Salmon Arm  

Processing plant protest

A group of animal rights activists are claiming that two of its members were assaulted during a protest outside  a Salmon Arm meat processing facility. 

The members claim that the owner of Rocana Meats physically assaulted a man and a woman while they were participating in a peaceful protest. 

RCMP confirm officers were called to the meat processing facility on Dec. 4, the night the alleged assault took place, to find a little more than a dozen protesters. 

Police say the protesters had stopped a truck that was arriving with cargo for processing.

"Police were called to investigate an alleged assault after the operator of the site removed protesters from in front of the vehicle," stated Staff Sgt. Scott West. " No arrests were made at the site ... and the local RCMP Detachment investigation is ongoing."

The group claims they were there to pay final respects to a truckload of pigs headed for slaughter. 

"As per practice, two activists dressed in reflective safety vests carrying orange wand flashlights held up an oversized stop sign which read 'Two Minutes Please' and another sign 'We are here to say goodbye' as the truck turned the corner and slowed to a stop," wrote a member of the group Okanagan Animal Save in a statement to media. 

"We saw the truck pulling onto the road and then the owner came swerving around the corner and almost hit a bunch of us in his personal vehicle. He slammed on the brakes, blocking the semi-truck on the road, jumped out and he rushed towards us yelling and swearing."

In the letter addressed to the media, the group states that at one point the driver jumped out of his truck and rushed at one female activist. 

"As this was unfolding the rest of the group was able to safely approach the side of the truck and observed the pigs in the trailer, obtaining video footage and still photos of the 6-month-old pigs."

The group claims it had sent a letter to the owner of the meat processing plant declaring their intentions.

This is not the first time these activists have protested out front of Rocana Meats.  

According to the owner Dave DeBoer, they have protested out front of his processing plant at least half-a-dozen times. 

"The first time they showed up I was surprised," explains DeBoer. "They were calling us killers and that we are cruel. I'm not cruel or a killer. I provide meat to people and we employee 25 people."

DeBoer says this particular incident escalated because the protesters were obstructing his driver from getting past. 

He also claims that the protesters were hanging off the truck and taking pictures of the animals inside before the physical confrontation, which DeBoer says was just a slap on the is wrist of one of the protesters.

"Protest all you want, but keep it civil and don't harras anybody," says DeBoer. "What would have happened if one of them fell off the truck? Who would be in trouble then?"

DeBoer claims he has had an employee tell him he won't cross the blockade out of fear for personal safety.

"He wouldn't dare go into the barricade because he felt threatened." 

The activists state in their letter to media that it won’t be the last time they attend the Rocana Meats' plant. 

"We are hopeful though that at the next vigil we will see more cooperation from the owner and truck drivers."


Man dies snowmobiling

A Sunday snowmobiling trip north of Sicamous ended in tragedy.

A 51-year old man is dead after his snowmobile rolled into a creek bed pinning him underneath.

RCMP say the Sicamous man was guiding a group of five other riders in the early afternoon near the Queest Mt Forest Service Road area when the accident happened.  

Despite the CPR efforts by the group, the man succumbed to his injuries.

"The Shuswap Search and Rescue Team (SSAR) was activated by the Sicamous RCMP and were able to get to locate the group and confirmed the fatality," stated Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. "The SSAR technicians were able to get the other snowmobilers out of the area, however, the removal of the deceased was not possible at that time due to the terrain, darkness and weather conditions."

Police are providing support to the man’s next of kin.

"The Sicamous RCMP continues to assist the BC Coroners Service with their investigation into the incident and the man’s death," stated Moskaluk. 

"Efforts to remove the deceased are to resume on Monday."

No further information is being released by RCMP or the Coroners Service at this time.

Busy weekend for crashes

It was a busy weekend for Salmon Arm RCMP responding to multiple vehicle crashes.

The first call came in on Dec. 7 just after 7 a.m. when emergency crews were called to the scene of a single-vehicle rollover at Sunnybrae Canoe Pt. Road on the Trans Canada Highway.

Luckily the driver and only occupant of the vehicle walked away uninjured.

On Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. police responded to a collision at Lakeshore Dr. NE and Alexander St. NE where the operator of a scooter hit the drivers side of a pickup truck in the intersection.

The driver of the scooter suffered minor injuries and went to the hospital for precautionary measures.

No charges were laid at the scene.

On Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. police, fire and ambulance crews arrived on scene to a single vehicle collision where a semi-truck left the highway at 70th Ave. NE and Highway 1.

The semi lost control in snowy conditions and went off the road into Canoe Creek.

The driver and passenger were taken to Shuswap Lakes General Hospital with injuries.

RCMP are reminding the public to take extra care when driving in hazardous conditions.


36-foot trailer stolen

A 36-foot trailer was stolen early Friday morning in Salmon Arm.

Between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m. a trailer was stolen from 3101 10th Avenue SW.  

The new travel trailer was a Salem Villa Classic and is described as a "Park Model" trailer with a set of sliding glass doors under the awning and three large windows in the front.

Surveillance video in the area showed a dark-coloured, dual rear wheel pickup was seen towing the trailer off the lot just after 4 a.m.

The truck then proceeded west on Highway 1, while towing the trailer.

If anyone sees this trailer or knows of its whereabouts please call 911, their local police or crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) to report the location.

Generosity is contagious

Generosity was contagious at the Shuswap Women Who Wine second quarterly Community Giving event.

The structure of the event is simple: each of the attendees contributed $100 to the donation pool and then voted by secret ballot after hearing about projects from the North Okanagan Shuswap Brain Injury Society, Shuswap Area Family Emergency Society, and the Salmon Arm Rescue Unit.

The organization with the most votes receives 80 per cent of the donations, and the two runner ups each receive 10 per cent. But, the evening took an unexpected turn when Carlene Duczek from NOSBIS told attendees if NOSBIS received the most votes, they would split the windfall with their competitors.

The offer created a domino effect of generosity when another attendee, Melissa Franklin owner of Playcare Early Childhood Centre in Salmon Arm, offered to help the SAFE Society complete their project, estimated to cost $5,163, to support their PEACE Program and revitalize their children’s group room.

Kathleen Seeley then stood up and asked the room to pull together an additional $1,300 for NOSBIS to cover the cost of their Mobility Aid Project that had been presented.

Tim and Dawn Alstad, from the Salmon Arm Rescue Unit, then announced they would personally donate an additional $100 to each of their competitors, regardless of who received the most votes.

In the end, NOSBIS received a majority vote, resulting in the $7,730 split three ways between the organizations in addition to the extra $200 from the Alstads, the additional $1,300 raised for NOSBIS and the $2,600 Franklin will be donating directly to the SAFE Society to complete their project.

Anyone interested in joining the monthly women’s networking group or would like to nominate a local organization for the next community giving event in March can email [email protected].

Not the average homebuyers

Police have caught up with a couple posing as interested homebuyers but were actually stealing family jewelry.

September 10 and October 11, RCMP received seven different complaints from homeowners reporting thefts of jewelry and money from their homes.

The homeowners all had homes listed for sale in the Salmon Arm area.

"The investigation thus far has revealed the suspects, a male and female couple, posed as potential buyers who would attend the residences ranging in listed values between $635,000 and $1,200,000," stated Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.  "A large amount of men's and women's jewelry was stolen during the home showings, some of which has since been recovered."

"Much of the jewelry has significant sentimental value with estimated losses exceeding the tens of thousands in value," stated Staff Sgt. Scott West of the Salmon Arm RCMP.

"The male and female suspects, of no fixed address, have since been located, arrested and released to attend Salmon Arm Provincial Court in the new year. 

The Salmon Arm General Investigative Section is handling the investigation with numerous charges being contemplated under the Criminal Code including Theft Under $5000, Theft Over $5000 and Possession of Stolen Property.

Rasta gets real - on TV

His name is Mike Hall, but many people know him as Rasta Blasta.

Hall earned the nickname because of his long blonde dreadlocks.

But he will soon be known for something else – his own reality TV show.

Rust Valley Restorers will follow the exploits of Hall as he, his son and his friends restore muscle cars to their former glory.

Hall first landed in the public eye when he was selling his Tappen acreage two years ago, complete with some 400 vehicles in various states of repair.

He quickly became a media star and it wasn't long after that he was approached about hosting the reality TV show that will be based at his Shuswap area property known as Rust Valley.

Hall has been collecting cars for more than 40 years.

“I used to say I owned the cars, but now the cars own me,” said Hall with a laugh in an interview with Castanet last year.

A rock scaler by trade, Hall collected his treasures from back roads and farm yards across the province.

“I've been to every back road in B.C.,” said Hall.

Rust Valley Restorers airs on Dec. 6 at 10 p.m. on the History Channel.

Possible abduction attempt

Salmon Arm RCMP are warning the public after it received a report on Saturday of a possible abduction of a 7 year old.

Police say the alleged abduction attempt happened in the area of 18th St SE and 20th St. SE. 

"The child reported that a male dressed all in black wearing a mask, a black tuque, and driving a red vehicle attempted to get her to enter his vehicle by taking hold of her arm," state Sgt. Scott West. 

"The child ran into a park and the red car left the area on 20th Street SE. 

The child then went home and reported the incident. The child was unharmed.

"The police were able to learn from the child that the male spoke with an accent, had a gray beard and may have had a brown skin tone," stated West.

School District 83 has sent out information to parents as provided by the RCMP.

Land staying in ALR

A 49-hectare parcel of land at the corner of the Trans-Canada Highway and Balmoral Road in Blind Bay will remain in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The Agricultural Land Commission refused the application. 

The Columbia-Shuswap Regional District had intended to purchase 13.6 hectares of the land to develop a community wastewater treatment storage pond for the purpose of providing spray irrigation to nearby farms as crop fertilizer.

The plan was for the current owners to retain the remainder of the property for a town centre development.

The October 22, 2018 decision from the ALC noted that while 12.5 hectares of the property is not suitable for agriculture, it did not justify the removal of the entire property from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

"This decision limits the ability of the CSRD to advance a community sewer system in the area, as other possible sewer options have already been studied extensively. The other alternatives were deemed not feasible for various reasons. This Balmoral proposal was being viewed as the last remaining viable option," stated the CSRD in a press release.

The property owners have up to one year to appeal the ALC decision.

Logging truck loses its load

A logging truck lost its load on the Trans Canada Highway Tuesday afternoon.

At about 4:45 p.m. Chase RCMP arrived on scene to find a logging truck that had lost its load at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway and Squilax Anglemont Road in Lee Creek.

After investigating police found that a mechanical failure caused the logs to fall off the trailer.  

Traffic control personnel flagged traffic through the intersection while the road was cleared.  

No one was believed to be injured in the incident.

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