Letters to the Editor: March 1

Year round help; You don't know what you got 'til it's gone; Input from hunters

Year round help is needed

Food banks and other community support organizations are facing a constant increase in need by those experiencing hard times.

I am fully aware that the public is constantly being bombarded by requests for support from the more fortunate.

Our food bank is grateful for all the donations we receive, and all the countless volunteer hours donated to help those in need.

The winter months tend to be a time of greater need. Typically we see a surge of help during the Christmas season followed by decline of help through the long winter months.

Please remember the need for your support is never ending and ever increasing. Donations to community organizations stay in your community and will make us all stronger.

Thank you.

Dexter McArthur

For the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank

You don’t know what you got …

I can’t help but think of the old saying “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.

I am a proud former member of the Kootenay Ice. I played four seasons in Cranbrook and grew to love many things about the place that I called home each winter. I personally owe this organization a lifetime of gratitude because I met my wife while playing there. I was placed with an incredible billet family that took me in as a son, a brother and my entire family was welcomed with open arms. That’s something a general manager doesn’t get credit for doing but I am truly grateful for the family I was given.

When I think about Cranbrook I can still hear the game day announcer saying “the home of your own Koooootenay Ice!” and I still feel the same adrenalin I felt as a teenager chasing my dream. Do you think Cranbrook will be able to replace the entertainment of a WHL team? If it’s even possible i don’t think it would be in our lifetime. So why aren’t people getting out and supporting? The ticket prices may seem high but they are comparable with every other WHL team in the league. Cranbrook offers a fantastic facility that the entire community benefits from. It creates jobs and entertainment for more than the Kootenay Ice but also the people of Cranbrook. The amount of high end talent we have seen on the ice throughout the years is remarkable and as a community we should be proud of who we get to go out and support. Many of these young athletes have ended up at the top playing on your TV screen in the NHL. Lately, I’ve been thinking about some of the fans I had the privilege of meeting when I played there, who told me how getting to watch us play week after week made their winter months enjoyable. What will those fans do instead all winter? I can’t imagine what Cranbrook would be like without the team there. On the surface, the entertainment level will never be replaced but dig deeper and look at the business the team brings to the entire community — opposing teams coming and staying at hotels, visiting restaurants, families coming to visit, relationships of people who continue to visit our community long after their children have played there or even just coming in for training camps.

In the four years I played with the Kootenay Ice I learned things that made me who I am today. I learned the importance of hard work, dedication, teamwork, balance and how to be a respectable member of a community. Our coaches taught us how to win, and they taught us how to handle losing which is a pretty tough thing to teach a group of young men. I know a lot of people may have forgotten this somewhere over the years but Mr. Chynoweth knows how to build a winning team, and a respectable team in the community.

Every player on the team goes out and volunteers in the community throughout the entire season. They go to schools where they read to kids, play games with them and they talk about their their experiences and opportunities as an athlete. They get to be positive role models for hundreds of children each hockey season in the school system and the community. Players visit the hospital and deliver teddy bears each year and that’s something hundreds of people benefit from and moments the players will never forget. Something I don’t think has been touched on is the fact that all these players have moved away from their homes, they are without their families, their friends and their support system. So you, the fans, are what get us through. You become our friends and you become the support system we need to make it through a hockey season. Going to a game and playing your heart out in front of people who support you the same way that you would be supported if you were playing in front of your family is a feeling I’ll never forget.

Kootenay Ice fans you DO matter. Your support is needed and appreciated especially when the team is struggling and I only wish I could help you see exactly how much your support matters to all the players on the team.

Like I said in the beginning, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and I truly hope that this doesn’t become a reality for Cranbrook.

So please, get out and support these young athletes who need you while you still can.

Joey Leach #24

Input from hunters

I am a long time resident and hunter in the East Kootenay and I have been appalled by the decline in our ungulate population in the past several years.

Since I have lived rurally for the past 38 years I have been able to keep an open eye on this decline. I realize that the outdoor clubs and guide outfitters have some input into these new regulations, but I don’t see a vehicle for the majority of hunters.

I have a proposal that I think would remedy this situation. Every year we receive our elk/deer harvest questionnaires with prepaid envelopes. I realize that some contractor probably deals with these stats so my added comments (rants) written on the form don’t go anywhere. So, for a very little added expense, could we add a comment and questionnaire sheet that would allow us to express our points of view?

Getting the input from individual hunters would possibly lead to a more reasonable set of hunting regulations.

Howard West


The many problems

I would like to thank Bill Bennett for his fast, sincere quality reply to my letter on wildlife management.

However let’s face it, this current government has led us down the path of wildlife destruction in our area.

Some examples: Whitetail does over-harvesting, six point elk harvest during the rut, al

lowing guide outfitters larger quotas on bighorn sheep, LEH on moose with no target studies. We target and harvest six point elk and full curl rams very efficiently, leaving very few animals to age. Could you imagine what the human population would look like if we got rid of anyone over the age of thirty? We must allow animals the chance to age, and pass their genes on, habitat migration, and to learn general knowledge from the species.

I will not be attending the March meeting in Cranbrook, because there are too many user groups that want things their way. We should all be thinking of what is best for our wildlife, not self interest, and greed. As a healthy population of wildlife will eventually benefit all.

Bill Bennett’s help to feed the wildlife is a little too late, I’m afraid! Our numbers are so low that hunting season next year should be cancelled, so our children and grandchildren can enjoy wildlife in the future. Let the so called professionals manage and not bend to the user groups.

Bill Bennett also did not address vehicle wildlife collision issues. Sure, building safe wildlife corridors in high impact areas will cost money but look what our government doles out to the Lower Mainland in transportation — it’s about time rural areas got a piece of the pie! Not just where the vote counts! We all spend huge dollars on outdoor activities and are being ripped off by poor wildlife management.

I am now having a Donald Trump moment and going to speak out against guide outfitters — the only true functional access closures are in areas where an outfitter has an interest to keep residents out. They pushed for six point elk and got it, they got bighorn sheep allocations increased so they could book big money hunts all season, and they will hit it hard, harvesting every legal ram in the mountains with no chance of gaining quality mature rams.

On the other hand, resident hunters should be on a “one ram in five year” rule. And what’s up with allowing this long range shooting of big game — where are the ethics in that? Did we get that from the US.?

Barry Vandaelle