Year in review – top 2013 stories

Broken hearts slow to mend - Jan. 23, 2013. The one year anniversary of the explosion and destruction of the Babine Forest Products Mill.

Burns Lake idle no more – Jan. 2, 2013

The self-styled grassroots movement has been holding rallies across the country in a show of unity in defiance of Bill C-45.  This recently passed omnibus package included changes to environmental legislation that critics have identified as weakening Canada’s protection of environmental and First Nations interest in the face of resource development.

The movement is fundamentally about First Nations treaty rights and further proposed changes to federal legislation defining the relationship between First Nations and the rest of Canada.

World’s for Dickson – Jan. 16, 2013

Former Burns Lake Omineca Ski Club racer Emily Dickson has won a spot on the Canadian team that will compete in the 2013 Youth and Junior Biathlon World championships in Obertilliach, Austria, being held Jan. 23 to Feb. 2, 2013.

Broken hearts slow to mend – Jan. 23, 2013

On the one year anniversary of the explosion and destruction of the Babine Forest Products Mill, hundreds gathered in Burns Lake at the Lakes District Secondary School for a memorial service in honour of fallen and injured mill workers.

Nineteen workers were injured in the Jan. 20, 2012, explosion.  Two were killed; Carl Charlie and Robert Luggi never returned home from their shift.

Huge resource tax-dollar potential Feb. 6, 2013

The Spectra BG Group proposal is the fourth proposed LNG pipeline that would cross Regional District Bulkley Nechako  areas.  A fifth pipeline, the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline has also been proposed to transport modified bitumen from Northern Alberta to Kitimat, B.C.

Burns Lake Band leadership faces criticism – Feb. 13, 2013

Burns Lake Band (BLB) councillor Ron Charlie, former BLB chief Robert Charlie, and approximately 20 other members of the band gathered at the BLB offices on Feb. 5, 2013, to protest what they see as a lack of transparency in band management and finances.

“A lot of out members are really concerned with their leadership,” counc. Charlie said. “I had a lot of hope when I got on as councillor. Since day one I’ve wanted transparency and community involvement.”

On behalf of signatories to a petition calling for the resignation of Chief Albert

Gerow and counc. Dan George, Charlie expressed a lack of good faith in Gerow and George. Gerow and George were on hand for the protest and silently listened to Charlie deliver his statement.

Charlie believes that Gerow and George have failed to address the needs and concerns of those living on-reserve in Burns Lake, and that band finances require closer scrutiny.

While Tuesday’s protest forced the cancellation of the February meeting, the previous months’s meeting was cancelled due to a lack of participants. “In January, nobody showed up,” said Gerow.

Area-based licenses not a privatization of the forest, Rustad says – Feb. 20, 2013

Pre-election rhetoric has heated up surrounding proposed changes to forestry legislation that will see the conversion of some current volume-based logging licenses to area-based licenses.

The changes were devised as part of the solution to satisfying the need for a consistent mid-term timber supply in order to entice the rebuilding of the Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake which was destroyed in an explosion on Jan. 20, 2012.

Bob Simpson, MLA for Cariboo North, has been a consistent critic of the decision to rebuild the Hampton mill. Regarding the conversion of volume-based to area-based tenures, Simpson said that, “It could lead to the majority of B.C.’s public forests coming under the control of a few major forest companies.”

The Burns Lake Community Forest has always been an area-based tenure. For Ron Zayac, interim general manager for the Burns Lake community forest, this has worked well in terms of securing timber supply and clarifying forest stewardship responsibilities.

“We support area-based tenures as providing licensees with an incentive to invest in the land-base so that they can reap the long-term rewards of more intensive forest management policies,” Zayac said.

Morrison Mine denial court challenge – Feb. 27, 2013

In a Feb. 13, 2013 press release, Pacific Booker Minerals Inc. announced that it had retained the Vancouver law firm of Hunter Litigation Chambers Law Corporation, “to advance litigation against the Province of British Columbia in connection with the refusal of the government to issue an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the Morrison Copper/Gold Mine Project.”

Bruins midgets off to Provincials – Feb. 27, 2013

The Burns Lake Bruin midgets won home zone playoffs and have advanced to the provincial finals in Lillooet on March 17, 2013. They beat Houston 9-1 and Fort St. James 7-3 to earn that spot.

Live it! Love it! growing fast- March 20, 2013

Three years ago Jeff Scott was enjoying a day of snowboarding at Revelstoke Mountain Resort when his ride turned a terrible corner.

He didn’t stay down for long. After an intense year of surgeries and physical rehabilitation he regained partial use of his arms and hands. Scott and his friend Izzy Lynch, a talented skier and Revelstoke local he had met before the accident, made a trip to Canada’s east coast.

During the trip Scott and Lynch hatched an idea that has, in just two-and-a-half years, gone from inspiration to reality: Live it! Love it!

The van that carried Scott to the east coast is now 20 years old with more than 390,000 kms on the odometer. It never was an ideal way for Scott to get around, lacking the adaptations that it would need for him to operate it with his injuries.

“It’s still working now, but I’m unable to drive it by myself,” Scott said. “I’m reliant on others to help with that.”

“I need the van to get to [Live it! Love it!] camps and to trade shows,” he said. “I speak at schools and youth groups. Having the van is essential in allowing me to get to those places. I’m looking for something I’m able to operate independently.”

Snowboarders champs for a third year – March 27, 2013

Patti and Pat Dube, Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) teachers and snowboard/ski team coaches, are doing something right with the LDSS snowboard and ski teams. If Burns Lake were a ski hill town, you might expect that more than a couple of students would do well at the B.C. School Sports Ski and Snowboard Provincial Championships.

With Burns Lake a flat 150 kms from the nearest ski hill, you wouldn’t expect the local high school team be a dominate presence among 180 racers from 24 schools across the province.

But that’s exactly what happened in Smithers last week during the provincial snowboard and ski championships held March 4 − 6, 2013 on the Hudson Bay Mountain Ski Resort.

For the third year in a row, the LDSS snowboard team is the Combined Provincial Champions in boys and girls snowboarding. Individual performances were very strong as well.

New hospital build unveiled – April 3, 2013

A community open house was held on March 27, 2013, at the Burns Lake Heritage Centre to reveal the design plans for the long anticipated new Lakes District hospital in Burns Lake.

The new facility represents a $55 million investment in Burns Lake. It will have 16 hospital beds in private rooms, each with a window view. It will provide acute care, emergency services, diagnostic imaging, a laboratory and a pharmacy.

Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold expressed his satisfaction that a project of this size is about to get underway in Burns Lake. For him, the project represents an investment in the future of the Lakes District and will encourage young families to remain in the area.

Heavy police presence at band office – April 10, 2013

A two-week long stand-off between dissatisfied members of the Burns Lake Band (BLB) came to a head late Sunday morning as a large contingent of RCMP officers enforced an order for protesters to vacate the BLB offices.

In a combined effort involving RCMP detachments from across the region, approximately 25 marked and unmarked RCMP vehicles arrived at BLB offices in Burns Lake on Sunday morning, April 7, 2013, shortly after 11 a.m.

The situation was peacefully resolved at approximately 2:30 p.m. as members and guests inside the building agreed to leave.

Breaking Ground  – April 17, 2013

Marie Hunter, a PCL representative, Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold, Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad  and Gordie Alec break ground on April 12, 2013 for the new Burns Lake Hospital.