2015 Year in Review – June through December

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

JUNE 2015

Continued from last issue…

Key recommendations of a consultants’ report presented to North Thompson Valley Hospice House Society and other interested parties at a meeting held in the Little Fort Hall were that the North Thompson Valley likely does not have the population to sustain a stand-alone hospice house facility. However, an enhanced acute/residential room, probably in Clearwater, would be favored over the status quo. According to the report, with a population of only 7,300, the North Thompson Valley would require between 0.65 and 1.2 beds for hospice/palliative/end of life care, statistically speaking.

JULY 2015

Thirteen-year-old Kash Siqouin of Barriere was the recipient of a big cheque this month after winning the Team Penning Competition Class #7 Championship at the Calgary Stampede.  He and lower mainland teammates Trish Esworthy and Brent Shaw competed against 214 teams in their penning division, with Kash’s team taking home a cool $30,195 for the win.  Kash also rode on another team in the same class and this team secured the third place award.

After a number of days when the smoke was overpowering for many the smoky-skies advisory was finally lifted. The advisory was issued on July 7 due to smoke in the skies from a number of forest fires outside of the region. As of Monday, the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority, announced they had ended the advisory for the entire Thompson, Fraser Canyon, Nicola and Shuswap areas.

The District of Barriere and the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Area ‘O’ joined with the McLure Wildfire Monument Society in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).  The MOA was created to set up a long term plan for the upkeep and ongoing maintenance of the Wildfire Dragon Monument site located in the Louis Creek Industrial Park within the District of Barriere.

The Thompson Valley Players’ Learning and Literacy Summer Camp at NTVIC saw 18 students taking part in this annual summer program.  The students wrote, directed, and choreographed an hour long production that they then performed at the Communities in Bloom barbecue at the Barriere Bandshell in Fadear Park.  The free welcome barbecue for the Communities in Bloom judges went through 150 hamburgers, 200 cans of pop and 100 bottles of water.

The 3rd Annual Canadian Blue Moon Elvis Festival was held for the first time in Barriere the weekend of July 17-19 at the North Thompson fall fairgrounds with a full contingent of entertainers, including 10 Elvis tribute artists. The event was a grand success; so much so that organizers immediately booked their next annual event to return to Barriere in July of 2016.

A small fish kill due to warm water and low flows was reported in a tributary of the Barriere River as drought conditions continued to worsen throughout B.C. Leonie Creek, a tributary of the Barriere River, also saw a small fish kill from high temperatures and low flows.

The Clearwater Crushers won gold in the U18 provincial softball championships with a number of team members hailing from Barriere; Matthew Lee, Richard Celesta, Jordan Le Feuvre, Nick McInnes, and Keaton Noble.

The 60th Annual Squam Bay Fish Derby was held July 12, 2015, with 174 entries.   Special recognition awards were given to two fishermen that had entered every derby since the beginning in 1955; Ken Van Sickle of Squam Bay, and Wayne Keller of Barriere. The winner of the 2015 Derby was 10-year-old Cody Heimann from Ponoka, Alberta, with a 14 lb. lake trout.

The 2015 Perseid meteor shower peaked on Aug. 11 – 13, with a new moon on Aug. 14 creating perfect conditions for watching the meteor shower visible in the skies over the North Thompson area.

After less than two months in office, Fred Fortier Kukpi7, who was sworn in as the new chief of Simpcw First Nation on June 1, resigned his position on July 21 due to the code of ethics that the chief and council sign when they take office.  Fortier stated in his letter of resignation, “I apologize to the Simpcw membership for this lack of judgement on my part and wish the best for the Simpcw people in the future.”

A new NCO at the Barriere RCMP Detachment was introduced to the community when Cpl. Steve Mancini officially took over from Cpl. Darin Underhill.

Cool and wet weather near the end of the month helped to knock back three fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre area that had threatened structures, including the Adams Lake West fire cent contained which at that time became 100 per cent contained.

The annual Quilt Show at the North Thompson Museum in Barriere provided an amazing display of workmanship and colour for summer visitors with some 70 plus quilts on display.

The North Thompson Recreation Society  reported 101 children took part in Red Cross swimming lessons and water safety offered over a two week period. Participants ranged in age from eight months to 13 years.


With weather conditions expected to remain warm and dry, water users in the North Thompson region were urged to reduce water consumption with the Government of B.C. announcing a Level 3 drought rating for the area. By Aug. 20, 2015, due to the continuing dry conditions, the level increased to a Level 4 drought rating for the North Thompson Region due to the ongoing low stream flows.

Four candidates seeking the opportunity to represent the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo (KTC) Riding in Ottawa were on the campagn trail; Cathy McLeod, Bill Sundhu, Steve Powrie and Matt Greenwood.

The District of Barriere requested EcoTek, the company that designed and was building the new solar aquatics wastewater plant behind the fire hall, to rework the company’s expected completion date  due to council’s frustration over the length of time the project was taking.

A forest fire was spotted Aug. 16, 2015, North of Barriere in the Darfield area, at approximately 7 km up the Darlington Forest Service Road,  burning in a heavily treed area. Response teams were quick on the scene with air support and a Boulder Mountain Contracting firefighter ground crew who just happened to be in the Barriere area.  Thanks to the quick response and effort the fire was quickly knocked down.

The 55+ BC Games held in North Vancouver in August had two Barriere participants on the Zone 8 swimming team. Zelda Copley and Barb Smith received medals in the freestyle and back stroke events. However, the highlight was swimming in the Freestyle 4 x 25M relay where the participants’ ages had to total over 300. Out of four women’s teams they were happy to win the Gold Medal!

Heavy smoke filled the valley from Washington wildfires, which  prompted a health advisory from Interior Health Aug. 22 for the North and South Thompson Regions. The smoke finally dissipated a few days later.

Sixty-four golfers turned out at Chinook Cove Golf for the Barriere Legion Golf Tournament held August 22.

August 28 marked the final Friday Night at the Barriere Bandshell for the season.

Valley carpet bowlers came home victorious once again from the Senior’s Games in B.C.  Three teams attended from the area and finished in the medals in each event.

Through many generous donations the Yellowhead 4-H club was able to construct a new electronic weigh scale at the North Thompson Agriplex for use at monthly 4-Hweigh days, the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo and the Provincial Winter Fair.


Little Stars Child Care opened a much awaited newly licensed child care program at Yellowhead Community Services in Barriere Sept. 1, 2015

The 66th Annual North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo was held under sunny skies with visitors filling the grounds on all three days of the event.

The Heavy Horse competitions at the annual North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo kept the grandstands in the rodeo arena packed as teamsters paired their gentle giants off against the competition.   The challenge was to see who’s team could pull the most weight; and as each 300 lb. weight was added to the sled, the teams strained into the traces and the crowd cheered.  The footing had been well-worked and was moist, which meant the pull was tougher than if it had been packed and hard.  Each team pulled the added weight one at a time, and as the suspense rose for the crowd it also rose for the teamsters.  The final pull to win the silver belt buckle was for 9600 lbs.; when teamster Calvin Buchta asked his horses to pull, they did so famously – taking the win with them back to Prince George.

Preparations for  construction began for the Barriere Search and Rescue (BSAR) building to be situated next to the fire hall on Barriere Town Road. The two bay 30’ x 50’ building is to house the highway rescue truck and BSAR communications trailer.

Hydroseeding took place in Barriere as ground disruption due to the new sewer project came to an end bringing life back to areas that had been under construction for at least two years.

Marking 35 years of success, Barriere participated in the annual Terry Fox run on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. The community raised $10,879 for the fight against cancer.

Despite some poor weather in the Barriere area, the rodeo arena at the North Thompson fall fairgrounds was full of young participants for the Little Britches Rodeo.

Simpcw First Nation announced thatNathan Matthew was elected by acclamation to once again be chief of Simpcw.

The Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach Program, administered through Yellowhead Community Services, hosted Raise a Reader Day, in the community on Tuesday, Sept. 22, bringing in over $4,500 for youth literacy programs in the area.

Barriere Elementary celebrated 50 years of providing education in the North Thompson.  To help in this celebration the Barriere Lions Club cooked up a huge meal for the students, staff and special guests as they arrived at the school that morning.

The annual 911 Emergency Services Golf Tournament saw 72 players take on the Chinook Cove Golf Course with their teams.  The winning team for 2015 was the local squad of Deb, Cory, Theresa and Jeff with a five under 31.

A total of 65 riders took part in the ninth annual Thunder Alley Toy Run on Saturday, Sept. 26. Once again, it was a roaring success in support of the Barriere and District Food Bank. The weather did not look very promising when people, spectators and riders began to assemble. But before the run started, there was blazing sunshine, which showed off the amazingly polished bikes amazingly well in  the Barriere IDA parking lot before starting the run.

The McLure Ferry, which normally runs daily from 7 a.m. to 6:20 p.m., went out of service on Sept. 28 due to scheduled maintenance.  It was expected to be out of service until the end of November.

Yellowhead 4-H members reported a great time at the Provincial Winter Fair held in Barriere the end of September. Members competed in many of the different competitions over the five day event bringing home many ribbons and awards.

From Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, Interior Savings marked the close of its 75th year by saying thanks to its members and communities in a rather unusual way. Interior Savings paired up with Kelowna-based magician, Leif David, to surprise and delight its communities with magic, mystery …and money.  The magician appeared in 14 Interior B.C. communities over the course of five days and was in Barriere outside the IDA Pharmacy on Thursday, Oct. 1. Interior Savings’ members were encouraged to bring their Member Card or Credit Card along as, on this day, these cards had ‘magical powers’.  The magician was performing for community members for about an hour giving away a total of $1400 to those who assisted Leif with his magic.


While water temperatures had declined in Southern Interior rivers, returning salmon still faced record-low stream levels. In small tributaries such as Louis Creek, a tributary of the North Thompson, fish did not have enough volume to enter. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ sockeye report in early October showed stream and river temperatures well below the danger levels of 19°C or 20°C seen earlier in the year.

Communities in Bloom committee members attended a luncheon and awards ceremony on Oct. 3 to find out that Barriere has been awarded the highest Five Bloom rating. Each year the community has increased its marks and still has more room for improvement based on the visiting judges’ comments.

The ‘Vitals Tools for Success’ seminar held at the Ridge on Saturday, Oct. 3, had a full contingent of participants in attendance.   The seminar was hosted by the North Thompson Communities Foundation (NTCF), the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society (LNTCFS), and the North Thompson Volunteer and Information Centre (NTVIC).  Speakers for the day were North Thompson Star/Journal  editor Jill Hayward, District of Barriere Councillor Donna Kibble, and representing the BC Association for Charitable Gaming – David Sheach.

District of Barriere reported the new wastewater plant for Clary Estates on Siska Dr. is operational and is ready to receive household wastewater in anticipation of two or three new residential properties that will be occupied in the near future.

A big thank you went out to the talented volunteers who made 333 apple pies that were sold at $10/pie with the funds being placed in the Barriere Splash Pad reserve account.

The North Thompson Fish and Game Society reported their new firing-line building at the gun range on Gorman Lake Road was in its final stages of construction. The only exception is the concrete floors, which will be poured after the snow melts in 2016.

Barriere Elementary School held their Terry Fox Run on Friday Oct. 9.

The North Thompson Communities Foundation presented Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach with a grant to assist in providing literacy and learning opportunities for young people within the McLure to Little Fort area through the Outreach’s summer camp program.

On Oct. 15, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure invited the public to attend an information session at the Barriere Lion’s Hall regarding upcoming passing lane projects on Highway 5 through the communities of Darfield and Vinsulla at some time in the future

Lords and ladies from the Shire of Ramsgaard gathered at the North Thompson Agriplex in Barriere to celebrate fall with revelry and good sportsmanship.  The event featured tournaments in archery, rapier, and weapons.  Attendees dressed in period clothing throughout the event, which also included royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes and workshops.

Effective as of Oct. 15, 2015, the open burning ban was completely rescinded within the Kamloops Fire Centre’s jurisdiction after a summer of drought conditions and wildfires.

Kamloops-Thompson-Caroboo proved itself to not be a bellwether riding in the Oct. 19, 2015, federal election, returning Conservative Cathy McLeod to office while the Liberals stunned a nation by sweeping to a majority. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won 184 of 338 seats — 14 more than is needed to form a majority government. McLeod held onto her seat with 24,444 votes (35.2 per cent of the vote). New Democrat Bill Sundhu finished second with 21,400 votes (30.8 per cent of the vote).

Yellowhead Mining Inc. announced that it was deferring work on its proposed Harper Creek mine southwest of Vavenby. Yellowhead’s board of directors stated they concluded that it is in the best interest of all shareholders to defer any additional expenditures on the Harper Creek project until such time as more favorable commodity and capital markets present themselves.

Two classes from Bert Edwards elementary school in Kamloops plus the primary students from Neqweyqwelsten School in Chu Chua took part in the 20th annual Coho Day put on by Simpcw First Nation at the Dunn Creek hatchery on Thursday, Oct. 29.


In an interview with District of Barriere Mayor Smith this newspaper asked how could the wastewater project still be on budget as a result of delays, shutdowns, etc.?  Smith amswered, “The shut down for over three months due to the finding of a lithic chip in one of the areas being excavated created standby charges of $140,000 from LNB.  As of today the money we have spent over the $6.7 million grant is $120,511.39 which is due to having to pay the $140,000 to LNB because of the lithic chip shutdown for over three months.   Without that cost we would actually be under the grant budget.   To cover the extra, we pulled out a few projects and paid the overrun from Roads and Water. In addition, but not included in the $6.7 million grant was an extra $130,000 of additional costs because of the lithic chip, but this was not related to the grant. For instance, it cost $60,000 for an archeologist to be on site, then digging, etc.  We paid the $130,000 out of the district Gas Tax account.”

AccuWeather reported the winter of 2015-2016 could end up as one of the warmest winters on record for Canada as a whole, due to a strong El Niño persisting into the upcoming season.

Fast Eddy was at Barriere Elementary the morning of Nov. 4, his second visit to the school.  The first time he visited was spring 2015 as he started his run across the country.  The students welcomed him like a member of their family, having followed his struggles, trials and victories via Facebook as he ran across Canada.

The North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association received a grant of $25,000 from Farm Credit Canada through its FCC AgriSpirit Fund towards the North Thompson Agriplex construction project.

Val and Derrick Stamer, representing Stamer Logging awarded the 2015 Barriere Business of the Year award at the Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Banquet and Evening of Magic in the fall fair hall.

On Nov. 10, the students and staff at Barriere Secondary welcomed the students and staff from Barriere Elementary into their school for Remembrance Day ceremonies in the gymnasium.  A number of Legion members were in attendance, as well as District of Barriere Mayor Virginia Smith and School District 73 Trustee Rhonda Kershaw.

The rain let off just long enough on Nov. 11 for the Remembrance Day Parade to march to the Barriere Legion without getting wet for annual Remembrance Day ceremonies inside the hall.

After an impressive finish at the zone finals in Clearwater Nov. 14, the Barriere Secondary Senior Girls Volleyball team competed in the Okanagan Valley Regional Playoffs. The tournament included eight zone finalist teams from around the Okanagan.  Barriere girls won four of their six games, earning them a third place finish.

Barriere Secondary staff and students came together with grade 6 and 7 teachers and students from Barriere Elementary along with members of the Simpcw First Nation on Nov. 18 in support of ‘Addictions Awareness Week’. The group were led on a walk through the community by local RCMP, and on completion of the walk participants enjoyed hotdogs and hot chocolate served up by Simpcw representatives.

The first big dump of snow arrived in the area on Nov. 22.

Despite the snowy weather, the Barriere Lion’s Club reported a great turn out and lots of fun at their spaghetti dinner and dessert auction fundraiser, with thanks to Doreen Landry and Sam’s Pizza and Rib House for cooking the meal.

Yellowhead Mining Inc. stated it was investigating additional sources of financing, according to the company’s third quarter report. The money would be used to move forward with the environmental assessment review for its proposed Harper Creek mine project in order to obtain an environmental assessment certificate for the project in 2016.

The annual No Host Bazaar at the Fall Fair Hall was organized in 2015 by the Barriere Food Bank.

The annual Lions Club book fair in Barriere filled the Lions Hall from one corner to another with all manner of literary works with nothing costing more than $1, and funds raised donated to Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach.

This new ‘Resuscitation Cart’ was purchased by the Barriere Health Centre with funds donated from community members and other supporters.

District of Barriere reported that the Septage Receiving Station project will be $74,572.77 over the 2010 estimated budget. The Sewer Collection portion of the project will be over budget by $40,709.13.

The Yellowhead 4-H Club held their year end awards banquet on Nov. 27, in the North Thompson Agriplex banquet hall.  The potluck supper had far more food than required, and the number of awards and certificates handed out was impressive.


Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd (GSFP) celebrated their annual Christmas party on Saturday, Dec. 5, along with their anniversary of 60 years in business.

Barb and Carman Smith of Barriere stepped forward once again to lend their support to the fundraising efforts of the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association with a donation of $20,000 earmarked for electrical upgrades to the North Thompson Agriplex.

The Barriere and District Food Bank Society was awarded a grant of $6,500  from the province’s Community Gaming Grants program.

Christmas lunches were served up at the Secondary School, the Seniors Hall and the Christian Life Assembly Church.

The Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce Passport To Shopping promotion included late night shopping on Dec. 11, with local stores open until 8 p.m.

The annual Success By Six Breakfast With Santa was once again packed with families who turned out to enjoy the Barriere Lions Club sponsored breakfast and of course a visit with Santa.  There was also a huge craft table for the kids, reindeer food to purchase, and an impromptu kids carol sing. Breakfast was by donation, as was the photos with Santa, with all of the funds raised this year going to the Barriere Food Bank.

District of Barriere Mayor Virginia Smith and Chief Nathan Matthew signed a Barriere/Simpcw Mutual Aid Agreement for Fire Protection between the two communities on Dec. 14 in Chu Chua.

After 40 years of teaching the children of Barriere and area, Helen Fraser retired, with her last day at Barriere Elementary School taking place on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Barriere Elementary held a Winter Fun Night on Dec. 17.

No Christmas Parade was held this year, but close to 200 people gathered at the Barriere Bandshell in Fadear Park for the Christmas Tree light up event on Friday, Dec. 18.

Fire totally destroyed a trailer in Barriere at the Riverland Trailer Park on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 20. Gille Seguin was not home at the time of the fire (reportedly caused by a wood stove), which not only took his trailer but all the tools of his trade as well.  Seguin had no insurance, but friends immediately rallied around him to help out, and also made plans to host a fundraiser in February 2016.

The New Year’s Eve Bullarama and Dance held in the North Thompson Agriplex in Barriere provided a fun evening for all ages and a great way to welcome in the new year.  This was the first time the event was hosted by the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association, who will continue to give a portion of the profits to support the Farm Kids bursary fund for rural youth.