Salmon Arm  

Secwepemc landmark project plans iconic Shuswap sculptures

Culture and sculpture

Planning is well underway for the design and installation of 14 Secwepemc landmarks and 100 trailhead posts in the Shuswap.

A call for expressions of interest was issued in January, and applications will be accepted until March 6.

The Secwepemc Cultural Tourism Elders Committee (made up from the four local First Nations) is seeking proposals for a main landmark at the Salmon Arm Marine Park.

A seven-foot-tall rock and metal sculpture is envisioned for the site, including First Nations imagery such as petroglyphs, iconography, visual and written stories.

A trailhead post carving artist and instructor is also sought to lead workshops with youth from Grades 6 to 11 in School District 83. The applicant will work with a Secwepemc storyteller and youth to design and carve petroglyphs in 100 trailhead posts.

The first two opening close Feb. 20.

Applications will also be accepted for one Secwepemc sculptor (familiar with rock sculptures) and one non-Secwepemc artist (familiar with metal work) to work on six collaborative sculptures that will be situated permanently on trail systems and access points around Shuswap Lake.

The project will raise awareness of Secwepemc traditional territory and culture with sculptures at key, highly visited areas in the Shuswap.

“This initiative is another way for Secwepemc to create more awareness of our presence within our traditional territory. The sculptures can be a collaboration between Secwepemc and settler artists and the mountain names in both Secwepemc and English will showcase Secwepemc language to the visiting tourists and locals alike. Storyboards, sculptures/landmarks placed on trailheads and other key areas will showcase Secwepemc culture and settler history," says Adams Lake Band Councillor Shelley Witzky.

The Adams Lake, Neskonlith, and Splatsin Indian Bands, Shuswap Tourism, Shuswap Trail Alliance, City of Salmon Arm and Province of B.C. are funding the project.


Scotch Creek needs firefighters - or insurance could skyrocket

More firefighters needed

If more firefighters aren't found, residents of the tiny Shuswap community of Scotch Creek could see their property insurance rates jump.

The Scotch Creek/Lee Creek Fire Department is below mandatory levels of staffing.

"Our fire services are struggling to recruit new members, and that is jeopardizing the ability to maintain critical accreditations that dramatically reduce the insurance rates of our residents," says Derek Sutherland with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

“If we don’t get more members, we are in danger of losing our Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation. If that happens, everyone pays," says Sutherland.

While members can still respond to emergencies, the Celista Fire Department has been called on to supplement fire response in Scotch Creek. 

"The volunteer firefighters we have are truly dedicated to the safety of their community, and they are working very diligently to ensure the community has a good emergency response every time a call comes in. We don't want to burn out those hard-working volunteers," says Sutherland. "We are looking to increase the number of Scotch Creek/Lee Creek firefighters to a number that is healthy and sustainable."

If you're interested, go to www.csrd.bc.ca/firefighterrecruiting or call 250-833-5955. 

Two men were hospitalized following Tuesday's head-on crash

Serious head-on collision

Two men are recovering in Vernon Jubilee Hospital after being involved in a serious head-on crash in Salmon Arm on Tuesday night.

Salmon Arm RCMP reports a black car was travelling north when it collided head-on with a south-bound car.

The driver of the black car, a male in his 30's from Vernon, had to be cut from the wreckage of his vehicle and suffered serious injuries.

A male in his 70's from Armstrong was driving the south-bound car, and sustained non life-threatening injuries.

RCMP and emergency services responded to the collision on Highway 97B in the 7000 block at approximately 9:15 p.m. 

It is unclear how the collision occurred, or which vehicle was in the wrong.

The highway was closed for a period of time to investigate the crash, and RCMP would like to thank the public for patience during this time.

If you witnessed this crash, please contact the Salmon Arm RCMP Detachment at 250-832-6044. 


Meeting to discuss progress on Sorrento-Blind Bay incorporation

Incorporation for Sorrento?

Columbia Shuswap residents will discuss the merits of incorporation for Sorrento-Blind Bay next week.

The Incorporation Advisory Committee meeting will take place Wednesday, 6-8:30 p.m. at the Cedar Heights Community Association Hall in Blind Bay.

Incorporation has been under discussion for almost 20 years, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District notes.

Issues to be discussed include: geographical boundaries, taxation, current government services, population density, future development potential, road networks, property assessments and agricultural land.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing funded the incorporation committee and a study that looked at two options – incorporation vs. division of the current Electoral Area C into two electoral areas.

The district says with population growth in the area, the status quo was not an option. Electoral Area C has a population of approximately 8,000 while some CSRD electoral areas have only 500.

"It would be extremely unusual for the province to allow an electoral area to have two directors. Difficult to govern that way should the two directors disagree," committee meeting notes state.

The meeting will be the first of five dedicated to a review of an incorporation consultants' services.

A decision on incorporation would have to get public approval through a referendum before any change could be made.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting, which will include an opportunity for questions and input.

Air ambulance called to accident near Tappen

Highway 1 now open

UPDATE 2 p.m.

DriveBC is reporting the accident near Tappen has been cleared and the highway is once again open.


Witnesses are telling Castanet an air ambulance had to be called in to an accident on Highway 1 Friday.

According to DriveBC, the highway is closed between Ford Road and Sunnybrae-Canoe Point Road, one km west of Tappen due to a motor-vehicle incident.

An assessment is ongoing and no detour is available.

Vicky Thompson tells Castanet traffic is backed up.

“Not sure how many vehicles involved, but I see one transport truck,” Thompson said. “Air ambulance flew over me landed, loaded and flew over me again heading towards Kamloops. Been 40 minutes stopped so far; not sure how much longer.”

Vernon woman sues Mark's Work Warehouse over pregnant fall

Lawsuit over pregnant fall

A Vernon woman is suing Mark's Work Warehouse and Salmon Arm's Picadilly Place Mall over a fall she claims caused her to need an emergency C-section.

In a notice of civil claim filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Feb. 5, Celeste Shantel Hind claims she tripped over "hazardous and unmaintained shoeboxes" on the floor of the store in 2018, landing on her abdomen. She was 34 weeks pregnant at the time.

The alleged incident happened on Feb. 6, 2018, and Hind was rushed to hospital for an emergency Cesarean birth the same day.

Hind claims injuries including trauma, intrauterine injury, placental abruption, the emergency Cesarean surgery, as well as ongoing headaches, chronic pain, and sleep disturbances. 

Her statement of claim says she continues to suffer discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent disability, that she struggles to maintain household chores, and has to rely on family assistance. 

The claim seeks unspecified financial compensation for general and special damages, past and future health care costs, and an "in-trust claim for family members and others."

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Neither Mark’s nor Piccadilly has responded to the lawsuit yet.

Salmon Arm RCMP release picture of bank robbery suspect

Searching for armed robber

Salmon Arm RCMP have released images from an October 2019 bank robbery.

Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey said on Oct. 21, 2019 shortly after 4:10 p.m., RCMP responded to a report of robbery at a financial institution on Ross Street in Salmon Arm.

“The suspect concealed his identity by wearing a balaclava. He allegedly pointed a handgun at the clerk while demanding money and the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash,” said O'Donaghey.

The robbery suspect is described as a Caucasian male 6’ to 6’ 1 tall with a skinny build, approximately 30-35 years of age.'

He was seen wearing a pair of black Puma track pants, with two grey/white stripes going down each leg, a black winter jacket, black skate shoes, a black balaclava, and a pair of sunglasses and carrying a grey/silver handgun.

“Our investigators remain committed to solving this crime,” said O’Donaghey. “In an attempt to further that investigation and identify our armed robbery suspect, police are now releasing video surveillance footage, which shows the yet to be identified suspect in action.”

Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Salmon Arm RCMP at 250-832-6044. Or remain completely anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Man killed in three-vehicle collision Tuesday evening

Fatal crash on Highway 1

A Shuswap man has died following a three-vehicle accident in Salmon Arm.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West said on Feb. 4 at approximately 7:50 p.m., emergency crews responded to a three-vehicle crash on Highway 1 near 20th Ave NE.

“The investigation determined an east bound Ford F350 pickup truck crossed the centre line and collided with the trailer of a transport truck which was west bound. The pickup truck was damaged and then impacted a second west bound transport truck,” said West.

“The driver of the pickup truck, a man in his 70s from the local area, had to be extricated from the pickup and was transported to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries. The passenger in the pickup truck, also a man in his 70s, was treated at hospital and it is believed that he will make a full recovery.”

The drivers of the semi-trucks were not injured as a result of the collisions.

Both remained at the scene and provided statements as well as their dash-camera video.

“The video was instrumental in understanding what occurred in this collision,” said West, adding the cause of the crash remains under investigation by Salmon Arm RCMP.

Anyone with information useful to the investigation is asked to contact Salmon Arm RCMP at 250-832-6044.

Province looking at what to do with wrecked Shuswap houseboat

What's next for wreck?

Officials are looking into what they can do with a wreck on the shores of Shuswap Lake.

Castanet first reported on a listing houseboat on Jan. 10.

There were some concerns about the environmental impact the houseboat could have if it sunk.

Then on Feb. 1, Castanet learned the houseboat had been hauled to shore.

Unfortunately, the houseboat is currently sitting on the shore near Eagle Bay in pieces.

Officials with the Regional District of Columbia Shuswap said because of the location of the debris, it is a provincial responsibility.

But the province is not sure what they are going to just yet.

“At this time, the Ministries of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Environment and Climate Change Strategy are working together with the Regional District of Columbia Shuswap to determine how to address the situation and determine the next steps forward,” said Dawn Makarowski in a statement from the province.

Salmon Arm murder trial set for the summer

Alleged killer's trial in July

One of the darkest incidents in Salmon Arm's history is headed to trial this summer.

On the morning of April 14, 2019, two people were shot during a service inside Salmon Arm's Church of Christ. Gordon Parmenter, a 78-year-old church elder, was killed, while Paul Derkach was seriously injured.

The shooting left the small town in shock. 

Matrix Gathergood, now 25, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault. He's remained in custody since his arrest.

On Tuesday, the court scheduled Gathergood's three-day trial to begin on July 21, 2020. Despite initially electing to be tried by a jury, Gathergood has since chosen to be tried by a judge alone.

Back in November, a charge of arson of an inhabited property was also laid against Gathergood. The incident is alleged to have occurred on March 14, 2019, exactly one month before the church shooting.

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