Recent History – 2003
Howard named tourism ambassador
Marilyn Howard, manager of Dawson Creek Visitor Services was named the Council of Tourism Associations of British Columbia (COTA) 2003 Ambassador for the Northern B.C. tourism region.
“I nominated her – it’s absolutely awesome,” said Tourism Dawson Creek development coordinator Ryan MacIvor. “She is a great ambassador and host for our community.”
The council named six ambassadors for tourism throughout the province on Tourism Ambassador Day, held March 24 in Victoria. The six ambassadors are said to be the backbone of the province’s $9.2 billion tourism industry.
COTA President Don Monsour said the ambassador distinction was developed to honour people like Howard who make it their job to go the extra mile for tourists.
Task force takes aim on drug trade
An RCMP task force took aim at the Dawson Creek drug trade by going after petty crime in the city.
Const. Tim Hawkes was heading up the group looking into files of small value crimes – minor break-ins, thefts from cars – to look for connections. The idea the RCMP are working on is that drug users in need of quick cash to feed their addiction look for crimes of opportunity.
“A lot of these crimes of opportunity you can tie back to the drug scene,” Hawkes said. “A lot of minor thefts, B and E’s… it’s a nasty circle, they might steal something to get a quick fix.”
Crews start working on Taylor Hill
Work started on the South Taylor Hill along the Alaska Highway, promising to ease the burden for truckers on the slope and eliminating blind corners.
The idea was to take 1.8 million cubic metres of land and move it from the hill the highway wraps around and into a gully 500 metres away. Then, a three-lane roadway would be created where the previous hill was in an effort to shore up the slipping highway.
“You are here on an historic day,” Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom said as work continued on the project Friday. “For 40 years we’ve been waiting to get this fixed… it’s been 35 years in the waiting for myself.”
Art auction raises more than $12,000
A gala evening in support of the South Peace Art Society was held Friday at the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre.
More than 120 participants packed the centre.
Ellen Corea of the art gallery said once everything was paid for the evening would likely bring in between $12,000 and $14,000 for the gallery.
It marked the 22nd time the art auction has been held in support of the gallery. The auction began two years before the gallery moved into its present home.
New measures to capture PST
Escaping the tax man was about to get a lot harder for British Columbian cross-border shoppers, said Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom.
A new deal was cut with suppliers and manufacturers of everything from boat motors to generators to ATVs, to ensure that provincial sales taxes are paid.
“It’s a good news story for B.C. businesses,” Lekstrom said. “All kinds of people go to Alberta to buy generators, et cetera… (Not having to pay sales taxes) really puts our businesses in B.C. at a disadvantage.”
The new auditing procedure would see Alberta retailers either charging the B.C. sales tax and remitting it to the province or consumers self assessing themselves.
Melting snow increases water levels
Melting snow around the city turned parking lots to mud, created streams running down streets and raised water levels in the Dawson Creek.
RCMP Sgt. Terry Wild said he took note of the creek’s rising water level and that in the interest of public safety, he said officers would keep an extra eye on the waterway.
“I was by there earlier and today and saw the water has rose significantly,” he said. “It’s something we would watch for in the event of danger.”
Wild said no one has asked the detachment to keep a special watch on the creek, nor will they be keeping a constant watch on it. However, he said, in the interest of public safety if the members of the Dawson Creek detachment see children in a potentially dangerous situation they would stop and talk to them.
Alliance faithful re-select Hill
Nearly 40 Canadian Alliance faithful endorsed Jay Hill to continue as their representative at a candidate selection meeting at Sudeten Hall.
The Prince George-Peace River MP won the position as the party’s candidate without opposition.
Hill was unable to attend the meeting due to a death in the family, but Vic Toews, the party’s senior justice critic was present to speak to the Alliance supporters on hand.
“(Jay’s) going to work hard for you. He’s a wonderful guy to work with,” Toews said. “What I like about Jay is he’s no-nonsense.”
Local businesses support PST move
Local businesses applauded a provincial government move to capture sales tax on big-ticket items purchased outside B.C.
And while the B.C. Liberals work to make sure cross-border shoppers cough up the cash, some shop owners say pride in Dawson Creek may have more to do with buying locally.
“Money spent in Grande Prairie doesn’t come back here to pay for our social programs,” said Ed Mah of Bing’s Furniture. “I know there is always going to be a reason to go to Grande Prairie… there’ll be no benefits to Dawson Creek.
“The retailers in this town are competitive right to the penny.”
Health care concerns dominate meeting
Health care and the future of the Peace River Haven dominated discussion during a town hall meeting with MLA Blair Lekstrom at the George Dawson Inn.
The South Peace MLA reiterated a common theme: that the B.C. Liberals have increased both health care and education funding; that B.C. Rail and B.C. Hydro would not be deregulated; and seniors care is being reassessed not cut.
He also criticized the Northern Health Authority for their communication in matters surrounding the Peace River Haven.
“That is an issue that came as a surprise,” he said, noting he was made aware of the issue through a phone call while he was in Victoria.
“I think the message was very poorly delivered… at the end of the day we can’t say we’ll close the centre here and we don’t know how we’re going to get there.”
The sparse crowd of about 50 heard that communicating the government’s message is one of the greatest challenges Lekstrom faces.
Scavenger hunt raises almost $3,000
Dawson Creek scavengers searched and found nearly $3,000 for the Child Development Centre.
Aside from the cash, the Night Riders-hosted scavenger hunt, which pitted city businesses against each other, brought in a pool table full of non-perishable food items for the centre.
“The money is super,” said Ruth Westcott of the centre. “And (the food) is all really great stuff that the kids would eat.
Eight days trimmed from school schedule
School District 59 planned to shave eight days from the upcoming school year to help cover a budget shortfall projected at $1.1 million.
The move was expected to save the district $240,000, and will be accompanied by other measures – including cuts in technology spending, resource centre operations and dipping into reserve funds – to help cover the deficit.
Funding to schools was to remain at current levels, although there were some increased costs at the school level that would necessitate some budget trimming.
With eight days less than the province’s standard school calendar, school days will be roughly 14 minutes longer to meet provincial requirements for instructional time, said Superintendent Mike Downey.
RCMP search for new top cop
The RCMP were looking for a new person to head up the Dawson Creek detachment.
And the group that is famous for “always getting their man” asked for city council’s help in finding that person.
“It’s to our advantage,” said Coun. Brent Neumann. “They’ll know the issues we want addressed.”
The process of selecting a head of an RCMP detachment has not been open for input from civic leaders before.
RCMP gave Dawson Creek council the chance to sit in on interviews, make suggestions and review the background and experience of those vying for the city’s top police position.
In turn the city will pick up the tab to bring short-listed members to Dawson Creek for interviews.
Salvation Army store re-opens
Following a two year hiatus the Salvation Army Thrift Store on 103 Ave. re-opened.
The event was marked by a ribbon cutting by Dawson Creek Mayor Wayne Dahlen and saw dozens of residents flooding through the doors of the store.
“I’m surprised,” said Capt. Barry Haggett of the throngs of people that rushed through the doors once they opened.
“I thought it’d be so-so, this is good.”
Land donated for soccer fields
Dawson Creek kids were to get a new soccer field following a donation of land announced at city council.
Gary Loiselle donated 6 hectares of land adjacent to the Fall Fair Grounds to the city in an effort to give growing numbers of soccer participants a place to play.
The sports centre will be created near the George Dawson Industrial Park.
“Young people in our area have been growing and growing in soccer,” Loiselle said.
“Dawson Creek has been awfully good to our family, we thought we’d do something for the city.”
Record sales reported at trade show
The 28th Annual Kiwanis Trade Show didn’t beat last year’s attendance figures, but many of the booths reported record sales of their products, said the chairman of the Friday-Sunday event.
“We felt the Trade Show went very, very well. We had approximately 8,000 people this year. . . We had many booths that had record sales and they certainly were not disappointed. Most of the exhibitors, we had a great response from them in terms of their evaluations,” said Arnie Swanson.
This article is taken from the Peace River Block Daily News, Dawson Creek, with the permission of the publisher. The Daily News retains all rights relating to this material. The information in this article is intended solely for research or general interest purposes.