Don Alder returned to his home town of Williams Lake for Performances in the Park. (Patrick Davies photo)

Don Alder returned to his home town of Williams Lake for Performances in the Park. (Patrick Davies photo)

YEAR IN REVIEW: August 2019

Highlights from August 2019 editions of the Williams Lake Tribune

Five years after Mount Polley Mine breach, residents still feel angry, betrayed

Aug. 2

Angry, disappointed, betrayed — those are some of the words Quesnel Lake resident Doug Watt used to described how he still feels as the five-year anniversary of the Mount Polley Mine breach approaches.

Watt lives on the lake near Cedar Point Park downstream of the Aug. 4, 2014 dam breach disaster, which released upwards of 25 million cubic metres of mine waste and water into Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River.

In the years since, the communities and businesses on the lake have tried to recover from the breach, which is considered one of the biggest mining disasters in Canadian history. Mount Polley Mine eventually received approval to go back to work. It also completed several years of remediation work to Hazeltine Creek and the surrounding area.

Watt, though, said in the months and years since the breach, residents have seen the once-crystal clear lake waters turn cloudy periodically as it continues to flush the slurry, as well as algae blooms, and that guides say the insect hatches are not the same as they used to be on Quesnel River.

Deausy lines up with best at Walton motocross nationals

Aug. 15

Rose Lake’s Marcus Deausy enjoyed competing against and watching some of the best motocross racers in North America this week as he tested his own skills at the Walton TransCan GNC Motocross Championship.

Deausy and his family left Williams Lake on Aug. 8 to travel to Walton, Ont. for the high-calibre event from Aug. 12-17 where Deausy, 15, was hoping to turn heads on the national stage against racers sometimes almost twice his age.

Deausy is the youngest racer to ever get a pro point in a Rock Star Energy national event, which granted him an invitation to the prestigious races in Walton.

Deausy added his long-term goal is to turn professional by the time he is 17 years old.

New executive director of BBBSWL ready to expand their services

Aug. 7

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake has a new, young and deeply passionate executive director in Angela Kadar.

Kadar is a recent university graduate, who attended university in Kamloops to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology after receiving her human services diploma at TRU in Williams Lake. A Cariboo woman born in Victoria and raised in Anahim Lake before moving to the lakecity, Kadar got her start in the organization as an intern on her practicum and later on as a summer student a few years ago.

Personally, Kadar feels that the work BBBSWL does for the community is really important for the youth of the community which she now has the honour of being at the helm of.

Lakecity enjoys evening performance by Don Alder

Aug. 7

With summer weather finally gracing the lakecity over 100 residents turned out to enjoy the evening air and performances by Don Alder and Western Jaguar.

The Performances in the Park audience was delighted and entranced by Alder’s fingers as they danced along the strings of his guitar’s, beat their bodies to provide percussion and sang soulful songs, often all at the same time. While he didn’t get the chance to make much use of his harp-guitar, Alder was still able to deliver a performance that makes the lakecity rethink the role of an acoustic guitar. His performance was only enhanced by a series of touching and personal anecdotes he shared about his life growing up in the lakecity.

Performances in the Park continued on throughout the month.

Ilnicki brings international experience to Rookie Rugby camp in lakecity

Aug. 16

Children participating in the Rookie Rugby camp in Williams Lake got a surprise visit on their final day from Canadian rugby union prop, Alexis Creek’s own Jake Ilnicki.

Ilnicki said he just returned home from the Pacific Nation’s Cup with the Canadian team and was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post about the camp.

“I thought I’d come and show my face,” he joked as the camp got underway at the Marie Sharpe Elementary School field Monday. “I try to help out when I can.”

He later flew to Toronto Saturday, Aug. 17 to prepare to play Leinster, Ireland in Hamilton, Ont. on Saturday, Aug. 24, where the team finished up another two weeks of their World Cup Camp.

Members from the Williams Lake Rustlers were out in full force during the final rookie rugby session to help out in a show of respect for Rustlers president Rodger Stewart, who died suddenly of a heart attack in Alaska where the team was playing in an ‘old boys’ rugby tournament.

Team member Roy Argue said Stewart had been helping run the rookie rugby camp since its inception and had never missed a session this summer.

Cycling club excited to open new beginner trail on Fox Mountain

Aug. 16

The Williams Lake Cycling Club was thrilled to open a new, rebuilt trail this past Friday at its Fox Mountain Trail Network.

Dubbed ‘Fox Fire,’ the trail parallels Fox Mountain Road from Mason Road to Ross Road and spans a length of roughly 1.7 kilometres.

The WLCC said it invested 120 volunteer man hours for planning and wooden boardwalk construction in the completion of the project.

WLCC president Shawn Lewis said there has been a recognition by the club that they do not have many truly-green riding options.

“The rebuild of Fox Fire into a flowly, moderate descent with lots of rolls, banked turns and some small jumps will allow a new rider to build confidence and skill,” Lewis said. “If a rider were to combine this trail with the freshly-tuned trail, Chick Scratch, you would create a nice green-level loop of almost five kilometres — one that the entire family could have fun on and one that can be ridden in either direction, thereby creating two fun, green loops in the heart of the Fox Mountain Trail Network.”

Local family grieves loss of son after Highway 97 collision

Aug. 16

The community of Williams Lake has rallied around a local family, devastated by a motor vehicle collision north of Williams Lake which claimed the lives of two people and injured one.

A GoFundMe fundraiser was established for the Jackson family Aug. 3 after Jose Jackson, 23, was critical injured Aug. 2 in a collision north of McLeese Lake on Highway 97 and flown to hospital in Vancouver. To date more than $11,000 has been raised beyond a set goal of $1,000.

An outpouring of messages of prayers and support has also been sent to the family, well-known in both the local minor hockey and Latino communities, with Jose’s father Jonathan being the past president of WLMHA. Jonathan is also a current and beloved referee. Jose’s mother, Maria, is very involved in the lakecity’s growing Latino community and also a longtime hockey mom to Jose and his younger brother, Jacob.

Following what has been a heartbreaking time for the family, Jose succumbed to his injuries on Aug. 11.

Art Walk 2019 features artists old and new

Aug. 21

The 2019 Art Walk and Sale featured 40 artists young and new as participating businesses displayed their creations this past August.

By Downtown Williams Lake’s event co-ordinator Jasine Alexander’s estimation, there were over 250 pieces of art to see throughout the downtown during Art Walk this year. This included paintings, drawings, pottery, felt works and more, Alexander said.

‘Jeff was doing what he loved’: Williams Lake man drowns in Bella Coola boat accident

Aug. 28

The family of a well-known hockey coach, forester and fishing guide from Williams Lake presumed drowned after his fishing charter boat began to take on water and capsized near Bella Bella Friday, Aug. 23 said they are still searching for answers.

“We are in shock. We cannot believe this happened,” Nyree Alexander said of the fact her husband Jeff Alexander, a father of three adult children, and also a grandfather, is missing.

She said the family is grateful for all the kind words, thoughts and prayers.

Alexander’s body was later recovered on Aug. 29 by an underwater recovery team.

Nyree said the family was relieved and grateful to have closure on the tragedy.

Jeff worked as a forester for Tolko Industries Ltd. in Williams Lake and was a hockey coach for many years with Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association and with Williams Lake Youth Soccer Association.

A celebration of life was held on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Cariboo Bethel Church.

Rotten Eggs revel in smell of sweet success at Williams Lake Slo-Pitch League year end tourney

Aug. 28

Four teams were crowned champions in their respective divisions during the weekend as Williams Lake Slo-Pitch League as players rounded the bases for the final time this season.

Twenty-six teams converged at the Esler Sports Complex ball fields for the WLSPL Year End Tournament.

‘A’ champions were the Rotten Eggs, ‘B’ winners were the Brew Jays, ‘C’ winners were Puff Puff Smash and ‘D’ champions were N8VS.

RCMP recovery body from Fraser River near Sheep Creek Bridge

Aug. 28

Williams Lake RCMP were at the Sheep Creek Bridge late August to recover a body from the Fraser River.

RCMP had been searching the river since Branton Regner went missing after an incident at the Rudy Johnson Bridge on Aug. 9, 2019.

The Rudy Johnson Bridge is approximately 40 kilometres up river from the Sheep Creek Bridge.

Two men, Jayson Gilbert, 25, and Michael Drynock, 23, have been arrested with attempted murder in connection with incidents that occurred at the Rudy Johnson Bridge on that day.

The BC Coroners Service later confirmed the body to be that of Regner’s.

Both Gilbert and Drynock remain in custody as court proceedings continue.

Lakecity players looked to for leadership as Capitals season nears

Aug. 30

A quartet of lakecity hockey players are sharpening their skates in preparation for the puck to drop on the 2019 BC Female Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey League season.

Paige Outhouse, Pyper Alexander, Brette Kerley and Cadence Peticlerc-Crosby will suit up for the Prince George-based Northern Capitals — each returning for their second year to the team — under the tutelage and guidance of former Capitals coach Mario Desjardins (2014-2017), who is coming back to the club after taking a year off to follow his daughter’s career in Alberta.

Each of the four players from Williams Lake earned a roster spot on the team following its May identification camp, and Desjardins said he’s excited about the talent level on display and hopes to improve upon last year’s third-place regular season finish.

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