November 4, 2021
Five days after he shared a post about the ‘other side of residential schools’ on his personal Facebook page, Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb apologized during a regular council meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Cobb was responding to an open letter from Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars requesting the city clarify its position on the impacts of residential schools after Cobb shared the post.
“I have never supported the concept of residential schools as I learned of the heartbreak inflicted on many First Nations communities,” Cobb read from a prepared statement.
Former Esk’etemc Chief Charlene Belleau, appearing on behalf of WLFN reminded council that Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake with Phyllis Webstad, and for the past 32 years all First Nations have fought hard to be heard and put their residential school stories on the record.
“Our people were sexually abused, not once, not twice, not 20 times .. there are really horrific stories. We will no longer be silenced today or ever again.”
Belleau called for Cobb’s resignation.
November 4, 2021
Man, dog survive harrowing crash down cliff
Friends and family rallied to support a Williams Lake man who survived a harrowing single vehicle crash by crawling more than 100 feet back up to the road for help.
Tyler Fehr, 30, suffered a severe cut across his forehead, broken nose, broken ribs, a compression fracture to his lower back, disc herniation, cardiac and pulmonary contusions and torn muscles after his truck hit a soft shoulder on the Soda Creek Road just north of Williams Lake.
“The police, tow truck driver etc. all say he should be dead,” his sister Kayla Fehr told Black Press Media.
November 4, 2021
Land near Blue Lake returned to Xat’sull First Nation
An approximate 102.1 hectares of land near Blue Lake has been returned to Xat’sull First Nation, north of Williams Lake as part of ongoing treaty negotiations.
“The return of the lands near Blue Lake represents the continued co-operation between Xat’sull and the provincial and federal governments,” Kúkpi7 (Chief) Sheri Sellars noted in a news release.
“These lands were at the heart of our traditional territory as evidenced by the remnants of pithouses and other archeology artifacts that can be found there today.”
Sellars noted the area is regularly used by community members for everything from swimming and fishing to pitch harvesting.
November 11, 2021
Salvation Army losing staff, volunteers due to vaccine mandate
The Williams Lake Salvation Army said it would be losing some staff members and 80 per cent of its volunteers due to a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandate that goes into effect Nov. 15.
“This very short timeline has not allowed our unvaccinated workers enough time to be considered fully vaccinated,” said Tamara Robinson, director of family services and community outreach.
“As the largest provider of social services in Canada outside of the government, we have been federally mandated to have all staff and volunteers fully vaccinated.”
November 18, 2021
B.C.’s Hwy. 3 could be quickest to open post-flooding: Minister
While crews work tirelessly to rescue those stuck in flood-ravaged regions of southern B.C. and get them back to safety, the province’s public safety minister is urging travellers to avoid areas hit by the atmospheric river weather event.
Every road closed connecting the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to the rest of Canada were closed due to flooding.
Transportation Minister Rob Flemming said that geotechnical engineers were assessing the various arteries impacted by mud and rock slides before repair plans were created.
November 25, 2021
School locked down, loaded firearms discovered nearby
A 14-year-old youth arrested for allegedly having two loaded handguns at school last week was scheduled to appear in Williams Lake Provincial Court Wednesday Nov. 24.
Staff Sgt. Del Byron confirmed the youth, who cannot be named under the Young Offender Act, remains in custody.
On Friday (Nov. 19) Mounties recovered two loaded firearms and arrested two youth outside Lake City Secondary School Columneetza campus following reports of a person outside the school with a handgun. The incident triggered a lockdown of the 750-student middle school and nearby Nesika Elementary School at about 12:14 p.m., and a swift response from Williams Lake RCMP who stationed armed officers along Western Avenue while securing the scene.
The second teen was released without charges.
November 25, 2021
‘It almost killed me not having the shot’: COVID-19 survivor Morgan Witte
Normally Morgan Witte drives trucks and wrangles horses in the Cariboo, but in November he was recuperating from a severe case of COVID-19 and struggled even to lift up a coffee cup.
“I almost didn’t make ‘er,” the 48-year-old said Tuesday, Nov. 23. “I don’t have a lot of strength in my arms and legs yet.”
Morgan arrived home on Nov. 15, after spending three weeks in the hospital. Morgan did not get the COVID-19 vaccine and hopes by sharing his story others might be inspired to get vaccinated.
“It almost killed me not getting the shot,” he said. “I hope people will learn from me.”