Salmon Arm  

Hotel tax for Salmon Arm?

Shuswap Tourism could have additional funds in the next few years to promote Salmon Arm and area.

Mayor Nancy Cooper told 75 local Chamber of Commerce members at her annual state-of-the-city address last week that a hotel tax could generate $136,000 this year and $186,000 in 2018.

“This will go directly to tourism promotion and related projects,” said Cooper.

Salmon Arm contracts Shuswap Tourism for promotion of the region.

Of the 10 Salmon Arm hotels that represent 99 per cent of the city's room capacity, nine agreed to the two per cent tax which has been approved by city council and is awaiting final approval from the province, which only requires 51 per cent involvement to consider a hotel tax.

Barring any unforeseen issues, the tax would be implemented April 1. The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society will administer the funds collected by the province through a five-year municipal regional district business plan.

Cooper said the city will also be taking a closer look at unregulated accommodation options.

“Our hotels pay taxes and have to follow rules, so it’s unfair competition when others don’t have to,” said Cooper, referring to a sharp increase in Airbnb listings in the Shuswap. A search of the popular bed and breakfast site turned up more than 300 listings for the area.

Cooper wouldn’t say what action is being considered, but that it is on council’s radar.

Trump factor a concern

Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper is predicting a steady year for the Shuswap community, but is expressing some concern about external influences.

Cooper spoke to 75 local business people at a Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week, highlighting successes from 2016 and look ahead to this year.

“Our region is highly reliant on the forest industry and any change in the trade relations with the United States could have a serious impact on local jobs,” said Cooper referring to incoming U.S. President Donald Trump’s sabre rattling over softwood lumber.

New mortgage rules, the first-time buyer mortgage program and legalization of marijuana are also on the mayor’s radar for possible external influences to watch.

“There was over $41 million in new construction in Salmon Arm in 2016 and that was mostly residential housing creating a lot of local work,” Cooper said.

She notes council has addressed some of the rental crunch through r-8 zoning which allows for secondary suites or carriage houses on certain properties.

More than 50 applications were approved last year and a 19-home subdivision with blanket r-8 zoning is also in the works.

Looking ahead to this year, Cooper said the largest highway infrastructure program in the history of the area will get underway in the spring. Six kilometers of Highway 1 on the west edge of Salmon Arm will be four laned, including 1.5 kilometers in the city from 1st Avenue SW to 30th Avenue SW. The Salmon River Bridge, frontage roads and intersections will also be upgraded.

Cooper concluded by urging those in attendance to get their cell phones out, snap pictures and take to social media to promote Salmon Arm.  

A harrowing tale of survival

Gracia Burnham will bring her dramatic story of being kidnapped and held by terrorists for more than a year to the Shuswap area.

Burnham and her husband, Martin, spent 13 months in captivity until the June 7, 2002 rescue that left Martin dead and Burnham wounded.

While serving as missionaries in the Philippines with New Tribes Mission, the couple were kidnapped by terrorists, leading to an ordeal fitting a Hollywood script.

Burnham is the author of the New York Times bestselling book In the Presence of My Enemies, and To Fly Again. She is also the founder of the Martin and Gracia Burnham Foundation.

Burnham will be speaking on Tappen Jan. 22-24 and in Salmon Arm Jan. 25.

Shuswap poachers busted

Shooting a cow moose has landed a couple of suspected Shuswap poachers in hot water.

On Thursday evening, area conservation officers responded to a tip from the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line that a female moose had been illegally shot near Salmon Arm.

CO Tanner Beck said two people were located along with the dead moose and are facing possible poaching charges.

“They are not in season right now,” said Beck of the female moose that can only be shot during hunting season – which is over – and only with a limited entry ticket.

Beck said the matter is still under investigation and could not say what charges the unidentified suspects are facing. The carcass, two firearms as well as other hunting-related items used in the commission of the offence were confiscated.

Provisions in the Wildlife Act allow for a poachers hunting licence to be cancelled for up to 30 years, following conviction.

A poacher may also be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment, which could be:

  • Up to $25,000 and/or six months imprisonment for the majority of offences under the Wildlife Act
  • Up to $50,000 and/or six months imprisonment for offences that could harm the wildlife resource or that reflect serious unethical practices related to illegal hunting or trapping
  • $1,000 to $100,000 and/or one year imprisonment for offences related to the illegal trade in live wildlife or killing endangered species

Rig hits car, car hits truck

Emergency crews in Salmon Arm were kept busy Wednesday with a pair of accidents.

On Jan. 18, at 2:30 p.m. Salmon arm RCMP and ambulance crews were called to a collision on the Trans-Canada Highway near Ross Road NE.

“Investigation revealed a pickup and a passenger car were stopped at a red light in the curb lane while eastbound,” said Staff Sgt. Scott West. “A semi-truck with a load of lumber was following too closely and rear-ended the car, which then vaulted forward and struck the pickup truck.”

The driver of the semi-trailer was served a violation ticket under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act.

“The driver of the passenger car was transported to Shuswap Lakes General Hospital to be checked over as a precaution,” said West. “The damage to the pickup truck and semi-tractor was minor, but the passenger car was heavily damaged in the front and rear.”

Three hours later, crews were once again called to an accident, this time at the intersection of 3rd Street NW and Lakeshore Drive NW.

“The investigation revealed that a CP (Canadian Pacific) snow-removal vehicle had been working on the tracks and a southbound Toyota SUV crossed the tracks at the same time. There was a collision as a result,” said West, adding the investigation has been referred to CP police and, with the assistance of the local detachment, will be following up on the incident.

Rescued after cliff fall

UPDATE: 9:25 a.m.

Vernon's winch rescue team on board a BC Air Rescue helicopter winched a snow biker to safety at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after the man spent the night outside in the Shuswap backcountry.

"He had snowmobiled over a cliff," explained Ian Wilson, vice-president of Wildcat Helicopters. "He was uninjured, but cold from his night out in the snow."

The rescue happened five miles southeast of Sicamous, in the Morton Peak area.

Wilson said the snow biker was airlifted to Silver Star ski hill with two responders.

Vernon and Shuswap search and rescue volunteers spent the night on snowmobiles and snowshoes searching through steep and dangerous terrain for the man.

The machine was damaged in the fall and will likely be airlifted out under contract to the owner.

Original story 8:06 a.m.

A missing snow biker was located by a search team and air lifted out of the Shuswap backcountry by chopper Tuesday morning.

Vernon Search & Rescue joined searchers in the Shuswap looking for the missing male in the Hunter's Range area after a request for mutual aid about 7:30 p.m. Monday.

"Search teams on snowmobile and snowshoes tracked the subject through the night into steep, dangerous terrain," said Trevor Honigman, VSAR spokesperson.

Castanet has been told that a young Vernon man went missing while out snow biking with a group in the Kingfisher-Mara area yesterday.

VSAR's specialized helicopter winch team airlifted the man out of a steep and forested area.

Arrest after relative stabbed

A man from Malakwa has been arrested for assault with a weapon following the stabbing of a male relative in his home.

Late last Saturday night, RCMP in Sicamous responded to a 911 call from a residence on Bloomquist Road in Malakwa.

Police arrived on scene to find a 33-year-old male victim who had been stabbed. 

Officers arrested a 34-year-old man who was also at the scene.

The victim and suspect were both residents of the home and related to each other, according to Sgt. Murray McNeil, commanding officer of the Sicamous detachment.

"The investigation determined an argument allegedly began inside the residence between the two men which resulted in the victim being stabbed," McNeil said in a press release.

The victim suffered non-life threatening stab wounds to the arm and chest and was released from Salmon Arm Hospital.

"The suspect was also transported to hospital for treatment of minor injuries before he was lodged in cells."

Police have not named the suspect but say he has been released from custody and is expected to appear in court on Feb. 25 in Salmon Arm. 

Sicamous super for sledding

It's known as the Houseboat Capital of Canada and now Sicamous can lay claim to a winter title.

The Shuswap community near Salmon Arm was named the snoriderswest.com's Sledtown Showdown Champion of Western Canada for 2017.

Yorkton, Sask., was the runner up in the annual contest that has the public vote on their favourite area to hit the powder.

Close to 15,000 people voted in the third-annual contest.

The Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club maintains four separate sledding areas and said on its website members are “proud and honoured” to receive the award. “A huge thank you to all the sledders that voted for us, we will work hard to show our appreciation this season.”

Respected chief mourned

A respected First Nations leader has died.

Arthur Manuel, 66, passed away Wednesday, shocking many people and generating numerous tributes.

Members of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs said they are are “deeply and profoundly saddened to hear of the sudden and unexpected passing” of Manuel.

Manuel served for many years as Chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band and chairman of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, as well as leader and spokesman for the Interior Alliance.

He was also a member of the UBCIC's Chief Council.

A statement from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs said: “Arthur Manuel was, without question, one of Canada's strongest and most outspoken indigenous leaders in the defence of our indigenous land and human rights. He travelled extensively throughout Canada, North America and around the world in his unwavering and relentless efforts to champion the cause of our indigenous rights. He relentlessly worked on land claim issues, calling for change to Canada's fundamental flawed policy on indigenous land claims.

“Arthur's legacy will continue to reverberate throughout our ongoing indigenous history for many, many generations to come.”

A statement from the family said a wake will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 13-14, and services on Sunday Jan. 15 at the Adams Lake Indian Band gymnasium Chase.

2 injured in head-on crash

RCMP say two Salmon Arm residents were seriously hurt in a head-on collision on Highway 1 in Tappen on Monday afternoon.

Emergency services rushed to the scene about 3:30 p.m.

"The police investigation revealed that a westbound gray passenger car lost control on the snow covered TransCanada Highway and crossed into the eastbound lane where it collided with an eastbound Chevrolet van, " said Staff Sgt. Scott West, head of the Salmon Arm detachment.

Both vehicles were demolished in the head on collision and both drivers injured.

"The male driver of the van was also trapped in his vehicle," said West, who explained the man had to be cut out of the van.

Both drivers were transported to Shuswap Lakes Hospital suffering from non life threatening but potentially serious injuries, said West.

The crash closed the highway for over an hour as officers investigated the scene.

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