Recent History – 2003
Vancouver gets 2010 Games
It was a day late, but Canada’s 136th birthday present – hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games – could not have been sweeter for those gathered in Dawson Creek for the announcement.
“This is a great day,” said South Peace MLA Blair Lekstrom. “It’s a great day for B.C., it’s a great day for our country… today is proof of the hard work and effort.”
A group of about 50 of Dawson Creek and area’s movers and shakers gathered for the announcement at the Dawson Creek Golf and Country Club.
With the tension in the air so thick you could cut it with a knife and everyone perched on the edge of their seats, a deep and loud “yes” echoed through the golf course clubhouse when the announcement that Vancouver, Whistler and B.C. will host the games.
Council rings up $53,000 in expenses
Dawson Creek City Council claimed more than $53,000 in expenses in 2002 with the mayor making up more than 35 per cent of the total spent.
Chief administrative officer Jim Chute said it is common in Canadian municipalities for mayors to have the highest expenses of anyone on council. Mayor Wayne Dahlen’s expense sheet reached $19,571.95, with all of council spending $53,122.41.
“(Yearly expenses) have completely to do with what (portfolio council has chosen for these councillors),” Chute said.
“Mostly it has to do with what activities they’re tasked to do.”
GP garbage tags hit DC trash by mistake
Bag tags that found there way onto Dawson Creek garbage last week were put there by mistake, but the city warned that garbage collectors do have the power to refuse garbage if people abuse the system.
On Thursday several tags bearing Canadian Waste Services’ moniker and advising trash tossers to call the City of Grande Prairie found their way onto excessive amounts of garbage left for pick-up in Dawson Creek. The bags have since been picked up and the city has apologized, but at the same time it warned people not to abuse the waste collection system.
“The contractor would pick up seven, eight, 10 bags of garbage,” said city chief financial officer Ian Eggertson. “But he wouldn’t do it two or three weeks in a row.”
Eggertson said the contractor has never been too vocal about the trash limit of three bags each week. Garbage bags have been allowed to pile up, sometimes laying in heaps of a dozen or more bags.
Nine charged after drug busts
Drug charges were laid against eight Dawson Creek residents and one man from Grande Prairie following a three-month-long RCMP investigation.
A dozen people in Dawson Creek were nabbed as part of the 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.
Flath aid Thursday charges in relation to the motor vehicle act have not been pressed at this time, but he expected them soon.
Through the investigation RCMP seized cocaine, marijuana and four vehicles used by traffickers to transport cocaine.
Radar images reveal potential graves at St. Emiles
Radar images of a Catholic cemetery near Pouce Coupe last used in 1932 showed the possibility of nearly double the number of graves once thought to be there.
Mason Exploration of Edmonton completed the radar imaging of St. Emile’s Cemetery site. The ground-penetrating radar found what Mason Exploration terms as 45 targets, places in the ground that show a solid mass or the possibility of a gravesite.
In 1980, the city came up with $40,000 for the Roots Group to improve the site overlooking the Pouce River eight kilometers east of Dawson Creek.
The area has since been cleared of debris and mapped. Research has positively identified 22 names of people buried at the site.
New ‘unsightly’ definition sought
Changing what the city considers “unsightly” was the goal of a proposal by Coun. Calvin Kruk in the city’s ongoing war against garbage.
Kruk made the suggestion that the first step towards cleaning up Dawson Creek’s less visually pleasing properties is to put out a clear definition of just what an unsightly property is.
“Further definition is required to enable our bylaw enforcement officers to act,” wrote Kruk in a letter proposing the change
Another successful cruise for group
It was another successful Summer Cruise for the Mile Zero Cruisers.
The group beat its registration numbers from 2002 by 20 cars, with more than 240 cars registered in the Show and Shine and a noticeable increase in community involvement at the event.
“They were starting to register (their vehicles) at eight o’clock,” said Cruisers president Viril Anderson, adding that roughly 120 cars were registered Friday and took part in the entire weekend’s events.
Although a brief rain Sunday got people off the street for a while, downtown Dawson Creek was consistently busy through the afternoon. Clearly the cars were the big attraction, but Anderson said an increased presence from community groups was welcome.
“Some of the groups did very very well,” he said.
The event itself wouldn’t have been possible without help from sponsors and volunteers, to whom Anderson credited much of the event’s success.
Hawkair issues share offering
Dawson Creek’s newest air carrier was hoping its customers would like it so much they’d buy a piece of the company.
Hawkair, which landed in Dawson Creek late last year, started a share offering to raise money to help it reduce some of its ongoing costs and help facilitate expansion, said CEO David Menzies.
“What we’re going to be doing with (the share offering) is we’re going to use it as equity, and that’s going to help us reduce our financing charges on our aircraft,” he said. “The other intention is that we’re going to us that as a resource to continue the growth of our services.”
Appreciation for beef producers shown at downtown barbecue
What’s the beef?
The phrase became a common theme for many area beef producers, those looking for a free lunch and U.S. travelers who stopped at a beef producer’s appreciation barbecue held in downtown Dawson Creek.
Several of the road warriors from south of the border took in a free lunch put on by the Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce along with Frank Ripley of Rip’s Shoe Re-Nu. The U.S. government’s unwillingness to open the border to Canadian beef didn’t stop the hungry travelers from opening their mouths to free burgers.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Norm Guimomd, of the free lunch.
“I was never afraid of (Canadian beef).”
Guimomd, along with his wife Francois, are traveling from Los Angeles to Fairbanks. He echoed the sentiments of many of the beef producers at the barbecue.
“I don’t know what the hell (the U.S. government’s) problem is,” he said. “But I hope they figure it out.”
Nearly 1,300 burgers were flipped in appreciation of Peace Region beef producers from both Alberta and B.C.
Hotel announced near Wal-Mart
More action was set to begin at Fynn’s corner following the sod turning on Dawson Creek’s latest major development project.
City council gave the group representing the Dawson Creek Hotel and Convention Centre the go-ahead to begin developing the site across from the new Wal-Mart Store.
“Dawson Creek Hotel and Convention Centre feels there is a great opportunity here in Dawson Creek for our project and look forward to becoming a vibrant part of the city’s economic future,” said the group’s treasurer Laurie Yanko. “We have enjoyed working with Mayor (Wayne) Dahlen and city council and commend them on their proactive approach to further develop Dawson Creek.”
The subject of a new large-scale hotel project has been mired in rumour since the city broke ground on a site near the Harry Morrow Baseball Park in 2002. Originally, a Best Western Hotel had been planned for the area; however, that project was later cancelled.
Bluegrass festival a success
An estimated 1,000 bluegrass fans attended the Peace Country Bluegrass Festival in Pioneer Village, and plans were already underway for 2004’s event.
“It met all our expectations as far as crowd,” said event chairman Calvin Kruk. “I think everyone had a good time.”
The festival featured five main acts, as well as five smaller bluegrass bands from around the region.
Pride event goes well, says organizer
Dawson Creek’s first gay pride festival, held in town over the weekend, went off without a hitch, said its organizer.
Tim Mottishaw called Dawson Creek Pride 2003 “a total success.”
Roughly 65 people attended the weekend’s main event — a drag show which was followed by a dance at KPAC, and the raucous audience clearly enjoyed itself.
Cleanup campaign gets overhaul for 2004
City council’s largest offensive in its war on garbage was given a new look for 2004 following a review of the yearly Dawson Creek cleanup campaign.
Coun. Alvin Stedel, charged with marshalling volunteer crews throughout the city during the cleanup campaign, gave his recommendations to council Monday on how to clean up the cleanup campaigns in the future.
“I have to apologize for the terrible amount of garbage spewed about,” Stedel told council.
“But we sure got rid of a lot of waste.”
The largest change was the elimination of dumpsters located throughout the city. Under the changes, the 2004 dumpster site will be the local transfer station.
Fewer tourists pass through DC
The number of visitors at the Dawson Creek Visitor Information Centre was down nearly 25 per cent from April to June 2003 from the same period in 2002, reflecting tourism woes across the country.
But tourism development co-ordinator Ryan MacIvor said the city wasn’t being hit nearly as hard as other places across Canada.
“Our stats are down as they are across Canada,” he told city council Monday. “We in Dawson Creek, with the Alaska Highway, haven’t been hit as hard as other regions or areas.”
Issues surrounding SARS, the Iraq war and mad cow all contributed in sending tourism numbers tumbling throughout the country.
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.