The Williams Lake Pride Society held an opening ceremony of its rainbow crosswalk early October downtown in the city. Patrick Davies photo

Year in review: October

A look back into some of the main stories in Williams Lake and the Cariboo Chilcotin in October 2018

TNG and province sign moose co-management agreement

Oct. 3

The B.C. government and Tsilhqot’in Nation signed an historic moose management agreement.

Tsilhqot’in National Government tribal chairman Chief Joe Alphonse said they were happy the government took the steps it did and confirmed they would not attempt to ban the limited-entry moose hunt this fall, as previously stated.

In a joint press release the TNG and province said the agreement will:

Guide the establishment of a government-to-government shared decision-making process to co-manage wildlife in a manner that incorporates the parties’ respective decision-making responsibilities, interests, values, roles and responsibilities.

Result in a co-developed and co-hosted moose roundtable workshop with the goal of bringing representatives of neighbouring Indigenous nations and stakeholders who wish to constructively engage in finding solutions to the moose decline in the region.

Set the foundations to work together to promote timber harvesting and forest management practices that restore and enhance moose habitat and address interactions with other wildlife species.

Ministry seeks input on Anahim connector

Oct. 5

The public was asked to provide feedback on a proposal to build a connector road between the communities of Vanderhoof and Anahim Lake, according to a press release by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

The proposed road would allow traffic to travel more directly from Anahim Lake, west of Williams Lake and Quesnel, to Highway 16, providing a secondary fire-exit route for First Nations communities and rural residents.

The road would begin about 55 kilometres north of Anahim Lake at the end of the Dean River Road, pass near Eliguk Lake, and connect to the end of the Kluskus Forest Service Road. It would be built to current standards for forest service roads.

Hospital Trust barn dance a success

Oct. 5

The Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust raised $32,000 at their Aug.25 Barn Dance for a new haematology analyzer, and then set its sights on their biggest fundraiser of the year — a formal gala in November.

For the last 20 years, the Trust has raised money for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital, funding a half dozen pieces of equipment the hospital would not have received otherwise. CFHT co-chair Richard Nelson said they’ve raised close to $2.5 million in those years.

At the barn dance held at the Jacobson Ranch, the first of its kind the Trust has held, Nelson said they had a sell-out, despite the somewhat chilly weather.

Town hall on grad parties well attended

Oct. 5

More than 200 Lake City Secondary School students, parents, teachers and community leaders spent their lunch hour Thursday discussing concerns surrounding grad parties.

The meeting was opened with a speech by LCSS principal Gregg Gaylord who went over some of the many concerns he has with students conducting multiple mid-week and weekend “grad camp-outs” throughout the year.

Mr. Gaylord agreed grad parties have been happening for ages, however, in recent years the parties have increased in frequency and more recently came to a head Sept. 12 over a party at the east end of Chimney Lake in a day use only rec site just a few hundred metres from the nearest home.

Parents were mixed in their response, one saying that parents should be more engaged in ensuring the students are supervised and safe while another criticized the media for shining a negative light on the kids.

In the end, the town hall meeting didn’t have any concrete solutions, however, it did exactly what Mr. Gaylord was intending and that is to involve the greater community in ensuring the safety and responsibility of the kids are met.

Mall owners pave way for gov’t-run cannabis store on lower level

Oct. 12

Williams Lake city council accepted a development permit variance application for a government-owned retail cannabis store in the east end of Boitanio Mall.

The variance is asking to reduce the minimum 300-metre distance requirement for a retail cannabis store from Cariboo Memorial Complex as stipulated in the City’s bylaw for cannabis related regulation.

Mayor Walt Cobb said “as much as I hate to see it happening,” that he approved the application because it would be government-regulated.

Roof fire forces evacuation of Cariboo Memorial Complex

Oct. 17

The Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex was evacuated mid October due to a fire in the roof.

Hockey players, who were on ice at the time, were all evacuated, as were pool staff and CMRC patrons, while Williams Lake Fire Department members worked to open the roof.

Everyone was able to exit the building safely, though, while the fire department put out the blaze.

Forest management post wildfires focus of woodlot associations AGM

Oct. 19

Woodlot licensees, joined ministry, industry, local government and academics from around the province for the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations AGM held in Williams Lake, many seeing firsthand the impacts of the 2017 wildfires.

Organizer and federation president Brian McNaughton said more than 100 delegates attended and during a panel discussion on Saturday, there were numerous ideas advanced for necessary changes to the way public forests are managed.

“It set the stage for further discussions and the actions that need to occur,” McNaughton said. “While woodlot licenses may be a small forest tenure, many are fixed on the land base in critical areas that interface with communities and public infrastructure. This conference showed how seriously woodlot licensees take their responsibilities to manage the land and forests responsibly.”

Cowan, Cornwall legacies celebrated at Station House

Oct. 19

The Station House Gallery’s October show the Legacy offered Cariboo residents one of the last chances to view and purchase the collected works of Vivien Cowan and her daughter Sonia Cornwall.

Consisting of works lent by the Cornwall family, courtesy of Mary Cornwall, and a collection of close to 20, many never before seen, pieces from a private collection of Edith Mieras of Edinburgh, Scotland. Willed to Williams Lake native Philippa Mahon, these pieces of art in some cases have returned to the Cariboo after 20, even 30 years.

Much of the art on display this month is from those years, of Mieras getting to know Cowan and Cornwall in the late 60s. Staying for days at a time at the ranch she’d always take home at least one piece of artwork, seen by no one in the Cariboo but Cornwall and her family.

Many of the pieces on display are miniatures of landscapes and life on the ranch, made using exquisite colours and are priced at $1,000 each, with a large abstract painting of the Anahim Stampede serving as the centerpiece. All original and brought to life with loving passion, the show may well be the last chance for a long time to purchase your own Cowan or Cornwall, or to even see so many of their works side by side in a gallery here in Williams Lake.

Former Williams Lake Mayor, councillor, ski coach and community booster Jim Fraser dies at 91

Oct. 19

Former Williams Lake mayor and city councillor Jim Fraser died in the hospital Saturday, Oct. 13 at the age of 91.

Jim and his wife, Ruth, who passed away on July 19 of this year, called Williams Lake home for nearly 60 years.

Mayor Walt Cobb said Jim was a long-time community-minded resident of Williams Lake and his death is a “big loss to the community.”

“He had so much to offer,” Cobb said, noting months ago Jim asked him to write his eulogy for him.

Williams Lake rainbow crosswalk receives blessing at official opening

Oct. 19

The Williams Lake Pride Society held the city’s rainbow crosswalks official opening ceremony early October.

Pushed back due to smoke from the wildfires several times, the event brought together society members, the LGBTQ+ community and supporters from the wider community to celebrate this important step forward. Consisting of a prayer blessing the crosswalk led by Shuswap elder Mary Thomas and a ribbon cutting ceremony, the event was blessed by a clear sunny day and minimal traffic through the crosswalk.

Cobb re-elected for city’s top job

Oct. 24

Mayor Walt Cobb was back to work at city hall by 8:30 a.m. Monday morning after winning the 2018 municipal election.

The second-term mayor, who gained international attention for leading the community through the 2017 wildfires, took home 60.4 per cent, or 1,843 votes while his challenger, former city councillor Surinderpal Rathor received 1,177 votes.

When asked if he is known for being pro-development, Cobb said his platform has always been to reduce red tape at city hall to encourage growth.

In all, 3,051 out of 7,839 eligible voters cast their ballots in the election, or 38.9 per cent, down from 45.8 per cent in 2014 and 50.7 per cent in 2011.

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