Salmon Arm  

Blind Bay/Sorrento study set

The study of an incorporation of Sorrento and Blind Bay into a separate municipality moved ahead with the awarding of a contract to a consultant.

At the Sept. 19 meeting, the CSRD board approved a $118,500 contract to Neilson Strategies Ltd. for the work to produce the study which is largely being funded through a $100,000 provincial grant.

The consultant, Allan Neilson, led the work for both the Electoral Area C South Shuswap governance study in 2017 and the Electoral Area C boundary analysis study in 2018, the CSRD said in a release.

The research and analysis phase of the study is to be completed by July 31, 2020. A preliminary report is to be submitted by Sept. 30, 2020. The study will be completed and delivered to the CSRD and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by Feb. 28, 2021.

The CSRD is also looking for citizens who want to be a part of the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Advisory Committee, which will work with the consultant in shaping the process. More information on joining the committee is available on the CSRD website.


Strange smell closes school

A Sicamous elementary school has been temporarily closed on the advice of Interior Health.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District says in a press release that operations have been suspended at Parkview Elementary after a mysterious and unpleasant odour has filled the halls.

"On the advice of Interior Health, and to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, School District No. 83 has made the decision to suspend operations at Parkview Elementary in Sicamous until further notice," the school district says.

“We apologize for any inconvenience and anxiety that these changes will cause our students and parents, and we thank you for your patience as we work through this challenge,” said School Supt. Peter Jory.

Parkview’s classes will be kept together and moved to temporary locations until the source of the smell can be found and rectified.

Students will be in their temporary locations by Wednesday.

Letters have gone home to all affected parents and a meeting will be held with parents, 7 p.m. Monday at Eagle River Secondary to answer any questions or concerns.

Parents are asked to keep their children home Monday and Tuesday, as classrooms are packed up and moved. The youngest students will stay closest to home and the other five divisions will be transported to the next closest schools with available space, the district says. The plan is as follows:

• Move four K-2 divisions to Eagle River Secondary
• Move two Gr. 2-3 divisions to North Canoe
• Move three Gr. 4-6 divisions to South Canoe

"Over the past two weeks there has been an unpleasant and musty odour in the west wing of the school. School and district staff as well as outside consultants have worked hard to locate the source, but at this point the cause is still unknown. Many steps were taken to protect students and staff from the odour, including moving all operations to the east wing of the school with the west wing being closed and fitted with a vapour barrier and positive air pressure used to keep the smell out. But, with still no known cause, it was determined it would be best to suspend activities at the school," the district said in its press release.

Investigation will continue to determine the cause of the problem, and samples have been taken from the school walls. The district is awaiting results of those tests. 

Evacuation input wanted

Columbia Shuswap Regional District officials want your input on how to best evacuate the area

The Shuswap Emergency Program is working on the development of an updated evacuation plan for CSRD Electoral Areas C, D, E and F.

As part of this exercise, the program has contracted ThreeSixty Analysis Inc., an independent firm specializing in emergency management, to gather feedback and consult with stakeholders and the public regarding the plan.

A community survey has been developed to help gather information.

All residents of the electoral areas, which include the North and South Shuswap, Ranchero, Deep Creek, Falkland, Salmon Valley and rural Sicamous and Malakwa, can participate by filling out the online form.

This feedback will help ensure the plan is comprehensive and relevant to both individuals and the community at large.


Mail boxes broken into

Thieves are hard at work in the Salmon Arm area.

RCMP have issued a warning about an increase in theft from vehicles, but it would seem the bad guys are also targeting mailboxes.

“The Salmon Arm RCMP in conjunction with partners within Canada Post are investigating recent thefts from mail boxes in the Tappen, Sunnybrae Road and areas of Salmon Arm,” said Staff Sgt. Scott West.

“At this time we would encourage people to pick up their mail daily. If you notice any issues with mail boxes please report them to Canada Post and the RCMP.”

If the members of the general public do see suspicious people around mail boxes call police.


Thieves targeting vehicles

Thieves are keeping police in the Shuswap area hopping with a noticeable increase in theft from vehicles and theft of vehicles.

And people are once again being reminded to lock it, or lose it.

Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West said would be thieves have been prowling in the night time hours, entering vehicles that are, in most cases, left unlocked.

“In some cases, the keys to the vehicle have been left in the vehicles. The vehicles with keys left in them have been stolen,” said West.

“In two cases, trucks were stolen with ATVs in the box or on the flat deck. As for ATVs, if at all possible, do not leave them in the back of a truck and lock them up out of sight and again do not leave the keys in them. “

In cases where there were thefts from the vehicles, cash, change, expensive sunglasses, electronics and wallets and purses were taken.

“Please remove your possessions from your vehicles at night, lock it up, and do not under any circumstances leave your keys in a vehicle ATV or piece of equipment,” said West.

Cops warn against vigilantes

Residents in the usually quiet Shuswap community of Scotch Creek have organized a community meeting to discuss an escalating crime problem, while RCMP warn residents against vigilantism.

The meeting on Saturday comes a week after apparent gunfire during a confrontation at an area home, and just days after an arson fire in the same location.

Residents have already expressed concern about squatters in a vacant rural home on the edge of Scotch Creek, north of Salmon Arm.

Jay Simpson, an area director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, says there has also been a recent spike in crime around the town.

RCMP say residents went to a home last weekend to confront its occupants about stolen property and what sounded like a gunshot was heard from inside, and days later a deliberately set fire damaged the home.

Chase RCMP Cpl. Scott Linklater said in a statement that they do not condone vigilantism and recommend the public leave investigations to the police.

Simpson says these sorts of issues are not unique to Scotch Creek, but crime is now affecting residents "on a daily basis," and everyone has responsibility for alerting the authorities while looking out for neighbours and friends. 

House fire was arson

Police are investigating a house fire in the Scotch Creek area that is believed to be arson.

Sean Coubrough, Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Fire Services Coordinator, said there were multiple ignition points in the house – one inside and one outside – leading officials to believe it was intentionally set.

Crews were called to the Hilliam Road home at 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.

No one was in the home at the time, but Coubrough said it looked like someone was in the process of clearing out the house.

“There were personal belongings and clothing and other items around,” said Coubrough. “They had boarded up the windows and the doors had been screwed shut as well.”

Coubrough said two windows had the plywood taken off.

While there were no signs of an accelerant being used, Coubrough said a pile of clothes was set alight in one of the bedrooms and a second ignition spot was found in the skirting around the outside of the building.

“At that point in time it became a criminal investigation and was turned over to the RCMP,” said Coubrough.

Fire crews were called to assist RCMP at the same residence earlier this month.

Ebus adds Okanagan routes

Ebus is expanding its B.C. service to five locations in the North Okanagan.

The Calgary-based company, which moved in to fill the void left by Greyhound’s departure last November, will start routes through Chase, Sorrento, Salmon Arm, Enderby, and Armstrong on Monday, Oct. 7. Reservations for the routes will be able to be made starting Sept. 23.

Those communities will be serviced daily as part of the afternoon schedule between Kamloops and Kelowna, allowing residents to access “medical, employment, recreational, tourism and social opportunities,” according to the company.

For more on this story, visit Okanagan Edge.

Body of missing man found

The body of a man who went missing on Shuswap Lake has been recovered.

Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said late Monday evening, police recovered the body of a man, who has now been identified by the BC Coroners Service as a previously missing 33-year-old man police said was from Lake Country.

The man went missing following a boating collision on Sept. 1.

Shoihet said local police, with assistance from the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team (URT), continued efforts to locate the missing man.

“After days of searching, URT located and recovered his body late Monday evening and worked closely with the BC Coroners Service to confirm the identity,” said Shoihet.

“The BC Coroners Service is continuing to investigate the man's death to determine how, where, when and by what means he came to his death. Neither the Coroners Service nor RCMP will be releasing any further information at this time.”

Kingfisher Creek fire held

The Kingfisher Creek wildfire southeast of Sicamous that was spotted Monday is now classified as "held."

The estimated 0.8 Ha. fire was likely started by lightning, a rep from the Kamloops Fire Centre arm of the BC Wildfire Service said.

"Fifteen personnel are responding today and are being supported by some heavy equipment on site," the spokesperson said. "The cause is suspected lightning at this time as a result of some storm cells that rolled through the area over the weekend."

The Semlin fire east of Cache Creek is now under control at 41 Ha. There were no other starts reported over the long weekend in the Kamloops Fire Centre.

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