Quesnel resident Marty Put tries to get his point across to the Mayor of Quesnel Bob Simpson after a public hearing held in the Quesnel City Hall Council Chambers on Dec. 3. (Observer file photo)

Year in Review: December 2019

The Quesnel Cariboo Observer looks back on December 2019

• A 45-year-old man was found dead in the ATM vestibule at the Bank of Montreal in downtown Quesnel. The area was cordoned off for a couple hours on the morning of Dec. 4. The man was not identified, and police said they did not consider his death to be suspicious.

• A small group of Quesnel residents expressed their concern with some of the changes being proposed in the City of Quesnel’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Bylaw during a public hearing at City Hall. Secondary suites and development in the West Quesnel Land Stability Area were raised by residents at the public hearing on Dec. 3. At its Dec. 17 meeting, council adopted both the OCP and Zoning Bylaw, with Coun. Ron Paull opposing the OCP because there is no requirement for secondary suites to be owner-occupied.

• Chase Kohorst and his cousin Kaydan Loomis noticed a lone bear cub hanging around the yard at Cohort’s home near Kersley. A volunteer from the Northern Lights Wildlife Society sanctuary in Smithers came to trap the bear cub and take her to the sanctuary. She was examined, and volunteers say she looked OK but was half the weight she should be to hibernate, so she will stay at the sanctuary over the winter.

• Volunteers with the long-running Good Cheer campaign decided this year, they would no longer offer food hampers but instead give out gift certificates that can be used at Save On Foods and distribute toys to children aged 12 and younger.

• The College of New Caledonia Board of Governors approved a two-per-cent domestic tuition and mandatory fees increase for the 2020-21 academic year, as well as a three-per-cent increase to international tuition and mandatory fees. The Board directed that revenues generated from the increases be noted in the 2020-21 budget and invested directly into services supporting students.

• Raising a number of safety concerns, local trucking companies asked city council to come up with an alternate to the Maple Drive detour they’ve been taking since the Johnston Bridge closed to industrial traffic in October 2018. They suggested Johnston Avenue as an alternate for access to the Quesnel Plywood Plant, but council ultimately voted that Johnston will remain closed to industrial traffic, and the City will encourage safety upgrades on Maple Drive.

• Citing a “devastating” decline of caribou in the western portion of B.C.’s Interior, leaders from the Tsilhqot’in National Government and the Ulkatcho First Nation announced they are implementing an emergency ban on Mountain Caribou in their traditional territories.

• A fundraising drive by the Quesnel Community Foundation raised $56,280, and an anonymous donor pledged to match $50,000 of that, bringing the total amount raised to $106,280.

• Troll Ski Resort opened early this year, with lifts beginning to run Dec. 14. During opening day, the resort collected donations for the Salvation Army as “payment” for lift tickets and rentals.

• The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the UNBC Faculty Association accepted the recommendations from special mediator Trevor Sones, ending the Faculty Association’s strike action. Arbitration is expected to begin in the new year for the dispute regarding salaries. UNBC faculty had been on strike since Nov. 7.

• Quesnel native and full-time Wells resident Stewart Cawood was announced as the new producer for Barkerville Historic Town and Park’s Theatre Royal’s 2020 operating season. The previous operators, Newman and Wright Theatre Company, had announced in early November that after 16 years, they were concluding their run as principal operators of the theatre. Cawood has worked at Barkerville since 2006.

• Quesnel swimmer Hannah Trimble had a taste of intentional competition, competing at the 2019 U.S. Paralympics National Para Swimming Championships/Can/Am Open in Texas.

• The McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department celebrated acquiring a piece of lakefront property on which it can build a fire hall with a “golden shovel” groundbreaking community event. The fire department has working towards this for six years.

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From left, Quesnel Good Cheer co-ordinator Dianne Greenwood with long-time volunteers Karen McKelvie and Linda Sales in the the new Good Cheer headquarters located in West Park Mall. (Observer file photo)

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