Salmon Arm  

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue will finally be getting a much needed permanent facility in the Shuswap

New rescue facility

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue is getting a new facility in Sicamous.

The volunteer non-profit organization provides on-water search and rescue services within British Columbia, through its 31 stations.

On May 19, 2012, RCMSAR Station 106 Shuswap was officially commissioned, and within hours, vessel Rescue One and crew were dispatched on the first mission, a medical emergency.

Over the next several years, the vessels were moored at a dock year-round, prepared to respond to any emergency call.

There has been ongoing discussions about the need for a boathouse to safeguard and maintain the rescue vessels, and earlier this week, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the new facility.

Shuswap Lifeboat Society began setting aside personal, corporate and service club donations in 2014, and in 2017 the planning for a floating facility, as well as dedicated fundraising, began in earnest.

“These efforts have culminated in 2022, with over $100,000 accumulated in our restricted account for the rescue base, and receiving approval for a construction loan,” said Bruce Weicker, president of the Shuswap Lifeboat Society.

“The Columbia Shuswap Regional District, and member municipalities, the City of Salmon Arm, and the District of Sicamous are supporting this initiative by providing debt servicing for the loan. With the final piece of the financial plan in place, the awarding of a $250,000 grant by the BC Community Gaming Branch, we are now poised to proceed with construction in June.”

Station Leader Rob Sutherland said he is “excited about finally being able to centralize all of our assets in one protected area. The boathouse will save us time when deploying, provides security, and will protect our expensive rescue vessels from the harshness of winter and searing summer sun.”

Pat Gau, society vice-president said, “Using marine-grade aluminum and steel for structural stability will ensure our rescue base is sustainable for decades, and we are building it with Green in Mind.”

With no sod to turn over, the ground-breaking will be a symbolic first weld to an aluminum component of the rescue base by Rob Sutherland, who was Station Leader during the launch in 2012.


Salmon Arm man wins $500,000 by matching all four numbers on Lotto Max Extra

Four numbers = big money

Four numbers turned into big bucks for a Salmon Arm man.

Michael Heater was convinced his eyes were playing tricks on him when he saw his Lotto Max ticket from the May 3 draw matched all four Extra numbers — netting him the top prize of $500,000.

“I was in my office when I checked my tickets and thought, ‘This can’t be real,” he said. “I called BCLC right away.”

Heater couldn’t wait to share the news with his close family and friends.

“I’ve told a lot of people already,” he said.

Although Heater currently doesn’t have many concrete plans for his prize, he does have his eyes on a new truck.

And how does it feel to win half a million dollars?

“Exciting and so surreal. It will relieve some worries, but I’ve always just played for fun,” he added.

Heater purchased his ticket from Hideaway Liquor Store on Lakeshore Drive.

Head-on crash involving semis on Hwy 1 sends both drivers to hospital

Two truckers hurt in crash

A head-on crash involving two semi trucks on the Trans Canada Highway in the Shuswap Wednesday resulted in injuries to both drivers.

Emergency crews were called to the crash at 6:15 p.m. on Highway 1 just west of Bernie Road.

One of the truck drivers was trapped in the wreck and required the services of Eagle Valley Rescue to be extracted. An air ambulance transported one of the drivers to hospital, while the other was taken by ground to Shuswap Lakes General Hospital.

“Both trucks were heavily damaged and had to be towed from the scene. The highway was closed as the wreckage was removed,” said S/Sgt. Scott West.

Salmon Arm RCMP continue to investigate the collision.


Shuswap man awarded more than $1 million after hitting a steel chain strung across a dirt road

$1.3M after hitting chain

A Shuswap man has been awarded more than $1 million after being 'clotheslined' by a metal chain while riding his dirt bike.

Cody Jackson was almost killed when he rode into a chain that had been strung across a dirt road on his neighbour's large rural property.

In a recent decision, a BC Supreme Court judge awarded Jackson $1.3 million for the incident that happened on private property near his parent's home in Mara, and left him with permanent, life-altering injuries.

Jackson shattered his pelvis, cracked an eye socket, broke both his arms and received nerve damage to his right leg.

He also suffered a concussion and spent two months in hospital, followed by a long period of rehabilitation.

"The chain was a heavy metal link chain, grey in colour, which would have been all but invisible to the plaintiff," Justice Frits Verhoeven said wrote in his decision.

"Fortunately, when he struck the chain, he was upright, standing on the motorcycle. Had he been seated, the accident could have been fatal.”

Jackson took legal action against the property owner, Adam Lindsay, who did not attend the trial.

In his published decision, Verhoeven wrote that Jackson was riding the “motorcycle on an unpaved road on property occupied and beneficially owned by Mr. Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay became the registered owner” a few days after the accident on May 16, 2018.

“When the accident happened, Mr. Jackson was 26 years of age and in exceptionally good health,” Verhoeven said.

“Mr. Jackson has suffered profound, life-altering negative consequences to his physical and mental health, and his enjoyment of life, as a result of the accident injuries. Previously he was fit, strong, and healthy. He was independent. He enjoyed life and had an optimistic outlook. He was in a long-term relationship with good future prospects. His work and career were proceeding very well. He enjoyed vigorous and energetic outdoor and recreational activities.

“He now has chronic pain. He relies on painkillers (Advil), which he uses frequently. His injuries to his hips, arms, right leg, ankle and wrists are permanent. He faces a potential for progression of the post-traumatic osteoarthritic changes in both of his hips, and it is likely that he will require future treatment, which could be injections or hip replacement surgeries.”

Verhoeven noted after the accident, Jackson separated from his long-time girlfriend and his parents said he has changed since the incident.

"His personality has changed. He was formerly happy and optimistic, and sociable, although somewhat shy," Verhoeven said. "He is now unhappy, withdrawn, and unable or unwilling to engage in social activities to anything like the former extent."

The incident also had a profound effect on Jackson's job as a crane operator.

Lindsay was also ordered to pay the provincial government more than $170,000 under the Healthcare Costs Recovery Act.

The full decision can be found here.

RCMP seek leads on Salmon Arm assault after three women groped

Attacker groped 3 women

Police in Salmon Arm are seeking information on a sexual assault.

On Thursday, about 5 p.m., three young women near the corner of 30th Street NE and 9th Ave NE in Salmon Arm were sexually assaulted by an unknown man

The suspect ran away towards the Trans-Canada Highway, and the victims immediately called police.

The man is described as Caucasian, about six feet tall with a medium build, not clean-shaven, and had a raspy voice.

The suspect groped all three women before fleeing.

Police patrolled the area, but were unable to locate the man, who was last seen wearing a surgical mask, dark hoodie, baggy sweatpants and sunglasses with the colours blue and green.

Salmon arm RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the suspect.

Anyone with information or dashcam or surveillance video from the area, or who saw someone matching the suspect description is asked to call Salmon Arm RCMP at 250-832-6044.

Bail denied for man accused in 2016 murder near Salmon Arm

Accused killer denied bail

Bail has been denied for a man charged with murder in the 2016 death of a woman near Salmon Arm.

Derek Lee Matthew Favell, 39, is facing one count of second-degree murder in relation to the death of 31-year-old Ashley Simpson.

Favell was arrested and charged in December.

His bail hearing took place last month in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops. Evidence presented at the hearing is protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

In a decision Thursday morning, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gary Weatherill denied Favell’s bid for release. The publication ban also covers the judge's reasons.

Simpson lived in the Yankee Flats area near Silver Creek before she was reported missing in April 2016.

Favell has elected to be tried by a judge and jury in B.C. Supreme Court, though a date for his trial will not be set for some time.

Lawyers are slated to return to Salmon Arm provincial court on June 7 to set a date for his preliminary inquiry.

Stunt riders will take centre stage at Salmon Arm's Salty Dog Street Festival

Trials Stars to shine

Trials cycling stars will show off their skills in Salmon Arm this weekend.

Bicycle trick riders Jeff Anderson and Steve Dickin of The Trials Stars will take to the streets of the Shuswap community during the Salty Dog Street Festival on Saturday.

Bike trials is an individual sport that incorporates use of a special bicycle which the rider must manoeuvre and balance to ride specially designed artificial or natural obstacles.

As a team, each partner works together to explain the move the other is making for the audience, so they understand the objectives moving through sections with as little physical contact with the ground as possible, hence obtaining minimum penalty points in competition.

Both Anderson and Dickin have been performing trials shows since 2004.

They have performed countless demos, opening for the band Swollen Members, CEOs and motocross teams. They have also competed for Canada in China, Australia, New Zealand and Italy.

The show features the two riders, hopping to and from boxes anywhere from four to eight feet high, balancing on skinny beams and even using their trailer as a prop.

Putting on the shows has its dangers, but the two riders have gone reasonably unscathed in their years of riding.

“We haven’t had anything really serious, mostly sprains and cuts on the shins, but no broken bones,” says Dickin.

There will be two shows on Saturday, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Young riders will also have a chance to win a lunch meet-and-greet with the stars.

Kids can enter a colouring contest for a chance to win a prize pack and lunch with the team. Pick up the colouring page at Ian Gray’s Salmon Arm GM, Skookum Cycle or download it from the Salty Dog Facebook page.

For more information on all events and activities at the Salty Dog weekend, click here.

Firefighters from across BC to gather in Salmon Arm for training conference

Hot times for firefighters

Salmon Arm will be the "hottest" place in the province this weekend.

Firefighters from across the province are gathering in the Shuswap city for the BC Fire Training Officers Association conference.

The event, hosted by Columbia Shuswap Regional District Fire Services and the Salmon Arm Fire Department, will see up to 150 fire training officers in attendance.

The six-day conference will offer hands-on training, educational workshops and networking opportunities, ensuring delegates have the most up-to-date course information and knowledge of training requirements.

Topics include aerial firefighting strategies, surface water rescue, rope rescue, dealing with drug labs, and managing fires in rail cars, electric vehicles, underground vaults and power substations.

"It's wonderful to be welcoming all the fire training officers to Salmon Arm to participate in these cutting-edge courses which will further their own knowledge and benefit the communities they serve," says Sean Coubrough, CSRD Fire Services co-ordinator.

Evacuation alert been lifted for Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park as landslide threat subsides

Evacuation alert lifted

An evacuation alert has been lifted for Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park as the threat of a landslide has subsided.

The alert was issued Thursday by the District of Sicamous and Shuswap Emergency Program as heavy rains hit the area burned by last summer's Two Mile wildfire.

The alert was issued "due to the potential danger to life, health and property caused by the threat of a landslide in the Wiseman Creek area," officials said.

It was lifted at 10 a.m. Monday and residents of the mobile home park given the all clear.

Earlier this spring, an engineering report determined a landslide or debris flow in the area is an almost certainty in the wake of the fire.

"Due to the ongoing landslide risk in this area, residents are advised to stay informed," the district said in Monday's update.

Sicamous Creek Trailer Park residents wait and watch while under an evacuation alert due to landslide threat

Living under evac alert

Some are nervous, others are not, about the danger above them.

Residents of Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park were put on an evacuation alert this week by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District due to the threat of a landslide.

Officials were concerned rains could create mudslides and debris fields coming down the mountain, which was scorched by wildfire last year.

"Rainfall amounts were not significant enough to trigger a landslide, however, the threat remains," a statement from the Shuswap Emergency Program said Friday.

"There is no estimate at this time on when the evacuation alert might be lifted."

For resident Josh Caelum, he not only has to worry about himself, but his wife and two young boys as well.

Caelum has grab-and-go bags at the ready in case they have to leave in a hurry.

“I'm aware of how the ground has changed. We don't have the trees to hold that kind of thing back anymore,” he said. “It is kind of nerve-wracking sometimes.”

The next lane over, Wendy Jones was busy doing some baking as she waits to see how the situation plays out.

“We're very nervous. You sit on pins and needles,” Jones said. “We have an RV, we moved that over to our daughter's yesterday just so it's not in harm's way.”

Jones said it will also give them someplace to go should they have to evacuate.

Jones is concerned for some of the elderly residents of the park, such as her next-door neighbours, who have mobility and health challenges.

“It takes a long time to get them out of the house because they can barely walk, but we all look out for each other here. We went through it last year with the fire, we had five minutes to get out, but we all made it so we will make it this time, too.”

Paul Thorneycroft's trailer sits at the top of the trailer park near Sicamous Creek, which is running fast this time of year.

He doesn't see the current situation as an emergency.

“Somebody hit a panic button for no reason and scared a lot of elderly people in the park for no reason, as far as I'm concerned,” said Thorneycroft, who has lived in the trailer park for the past nine years.

He says foliage may have been burned last summer in the Two Mile wildfire, but the root systems of the trees are still on the ground, which would hold soil in place.

“It will be years before that rots out and flows,” he said. “Maybe in five or six years, but you keep monitoring the creek and what's up top.”

A few doors down the hill, Shannon Walcer is prepared to leave, but doubts it will be necessary.

“I'm not really concerned about it that much. I don't think it's that big of a deal,” he said. “It would have to rain quite a bit more, I think, before anything happens here.”

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