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Salmon Arm  

Adams River sockeye salmon run lacking fish this year

Where are all the fish?

Officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans predicted a smaller sockeye salmon return this year and it looks like they were correct.

Anyone who has been to the Adams River salmon run in recent years has been treated to a show only Mother Nature could put on.

Last year was especially impressive with thousands of bright red fish fighting their way upstream to spawn.

However, those making the trek to the Shuswap to check out this year's run may find the show stunning, but not in a good way.

While 2019 is considered a subdominant year for the run the lack of fish is noticable.

Instead of countless numbers of salmon in the Shuswap river, there were barely a handful.

One short section of the river that last year at Thanksgiving had more than 100 fish in it, this year on the same weekend it had less than 20.

While no one with the DFO was available to speak in person, the federal agency did send Castanet an email stating “Late run Adams sockeye arrive at the Adams River in late September with peak of spawn by mid to late October. To date, returns of all Fraser Sockeye groups in 2019 are coming in below the lowest range of the preseason forecast. The 2019 preseason Fraser Sockeye forecast for Late Shuswap Sockeye - which the Adams is a part of - is 11,000. Final numbers will be available in late December.”

Officials said climate change was the main culprit behind the declining fish stocks.

The pre-season forecast was 1.8 million to 14 million Fraser River sockeye, with a median forecast of 4.8 million, and five million pink salmon.

The Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) dropped the forecast to 1.6 million sockeye, and even that target may not be met.

A more accurate count of spawning fish will not be known until later this year.



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Larch Hills Nordic Society hopes to install lighting should it win

Salmon Arm in the running

Salmon Arm has made it into the top four of the Kraft Heinz Project Play contest.

The winning community will receive $250,000 to be used to improve recreational facilities.

The Shuswap city is up against two communities in Ontario and one in Saskatchewan.

The Larch Hills Nordic Society hopes to install lighting at the popular cross-country ski area should it win.

Voting runs from Oct. 18-20.

Canadians can support their community of choice by voting for their favourite finalist story online.

The Kraft Heinz Project Play Grand Prize winner will then be announced Monday, Oct, 21 in the 6 p.m. ET edition of TSN's SportsCentre.



Collision north of Salmon Arm closed Trans-Canada Highway

Hwy 1 reopens near Tappen

UPDATE: 9 a.m.

DriveBC reports the highway closure west of Tappen on the Trans-Canada has now been cleared.


ORIGINAL: 6:20 a.m.

The Trans-Canada Highway is closed early this morning in the Shuswap.

DriveBC reports Highway 1 is closed just west of Tappen, north of Salmon Arm, due to a collision between White Creek Frontage Road and Ford Road.

Emergency vehicles are on scene, and an assessment was in progress as of 5:40 a.m.



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Daily return bus service between Kamloops and Kelowna

Ebus adds Salmon Arm

Daily Ebus service to Salmon Arm began Monday, part of the company's recent expansion connecting the Shuswap region to the Okanagan and Lower Mainland.

“We’ve been monitoring the transportation options in B.C. very closely and to assist in increasing connectivity options, we believe expanding our operations to these communities will aid in that effort,” says vice-president Dean Wright.

“We’re fortunate that in our operations, we have the opportunity to be nimble and respond to the needs of the marketplace, strategically setting our schedules and destinations to answer the call of our passengers and what we believe are their reasons for using our service.”

The daily 2 p.m. Kamloops to Kelowna journey goes through Chase, Sorrento, Salmon Arm, Enderby, Armstrong and Vernon. 

Pick-up and drop-off locations for the return service will be: 

Salmon Arm: Husky service station at 50 Trans Canada Highway
Sorrento Eastbound: Highway Stop at 1258 Trans Canada Highway (in front of Subway)
Sorrento Westbound: Highway Stop at 1235 Trans Canada Highway (in front of the Petro-Canada station)
Chase: Chase Visitor Information Centre at 400 Shuswap Ave
Enderby: Enderby Chamber of Commerce at 700 Railway St.
Armstrong: Highway 97A at Petro-Canada station at 3160 Smith Dr.

Reservations can be made at www.myebus.ca or by phone at 1-877-769-3287. 



Rollover crash closes Highway 97A at Mara Lake

Hwy 97A fully open

UPDATE: 11:20 p.m.

Highway 97A fully reopened after 9 p.m., according to DriveBC.


7:15 p.m.

Highway 97A remains closed and did not open as scheduled, but is now expected to open shortly.


UPDATE: 4:20 p.m.

Highway 97A is expected to reopen about 6:30 p.m.at the scene of a semi crash near Mara Lake, DriveBC reports.


UPDATE: 3:50 p.m.

Highway 97A remains closed near the south end of Mara Lake after a semi rollover crash around midday.

DriveBC reports an estimated time of reopening is not yet available.

Traffic should detour via Highway 97B and the Trans-Canada Highway. 


UPDATE: 12:10 p.m.

The driver of a flipped semi on Highway 97A by Mara Lake was shaken up, but unharmed in the crash.

Witnesses report traffic is moving around the crashed rig in single-lane, alternating fashion.


ORIGINAL: noon

Highway 97A is blocked at this hour near Mara Lake in the Shuswap.

A tractor-trailer has rolled on its side near Willow Shores Resort.

The big rig is blocking both lanes of the two-lane highway and appears to have lost the wheels off at least part of the unit.

It's not yet known if anyone was injured in the crash.

There do not appear to be any other vehicles involved.

Emergency services are on scene.



Plane crash remains ID'd

The mystery of a plane crash from 30 years ago has been solved thanks to DNA.

Human remains discovered in September 2018 at the site of a historical aircraft crash have been identified by the RCMP with the assistance of the BC Coroners Service, the RCMP said in a release.

Even more amazing is the searchers who found the wreckage were looking for a different missing plane at the time.

Missing aircraft found

On Sept. 18, 2018, Clearwater RCMP were advised that the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre had been conducting an unrelated search for an aircraft, when they happened across a plane crash site near McDougall Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

The distinctively old crash site was amongst extremely rugged and very treacherous terrain, RCMP said.

"The scene, which was not accessible by any roadways or trails, was difficult to reach due to steep inclines and the year round snow pack," said Sgt. Grant Simpson, Clearwater RCMP Detachment Commander.

"The police investigation carried out at the scene confirmed that the aircraft had been reported to the RCMP as missing after departing from the Salmon Arm area. The white Piper Super Cub float plane, with two people on board, departed the Eagle Bay area destined for McDougall Lake on June 20, 1987."

The human remains recovered from the crash site in 2018 have been positively identified through DNA analysis.

"BC RCMP confirm the remains belonged to Ernie Whitehead and Len Dykhuizen, both from the Eagle Bay area at the time of their disappearance," said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, Media Relations Officer for the BC RCMP Southeast District."

"RCMP are pleased that we have now been able to provide their family with answers to some long-standing questions. This discovery ends over three decades of uncertainty."

The BC RCMP wish to recognize the exceptional efforts carried out by the BC RCMP Southeast District Missing Person Coordinator, in conjunction with collaborative efforts between the Clearwater and Salmon Arm Detachment’s alongside each of the partner agencies involved in this historical missing persons investigation.

Those additional partner agencies include, but are not limited to, the BC Conservation Service, Emergency Management BC, BC Parks and Yellowhead Helicopters.



Evacuation alert lifted

A CSRD evacuation alert which has been in place for two homes on Caen Road in Sorrento has now been rescinded.

The alert was issued for the properties at 2807 and 2809 Caen Road on April 5, 2019 in response to slope instability in the area which borders Newsome Creek in Electoral Area C.

It was lifted after Westrek Geotechnical Services Ltd. determined that the likelihood of sudden slope instability resulting from high water flows has passed for this season. Potentially unstable trees along the west bank of the creek remain a significant hazard, but the gully erosion processes are much less active than during the spring freshet period.

Residents are advised to continue to monitor the creek and report any significant changes to the slope or creek bank to the CSRD immediately. As well, people should avoid the area five metres from the crest edge of the creek channel as slope failures may occur without warning.

The risk assessments and recommendations in the CSRD's emergency assessment report, dated Oct 6, 2018, remain applicable and all nearby property owners should consider their options to reduce the risk. A new Erosion Monitoring Report is also being shared with all residences along Newsome Creek below the Trans-Canada Highway.

Owners of the two affected properties have been notified and a copy of the most recent Erosion Monitoring Report is available on the CSRD website at www.csrd.bc.ca/reports or at the button below.



Arts funding tax dropped

It's strike two for an arts tax in one area of the CSRD.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District will be taking no further action on a proposed bylaw to allow the district to make a long-term, annual financial contribution to registered non-profit groups, the district said in a release.

Arts funding kiboshed

Non-profit groups must make project-specific applications through the CSRD’s grant-in-aid process to be considered for funding, the CSRD said. This bylaw had proposed a tax levy to provide a stable, annual source of funds instead.

Electoral Area C Director Paul Demenok and Electoral Area F Director Jay Simpson suggested no further action should be taken at this time, saying voters do not support for the alternative approval process in general.

“It looks like a great number of people opposed this based on their dislike for the AAP process in general, nothing else… It was discouraging to have this type of response,” said Demenok, who noted he was unlikely to support the use of the AAP process in future.

This was echoed by director Simpson.

“In this process, the naysayers become so much louder than the positives. I would have to look really hard before ever doing an AAP again,” added Simpson.



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. 



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