Photo submitted Fire crews battle a blaze that broke out at Williams Lake’s Tolko Lakeview Division sawmill in Williams Lake on Thursday, Nov. 2.

November and December: West Fraser Aquatic Centre opens

A look back at some of our stories from November and December 2017

Nov. 3

Construction begins on Cariboo Place

Ground broke on the construction of a new residential care facility in Williams Lake.

Cariboo Place will have 70 publicly-funded care beds, as well as two private pay beds and will replace the old Cariboo Lodge building on Fourth Avenue.

Interior Health board member Tammy Tugnum was present at the construction launch and said: “I think it’s really important to see this investment here because I believe people who live here would like to live out their final years here as well and not have to be moved to another area for their final days.”

The facility is meant to support seniors and those who are unable to live independently.

Nov. 8

Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill hit by fire

Tolko’s Lakeview Division was hit by fire Thursday, Nov. 2, keeping firefighting crews busy through the evening and into the morning.

The fire impacted saw filer and general sawmill offices.

Tolko Industries Ltd. has since committed to rebuilding the damaged portions of the mill — estimated to take roughly six months — which resulted in approximately 75 employees out of work at the end of November, 2017.

Nov. 24

Teachers pass vote of non-confidence

The union representing School District 27 teachers said its membership passed a vote of non-confidence in the district’s superintendent, secretary-treasurer and board of directors.

Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers’ Association president Murray Helmer said concerns around personnel practices, financial mismanagement and failure to follow the collective agreement spurred on the special meeting and subsequent vote on Monday, Nov. 20.

In response, SD27 Superintendent Mark Wintjes said the union has several channels available to express concerns and found it “troubling” they chose instead to communicate through the media, not them, in an attempt to apply political pressure.

Dec. 6

Winter Lights a celebration of the season

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, their reindeer, elves and helpers took to the streets of Williams Lake early December for the annual Downtown Williams Lake Business Improvement Association’s Winter Lights parade.

While there was no snow on the ground, the weather was frosty, dipping to -6C as the parade got underway, winding its way through Williams Lake’s downtown core.

Dec. 13

Fire and Ice Hospital Gala raises $75,000

Stunning dresses and a decor to match graced the Sacred Heart School for the Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust’s 13th annual Christmas Gala on Nov. 25.

This year’s theme was Fire and Ice.

Through tickets, donations and the silent auction, this year’s gala raised approximately $75,000 in funds that will go towards purchasing equipment for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

In the past, the fund has purchased items such as mammography units, CT scanners and an echo cardiogram machine.

Dec. 15

West Fraser Aquatic Centre opens

If the opinions of a sampling of patrons out enjoying the new, multi-million dollar West Fraser Aquatic Centre were any indication, the renovated facility will exceed all expectations.

The project, which began construction in April of 2016, includes a new fitness centre, lap tank, swirl pool, steam room and leisure pool. The leisure area features a waterslide, lazy river, tots area, kiddie carwash, teacup fountain, bubble pit, vortex and massage chairs.

Phase one of the project opened in August, before its December, 2017 completion.

The Sam Ketcham Pool upgrade project was a joint initiative of the Cariboo Regional District and City of Williams Lake. Funding partners for the project included Northern Development Initiative Trust, West Fraser Mills and the federal government.

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