Reviewing the stories of 2016

Going back issue by issue to look at the stories of the day between January and March.

  • Jan. 4, 2017 5:00 a.m.
Ian Adams (left) tags a deer during an capture period in Cranbrook last spring. The deer were transported to winter ranges and monitored via satellite as part of an ongoing scientific study.

Ian Adams (left) tags a deer during an capture period in Cranbrook last spring. The deer were transported to winter ranges and monitored via satellite as part of an ongoing scientific study.

Jan. 4

Olivia and Ethan were recognized as the top baby names of 2014, which was announced by Vital Statistics Agency and Health Minister Terry Lake.

Former Kootenay Ice captain Luke Philp was traded to the Memorial-Cup hosting Red Deer Rebels in exchange for Presten Kopeck, Ryan Puliot, the rights to Tanner Sideaway, and a second- and third-round pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.

Jan. 5

Integra Air began direct flights to Calgary, as the first flight, a Jetstream 3100 aircraft, arrived at the Canadian Rockies International Airport

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting denied that there were any changes to service levels following a backlash on social media.

Jan. 6

BC Assessment released their annual property assessments, noting that most homeowners should have expected an increase.

City council debated an updated animal control bylaw, with poisonous snakes a flashpoint of discussion as they are regulated provincially.

Jan. 7

A new community orchestra led by Dave Pasivirta and Shelaugh Redecopp started up to recruit hobby musicians looking to dust off old instruments.

Jan. 8

Winter snowfall returned to historical levels, reported an Environment Canada meteorologist, who said the 2014/2015 winter was unusually mild.

Jan. 11

With the help of two keen-eyed civilians, Cranbrook RCMP recovered a stolen car that had an infant inside. The car was taken by a passenger after the driver went into a house and left the car running. Police arrested the driver shortly after an impaired driver was reported at the Tamarack Mall.

Jan. 12

The RDEK announced that Chief Financial Officer Shawn Tomlin would replace longtime Chief Administrative Officer Lee-Ann Crane, who planned to retire later in the year. Crane decided to retire after 18 years in the CAO position, and 37 years with the RDEK.

Jan. 13

RDEK signed a six-month bridge contract for fire dispatch services with the City of Cranbrook as it searched for a longer-term solution. The RDEK and the City were coming off a five-year deal that involved the use of a local firefighter.

Jan. 14

An animal rights organization based out of Ontario accused the City of Cranbrook of conducting a secret deer cull. Animal Alliance made the allegations after deer were filmed caught in clover traps set out on municipal properties.

Jan. 15

Activists met at Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski’s office to push for electoral reform, suggesting a proportional representation would be more fair than the first-past-the-post system.

Jan. 18

A wildlife biologist released a letter stating that his company — VAST Resource Solutions — had nothing to do with an alleged secret deer cull conducted by the city. Ian Adams was to be the lead biologist for a project that studied the merits of translocating urban deer that had yet to kick off.

Jan. 19

Following accusations from Animal Alliance, the City of Cranbrook confirmed that 20 deer had been culled in Dec. 2015 and Jan. 2016. Anti-deer cull activists flooded a city council meeting upset that the decision to conduct the cull was made behind closed doors.

Jan. 20

The city eyed amendments to the Official Community Plan in order to update a neighbourhood plan for the Wildstone development that reflected market conditions of the time.

Jan. 21

MLA Bill Bennett and Ministry of Transportation officials addressed criticism over winter maintenance of East Kootenay roads and highways by Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting.

Jan. 22

Elizabeth Lake Lodge was named to first place for customer service in all of Canada by TripAdvisor Inc, beating out 12,000 other properties. Each year, TripAdvisor looks at the hotels ranked in the top 25 positions in five categories.

Jan. 25

Anti-deer cull protesters staged a demonstration outside city hall, urging mayor and council to pursue non-lethal options to control the urban deer population.

Jan. 26

The Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge was announced for it’s second year, pitting local chefs against each other in the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen to raise money for the organization and the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation’s general endowment fund.

Jan. 27

The Cranbrook Community Forest Society completed a new trail network plan to ensure proper maintenance and development moving forward. The plan inventoried every single trail, authorized and unauthorized, to help the society track the ongoing evolution of the network.

Jan. 28

The College of the Rockies made plans to mark its 40th anniversary by inviting past and current alumni, community partners, and staff to celebrate the occasion. The College was originally based in Cranbrook, established in 1975, and has branched into satellite campuses in communities across the region.

Jan. 29

Mount Baker Secondary School received some top-of-the-line recording software to bolster Orange Door Studios, headed up by instructor Evan Bueckert. The studio, in operation since 2004, allows students to produce full albums over the course of a semester in the Music and Composition and Tenchology course.

Feb. 1

Frank Vanden Broek was celebrated as Cranbrook’s Citizen of the Year for 2015 at a gala dinner ceremony at the Heritage Inn. Vanden Broek honoured for his volunteer work with the Sunrise Rotary Club and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, and also endured some roasting by family, friends and coworkers.

Feb. 2

Organizers announced the cancellation of the Cranbrook Air Show due to low responses for volunteers and corporate sponsorship, according to a spokesperson.

Feb. 3

Kimberley RCMP were able to smoke out a suspect who had stolen some ribs cooking in a smoker behind the Pedal and Tap. The theft of the ribs was caught on video and the RCMP were able to follow up and nab the suspect.

Feb. 4

A B.C. Supreme Court Judge reserved his decision in the sentencing of a Brazilian woman who lit a fire in a Marysville residence that killed her boyfriend.  Claudia De Assumpcao had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the incident, which resulted in the death of Jordon Lomsnes. Feb. 5The city put out a call for a community organization to take over Canada Day celebrations after Connect church declined to run the event for the third straight year. The past two years had seen the biggest turnout ever for Canada Day celebrations, which had been organized by the church.

Feb. 9

MLA Bill Bennett announced a program to defer 75 per cent of hydro bills for B.C.’s 13 operating metal and coal mines, which had been struggling with soaring operating costs and low commodity prices.

Feb. 10

A new manager took over operations at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery. Owen Schoenberger, who had worked at the facility for many years, was promoted to head the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC’s Kootenay operations. The trout hatchery is responsible for stocking fish species in lakes throughout the East and West Kootenay and also is involved in a sturgeon program.

Feb. 11

BC Stats reported that Cranbrook’s population grew slightly in 2014 to 19,558, a change from the previous few years where decreases were noted. Still, the city hadn’t broken the glass ceiling of 20,000 yet. Kimberley grew by less than one per cent, with a population of 6,745.

Feb. 12

Bait stations were set up in Kimberley to attract urban deer as part of a then-upcoming translocation study to remove mule deer to nearby winter ranges.

Feb. 15

Cranbrook received $2.8 million in federal gas tax funding to be used for the reconstruction of the dam at Idlewild Lake. The grant was administered through the Union of B.C. Municipalities, while the Regional District also kicked in $500,000 to go towards new park washrooms.

Feb. 16

Cranbrook was unofficially awarded the Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge, after Sportsnet published their curling broadcast schedule with Cranbrook hosting the Tour Challenge in November. The event, a 60-team affair, was pitched to Sportsnet by the Cranbrook Curling Club with the support from the City of Cranbrook.

Feb. 17

The Kootenay Granite Stone Soup Challenge kicked off at the Salvation Army soup kitchen, with Lindsey Waugh, a student chef-in-training, taking the opening round against Doug Wagner, a chef with St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino.

Feb. 18

Bidding closed on a new seven-year contract for highway maintenance in the East Kootenay region. A government representative said changes were made to the terms of the contract to allow for shorter response times from the contractor and increased communication with the public.

Feb. 19

WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said the Kootenay Ice were staying put in Cranbrook for the time being, despite plummeting attendance numbers. Jeff Chynoweth reiterated his family’s desire to find a way to sell the franchise and remain in Cranbrook.

Feb. 22

IHA staff and elected officials unveiled the new Intensive Care Unit at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital. The $20 million project that broke ground in 2014 featured six new beds while the entire EKRH facility also underwent an electrical upgrade.

Feb. 23

The JCI Family Fun Day raised $8,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, which then distributed the money to local kids with cancer and their families to support treatment, travel and other expenses.

Feb. 24

Cranbrook city council got an earful on a proposed rezoning change on two pieces of property near the Mount Royal neighbourhood. Local homeowners packed council chambers to voice their concerns over a rezoning amendment that would allow for duplex, tri-plex and quad-plex housing.

Feb. 25

The SPCA promoted a spay and neuter program for cats during a city council meeting, noting that Cranbrook has one of the highest cat populations per capita in the province. The program, funded in part by a $83,000 grant from Petsmart, was available to low-income individuals and families who couldn’t afford veterinarian fees.

Feb. 26

A contract for fire dispatch serves for the Regional District of East Kootenay and the City of Cranbrook was awarded to the City of Kelowna, effective in June. The five-year deal came in at $835,000 to be paid out by member communities within the RDEK.

Feb. 29

After months of rehab, a bald eagle captured out by Fort Steele was released back into the wild by a couple who had rescued it on the banks of the Kootenay River. The eagle had been flown to a sanctuary in the Lower Mainland where it had surgery to fix a broken wing.


The women’s College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball team captured their first-ever provincial championship with a thrilling come-from-behind win over the top-ranked Vancouver Island University Mariners. Ranked in sixth place heading into the tournament, the ladies stunned the competition with a series of upsets to get a berth in the gold medal match.

March 1

Kevin Martin, an Olympic medalist and Canadian curling legend, came to Cranbrook to lend his support for the Grand Slam of Curling. Martin appeared at a press conference in the city to officially announce the event and to help officials drum up corporate support.

March 2

Teck Trail operations was fined $3.4 million in regards to 13 accidental discharges into the Columbia River that occurred between Nov. 2013 and Feb. 2015. The discharges included effluent with elevated levels of copper, zinc, ammonia, chlorine and cadmium.

March 3

A Cranbrook youth pleaded guilty to an arson that occurred at Laurie Middle School in Nov. 2015 that caused damage to the roof structure. The youth was sentenced to a one year intensive support and supervision order.   March 4Cranbrook Townsman Editor Barry Coulter accompanied wildlife biologist Ian Adams and a team that conducted the removal of urban deer in Cranbrook to winter ranges in the outlying areas of the region. In three days of capture, 12 deer were removed from Cranbrook.

March 7

A car accident up in Gold Creek claimed the lives of two young men over the weekend, while a third person involved was airlifted to Calgary Foothills Hospital with serious injuries.

March 8

Cranbrook’s Youth Impact Centre moved to it’s current location on 2nd. St. N across from the Baker St. Mall and adjacent to the B.C. Ambulance Service depot. The Youth Impact Centre is a program run under the direction of the Boys and Girls Club and provides after-school programming to local teenagers.

March 9

Former Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Staudt retired after 14 years of service with the city. Staudt had previously announced his intention to retire earlier, however, he stayed on board to help a newly-elected council and mayor adjust to their civic duties.

March 10

A dental team led by Dr. Dave Burwash returned from a trip to Guatemala where free services were offered to rural patients who don’t normally have access to quality health care.

March 11

A Brazilian woman was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson charges in the death of Jordon Lomsnes. Claudia de Assumpcao was given credit of four years and six months for time served in pre-trial custody. Lomsnes died from carbon-monoxide poisoning in March 2013 after  de Assumpcao started a fire in the kitchen of the house in Marysville.


Cranbrook found a replacement for a vacant Chief Administrative Officer role, hiring David Kim, who took over from a retiring Wayne Staudt. Kim arrived in Cranbrook via Calgary where he brought over 20 years of experience in both public and private sectors.

March 14

The College of the Rockies ladies Avalanche team returned from national championships in Prince Edward Island, after they competed against the top college teams across the country. The Avs had a tough tournament, with two losses that put them out of a title shot, however, they finished on a high point with a win to close out the experience.

March 15

The capture process for urban deer wrapped up as biologists shifted to the monitoring phase of a translocation study. Urban deer were tagged with satellite collars and moved to winter ranges. The collars tracked their movements, allowing biologists to determine any migration patterns between urban and non-urban deer.

March 16

Cranbrook History Centre launched an endowment fund managed by the Cranbrook and District Community Foundation. The endowment fund was made possible thanks to a generous bequest from Walter Komar.

March 17

A small grassroots group of friends — the Kootenays Care for Refugees — welcomed a Syrian family as new residents to Cranbrook. The family, a mom, dad and two young boys, arrived after fleeing their Syrian homeland to Lebanon, where they had been living as refugees for three years before coming to Canada.

A movie based on a local lawyer’s experience introducing lacrosse to an Inuit school went into production. Russ Sheppard, a former teacher, helped create a sports program at a school in Kugluktuk with a heavy emphasis on lacrosse. The program helped transform the lives of his students, who struggled with addiction and suicide.

March 18

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the case of the Ktunaxa Nation, who had brought their cause to the highest court in the land over a disputed area of land in the Jumbo Glacier valley. According to the Ktunaxa, the land, known as Qat’muk, holds significant spiritual importance and should be protected under the charter right to freedom of religion.

March 21

The Kootenay Ice WHL season came to a close as annual team awards were handed out. It was a tough year for the club, which missed the playoffs for the first time since coming to Cranbrook in 1998.

March 22

Tristen Chernove closed out his Para-Cycling Track World Championship experience in Italy having captured gold medals in the individual pursuit and the 1000-metre time trial.

March 23

Council eyed rezoning the property containing the old fire hall to help spur interest in selling the city-owned structure. The existing zoning was under park and heritage values, however, the new proposed zoning would allow commercial uses.

March 24

After one of the toughest seasons in franchise history, the Kootenay Ice got a little consolation and won the first overall draft pick in the then-upcoming WHL Bantam Draft.

March  25

The Kimberley Dynamiters advanced to the KIJHL finals after they blitzed through the Fernie Ghostriders, Creston Valley Thunder Cats and Beaver Valley Nitehawks. The Nitros ended up against the 100 Mile House Wranglers, who came out on top of the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference.

March 29

Though a sod-turning ceremony had been a few weeks prior, construction of new washrooms at Rotary Park were well underway. The project, budgeted at just under $500,000 was organized and funded by Rotary Club.

March 30

The 100 Mile House Wranglers took a 2-1 series lead over the Kimberley Dynamiters after they won Game 3 of the KIJHL final. The series had shifted to 100 Mile House after the Nitros and Wranglers after a 1-1 split in Kimberley.

March 31

A prominent palaeontologist came to town to give a presentation at the Cranbrook History Centre. A field trip was made out near Fort Steele to search for trilobites, as a local fossil hunter had been discovering new species over 10 years of exploration in the surrounding region.