Recent History – 2003
City gets behind Gatekeepers
A letter of support from the City of Dawson Creek to the Peace River Haven Gatekeepers Society was forthcoming after a delegation attended city council to ask for their backing.
“Every day you walk outside this building you hear another rumour about what is happening,” said Paul De Costa, chair of the Gatekeepers. “We definitely need your help. We would like to show the Northern Health Authority that we are credible people.”
The main issue revolves around the cloudy future of the Peace River Haven long-term health facility in Pouce Coupe.
Poor weather delays 8th Street completion
Blame the weather — that was the message delivered at city council when it was revealed that the construction on 8th Street would not be completed until the spring.
“I just want to thank residents for their patience with the project,” said Mayor Wayne Dahlen. “And remind us all that the end result will be something that we can all be proud of.”
The $2.7 million project involved repaving the asphalt on a 2.1 km stretch of 8th Street beginning at the traffic circle and ending at the soon-to-be opened Wal-Mart. There is also a new sidewalk that was paved between 103rd Avenue to 116th Avenue. At its peak, the construction cut the access to 8th Street down to two lanes resulting in bottleneck conditions during certain hours of the day.
Salvation Army gearing up for Christmas
The Salvation Army was gearing up for the Christmas season.
“I think in the winter months you always see an increase in the need because the cost of living goes up,” said Capt. Francie Lee of the Dawson Creek chapter of the Salvation Army.
“We have people who come in here with 28 dollars to last them the whole month and we know that it’s just not going to cut it,” she added.
City hires firm for multiplex
A communications firm was hired by the city to help support the proposed new multiplex development at the Harry Morrow Ball Diamonds.
“They have been hired to make sure that the full information about the project gets out to the public,” said John Malcolm, deputy chief administrative officer for the City of Dawson Creek. Council approved the expenditure of up to $40,000 in a closed session in October. All of council’s tenders are voted on in closed session.
Dan Rogers and Dave Read of Aspen Communications, a firm based in Prince George were hired to work with project organizers to develop a communication strategy heading into a referendum on the complex in March.
“What they are doing is managing public input,” said Jim Chute, chief administrative officer for the city of Dawson Creek. “Dave Read was specifically selected because he is familiar with the area and the processes involved.”
RCMP uncover major grow op
Police uncovered what may be the biggest marijuana grow op in the area’s history.
Investigators led by the North District Drug Section out of Prince George executed a search warrant at a property 30 kilometres west of Dawson Creek.
Assisted by officers from the Dawson Creek and Fort St. John detachments, police found an elaborate grow operation located in two bunkers buried in the ground.
Officers seized a large quantity of marijuana production equipment, nearly 1.6 kilograms of dried marijuana, 3,600 marijuana plants in varying stages of growth and a 9mm handgun.
“It was a great day for us,” said Cpl. Sean Neary of the North District Drug Section.
“It’s probably the biggest (marijuana bust) in this area in some time — probably ever.”
Dawson Creek remembers
Dawson Creek joined communities across Canada and the world with a Remembrance Day service that paid tribute to veterans of war both living and dead.
Unchagah Hall was filled to capacity as local Legion Cde. Bud Melin presided over the event.
Chamber of commerce hosts awards
The Dawson Creek and District Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Presidents Ball, at which numerous community awards were given out.
Citizen of the Year: Ed Rosales
Business of the Year: Rolla Agricultural Services
Innovative Business of the Year: Emporium Investments
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Chad Anderson, New Harvest Media
Business Supporter of the Arts: Peace River Block Daily News
Non-profit Association of the Year: Mile Zero Cruisers
Wal-Mart open for business
In a scene that has played itself out hundreds of times across Canada, the new Wal-Mart opened in Dawson Creek.
“We have a sign in the east end of town saying that we are open for business, and we really mean it,” said Mayor Wayne Dahlen to an assembled mass of store employees and special guests at the 7 a.m. ceremony.
“This shows that we are a very friendly community and a progressive community. It will help other developments to come.”
Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer with sales totaling $245 billion dollars in 2003. They have opened over 200 stores in Canada to bring their total to more than 1,300 Wal-Marts worldwide.
“I think it should stem the tide of people going across the border,” said Dahlen. “It has also created 120 jobs and that is definitely a good thing.”
Final visioning report released
The people of Dawson Creek’s highest priorities are expanding employment opportunities and improving the quality of retail establishments, according to the final report of the City of Dawson Creek Visioning Initiative.
After months of meetings and workshops the results of the process were presented to city council.
“My sense is that it appears Dawson Creek is a city that is shifting,” said Toronto-based consultant Duncan Holmes. “The whole focus now is that citizens want to be involved.”
Jackson selected for assembly
Bill Jackson was selected to step in and serve on the Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform after South Peace delegate Max Malthus passed away on November 6th.
Jackson would be joining Amanda Medley, a part time schoolteacher and mother of two young children, as South Peace’s delegates to the committee.
Jackson is the Administrative Crown Counsel for the city and a longtime member of the community. No stranger to community service he also serves on the board of the B.C. Law Society and teaches a criminology course at Northern Lights College.
Mixed feelings on Multiplex
It was a mixed bag of opinions at the first of many public meeting to discuss the design of the proposed South Peace Community Multiplex at the Peace River Regional District building.
“If it actually happens it will be wonderful,” said Yvonne Hussey, after looking at the plans. “It is pretty elaborate so you have to wonder what it will cost. (I don’t know) whether it will be affordable when it does happen.”
“I see a pretty fancy place,” commented David Shannon, who was among more than 100 people who attended the meeting. “Do we need all these bells and whistles? Is this something that the people have expressed they wanted? The jury is still out for me.”
Kevin Blocka, another resident who surveyed the plan disagreed.
“Are we always going to have the mindset that Dawson Creek won’t grow any bigger than it is now?” he asked. “I like the plan. I have two little kids and I look forward to having an up-to-date facility.”
Dawson Creek lights up for Christmas
Thirty-below temperatures could not freeze the holiday spirit on as hundreds braved the bitter cold for the city’s traditional Christmas tree light up.
“It’s great to see all the children out here every year,” said Coun. Paul Gevatkoff, addressing the gathered crowd before flipping the switch. “No matter how cold it is, this corner is always packed for this.”
Deal good for North, says Lekstrom
It’s a good deal — that was the message from South Peace MLA Blair Lekstrom as he commented on the proposed one billion dollar B.C. Rail-CN deal.
“I’m not sure you can call it an outright sale,” said Lekstrom, on the phone from Victoria, stressing that the deal should be looked at as a “partnership.” During the 2001 election one of the pillars of Liberal platforms was a promise not to sell the railway.
“It is like the highways,” he said. “We own them but the maintenance is contracted out.”
According to the government the deal would help revitalize the rail system and expand it to provide better service to communities in the North. Some of the local spin-offs include a promise to not raise the Tumbler Ridge line for at least five years and the reopening of the Hythe to Dawson Creek line.
Ranchers accept program, but wonder if it’s enough
Reaction from the local rancher community to the province’s new cull cattle program was marginally positive, with many pleased by the assistance but left wondering whether it will be enough.
“We’re not jumping up and down about the money, but it’s better than a kick in the butt,” said Mike Kosick of Peace Country Livestock Auction, reacting to the $128 per culled cow that the province is offering as part of its BSE relief program in conjunction with a similar federal program. “Every little thing helps.”
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.