Lyle Howse and Becky Crouse look at one of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s information boards during the West Fraser Road open house May 1 at the West Fraser Centre. (Observe file photo)

Year in Review 2019: May

The Quesnel Cariboo Observer looks back at May 2019

• The provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) held an open house for West Fraser Road May 1 and presented its preferred option for a new alignment of the road. The preferred new road alignment is 4.8 kilometres in length and originates on the plateau above the failed slide area, and this option includes a new, longer bridge over Narcosli Creek. Preliminary estimates are that this option would cost $71 million, and MOTI has been in discussions with the federal government for Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement funding to support the reconstruction of West Fraser Road.

• The Stick Breakers won the inaugural Correlieu Secondary School floor hockey women’s final, beating the Chicks With Sticks 5-4 in overtime.

• As part of its ongoing commitment to reduce wildfire threats, the provincial government provided $462,000 in community resiliency investment grants to support projects in the Cariboo Fire Centre, including $100,000 to the City of Quesnel to assist with education, planning, development, emergency planning, fuel and vegetation management and FireSmart activities on private land, and $62,000 to the Nazko First Nation to assist with education, planning, development, inter-agency co-operation and FireSmart activities on private land.

• After receiving zero opposition forms, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) will move forward with the purchase of three new fire engines, including one for the Kersley Volunteer Fire Department. After going through an alternate approval process, the CRD is moving to a 10-year debt financing model for purchasing fire trucks for Kersley, Lone Butte and Forest Grove.

• Theatre companies, including the Kersley Players and the Paisley Players, competed against each other in the B.C. Theatre Central Interior Zone Festival in Kersley, hoping to earn a chance to advance to the Provincials. The Kersley Players performed Strangers on a Glade, while the Paisley Players presented two one-act plays, Snowed and Deja Date.

• Correlieu Secondary School hosted the second annual Ice Breaker Track Meet, which featured more than 50 athletes from Correlieu, Quesnel Junior School and Quesnel Special Olympics competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m relay, long jump, javelin, hammer throw, shot put and 1500m race.

• Riverview Elementary School unveiled its new school mascot and new logo. A raven has been chosen as the new mascot, and the new logo was designed by Grade 7 student Isaiah McMullen and school counsellor Lance Lindblom.

• The Quesnel Committee of Ducks Unlimited Canada’s 33rd annual Fundraising Banquet was its most successful yet, raising more than $70,000.

• A group of students from Thompson Rivers University came to Quesnel to help members of the Gold Rush Cycling Club work on the Wonderland mountains biking trail network south of Dragon Lake. The group came to Quesnel to learn more about trail planning, master planning and how these work to the benefit of communities.

• Tolko Industries Ltd. announced that it will be permanently closing its Quest Wood sawmill in Quesnel, putting about 150 people out of work. The company announced the closure process would begin Aug. 2, and at the same time, it announced it would reduce shifts at its Kelowna sawmill from two to one, affected about 90 employees. “Unfortunately, we do not have enough economic fibre to keep all of our British Columbia mills running efficiently and effectively,” Tolko president and CEO Brad Thorlakson said in a press release.

• At the Quesnel Special Olympics annual banquet, Ryan Tilsner earned the Glen McLeod Coach of the Year Award, while Dean Cake won the 10th annual Paul Turgeon Athlete of the Year Award.

• Quesnel council recommended that two more businesses be issued Non-Medical Cannabis Retail Store Licences from the province — Flora (Dawson Creek) Enterprises for a store at 140-960 Chew Rd. and Canna Northwest Enterprises for a store at 775 Rita Rd.

• School District 28 passed a balanced operating budget for the 2019-20 school year. The budget bylaw for the 2019-20 school year is set at $40,247,991, and in that, the school district was able to grant all the funding requests received from its partner groups for supports such as increased curriculum support teachers and more vice-principal time at the larger schools.

• College of New Caledonia Quesnel millwright apprentice Dustin Catchart represented B.C. at the 25th annual Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax and won gold in the Industrial Mechanic/Millwright skill area.

• Convicted animal abuser Catherine Jessica Adams was in court May 16 and 21 on a breach of probation charge. Her trial was continued to July 16. Adams was met with protesters outside the Quesnel Law Courts when she arrived on the morning of May 16. The group gathered in a Rally4Paws to protest animal abuse, the second protest to take place in Quesnel at one of Adams’s court dates.

• A small group of Quesnel residents launched a new Silver Alert Program in the city to help people with dementia — more specifically Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia — and their families. Silver Alert is program run on social media to alert the local public when a senior goes missing.

• Health Canada updated the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines May 10, decreasing the Maximum Acceptable Concentrations for manganese. This change means the City of Quesnel water system averages above the new guidelines, and the City must work with Northern Health to adjust the system to meet the new guidelines.

• The Tolitis won their third straight Correlieu Cup in high school floor hockey action, beating the 8% 10-5. The most sportsmanlike team award, renamed the Cully trophy this year in honour of the late Brian Cullinane.

• The Quesnel Seniors Advocacy Service launched a new Life After 60 program during its 15th anniversary celebrations. The new program is geared toward helping seniors afford “medical priorities,” like dental care, eye glasses, hearing aids, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, wheelchairs and walkers.

• The City of Quesnel received funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to hire a carbon review co-ordinator to help the City move greenhouse gas reduction and climate change adaption policies forward.

• The expanded West Quesnel Skate Park celebrates its grand opening on May 26. The skatepark, located along Baker Creek beside the West Park Mall, had a $300,000 facelift last year.

• Quesnel native Ryan Marsh was named assistant coach for Team Canada in the 2019 World U17 Hockey Challenge.

• The seventh annual Quesnel MS Walk, hosted by the MS Self-Help Group, raised more than $7,000, almost double the previous year’s total.

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Six-year-old Zachary White concentrates on his next move while trying out the new Skateboard Park in West Quesnel during the official grand opening. (Observer file photo)

Members of Team RBC and volunteers get ready for the seventh annual MS Walk May 18 at Spirit Square. This year’s walk raised more than $7,000, almost double the total from the year before. (Observer file photo)

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