Mushers and their dogs receive their mail after being sworn in as official Canada Post mail carriers Jan. 24, 2019, at the Quesnel Post Office, kicking off the 27th Annual Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run. (Observer file photo)

2019 Year in Review: January

The Quesnel Cariboo Observer looks back at what made the news in January 2019

• Concerns were raised by Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett and local government leaders that the provincial government had been meeting behind closed doors with the federal government to develop a caribou recovery program agreement. Barnett said she and other MLAs had repeatedly written letters requesting meetings to discuss the program with the government, but have had no luck so far. To share her frustration, Barnett hosted a meeting in Williams Lake that drew more than 50 people.

• Property assessments in Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House all increased over the previous year. According to B.C. Assessment, City of Quesnel property values increased 7.97 per cent for residential, 1.84 per cent for business and 2.46 per cent for light industrial. Quesnel rural values increased 7.85 per cent for residential, 2.09 per cent for business and 2.47 per cent for light industrial.

• Three hundred ringette players from across B.C. took the ice at the West Fraser Centre and Arena 2, as Quesnel hosted the Gold Pan Tournament.

• Four Rivers Co-op donated $10,000 from its Community Support Fund to the Auxiliary to G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital, and that funding enabled the Auxiliary to order a fetal monitor for the maternity ward. The Auxiliary had already raised $10,000 for the equipment, which allows maternity nurses and doctors to check babies’ heart rates and can be very useful for high-risk pregnancies.

• Quesnel council received a letter from B.C. Attorney General David Eby replying to a request from Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson to increase local Crown Counsel resources and prosecute offenders in a timelier manner, as well as add short-term Crown Counsel resources immediately to prevent the escalation of property crime in the region. Eby stated Quesnel’s Crown Counsel office is fully staffed and not in need of additional resources.

• Imperial Metals announced that it would suspend operations at Mount Polley near Likely at the end of May 2019 due to falling copper prices. Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch said about 250 employees in total would be impacted by the suspension.

• In announcing its new winter lineup, the Quesnel Film Club also announced it had a new board of directors. The original organizers of the club decided to take a step back after the 2018 winter film season, after nearly 24 years of bringing unique films to the community, and without its organizers, the club was set to fold this year. Four club members decided to form a new board of directors to keep the club going.

• Members of the Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance (SDNA) and Tsilhqot’in Nation gathered in Quesnel to strengthen their relationship by signing an Interim Letter of Understanding (LOU) for Boundary Discussions. The SDNA was represented by the Lhtako Dené Nation, Nazko First Nation, Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation and Ulkatcho Nation, while the Tsilhqot’in Nation was represented by the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government, Yunesit’in Government, Tl’etinqox Government, ?Esdilagh First Nation, Tsideldel First Nation, Toovey Indian Band (Tl’esqox) and the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG).

Recognizing and valuing the “enduring relationship” between the nations and their “proud history as neighbours,” the LOU states: “the SDNA and Tsilhqot’in Nation recognize the overlap between our territories and are committed to working to resolve boundary issues as a priority.”

• A friendship forged during the 2017 wildfires resulted in the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department being gifted a firetruck. The Western Canadian Powerstrokes emergency response team from Alberta purchased the truck from the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department and delivered it to McLeese Lake.

• Quesnel native Haley Sales and her ice dancing partner Nikolas Wamsteeker competed at their third Canadian National Skating Championships in the senior category.

• Convicted animal abuser Catherine Jessica Adams appeared in Quesnel Law Courts Jan. 15 to set the trial date for a breach of probation charge. A date was set for May 16. Catherine Adams, along with her mother Karin Adams, had 16 dogs seized from a property in Quesnel in June 2018, after an SPCA investigation found the dogs were being kept in crates too small for their size in a poorly ventilated area with little or no access to water and with feces- and urine-soaked matting. The probation order was a condition of Catherine’s 2015 sentencing in Smithers Provincial Court, where she was found guilty of causing unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal and causing/permitting the nail to be in distress.

• A group of about 30 Quesnel locals gathered at the provincial buildings on Barlow Avenue to protest the LNG pipeline. Ruby Mortensen organized the protest. She is from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and wanted to have a show of support for her family, who live in the Burns Lake, Broman Lake and Francois Lake area. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline and had set up a blockade, disallowing Coastal Gas Link workers from accessing their camp.

• Curling ice started to go in at the West Fraser Centre late at night Jan. 23, as Quesnel got ready to host the B.C. Men’s and Women’s Curling Provincials. This would be the first time Curl BC has combined the men’s and women’s provincials, and the competition featured 12 men’s team and eight women’s teams. The men’s field included Quesnel’s own Team Waffle, with skip Brady Waffle, Eric Eriksson as third, Mike Pagurut as second and Dave Vatamaniuck at lead, who earned the chance to compete by winning the North Region playdown in mid-December.

• Dogs howled and people cheered, as participants in the 27th annual Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run were sworn in as official Canada Post mail carriers Jan. 25 in downtown Quesnel, officially beginning the three-day event in which dog teams and skijorers carried specially-marked Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run envelopes from the post office in Quesnel over the Gold Rush Trail to the post office in Barkerville.

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Chief Joe Alphonse (left), Tsilhqot’in National Government Chair and Chief of the Tl’etinqox Government, and Lhtako Dené Nation Chief Clifford Lebrun share a laugh as they sign the Interim Letter of Understanding for Boundary Discussions Jan. 11 at the Quesnel and District Seniors Centre. Alphonse and Lebrun are two of 10 signatories representing the Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance and the Tsilhqot’in Nation. (Observer file photo)

Quesnel’s Team Waffle — Brady Waffle, Dave Vatamaniuck, Mike Pagurut and Eric Eriksson — was ready to compete in the 2019 B.C. Men’s Curling Championships, which began Jan. 29 at the West Fraser Centre. (Observer file photo)

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