YEAR IN REVIEW: July 2020

Tilly Knowles (left) and Tina Derksen exchange a safe hug during a parking lot coffee house hosted by the Old Age Pensioners Organization and the Seniors Activity Centre in July. It was the first gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the centre in March. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Tilly Knowles (left) and Tina Derksen exchange a safe hug during a parking lot coffee house hosted by the Old Age Pensioners Organization and the Seniors Activity Centre in July. It was the first gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic closed the centre in March. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Stampede directors and MLA Donna Barnett presented gifts to Miocene ranchers Merv and Shirley Furlong because they were the 94th people to arrive at the drive-thru breakfast. Had the Stampede gone ahead it would have been the 94th annual. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Stampede directors and MLA Donna Barnett presented gifts to Miocene ranchers Merv and Shirley Furlong because they were the 94th people to arrive at the drive-thru breakfast. Had the Stampede gone ahead it would have been the 94th annual. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Stampede Association directors Pauline Smith, left, and Susan Rolph greet visitors and accept donations during the community spirit drive-thru breakfast held Saturday, July 4 at the Stampede Grounds. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake Stampede Association directors Pauline Smith, left, and Susan Rolph greet visitors and accept donations during the community spirit drive-thru breakfast held Saturday, July 4 at the Stampede Grounds. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Esk’etemc traditional wellness co-ordinator Fred Johnson Sr. presents Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb with a talking stick at the Esk’et Arbor on Tuesday, July 7. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Esk’etemc traditional wellness co-ordinator Fred Johnson Sr. presents Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb with a talking stick at the Esk’et Arbor on Tuesday, July 7. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The Lyle Bats project featuring Brent Morton (left) and Brandon Hoffman perform at the Onward Ranch barn while Rick Magnell (right) films the Performances in the Park concert for a video production series. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert series usually held in Boitanio Park was scaled back for a virtual audience (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)The Lyle Bats project featuring Brent Morton (left) and Brandon Hoffman perform at the Onward Ranch barn while Rick Magnell (right) films the Performances in the Park concert for a video production series. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert series usually held in Boitanio Park was scaled back for a virtual audience (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

July 1, 2020

MLA, B.C. ranchers call for seats at the table in ongoing Aboriginal declared title land discussions

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett called for fair compensation and a seat at the table for ranchers, guide outfitters and tourism operators in ongoing discussions around Aboriginal declared title lands.

With the five-year bridging agreements expired May 31, which had allowed operators with tenures for tourism and ranching to continue their operations in the area, Barnett said negotiations between the province and the Tsilhqot’in are being held in private and operators have been shutout.

The Xeni Gwet’in First Nation has to date purchased two properties — a ranch and a lodge.

Minister Scott Fraser said while the province remains a neutral party in any purchase negotiations between the operators and the Tsilhqot’in, they have provided some funding to Xeni Gwet’in to support acquisition of properties at a fair market value.

July 8, 2020

Seniors Centre parking lot coffee house a hit

On Monday, July 6, Seniors in Williams Lake began gathering for coffee and conversation for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hampered those opportunities in March.

“We cannot be inside, but we can at least get together and practice a little bit of social distancing and have some face-to-face conversations, which a lot of us have missed over the few months of not being at the centre,” said Glenda Winger, seniors activity centre manager.

The coffee houses will run every Monday and Thursday morning.

July 8, 2020

Stampede, rotary drive-thru breakfast appreciated

The community came out in droves for a drive-thru breakfast hosted Saturday, July 4 at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds parking lot.

Hosted by the Williams Lake Stampede Association (WLSA) and the Rotary Club of Williams Lake, the event grossed $7,648, said WLSA president Court Smith Monday.

Keeping track, volunteers made sure to acknowledge the 94th vehicle as it arrived because had the Stampede not been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus, 2020 would have been the 94th annual.

In the 94th vehicle were ranchers Merv and Shirley Furlong of Miocene, who were quite surprised to hear an air horn blast and see a stream of directors arrive with gifts.

July 15, 2020

Bridging the gap: city leaders engage with First Nations community for better understanding

It was about people, not politics.

Those were the words Esk’etemc cultural and language co-ordinator Irene Johnson chose as she welcomed members of Williams Lake city council, and some other guests, to the Esk’et powwow arbor Tuesday, July 7 for dialogue and a sweat ceremony.

“We are here to see how we can work together and all learn from each other,” said Irene as she looked around the circle, which also included about 25 people from her community.

During a city council meeting in June, Coun. Marnie Brenner spoke about truth and reconciliation and residential schools. Upset by some of her comments, the Williams Lake First Nation, who had in recent months become increasingly at odds with City leaders, called for her resignation the next day.

In response, Irene and her husband Fred Johnson reached out to Brenner, inviting her and anyone else who was interested to meet with them.

Chief Fred Robbins said although there are major issues in the way of progress, First Nations must maintain their integrity and beliefs and he hoped his community’s sharing of teachings and knowledge will have an impact on the way the City of Williams Lake works with First Nations.

July 15, 2020

Woodjam Ranch in Horsefly winners of BC Cattlemen’s sustainability award

The winners of the BC Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA) 2020 ranch sustainability award, Woodjam Ranch in Horsefly, were recognized for their outstanding commitment to sustainability as demonstrated by their generational values of environmental stewardship, their extensive commitment to protecting the many waterways and fish habitats in the 16 tributary creeks on the ranch, their range management, grass health and commitment to sharing the landscape with wildlife.

Originally from Saskatchewan, they were both raised on ranch farms.

They moved to Horsefly 17 years ago and purchased part of a ranch, and in 2014 purchased the rest from Chad’s parents — Ellie and Louis Seelhof.


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July 22, 2020

Tl’etinqox breaks ground for $4.5 million gas bar

A new, modern gas bar will greet motorists travelling Highway 20 west of Williams Lake early next year.

The Tl’etinqox (Anaham) Government broke ground early Monday, July 20, on the $4.5 million facility adjacent from the highway and across the intersection where the current gas bar and store is located.

At approximately 3,000 square feet, the new Esso gas station and grocery store will not only be a remarkable improvement in size but offerings.

As well as a café serving Spirit Bear Coffee from Port Coquitlam and dishes possibly from Mr. Bannock based in Vancouver, it will also feature a cardlock, an RV campground and space for an area honoring Chief Anaham who the community is named after.

July 29, 2020

Mount Polley Mining Corp. to complete breach remediation this summer

In the six years since the Mount Polley Mine breach, the company has spent just over $29 million repairing the dam and over $71 million repairing Hazeltine Creek.

Remediation work is underway on a lower reach of Hazeltine Creek and so far the top two reaches have been repaired and fish are spawning there, Kynoch said, noting the majority of the physical work will be completed this summer.

“I think we have $2-point-something [million] left in our budget and that work on lower Hazeltine is about $1-point- [million]-something of it so the majority of the work we have to do will be done this year.”

Environmental monitoring is part of the mine’s environmental plan and the work of three on-site environmental technicians, said former vice president of corporate affairs for Imperial Metals Byng Giraud, who is working as a consultant.



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Williams LakeYear in Review