Recent History – 2003
Break-in leads to senseless damage at city business
RCMP investigated a break in at a local business.
Police say once inside the business thieves went on a path of destruction.
“A senseless amount of damage was done including the discharge of fire extinguishers,” said Cpl. Perry Penney.
“After doing the damage they stole a dual wheeled Dodge pick-up and abandoned it after it became stuck south of town.”
Before getting the truck stuck, RCMP said it was driven erratically around Dawson Creek, sending items of debris and stolen items from the business scattered around the Central Middle School area.
Property damage at the store was in the $2,000 range.
NLC breaks ground on new admin building
Ground was broken for a new regional administration building at the Dawson Creek campus of Northern Lights College.
The $3.34 million facility is meant to house administration currently working out of four different areas on the Dawson Creek campus. Construction officially began with the ground breaking Tuesday.
“This will make it possible to bring the regional staff together for the first time in many years,” said NLC Board Chairman Dennis Sabourin.
The present 50-year-old main administration building was erected as part of the now defunct mid-Canada defence line — the post Second World War and Cold War era radar surveillance system designed to alert North America of an attack over the North Pole.
Mayor Wayne Dahlen, on hand for the ground breaking, said he remembered attending functions at the administration office in the early 1980s and saying, “that board office was inadequate then.”
Thornton named volunteer of the year
Meredith Thornton, a B.C. SPCA board of directors member and volunteer with the South Peace Branch of the SPCA, was named co-winner of the B.C. SPCA Volunteer of the Year award. Thornton has been a constant at the Dawson Creek branch for the past 10 years and even began taking in homeless cats before there was a local shelter.
She won’t say how many of the felines live in her home, only that it’s more than one and less than the Crazy Cat Lady.
“It’s really nice to receive this award,” she said. ” We were fostering animals in our homes before actually having a shelter.
Police engage in four-hour pursuit
A trio of would-be snowmobile thieves sent Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Chetwynd RCMP on a wild road, ground and air search, which ended in a field near Stewart Lake four hours after it began.
The driver of the truck police were chasing slammed the truck into a power pole in the field, but the chase didn’t end there, as the two men and one woman took off running, sending a Fort St. John dog team tracking them through a field just before noon.
“The driver was tracked by the dog and was found hiding,” said Cpl. Perry Penney in an RCMP press release. “The male and female were arrested a short distance away after a short foot chase.”
Penney said the chase and arrests were made easier with the use of an airplane to track the suspects who were “bent on getting away.”
“Once you get a set of eyes in the air you’ve got a bird’s eye view,” Penney said. “It’s great, the way to do a pursuit really.”
The entire chase had started four hours earlier with Dawson Creek RCMP responding to a complaint of an attempted theft of a snowmobile at a house near Louisiana Pacific at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday.
Wendy Cox passes the torch
A Dance Review at Unchagah Hall marked the closing of a huge chapter in Wendy Cox’s life.
The dance extravaganza was the last for the dance instructor, who wassemi-retiring from teaching dance and turning the school over to Lindsay Molson, one of her former students.
“I need more time for my family and my husband. It’s pretty time consuming. I have enjoyed it all these years, but it’s time for someone else to take over. It’s a very demanding job. It’s all the prep time and costumes. There’s a lot involved,” said Cox, who has loved every minute she’s been a dance teacher.
Businesses support meter removal
A survey of downtown Dawson Creek businesses showed that more than 94 per cent support the removal parking meters from downtown, but that wasn’t enough for city council to take the leap.
The Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey in downtown Dawson Creek, asking 67 businesses if they were in favour of removing the meters.
Of the businesses asked, only four said they want the parking control devices to stay.
On Monday, city council elected to have a further report and cost analysis of what it would cost the city to remove the meters.
Coun. Calvin Kruk opposed the idea of waiting on a further report, suggesting a six-month test of free parking downtown.
“I am speaking against this motion to refer it for another report,” said Kruk, adding that the discussion about parking meters in the city’s downtown has been going on since 1958.
NLC announces largest-ever endowment
The Northern Lights College Foundation announced the largest single endowment in the history of the organization, Monday.
The foundation received a $100,000 bequest from former college principal Duncan McRae, helping to buoy more than $1.5 million in endowment assets.
“This is an institution that gave me the opportunity to pursue my career,” McRae said, in acknowledgement of the endowment.
Bullet in bus sparks investigation
A bullet that pierced a School District 59 bus and lodged into a seat prompted an RCMP investigation.
Cpl. Perry Penney said the bus — which is used on the Arras route — had a 22 calibre-sized hole in it, but police hadn’t been able to figure out when the shot was fired or where.
“We have no idea,” Penney said of when the shot was fired.
“That’s part of the problem… It’s a rural bus route.”
Forensic investigation specialists from Fort St. John along with the crime lab from Vancouver were been called into help with the investigation.
RCMP suspect organized crime in ATV thefts
The recent theft of two RCMP all-terrain vehicles in Dawson Creek had local law enforcement pointing to drug pushers and organized crime.
Staff Sgt. Larry Flath said it is unlikely the two ATVs stored at the city yard were targeted as RCMP vehicles. He said ATVs and snowmobiles are often targeted through organized crime and for quick repayments of drug debts.
“There is little doubt in my mind that organized crime is involved with stealing ATVs and snowmobiles in the north,” he said. “There are groups actively targeting these things.
“It all stems from that… a lot has to do with the drug trade.”
Two RCMP ATVs were taken from the city yard. One of the machines was later found “pushed or driven” into a ditch.
Winter games could have million-dollar impact
The Northern B.C. Winter Games could bring in $1 million into the Dawson Creek economy, city council heard.
Giles Dudley, credited with helping to get the games to come to Dawson Creek in 2005, was before council to encourage volunteer participation and promote the event.
“There isn’t one community that doesn’t benefit from the games,” Dudley said. “Take the town of MacKenzie, it’s not very big and they put on a fantastic games… the whole town came together.”
Coun. Calvin Kruk backed Dudley assessment saying previous hosts of the games have been very successful.
“The last couple of northern games brought in $1 million,” Kruk said.
Local vet named Vet of the Year by B.C. SPCA
It’s clear Dr. Trevor Reeves cares about animals and their welfare, and that’s one of the reasons he was named Veterinarian of the Year by the B.C. SPCA. Each year the award recognizes a veterinarian who has made a significant difference in the lives of SPCA shelter animals and other animals in a community.
Reeves didn’t know he’d even been nominated for the award until local SPCA shelter manager Becky Cryne passed on the news that he’d won it.
Needless to say, it came as something of a surprise.
“I was so taken aback that I probably didn’t even respond properly – I probably said, ‘Oh, OK,’” Reeves said.
“I feel a little surprised,” he added. “I sort of feel humbled by the whole thing.”
While Reeves is modest about receiving the honour, Cryne said it’s well-deserved.
“Trevor’s been a very, very big contributor to the SPCA here,” she said. “He’s made a huge difference in our community for the benefit of animals.”
Parking meters to remain
City council voted against calling for the removal of downtown parking meters even on a trial basis following a split decision in council.
Council voted three to three, thus defeating the motion to run a six-month trial disengagement of the meters in favour of free two-hour parking downtown. The missing vote was that of Coun. Marilyn Belak, away do to family reasons — it was not known if she would have voted to remove the meters.
“I think some courage, some vision and some common sense,” is what Mayor Wayne Dahlen said council needed to draw on to make the decision to remove the meters.
“We are embarking on a total downtown revitalization.
“We have to make it as easy as possible for those folks to have a level playing field.”
Alberta OK with PST proposal
Alberta’s premier’s office agrees in principle with a made-in-Dawson Creek plan for a graduated provincial sales tax in border communities.
Spokesman Gordon Turtle said leveling the playing field is the way Alberta combats cross-border shopping along the United States border. The idea of B.C. may take steps to do the same only makes good sense for taxpayers.
“We have cross border shopping situations in Southern Alberta where occasionally people go down to Montana or whatever to do shopping,” he said. “We think the best way to combat (cross-border shopping) is not to add taxes but to try and create a more competitive level kind of playing field.
“It sounds like (the graduated PST) proposal would go some ways towards doing that.”
Residents unhappy with mess left after cleanup
Heaps of garbage at city collection points left over from the city’s annual spring cleanup prompted several phone calls asking why the trash hasn’t been cleared away.
Cleanup co-ordinator Coun. Alvin Stedel said part of the reason is a busier than usual cleanup, a later cleanup than usual and the time it takes Canadian Waste Services to get to the regional district’s new dump site.
“I think we’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the amount,” he said. “It takes a lot longer for (CWS) to do the turnaround.”
To unload one dumpster it takes two hours for the crews to pick up the trash bins, take them to the new Bessborough landfill site and get back to Dawson Creek. There are 12 dumpsters and to unload all of them takes an entire 24-hour shift, Stedel said.
An extra truck was being brought in form Fort St. John to assist in cleaning up the cleanup’s haul.
Drug bust targeted illegal cabs
Gypsy cabs were specifically targeted as part of a sting operation to nab drug pushers across the Peace Region, says Staff Sgt. Larry Flath.
A dozen people in Dawson Creek were nabbed as part of the three-month-long operation and face charges on 15 drug related offences. Some of the people arrested in the city face charges under the Provincial Motor Vehicle and Commercial Vehicle Act.
“We used undercover operators,” Flath said. “We’re not releasing too much at this time.”
AC Taxi and Yellow Cabs are the city’s only provincially licensed taxi companies.
Part of the operation was targeting illegal or gypsy cabs as suspected fronts for drug dealing operations. The issue had been brought to the RCMP and they looked at illegal cabs as part of the massive investigation into drug trafficking across the Peace Liard Region.
“It was a concern to a number of people in the community and raised to us a number of times before,” Flath said.
Through the investigation RCMP seized cocaine, marijuana and four vehicles used by traffickers to transport cocaine.
More than 400 take part in relay
More than 400 walkers and runners took part in the Relay for Life in Dawson Creek with hopes of raising $39,000 for the search for a cure.
Relay co-ordinator Sue Kenny said 32 teams walked the course on the Northern Lights College grounds for the 12-hour-long relay.
“(WE) hope to raise $39,000 or more this year for cancer research,” Kenny said.
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.