephone number which would lead to a service centre where they could address broken lines immediately. It was my hope to be useful to both Telus and this community. As it turns out, the people at Telus were unable to give me such a number. After first giving me one which turns out to be wildly wrong, they consulted with others in the office and came up with a number which they thought might work – it didn’t.

Putting all this together, it becomes clear that although they have pleasant and polite people manning the front desk, Telus as a company has questionable intentions. They don’t want to hear from us. And they don’t want anybody else to know what is going on here. If Coalmontians are to have regular telephone service such as we’ve had for the better part of a century, it’s looking like Telus isn’t a company who can do that. As for 24/7 access to 911. Forget it.

~ Ole Juul

Telus Quality of Service

Another instance of a broken cable left our town without telephone and 911 services for over 6 hours on Friday.

We’re used to this, and despite paying full price for our service, many don’t complain. For one, it is tiresome for an individual to even try to talk to a company like this, and for another, the phones don’t work. Also, one can understand that when the phones come back on, the average person has better things to do.

The telephone company is allowed to charge a high price for service in return for covering the less profitable areas as well as the high profit cities. Another part of telecommunications law makes it mandatory for the companies to file quarterly quality of service reports with the CRTC. In those reports you will find “quality of service” treated in terms of how fast they respond to those who call in a complaint, among other things. In other words, it is not reflected in those reports when all of Coalmont is off-line. Because of this quirk, our ongoing problem is therefore not known to the telecommunications authorities. The fact that a whole little town did not have telephone nor 911 service for half a day, will not be reported to the CRTC in the Telus quarterly quality of service report. We are invisible.

There are a number of interesting facts to our case. Check out the Telus on-line report. There is an entry for Tulameen, but not one for Coalmont. That would not be a problem if we were part of Tulameen for this purpose. But we’re not. In the cable which is always breaking, there are a number of pairs which are used for various purposes. Each pair (in this case called a T1) can carry multiple conversations at once. There is one pair for Tulameen and one for Coalmont. We are completely separate. If their pair breaks, we can still have service here. In this latest case, our pair was one of the broken ones. Tulameen was apparently quickly restored, but Coalmont continued to have an outage for most of the day. However, according to the Telus on-line home services outages report there was no disruption in this area. Since we are not part of any other area, and there is no listing for us, this is as expected.

One might think that we should get some kind of discount when we can’t use the service – especially so when it is down on Valentine’s Day. Indeed, if a subscriber is on the record as having made a complaint, then they can later claim a reduction on their bill if their service was not provided, or not restored in a timely manner. Of course, most of Coalmont will not qualify, because they didn’t personally call in the complaint.

It is important to note, that since we are all using the same “pair” within the cable, if one person is disconnected, then we all are. The statement Telus has given us in the past, that “only a few subscribers were effected” is then provably wrong. Of course, we don’t pay them to be honest. We pay them to provide telephone service. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that they don’t seem to excel at either.    §

Tulameen Recreation Tax

Those who pay property tax will have noticed an item named “Tulameen Recreation”. This was one of several taxation issues on the agenda at the last Coalmont Community Association meeting.

Brad Hope, our regional representative, was going to inquire about getting it removed and report back to us. No one appeared to know what this tax was for, and removing it seemed appropriate in an environment where Coalmont, like other small Area ‘H’ communities, is trying to maintain its identity. Unfortunately Bylaws are very difficult to remove and it turns out that what Coalmontians agreed to in 1999 is here to stay. In fact, that tax will double this year.

Do you know what it is for? Let’s have a look.

A bylaw to establish and operate the local service for pleasure, recreation and other community use, including art galleries, museums, historic sites, arenas, theatres, sports complexes and other public buildings or facilities for exhibition in a portion of Electoral Area “H” of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

The mill rate for this tax was .0685 and the average assessment in this area is $235,000. Such a property would have paid $16 last year but would now pay $32. This can easily go up again, and no doubt will, but there are limits set in the Bylaw.

(it) shall not exceed the greater of $10,000 or twenty-two cents per thousand dollars of net taxable value of land and improvements in the Tulameen Recreation Service Area.

This service area is defined on a map. It starts with Bert’s field and goes up along the Tulameen river and through the Tulameen townsite to the far end, but not the sides, of Fremd lake. From Tulameen, the area also extends west for 6 kilometers along the river, including a large section north of that. A quick check confirms that the area is in fact defined by the same borders as the Tulameen fire district.

There are some curious aspects to this arrangement. The other side of the river at Coalmont is excluded. In fact there are a number of Coalmontians who avoid this tax. Also note that the historical Granite Creek townsite is not in the area. That is particularly interesting since this Bylaw was enacted at a time when the BC Government was discussing a tourist oriented development there. Our regional district would have known that.

The increase this year is to pay a small salary for someone to look after their arena and clean up the beach at Tulameen after the tourists have been there. Of course, being in the relevant service area, Coalmont can apply for some of this money too. However, the problem with that is it will make our taxes go up yet again.    §

Tulameen Fire Department Dinner at Hotel

Of all the things that Coalmont and Tulameen have in common, the Tulameen Fire Department is probably the most dear. People are grateful for the hard work and dedication to community of our volunteer fire fighters. In order to show their own appreciation and allow us to show ours, the Coalmont Hotel is hosting a Saturday evening spaghetti dinner fundraiser on February 8th.

Coalmont Hotel Tulameen Fire Department

Come and join the fun!   Dinner is at 6 p.m. and there will be a 50/50 draw, raffles, and prizes. Dinner is $12 per person and all proceeds will go to the TULAMEEN AND DISTRICT FIRE DEPARTMENT.    §

(download poster here)

Telus Outage

The phones were out for some hours again today. This is common here, and despite the fact that we’ve had telephones in Coalmont for over a hundred years many people accept that in this day and age, we get second rate service. However, not everyone is happy with this. Bob Sterne sends us the following letter:

Once again, the phone lines to Coalmont are down, there is no dial tone at all…. This has happened twice already this winter that I am aware of…. On Jan. 3rd the Coalmont Hotel caught fire, which is adjacent to our property, and if the phone lines had been out, we likely would have lost our house….

The phone line to Coalmont isn’t buried, it isn’t strung on poles, it is lying on the side of the road, along the bank, tied to trees and rocks, for a distance of about a kilometer…. Is this what you consider to be a proper installation, because I think the TV Stations and Newspapers I am CCing on this email might well disagree….

There is no cell service in this area, Telus provide our only way to reach the 911 Emergency Services…. Does somebody have to die before Telus get their act together?…

This is indeed a serious matter, but what is particularly interesting is that Telus appears to be hiding the fact that they are unable, or unwilling, to provide an acceptable and safe level of service here. On the Telus “Home services outages” web page, Coalmont or related areas, are not listed. Why is that? Not under “Current outages” during our blackouts, nor under “Resolved outages” afterwards.

Is Telus trying to hide the facts from the CRTC? In the past when the whole town has been disconnected, a representative has had the gall to say that “only a few subscribers were effected”. It appears that they only count those that actually call to complain. Most people don’t, because . . . umm . . . their phones don’t work.   §

Coal Mine Getting Deeper

A published list of 341 creditors owed a total of $73,935,635.64 shows that the coal mine is running a little behind in their bill payments.

Ten companies are owed over a million dollars, most noteworthy being HSBC Bank Canada with a $37 million claim. There are no locals on the list, but 14 companies in Princeton are owed a total of $344,651.30. In the greater picture that may look like loosing your change down the back of the sofa, but it is money the local economy can ill afford to lose.

For a long time it was hoped that Coalmont Energy would be able to get back on their feet. However, a little over a month ago when Kerry Leong, the company president, filed an affidavit in an attempt to get a stay of proceedings from creditors, that started to look much less likely. Now the company is filing a proposed sales process schedule in the Supreme Court which has been approved by the lawyers representing the petitioners. That is, the people who are owed money, approve of the sale of CEC. Who exactly will end up operating the mine after that is far from certain. The sales schedule ends March 14.

What’s worse, Vitol Inc., the company with whom CEC had an agreement to buy all the coal from the mine, has filed an order to terminate the contract. They have not received the amount of coal which they were promised, and under the agreement Coalmont Energy will be owing them half a million dollars. In fact the agreement stipulates four million dollars on default. This proceeding will likely succeed, and thus any new mine owner will have to find another buyer. It seems that with every step forward this venture is getting even deeper in the hole.    §

Fire Scare This Afternoon

The Tulameen Fire Department was here in full force and had their portable water tank set up in the intersection in front of the hotel. Also here were police and ambulance.

Emergency vehicles outside Coalmont Hotel

The situation started when Sylvia, who was alone in the Hotel at the time, heard the fire alarm. She soon discovered that it was the second pellet stove which was malfunctioning and was threatening the wooden structure. She then called 911 and our fire department arrived in very short time, although the chains they need to use on the trucks in the winter does make their highway speed slower than it would be in summertime.

As it turns out, the situation was dealt with quickly, and all was safe again. As well as the job getting done, this was a good demonstration of the emergency services that we have available here should something really serious happen.

There were a number of local people gathered in the street. It was particularly comforting to see that there were also extra volunteer fire fighters who showed up just in case. Neither the police nor the ambulance was needed. Nicole who owns the little house at the end of Main, was on the ambulance crew, so got to have a little visit in her favourite town while on-duty.

Both Chris and Sylvia are taking this in stride. Though Chris had to come back from Princeton where he also works as chef at the Brown Bridge Pub. Although not happy that this happened, he was nevertheless grateful that it was nothing worse. They’re both breathing a sigh of relief now – as we all are.

Firefighters outside Coalmont Hotel

Landline Gone AWOL – Again

The Telus landline phones are out again. It’s hard to tell how many people are effected, but it looks like it could be everybody. The Hotel, the Motel, and the people around that part are off for sure. Apparently there is a service outage in Tulameen as well. In a place like Coalmont where there is also no cell service, this is a serious situation.

The Telus site has a note from yesterday which only says that there is a problem.

Outage Identified
Outage Type: TBD
Outage Type Information: Estimated time of resolution is TBD.
Resolution In progress

The contact number they list on their Home Outages web page leads to a voice message saying that “the number you have called is not in service – or invalid”. Oh well, it’s good to know that they’re on top of the error messages anyway. Fortunately Telus does have an excellent on-line chat facility. In fact it took only a minute before an agent came on-line. Here is what the agent said.

There is a known issue in the area that you mentioned. Technicians are aware of the problem and working toward a solution but we have not been provided with an estimated time for repair.

There was no tangible information available about what had happened, what they are doing, and if they are prepared to work in the evening so that we can get back our connection to the world and be able to call 911 if that should be required. After all, phones are most important when it comes to an emergency situation and that is one of the main reasons that people pay for the service.

Technicians are aware of the problem and working toward a solution but we have not been provided with an estimated time for repair. Whether they will be actively working on it all night will depend upon the cause and solution, neither of which I am aware of.

Service has been out since about noon yesterday. This is a fairly frequent occurrence in these parts, but that’s still a long time to go without any connection – especially for older people. Anyway, we’ll find out in the morning if Telus has been working on restoring service. Let’s hope that this is as important to them as it is to us.    §

UPDATE: The phones came back up the next day. This is what the Telus site reports:

Resolved
Outage Type: Force of nature Outage Type Information Status Update: If you are still experiencing a service interruption, please contact us. Estimated time of resolution is TBD