2014 Year in Review: What made the news in the Star/Journal from January – April

A review of news items reported on by the North Thompson Star/Journal during 2014

On Feb. 10

On Feb. 10


After 16 months of waiting, North Thompson Radio owner Steve Shannon, said he was elated to flip a switch at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 6, and once again take to the airwaves with Barriere’s own CHLW 93.1 FM radio station.  “It’s been a long time waiting for licencing approval,” said a very happy Shannon, “But we are now official, and we’re here to stay.”

On Jan. 4, Clearwater RCMP were notified that a tractor trailer unit had smashed over the gas pumps of the Husky gas station in Little Fort.  The tractor then left the parking lot and was seen heading southbound toward Barriere along Highway 5.  The vehicle was not located, but witnesses obtained the vehicle’s license plate number and provided the information to police.

Property assessments for 2014 showed the value of a number of Barriere properties had dropped.

The Barriere Curling Club announce they are seeking funding to repair a major breakdown in equipment which is used to create ice.  The whole system was purchased in 1978 when the curling rink was built and was second hand at that time.  The  frequently repaired system must be replaced, and the group said they were working hard to get things up and running by the end of the month if at all possible.

During the Jan. 6, District of Barriere council meeting, one of two banners for Barriere’s 100th anniversary was unveiled. It will be used at displays, in parades, and at other celebratory events throughout the year.

The Kamloops Daily News, after 80 years in business, announced on the morning of January 6 that it would be shutting down. In a release, the News cited economic reasons as the cause for the publication’s closure.  “…..Revenues have declined and the Daily News has been unable to reduce expenses sufficiently to continue as a viable operation.”

The last day of production for the venerable newspaper came unexpectedly for the staff on Jan. 10.

All work on the District of Barriere’s new sewer collection project came to a standstill until the municipality received legal council at their request on the next steps to take, due to a small archeological lithic chip that was found as a result of the excavations taking place.   In the meantime, the entire project site was at a standstill.   According to Simpcw First Nation spokesperson Carli Pierrot, the work site had been previously identified as an area of high archaeological potential by the band’s Natural Resource Department.  However, no preliminary assessment had been completed prior to work commencing.  The artifact, a small lithic chip about the size of a dime, was discovered on Dec. 19.  “Simpcw archaeological experts determined that the found item was in fact a basalt point, a sharp fragment of stone used in the production of tools and other items,” said Pierrot.  District of Barriere was working together with Simpcw First Nation and Terra Archaeology to obtain the required permits from the Archaeology Branch, develop a work plan, and complete the project with minimal disturbance to the artifacts that may still be contained within the site.

It was announced that residents of the North Thompson Valley who were coping with the effects of crime had a new face to turn to.  Melody Romeo recently took over as the victim services manager serving the area covered by the Clearwater and Barriere RCMP detachments.

She takes the place of Kim Strickland, who was victim services manager for many years.  Typical people helped include those involved in domestic abuse or motor vehicle accidents.  The service is offered to people by the RCMP but there is no obligation to accept.

The first baby of 2014 was Lilly Maye Young, born on Jan. 18, 2014, weighing seven pounds 13 ounces.  Proud parents, Trey and Chelsea Young, say they were delighted to hear that she was the first baby of the year.

Thompson-Nicola Regional District approved a dangerous dog control bylaw, but it doesn’t apply to any of the electoral areas in the North Thompson Valley.  “The bylaw in its current form provided limited reactive solutions to dangerous dogs,” commented Tim Pennell, TNRD director for Wells Gray Country (Area A). “I felt that by the time a dog issue got to the point where the bylaw would deal with the problem it would already be an RCMP issue.”  Pennell pointed out that the service would be relatively expensive.

On Jan. 18, a large number of people, including friends and family members, gathered in the Legion basement hall to celebrate the newly named 2013 Barriere Citizen of the Year, Al Fortin.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors adopted Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 2442, 2013, during its Jan. 16 meeting.

The bylaw allows licensed medical marijuana production facilities in AF-1, FL-1, I-2 and I-3 zones or lands within the Agriculture Land Reserve, subject to the following conditions: (a) Facilities must be licensed by Health Canada., (b) Use must be located on a parcel having a minimum parcel area of eight hectares except on lands zoned I-2 or I-3, where the minimum parcel area shall be four hectares. (c) All buildings used for medical marijuana production shall be set back a minimum of 50 metres from all parcel lines.

Barriere Search and Rescue’s highway rescue truck unexpectedly became in need of a new home, as the group was notified by BC Ambulance that they could no longer store the truck in the ambulance station in the community.  Anyone with a secure building that might be interested in housing the truck was invited to contact the group.

The Investors Group Walk for Memories was on Jan. 26, 2014. and took place in 23 communities across the province to raise funds for support services for those who face Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and research into the causes and cure.   Over 120 people turned out for the Walk in Barriere, with mild temperatures and no precipitation. The area’s 2014 honoree, who was currently fighting Alzheimer’s disease, was Florence Beharrell of Darfield.

Sun Peaks Elli Terwiel, 24, was formally nominated by Alpine Canada to the Canadian team heading to Sochi, Russia, for the Olympic Winter Games in February for the slalom.  Terweil was formally a Heffley Creek resident and area 4H member.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District Board’s Jan. 30, meeting announced the Barriere Curling Club building would be receiving  $10,000 from Federal Gas Tax Revenues – Community Works Funds from Electoral Areas “O” (Lower North Thompson) and “P” (Rivers and the Peaks), to put towards the ice  making machine upgrade.


The ABC Family Fun Day for Literacy held at the Barriere Ridge on Feb. 1, proved kids and families can have a great time while learning.  The event was hosted by Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach and Yellowhead Community Services, with support from the Barriere Lions Club, Interior Savings Credit Union, and numerous volunteers.

The Barriere Health Clinic purchased a WelchAllyn Vital Signs Monitoring Unit, thanks to a donation of $3,600 from the Barriere Lions Club. The unit is portable, and can be programmed to take a patient’s vital signs every two, five, or 20 minutes (and more).

District of Barriere staff reported to Council they received a letter from School District 73 regarding the lease renewal for Barriere Ridge Elementary.   In the letter, it was noted that the rent will be increased from $3,266.38 per month to $4,343.33 per month.  The district’s current lease expired on Jan. 31, 2014.  Council passed a motion for staff to speak to SD73, to negotiate the cost on the new lease.

Barriere Legion presented a number of cheques to area service organizations:  Barriere Search and Rescue, Barriere First Responders, Barriere Food Bank, Army Cadet Corps 2941, Barriere Hospice Society, and the North Thompson Volunteer and Information Centre.

On Feb. 7,  Barriere RCMP responded to a report of a home invasion in progress at a residence on McLure Ferry Road, with the home invasion reportedly involving four persons and a firearm.  Barriere RCMP members and police from Kamloops and Clearwater Detachment areas responded, and on arrival the residence was contained, and communication with the occupants and victims was established.

Residents in the area say that during this time all local traffic was stopped, including the morning school bus. Police reported that after establishing communication with the occupants of the home, they were then able to remove all occupants from the house and identify them. The identification resulted in the arrest of two persons for matters unrelated to the home invasion.

On Feb. 10, Canada Post officially marked their Barriere post office as serving 100 years in the community by hosting a customer appreciation day.   The event was marked at the Barriere Post Office by the unveiling of a commemorative stamp that as used at the postal outlet throughout the upcoming 12 months.  Post office staff dressed in period costume for the occasion, served up tea and cake, and also shared the history of the post office within the community since 1914.  There were also a number of historical items on display, which included stamps, currency, and other interesting items from yesteryear.

The North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Ambassador Program (NTFFRA) puts out the call for aspiring new Ambassador candidates to step forward.

The outdoor ice rink in Barriere served as a great venue for the Feb. 10, Family Fun Day in the community.  Although temperatures were cold, sitting around minus -12°C, they were much warmer than the previous few days had been.  An early morning snowfall created extra work for a number of volunteers who stepped up to shovel the snow off the ice, and in short order their job was done and the skates went on.

Kids, adults, and seniors took to the ice for a leisurely skate, a little bit of hockey, or  just some  fun on the ice with plenty of laughter and smiles.  There were also sleigh rides,  a free concession, and everyone agreed it was a great way to spend B.C.’s Family Day.

The Barriere Ridge was the site of the first Family Night Party.  The final tally for funds raised during the evening was; $1,131.75 from the silent auction, and just over $850 in door donations.  The total of funds raised were to be divided equally between the Splash Pad project and Barriere’s Success By Six.

Backcountry recreationalists were reminded to follow the rules while snowmobiling to help protect mountain caribou habitat and support British Columbia’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan. Natural resource officers and conservation officers were patrolling B.C.’s backcountry to enforce snowmobiling regulations and area closures. Closures were in effect in about 60 areas frequented by the mountain caribou.

Both the girls and boys junior basketball teams from Barriere Secondary (BSS) won their respective West Zone titles on home court Feb. 11.

The inaugural meeting of the Barriere First Responders Society was held on Feb. 11, 2014 at the Barriere Fire Hall. An election of officers took place with the following positions filled:  President Drew McMartin, vice-president Rob Lennea, secretary/treasurer Al Kirkwood, and directors Jill Hayward and Al Fortin.   Drew McMartin reported he had secured a BC Ambulance unit from Richmond at no cost to the society, which is now painted and stored in the firehall.  The unit will serve as transportation of equipment and first responders to medical emergencies.  It will not be used to transport patients.  Kirkwood noted the first responder program is not set up in anyway to phase out BC Ambulance within the community. First responders are dispatched by BC Ambulance in response to 911 calls when ambulance personal may be on another call or temporarily out of the area.  First responders attend until ambulance personal can arrive.  The area covered by the first responders will be the same as Barriere Search and Rescue, which is more extensive than the Barriere Fire Department’s area.  Funds to run the program within the community will be sourced through fundraising and grant applications.

The Barriere Curling Club held a No Ice Social and potluck for members and guests on Saturday, Feb. 15, in the rinks upstairs lounge.

The purpose of the social was “to reconnect with the curling community”, and that is exactly what they did.  After the meal, club president Brian Bondar informed the group that thanks to a number of organizations that have come forward with funding, the ice chiller has been ordered and it is hoped to have usable ice in the rink by the beginning of March.

The annual Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award was presented to Barriere AG Foods by the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health and MLA for Kamloops North Thompson, during the Chamber’s Silent Auction and Award evening Feb. 22.

ATCO Energy Solutions announced Feb. 20,  that it had signed a Relationship Agreement with the Simpcw First Nation, in the North Thompson and Robson Valley region of B.C. that will see the two parties jointly pursue a number of sustainable business opportunities related to energy infrastructure development.

The Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society completed a series of five community meetings during February to get input to help them develop a long term vision for the Lower North Thompson Valley.  Meetings were held in Squam Bay, Chu Chua, McLure, Little Fort, and lastly Barriere on Feb. 20.

The 911 Emergency Responders Golf Tournament committee handed out $6,000 in funding for youth programs in the Lower North Thompson Valley at the fire hall in Barriere on Feb. 18. Grant recipients were:  Barriere Youth Soccer Association, North Thompson Fish and Game Club, Barriere Curling Club/Barriere Recreation Society, Upper Thompson Army Cadets, Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach (youth initiatives), North Thompson Fall Fair/Rural Living Expo and Trade Show (Youth Bike Challenge), Barriere Elementary – Ms. Williams student’s for the Community Garden, Farm Kids Scholarship Fund, Barriere Secondary School-Athletics, Barriere Bike Track, and Bonnie Cruzelle-Myram Memorial Scholarship (for a Barriere Secondary School student ).

Barriere Elementary School students chose to celebrate Pink Shirt Day a day early, coming to school in pink shirts on Tuesday, Feb. 25.  Barriere Secondary students recognized Pink Shirt Day on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

The front door of Sweetnam’s Variety Store received considerable damage from a break and enter on Feb 24.  The second time in two years for this Barriere merchant.

Barriere Secondary junior skills teams had great success at the TRU Skills BC competitions hosted at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) on Feb. 28. The grade 8 boys team of Isaiah Ducharme, Braeden Krause and Dawson Huber were named champions in all categories of the Gravity Car Competition, and the grade 9 Spaghetti Bridge Building Team of Kathleen Pilatzke, Kiera Eustache and Serena Steel took a well-earned second place in their competition.



Barriere Secondary’s dry grad, ‘Sound of Musicals’ fundraiser presentation on Mar. 6, rocked the walls of the school gymnasium with great music, exuberance and talent.

Crowds cheered as the fastest people from 10 countries raced down Sun Peaks’ Headwalls track for the final day of the FIS Speed Ski World Cup of the Mar. 5-8 weekend.  Italy’s Ivan Origone earned first place in the men’s speed division in the 2nd World Cup event of the weekend, clocking in at 159.93 km/h — narrowly beating out his brother, Simone, who had a speed of 159.92 km/h. Klaus Schrottshammer, finished in 3rd with a speed of 159.40 km/h.  Jan Farrell of Great Britain won both men’s downhill World Cup events with a speed of 151.17 km/h, and 158.33 km/h on March 8, while Linda Baginski won her 2nd World Cup event of the weekend, going 154.98 km/h.

The Barriere Curling Club’s annual Logger’s Spiel was hosted on brand new ice.  The event saw 12 teams compete in the two day event .

Teams from Kelowna, Burns Lake, Ridge Meadows, Surrey, Chetwynd and Clearwater lined up for the official opening of the Midget Tier 4 provincial championships at the Sportsplex in Clearwater on Saturday, March 15.

The board of School District 73 announced on March 25, that it had appointed Karl DeBruijn at its new superintendent.  DeBruijn was taking the place of Terry Sullivan, who was to retire on July 31.  The new superintendent is a long term employee of the school district and has been assistant superintendent for the past 11 years.

On the last day of the 2014 Haywood Canadian Cross Country Ski National Championships in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, held during the week of March 15-22, Barriere’s Alex McDonald gained a personal best in the Classic Technique race at ‘blow me down ski trails’.   With a field of 85 junior boys starting the race, Alex was seeded in 40th place for the start based on his points from previous races. He skied the four laps of the 3.75km course with determination and grit in the competitive division of 16 and 17 year old boys from across the country. Alex finished 16th out of 85, a personal best performance in a distance he had not raced  previously.


The old IGA building on Barriere Town Road received a roof replacement.  Jeff Pullen’s Progressive Roofing from McLure installed an SBS flat roof onto the building, which at some time in the future will be the District of Barriere’s new municipal hall.

On April 1, a number of citizens attended the District of Barriere’s zoning bylaw open house drop in at the Ridge. Based on comments received at this event, and from comments and concerns received by office staff, a new version of the draft was presented to council for First Reading on April 7.  Over two dozen members of the public attended this meeting, with several of them wishing to be heard in regards to the proposed new Zoning Bylaw No. 111.  The meeting ran 45 minutes over schedule, and then rolled into the council meeting where the Zoning Bylaw No. 111 received first and second readings which were passed.

Monday, April 7, was a day of recognition in School District 73, an initiative that acknowledges the Secwepemc and Nlaka’ Pamux Nations, their traditional territories and histories.  At Barriere Elementary, Simpcw First Nation Drummers, and student drummers from the Neqweyqwelsten School at Chu Chua performed a number of drum songs during the event held in the gymnasium.

The Barriere Curling Club was filled with 64 excited young voices for the annual Jam Cam youth curling event.  This was the final ice event of the season for the Club.

The 1st Annual True Grit Indoor Rodeo at the North Thompson Agriplex, April 5, was a hit from beginning to end.  Being the first BCRA Rodeo approved event for 2014 brought out cowgirls and cowboys from around the province to ride rough stock, rope or barrel race.  From an afternoon filled with an overflow of entries called ‘slack’, to the over four hour evening performance for a sold out crowd, the action was fast, and the thrills first rate.  ‘True Grit’ was an apt name for the event as competitors tried to best themselves against top livestock athletes.  The evening also hosted a beer garden manned by the Lions Club, and a cabaret dance looked over by the Legion.

The North Thompson Fall Fair & Rodeo Association advise that the new bleachers for their North Thompson Agriplex had arrived.  Now they have to assemble them and add plank seating, a job to be completed by volunteers.  Once assembled the new seating will be able to accommodate up to 1500 spectators. Funding for the bleachers came from TNRD Area ‘O’ and District of Barriere.

The District of Barriere reported it had set the mill rates for the municipality, as the final revised assessment values for 2014 had been received;  Residential – 3.45582/$1000 of assessed value,  Utilities – 21.59888/$1000 of assessed value, Light Industry – 12.61375/$1000 of assessed value, Business – 8.63955/$1000 of assessed value, Rec Non-Profit – 3.45582/$1000 of assessed value, and Farm – 3.45582/$1000 of assessed value.

Continued in our next issue…