Top stories of the year: September-October

Our look back at select top stories of 2015 continues.

On an historic election night

On an historic election night

Sept. 1

Helicopter pilot battled heavy winds, wildfire near Moyie

Residents of Moyie were grateful for the quick response and bravery exhibited in fighting and putting out a wildfire near Moyie on Saturday. The fire was started when a heavy windstorm took out a power pole.

Sept. 3

Grizzly attacks hunter

A grizzly bear attack that occurred Tuesday, Sept. 1, left a man with non-life-threatening injuries. Chad Dueck, of Cranbrook, was recuperating in Foothills Hospital in Calgary. Dueck, who had been bow hunting elk, was airlifted out of Cranbrook late on Sept. 1.

Sept. 8

Refugee crisis a global responsibility

The image of a drowned Syrian toddler, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish beach from one week prior, was a defining image of a refugee crisis widely regarded as the worst since the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing wars in the Middle East and economic strife in Africa, for the most part trying to reach the countries of the European Union.

Sept. 9

Thieves make off with ATM from Trickle Creek Golf Course

Suspects with a plan made an attempt to break into Trickle Creek Golf Course the preceding week, and a day later, were successful breaking into Bootleg Gap, making off with an ATM machine. “They drove a bobcat through the front door at Bootleg Gap, loosened the ATM machine, which was bolted to the floor and took off,” said Kimberley RCMP Cpl. Chris Newel.

Sept. 10

Canfor mill announces coming closure

Canfor announced it would close the the Canal Flats saw mill permanently in early November. The announcement came after layoffs in May that cut 81 jobs from operations that reduced the plant to one shift. Closing permanently will affect the remaining 70 union jobs and 10 management positions, according to Doug Singer, president of the USW Local 1-405.

Sept. 11

Fisherman attacked by grizzly near Canal Flats

A grizzly bear attacked an angler near Canal Flats on Sept. 9. The attack occurred just off Findlay Creek Road, about eight kilometres up.

Conservation Officer Joe Caravetta said the man was walking along a path and startled a young grizzly bear at a distance of about three meters. The man suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Sept. 14

Province okays mine expansion

The provincial government approved an environmental assessment certificate to Teck Coal for a proposed expansion at the Fording River operations. The Swift project, an expansion roughly 20 kilometres north of Elkford, is estimated to produce 170 million tonnes of coal over the next 25 years.

Sept. 15

Body of father of Amber Alert girl found, police suspect homicide

A frantic search continued early Sept. 15 for a missing two-year old girl after her 27-year-old father was found dead of a suspected homicide inside a home in southwestern Alberta. RCMP issued an Amber Alert on Monday, Sept. 14, across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Montana for little Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette before confirming they had found the body of Terry Blanchette in the family home in Blairmore, Alberta.

Sept. 18

What a fabulous Fondo it was

It was another successful weekend out on the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo courses as riders broke out the bicycles and hit the local roads, highways and trails. With over 360 riders from Cranbrook, Kimberley and beyond, such as Alberta and the northwestern U.S., cyclists took on three courses differing in length on Saturday morning, starting and finishing at the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino.

Sept. 21

Vigil held in Cranbrook for Hailey and Terry

A candlelight vigil was organized in Cranbrook’s Rotary Park Saturday, Sept. 19, in honour of Terry Blanchette and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, who were both killed in the Crowsnest Pass community of Blairmore, Alberta.

Sept. 24

Candidates tangle in first public debate

First Nations issues came to the forefront of the federal election on Wednesday night, Sept. 23, at the Ktunaxa Nation Council, which featured a debate between four of five federal party candidates. Bill Green (Green Party), Wayne Stetski (NDP), Don Johnston (Liberal Party) and incumbent David Wilks (Conservative Party) spent two hours discussing Aboriginal issues in a forum moderated by Joe Pierre.

Sept. 28

Host cities chosen for 55+ BC Games

Cranbrook and Kimberley were chosen to host the 2018 55+ BC Games — announced by the province over the weekend.

Sept. 29

Libertarian candidate quits campaign

And then there were four. Christina Yahn, Libertarian candidate in Kootenay-Columbia for the federal election, announced her resignation from the race early Sunday morning, Sept. 27, in an email letter to Kootenay Black Press editors.

Sept. 30

Rural issues brought to the fore

For RDEK board members, it had been a hectic week packed with meetings with provincial government officials. However, it was more than just face time with ministers at UBCM, as resolutions were also debated by delegates representing municipalities and regional districts across the province.

Oct. 1

Mining company purchases mill site

A mining company entered into an agreement with Tembec to buy 38 hectares of property containing the old Cranbrook mill site in the industrial park. MGX Minerals Inc. paid $3.7 million for the land, with the deal official in December.

Oct. 5

Tensions simmer at RDEK over proposed Tie Lake dock

The application for a private dock out at Tie Lake was a hot topic at the Regional District of East Kootenay board meeting. A group of five families — the Tie Five Society — applied to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to build a 13-metre dock into the lake.

Oct. 6

City approves dog park

A new offleash dog park in Cranbrook was approved by the city. The new park will be located on the former grounds of Muriel Baxter Elementary School off 2nd Street South and Victoria Avenue.

Oct. 7

Officers and witnesses take the stand in cop’s firearm trial

The trial of a Cranbrook RCMP officer continued in Cranbrook Supreme Court, as witnesses and responding officers testified in front of Justice Trevor Armstrong and the jury. Richard Drought was charged with careless use or storage of a firearm after the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) looked into a police incident that occurred in Cranbrook in October 2012.

Oct. 8

Idlewild level concerns raised in Cranbrook council

Members of the public brought up concerns around the decommissioning of the Idlewild dam and the lowering of the reservoir, given the coming winter and the effect the low water level could have on turtles and fish.

Oct. 13

Kimberley and Cranbrook celebrated 2018 55+ Games

The coin to determine the naming order of the two hosts of the 2018 55+ BC Games was tossed, coming up in favour of Kimberley and so the games are now known as the Kimberley Cranbrook 55+ BC Games.

Oct. 14

Carjacker takes the stand in cop’s trial

A key witness to the Crown’s case in the trial of an RCMP officer took the stand in Cranbrook Supreme Court. Nickolas Bullock, the man shot at the end of a police pursuit, testified his recollection of events on Oct. 2, 2012 in and around Cranbrook.

Oct. 15

Crown stays charge in RCMP firearms trial

The trial of an RCMP officer ended abruptly as Crown counsel initiated a stay of proceedings on Wednesday morning in Cranbrook Supreme Court. A stay of proceedings is used when Crown counsel does not wish to move forward with prosecution of a charge.

Oct. 16

Ktunaxa takes Jumbo fight to Supreme Court

The ongoing saga in a dispute between the Ktunaxa Nation and a proposed Jumbo Glacier ski resort went to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC).

Oct. 19

New evidence led to stayed charge in Mountie’s trial

After a trial that ran for seven days, Crown counsel abruptly requested a stay of proceedings for an RCMP officer who was charged with careless use of a firearm.

The request capped off a three-year long saga for Richard Drought, a 15-year veteran of the RCMP who was involved in a shooting incident in October 2012 on a rural acreage near the College of the Rockies Gold Creek campus.

Oct. 20

NDP takes tight Kootenay-Columbia race

High drama kept voters in Kootenay-Columbia awake into the small hours, as Conservative David Wilks and New Democrat Wayne Stetski traded the lead down to the last handful of votes in what was one of the tightest contests in the country.

On an historic election night, Monday, October 19, 2015, the riding saw massive voter turnout — more than 73 per cent. With all polls reporting, according to Elections Canada online updates, Kootenay-Columbia, Stetski finished on top by only 285 votes — 23,529 to Wilks’ 23,244.

Oct. 21

Muriel Baxter would be pleased, descendent says

The planned offleash dog park was proposed to be named in honour of Muriel Baxter following a letter received by Cranbrook City Council in the Oct. 19 meeting. A descendent of Muriel Baxter — the Cranbrook resident whose dedication to education was honoured with the naming of the former elementary school — had positive things to say about the city’s plan for a off-leash dog park.

Oct 23

Riding among top 10 for voter turnout

The federal election saw a surge in voter turnout across the country, the province and the southeast corner of B.C. In fact, Kootenay-Columbia was in the top 10 for highest voter turnout in B.C. with 73.8 per cent. That number put it ninth in the province, beating out South Okanagan-West Kootenay which came in at 73.6 per cent.

Oct. 26

Off-road vehicle registration mandatory on Nov. 1

The regulations surrounding off-road vehicles in the province went live on Nov. 1.

The government said the new regulations promote safe and responsible use of the province’s backcountry. That includes provisions on placement of number plates, rules for child operators and safety equipment requirements.

Oct. 28

Hopley planned appeal

A lawyer wanted less time behind bars for a man who abducted a three-year-old boy from his bedroom during a late-night break-in at a home in southeastern British Columbia.

Oct. 29

Cranbrook gets new RCMP commander

The Cranbrook RCMP detachment got a new commander, as S/Sgt. Hector Lee transferred in from the Lower Mainland to replace the outgoing S/Sgt. Dave Dubnyk, who accepted a promotion in Edmonton.

Oct. 30

Joint meeting works out common ground

Cranbrook and Kimberley city councils met to discuss joint initiatives between the two communities.