YEAR IN REVIEW: October 2020

Joan Sorley and Phyllis Webstad launched Orange Shirt Society’s first and latest book, Orange Shirt Day, which is designed as a textbook for middle school students. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Joan Sorley and Phyllis Webstad launched Orange Shirt Society’s first and latest book, Orange Shirt Day, which is designed as a textbook for middle school students. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Williams Lake city crews demonstrated the new lake weed harvester at Scout Island Monday, Oct. 19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)Williams Lake city crews demonstrated the new lake weed harvester at Scout Island Monday, Oct. 19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

Oct. 1, 2020

Orange Shirt Society launches first book

There’s a new resource to learn more about Orange Shirt Day and the history of residential schools.

Joan Sorley and Phyllis Webstad launched Orange Shirt Society’s first and latest book, Orange Shirt Day, which is designed as a textbook for middle school students.

“I’m proud of it,” Webstad said.

Divided into eight chapters, the book discusses the vision that inspired Orange Shirt Day, the history and effects of residential schools and the process of reconciliation.

Observed each Sept. 30, Orange Shirt Day began seven years ago.

Oct. 1, 2020

Downtown mural goes ahead

Two weeks after deferring its approval of a new Downtown Williams Lake BIA mural, city council gave its OK for the project late September.

During the committee of the whole meeting, Coun. Scott Nelson said it was approved through an e-mail poll of council that went to the next regular meeting for ratification.

The move came days after the artists went ahead and started painting the mural, with financial support from Williams Lake First Nation.

At its previous, Sept. 15 city council meeting, the mayor and council voted unanimously to defer the funding for the project until a policy could be put in place to vet potential murals.

Mayor Walt Cobb drew the ire of many when he earlier commented the mural sketch submitted for funding was ‘ugly.’

Following the public meeting, Downtown Williams Lake received overwhelming support for the project while many residents also voiced concern over politicians determining what art is for Williams Lake.

The mural was able to move forward after Williams Lake First Nation funded the remaining $5,000 Downtown Williams Lake had been seeking from the city.

Oct. 8, 2020

Property offences on the rise: RCMP

Reporting to Williams Lake city council, Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley said property offences in Williams Lake increased with 1,597 calls for service to date in 2020, compared to 1,397 calls for service in 2019.

“We have a number of offenders in our community and upwards of 48 offenders on curfew conditions last month on and off,” Pelley said. “There were 78 curfew checks and we had 11 breaches for seven different offenders. Some are prolific, some are not.”

Seven people, meanwhile, were wearing electronic monitoring devices, but at the time there were three wearing the devices.

Oct. 15, 2020

Work underway on Highway 20 bump

Dawson Road Maintenance crews began working to address the bumps on Highway 20 in Williams Lake on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Drivers had to slow down going over the area for several months and in previous years. The area is impacted by historical slide complex.

Oct. 15, 2020

Sisters in Spirit vigil takes place

More than 100 men, women and children lined Oliver Street in downtown Williams Lake Oct. 9 to take part in a Sisters in Spirit vigil held to honour and raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

The mood was sombre as those in attendance remembered the many victims from the Cariboo Chilcotin, including the most recent unsolved homicide of Sabrina Rosette.

Oct. 15, 2020

Arson fire claims historic log church at Konni Lake

Smoldering ash was all that remained of the old log church at the end of Konni Lake in the Nemiah valley on Thanksgiving weekend, Oct. 11.

Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua said he feels disappointed, but also surprised, that someone from his community would deliberately burn down the church, which was still used in the summer months and held sentimental value year-round for many.

Oct. 15, 2020

Operation Red Nose cancelled for 2020

Operation Red Nose was cancelled in communities across Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dave Dickson, who was involved with the program in Williams Lake for 12 years, said the campaign has raised about $16,000 for local groups in recent years and has kept countless impaired drivers off the road.

Oct. 26, 2020

Virtual health clinic opening Oct. 26

A virtual clinic hosted its first appointments Oct. 26 for patients without a primary health care provider.

Patients attending appointments through Bridge Care Virtual Clinic use a video conferencing system or phone as a back-up.

The virtual clinic is staffed by doctors from Williams Lake and 100 Mile house, and visits are part of the BC Medical Services Plan and are covered when patients provide a Care Card number.

A centralized waitlist was created to connect patients with a physician or nurse practitioner when they become available to take new patients in Williams Lake.

The Cariboo Memorial Hospital, meanwhile, continues to experience a staffing shortage.

Oct. 29, 2020

BC Liberals secure two Cariboo seats

It was a decisive victory Oct. 24 in the Cariboo for two BC Liberal Party candidates.

Lorne Doerkson of Williams Lake was named the new, Cariboo Chilcotin MLA, while incumbent Coralee Oakes of Quesnel was re-elected in Cariboo North.

Final results showed Doerkson with 51.25 per cent, or 6,600 votes, emerging victorious over the BC NDP’s Scott Andrews of Victoria (32.46 per cent or 4,180 votes), BC Green Party’s David Laing of 100 Mile House (10.71 per cent or 1,379 votes) and Independent Katya Potekhina of Williams Lake (3.55 per cent or 457 votes).

Doerkson, a longtime, avid volunteer in the community with Rotary and the Stampede association, said it was 11-year veteran, BC liberal Party MLA Donna Barnett, who urged him to run for office.

“In the end I thought: ‘Maybe I am made for this,’ Doerkson said. “I love community service. I love the feeling of helping somebody, and I’m attracted to that, so I’m excited about it.”

Oct. 29, 2020

Charges laid following high-speed chase, arrest in city

RCMP have launched a full review into a daring flight from police Sunday that began in Clinton and ended in Williams Lake with a daytime arrest caught on camera and shared thousands of times on social media.

The suspect, Tyrell Giroux, 29, is facing multiple charges after appearing in Williams Lake Provincial Court on Monday, Oct. 26, including dangerous operation of a conveyance, flight from police, willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer and driving while prohibited.

The video, filmed by a passenger along Highway 97 in Williams Lake, appeared to show an RCMP officer kick and punch the suspect during the arrest. The incident began in Kamloops when RCMP received a report of an erratic driver.

After locating the vehicle in Clinton, the driver failed to stop for police, leading to a pursuit through Clinton and 100 Mile House, before two spike belts were successfully deployed — one outside 150 Mile and the second near Williams Lake — leading to the arrest in city limits.

Oct. 31, 2020

Landslide forces evacuation of Frizzi Road and River Valley Trail

The city issued an evacuation order for three industrial, Frizzi Road properties and the River Valley Trail following a significant landslide in the area Saturday, Oct. 31.

The slide occurred directly behind B&J Trucking and cut the river off below.

No infrastructure was damaged, and none of the remediation work already done during the spring in response to flooding in the river valley was impacted.

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Williams LakeYear in Review