2015 Year in Review – February and March

Reviewing the stories that ran in this newspaper from 2015 regarding the Lower North Thompson Valley


The section of Highway 5 from Little Fort to Barriere was announced as the highway department’s top priority for passing lanes in this area, according to Paula Cousins, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure district manager in Kamloops. Cousins noted that the existing northbound passing lane in Darfield is short and ends before the top of the hill.  Her staff is looking at extending it, as well as installing a southbound passing lane elsewhere in Darfield. A second priority for passing lanes is the section from Heffley Canyon to McLure.  Finding the best location in the steep terrain is the challenge, she said.

At the Feb. 2 District of Barriere Council Meeting a Greenhouse Think Tank Committee was appointed. After a preliminary meeting with volunteers to discuss the mandate of the proposed committee, Council appointed Grace Baker, Mary Bernt, Barb Buchanan, John Krop, Brian Schilling, Susan Ross, Bill Kershaw, Kim Rink, Lynn Wright, Doug Borrill, Colleen Hannigan and Mayor Smith, to form the committee.

An amendment to the District’s Fees and Charges Bylaw was adopted by council in response to the TNRD’s rate increase from $60 a tonne, to $80 a tonne for household waste.  This represents an increase of $1.50 per month for all utility billings.

An all day snowfall on Feb. 1, created treacherous conditions on North Thompson Valley Roads, including a tractor trailer unit which hit the ditch alongside Highway 5 in McLure, an area that had a number of MVA’s throughout the day due to the road conditions.

The first New Year’s Baby was announced this month, born in the area of McLure to Little Fort finally made her long awaited appearance on Jan. 29, 2015.  Willow Sage Williams took her time coming, but at 6:50 a.m. that morning she was born to Kimberly Rudd and Tauren Williams of Barriere,

The Family Fun Night and PJ Party Fundraiser and Silent Auction held at the Ridge in Barriere on Sunday evening, Feb. 7, was a first class success.

Yellowhead Mining Inc. announced that the BC Environmental Assessment Office (“BC EAO”) had initiated the 180-day review period for Yellowhead’s application for an environmental assessment certificate for its Harper Creek Project.

Congratulations were given to Barriere Secondary’s Junior Boys Basketball Team on winning the West Zone Championship Pennant after playing an exciting game against Brock Middle School, which the BSS teem defeated by six points.

Monies raised from, and donated to, the Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce’s Passport to Shopping events held during December 2014 was presented to two area service organizations, the Barriere and District Food Bank and Anti Violence Advocate Society.

District of Barriere reported the new Sustainable Water Reclamation Centre under construction behind the fire hall in Barriere was taking shape with the hopes it would be ready sometime in the summer of 2015.

Station House Restaurant owner Jarek Kotlewski came forward to the newspaper with concerns regarding the disruption to his business due to all the excavation and road closures within the community over a long period of time.

Kotlewski said his attitude had recently changed, “It has been over a year that my business has been interfered with.  I was happy about the improvements and I was willing to accept the disruption because I feel the community will be better for the improvements.  But when I ask something from the District they tell me “no”.”

The ‘no” that he received from the District of Barriere came as a result of the business owner requesting to have late fees of approximately $80 waived from his utility bill.   He says that the endless construction and two day closure of his restaurant due to the water being turned off to facilitate infrastructure construction, greatly impacted his business and cash flow.

Council considered the request at their Jan. 5, 2015 council meeting, and advised him via a letter that the request had been voted on and was declined.

Barriere Fire Department chief, Al Kirkwood, stated recent lighting of brush piles in the Barriere Ball Park is cause for concern for residents in the area. The brush piles were created in cleaning up the park and had not been removed. A person or persons had been lighting them on fire and police were investigating.

Mrs. McGravy’s grade 1 class at Barriere Elementary recently participated in a puppet project in partnership with Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach to celebrate Literacy Week.    The students made the puppets themselves and then put on a puppet show based on the book called, Mr. Gotta Go.

People in Little Fort celebrated the Chinese New Year in several ways on Feb. 19.  Employees at Jim’s Food Market participated, and in the afternoon, people started arriving at the Little Fort Hall to make, and later consume, a fine Chinese dinner.

Clearwater Ladies Bonspiel ends in win for a Barriere team made up of Susan Bondar, Theresa Robinson, Jeannie Webber and Val Aylward.

About 100 youngsters from Blue River, Vavenby, Raft River and Barriere elementary schools took part in the annual cross-country ski races in Blue River on Thursday, Feb. 19.

On Feb. 25, Clearwater RCMP responded to a collision on Highway 24 near Little Fort in regards to a tractor trailer that had gone into a runaway lane, when the driver lost his brakes. There was heavy damage to the trailer and the tractor. Driver was uninjured.

Preparing for the upcoming District of Barriere’s Traffic Bylaw, the municipality held a Road Issues Roundtable open to the public on Feb. 19 at the Ridge. The roundtable  provided just under 30 people with an opportunity to provide input and brainstorm solutions together over the two-and-a-half hour discussion.

District of Barriere was notified it will receive a $290,000 contribution toward upgrading bike and pedestrian trails through a memorandum of understanding with Transmountain Pipeline. Little Fort is getting $170,000 for road upgrades and landscaping. As part of the Community Benefits Program, each MOU calls for Trans Mountain to make a local investment in recognition of the effects of pipeline construction or operation along the proposed route.

On Feb. 22, the Yellowhead 4-H Club held their annual club speech day at the Lions Hall in Barriere.

The Barriere Seniors’ Society announced they have been working for Barriere and area since 1976.


MARCH 2015

The Kamloops Fire Centre report that going into this weekend, the area will continue to experience an early drying trend. The Wildfire Management Branch urges the public to be cautious with any open burning due to the increased wildfire risk.

The grass and small shrub layer is unseasonably dry, and the Kamloops Fire Centre say they are already experiencing fire behaviour and conditions normally not seen until April.

Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo stopped in at the North Thompson Agriplex on Mar. 8, to announce $20,052 in funding for community-based projects in Barriere that were inspired by seniors, for two local organizations.

The North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association (NTFFRA) received $13,500 in funding to install automatic door openers, replace doors and purchase benches to allow seniors to continue to attend rodeos, trade shows and community events at the fairgrounds.

MP McLeod also announced that the Barriere and District Seniors’ Society received $6,552 in funding to replace tables and a barbecue at their hall to allow seniors to continue participating in breakfasts, barbecues, pot lucks, cards and crafts.

The public were invited to attend the Wells Gray North Thompson – Robson Valley Global Geopark Project information meeting the morning of Mar. 3, in Chu Chua.   Attendees also included dignitaries from Barriere, Simpcw the TNRD, and members of the public.

District of Barriere Mayor Virginia Smith was the guest speaker at the March 2, Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce ‘Lunch with the Mayor’ held at Sam’s Pizza and Rib House. A full contingent of folks turned out to meet the mayor and hear what she had to say

A fundraiser spaghetti dinner hosted by the McLure Truck Stop raised $1875 towards supporting the McLure Fire Department on Mar. 8.  Also included in that total was the tips which staff, and the kids who helped out, donated back to the fire department.

Within the District of Barriere 2015 Budget, council approved a request from the Barriere Lion’s Club to upgrade the district-owned building known as the Lion’s Hall with a kitchen that would meet certified kitchen status.   The amount approved was for $23,000 with the majority coming from Gas Tax funds, meaning this expenditure resulted in no municipal tax implications to the community.

Barriere Secondary’s Junior Boys basketball team for the second season in a row captured the West Zone Championship title also battling Brock Middle School in the Tier 2 championship.

Wind gusts of up to 90km per hour Mar. 14 proved to be too much for a large hay and equipment barn on Agate Bay Road.  Other damage in the area included numerous reports of trees down and some across power lines.   A downed power line on the Yellowhead Highway just north of Barriere caused a three hour highway closure, while another power outage in the Barriere area due to a downed or blown transformer, had residents without power from approximately 12 noon to midnight.  The Bear radio station in Barriere reported their radio mast was blown over Saturday afternoon, which put the station off air until emergency repairs could erect a temporary tower, returning them to the air late Sunday morning. As of press time on Tuesday, residents continued to report on damaged roofs, campers blown over and plenty of clean up to do from tree branches and blowing debris.

On March 11, at the invitation of Barriere Elementary, several people from the community came together to judge the annual Barriere Elementary School Science Fair.  The judges were made up of community leaders, retired science teachers and local volunteers who were given the task of judging over 80 Science Fair entries from kindergarten through grade 7.

The Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce’s Discover China 2015 program was instigated through a partnership with Citslinc International, which was offering the local community and businesses an opportunity to travel to China.  Citslinc owner, Leo Lui, presented the Chamber and the District of Barriere with a replica of a Terra Cotta Warrior during the Mar. 16, Discover China information meeting held at the Ridge.

The ladies night gala, “Putting on the Glitz” held at the Barriere Lions Hall  on March 7 was totally sold out and a great success.  The event was a fundraiser for the Respectful Relationships curriculum to be implemented in Barriere Elementary and Barriere Secondary schools in the fall of 2015.  The series of courses were to be delivered to Grades 7, 8, 9, and 10 students and was designed to help break the cycle of abuse.

The 2014 Barriere Citizen of the Year, Audrey Rilcoe, was roasted and toasted to a packed house by family, friends and dignitaries at the fall fair hall on March 14.

The Annual Jam Cam Bonspiel for youth was held the weekend of March 13 at the Curling Rink in Barriere with 48 kids turning up for the event.

The North Thompson Agriplex hosted 450 cattle penning teams with competitors attending the event from as far as Vanderhoof in the north and the lower mainland in the south, along with out of province entries from Alberta and Oregon.

Paul Sabyan was ordered by the court to log his efforts to maintain and repair his fence after pleading guilty under the Livestock Act to allowing his animals to roam on neighbours’ property and a nearby highway.In Kamloops provincial court on  March 19, the Crown outlined the frustration of neighbours and danger to motorists from Paul Sabyan’s pigs — which ranged in size from 200 and 900 pounds — repeatedly escaping an enclosure.  Sabyan also pleaded guilty under the Motor Vehicle Act to allowing domestic animals on the highway.

Barriere First Responders Spaghetti Dinner and Bake Sale event held at the Legion on Mar. 29,  brought in a substantial return towards maintaining the First Responders program in the community.

Barriere Search and Rescue members were issued new reflective safety jackets and vests.

To be continued in our Jan. 21 issue…