Trail Times Year in Review: December

Photo: UnsplashPhoto: Unsplash
Patricia Nutini was pleasantly surprised to see a bobcat on her back door step Thursday (Dec. 1) afternoon. “I thought it might be a bobcat because of the ears,” she shares. “Then it turned around and it didn’t have a tail!”Patricia Nutini was pleasantly surprised to see a bobcat on her back door step Thursday (Dec. 1) afternoon. “I thought it might be a bobcat because of the ears,” she shares. “Then it turned around and it didn’t have a tail!”
L-R: Ann Godderis, Jan Beck, Noma Kurulok, Olivia Folvik, and Patsy Harmston gathered at Trail FAIR on a snowy Monday, to tie-up last minute details for the White Ribbon Campaign. Missing from the photo are Nadia Usher and Katie Laramie.L-R: Ann Godderis, Jan Beck, Noma Kurulok, Olivia Folvik, and Patsy Harmston gathered at Trail FAIR on a snowy Monday, to tie-up last minute details for the White Ribbon Campaign. Missing from the photo are Nadia Usher and Katie Laramie.
Carlene Pires is the first female captain within Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue Service. Photo: SubmittedCarlene Pires is the first female captain within Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue Service. Photo: Submitted
Cold temperatures descended on Trail setting near record lows on Dec. 21, the first day of winter. Photo: Jim BaileyCold temperatures descended on Trail setting near record lows on Dec. 21, the first day of winter. Photo: Jim Bailey
Crews are working through the night as heavy snow blankets the City of Trail the last weeks of 2023. Photo: Sheri RegnierCrews are working through the night as heavy snow blankets the City of Trail the last weeks of 2023. Photo: Sheri Regnier

December 2022

— After two years of holding the event virtually due to pandemic restrictions, the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Health Foundation is looking forward to seeing their generous donors and patrons in real time when Light-Up The Hospitals! Pledge Day returns live and in-person to Waneta Plaza on Friday, Dec. 2.

— Fans at the Trail Smoke Eaters home game on Friday will be asked to wear white ribbons, given out by members of the local VAWIR (Violence Against Women in Relationships) committee. With Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action to End Violence Against Women nearing on Tuesday, Dec. 6, the White Ribbon Campaign is a simple but powerful way to recognize the profound weight of Dec. 6, and to remember all women affected by violence and to reflect on what can be done to help end that violence.

— The Trail RCMP asks the community for patience and compassion after a local woman, 35, dies of a suspected drug overdose. Following this report was the latest findings from the BC Coroners Service, revealing another 179 lives were lost to B.C.’s toxic drug supply in October. In total in 2022 so far, 1,827 people have died from toxic drugs.

— Up to 300 people walk through the doors of the Trail and District Public Library every day, showing the downtown hub remains a bustling place for all ages to access to in-person programming (98), virtual programming (4) or simply to take out a book or log onto the internet. These statistics came up at Trail council Monday night which began with library director Samantha Murphy, and library board member Jeff Jones, presenting a rundown on Riverfront Centre operations. Murphy ended with the proposal of a four per cent budget increase for 2023, citing inflationary realities.

— After 14-years of screening movies at the Royal Theatre in downtown Trail, owners Jason and Lisa Milne considered selling the heritage landmark following a series of traumatic experiences in recent months. Recent letters to the editor, phone calls and visits from countless residents, clearly show wide-spread support for the Milnes. “The community has basically said, ‘Please, please don’t sell,” said Lisa. “That has really helped us re-look at this decision, and say okay maybe we have some solutions coming on to help improve downtown.”

— Results from the 2022 children’s blood lead testing clinic show that the average blood lead level for children aged six months to three years in Trail and Rivervale is 2.3 micrograms per decilitre (µg/dL) — lower than results from the previous year. The downward trend continues with the average remaining below 3.0 µg/dL in the past five years: 2.5 µg/dL in 2021; 2.3 µg/dL in 2020; 2.6 µg/dL in 2019; and 2.9 µg/dL in 2018.

— Selkirk College’s Trail Campus will start a new Practical Nursing Diploma Program in January 2023. With only weeks until the two-year diploma program begins, the college announces the class of 24-seats has a few spaces open.

— Gaslighting — behavior that’s mind manipulating, grossly misleading, downright deceitful — is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year. Lookups for the word on merriam-webster.com increased 1,740 per cent in 2022 over the year before.

— Snowfall across the province — but especially on B.C.’s South Coast last week — has led to a sudden increase in reported ICBC claims.

— FortisBC announces electric rates are set to change as of Jan. 1, 2023 with an interim approval for a 3.98 per cent general rate increase. For a residential electric customer with an average use of approximately 1,100 kilowatt hours per month of electricity, FortisBC said this equates to about $7.62 more per month.

— After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, Santa will be flying in on Saturday, Dec. 10 to be a special guest in the City of Trail’s Santa Parade.

— British Columbia’s property assessment agency is warning homeowners that figures released next month estimating the value of their home will likely be higher than the current market price. BC Assessment says most owners can expect to see a five to 15 per cent rise in values when notices are issued Jan. 3. However, those figures are based on the real estate market as of July 1, 2022, and conditions have changed. Since then, interest rates have continued to rise while overall sales volumes have declined.

— Interior Health (IH) says they never had the intention of closing the Boundary District Hospital ER. The announcement follows a statement where local elected officials called for urgent action from the province regarding the possible closure of the ER. IH also introduced a series of new financial incentives to bring more frontline health care workers to the Grand Forks area.

— The City of Rossland will not be grooming Centennial Trail until they are able to find a machine and a plan that fits council’s requirements. The city investigated options on renting the equipment and explored other partnerships with winter trail grooming businesses and societies but received no interest.

— Attention birders, the local Christmas Bird Count is coming Sunday, Dec. 18. Started in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is North America’s longest running Citizen Science project.

— Katrine Conroy, veteran Kootenay West New Democrat, said she was surprised she was appointed finance minister in Premier David Eby’s new cabinet. Conroy inherits a budget with a projected surplus of $5.7 billion this year, but the good times are not expected to last, with private and government forecasters saying B.C.’s economic growth will dip to less than one per cent next year.

— Food prices in Canada will continue to escalate in the new year, with grocery costs forecast to rise up to seven per cent in 2023. For a family of four, the total annual grocery bill is expected to be $16,288 — $1,065 more than it was this year. A single woman in her 40s — the average age in Canada — will pay about $3,740 for groceries next year while a single man the same age would pay $4,168, according to Statistics Canada.

— A West Kootenay property owner is seeking fair compensation for landowners across the province. Pend d’Oreille resident Jim Urquhart is putting out the call to B.C. landowners who have electrical transmission line right-of-ways on their private property, to come together and discuss what the government and civil society have determined constitutes fair, owed land-use compensation.

— Interior Health has acknowledged that patients at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) have been treated in the hallways in recent weeks after anonymous staff raised concerns over staffing and capacity levels.

— The Lower Columbia Community Health Centre Network (Network) has earned its nonprofit status and been given the green light to improve the model for primary health care in the Greater Trail area.

— Just in time for Christmastime travel, the Coquihalla Highway has reopened to four lanes after temporary repairs were finished at three bridges destroyed in the atmospheric river in November 2021.

— An economic contribution report released by Teck Resources Ltd. on Tuesday, Trail operations has generated $1.1 billion in total economic contributions to the area; created or sustained over 3,455 jobs (direct and indirect); and contributed $21.4 million in taxes and government revenues to governments at direct, indirect and induced levels.

— The province has released a progress report on surgeries, showing that surgery volumes are exceeding pre-pandemic levels, and almost all surgeries postponed by multiple waves of COVID-19 have now been completed.

— The man who allegedly opened fire at Trail RCMP and paramedics had previously spent 11 months in a Quebec prison for manslaughter. Earlier this month, Trail RCMP officially recommended charges of attempted murder against Francis Paradis, 29, who allegedly shot a gun at two police officers and three paramedics at the Trail Ambulance Station on Oct. 25.

— Carlene Pires becomes the first-ever female Captain within the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue Service.

— Canada’s ban on the manufacture and import for sale of plastic items, including grocery bags and straws, has taken effect. Companies can no longer produce or bring into Canada plastic checkout bags, cutlery, stir sticks, straws and takeout containers — and in a year, it will also be illegal to sell them.

— With four people dead and seven others still in hospital Tuesday (Dec. 27), questions are swirling around who is to blame for the Christmas Eve coach bus crash along B.C.’s Okanagan Connector. Transportation minister Rob Fleming said road conditions on Highway 97c weren’t unusual for a winter storm Saturday evening, and says the thoroughfare had been plowed and salted regularly throughout the day.

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