Are regional districts still relevant?

As Canada continues the celebration of 150 years since its birth, another important anniversary — one with much less profile — is also being marked this year.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District was incorporated 50 years ago. The first official board meeting was held Nov. 24, 1967 in Kamloops City Hall, with lawyer Dave Rogers, an electoral area director, elected as chair.

At that first meeting, according to the minutes, “Rogers suggested that the Directors try to explain the functions of the Regional District to the inhabitants of the areas they represented and suggested that the District should go to some expense to this end.”

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Skeetchestn evacuated, state of emergency extended again

Skeetchestn Indian Band residents were heading for Kamloops today (Aug. 4, 2017) to join other evacuees fleeing wildfires.

Chief Ron Ignace and council signed the evacuation order this afternoon. The reserve had been on the edge of other evacuation zones in the Bonaparte Plateau area.

This morning, several properties on Highway 97 and Jackson Road in TNRD Electoral Area I were ordered evacuated as the Elephant Hill wildfire continues to threaten homes and property.

As well, the Hanceville wildfire is threatening properties in Electoral Area “E” near Empire Valley Road. The TNRD ordered everyone at 7129 and 7140 Empire Valley Rd. to evacuate.

Evacuees were told to proceed to Churn Creek Bridge at Gang Ranch, and follow Dog Creek Road to Williams Lake, then south on Hwy 97 to 100 Mile House. Or as an alternative, travel south on Meadow Lake Rd to Hwy 97, and north to 100 Mile House. It is suggested that evacuees shut off all gas and electrical appliances, other than refrigerators and freezers. If evacuees have large animals/livestock in need of shelter, please contact the TNRD EOC at 1-866-377-7188.

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Fire near Monte Lake ‘no longer posing same threat’

TNRD News release, 6 p.m. Sunday, July 30, 2017:

The Evacuation Orders and Alerts in place for residents near Monte Lake are being updated. The Martin Mountain Fire near Monte Lake that triggered the Orders and Alerts is no longer posing the same threat to nearby residents. Effective 7:00 p.m. today, properties that are currently on Order in the Kristianson Road area will be on Evacuation Alert. A number of properties that had been on Evacuation Alert will be considered all clear.

An updated map is attached showing the area now under Evacuation Alert.

Order given to evacuate Clinton as threat from Elephant Hill fire grows

TNRD press release, 4:50 p.m. today, July 29, 2017:

The Elephant Hill fire has that has been threatening the Village of Clinton and surrounding areas has now resulted in the immediate evacuation of all propertieslocated within the red Evacuation Order area, as shown on the attached maps.  This includes the entire Village of Clinton, with the exception of the Chasm Mill site, as well as some additional properties north-east of Clinton, including:

  • 925, 955, 985 McCall Road
  • 780, 793, 799, 802, 807, 808, 815, 820, 823, 825 Valley Road

Highway 97 has been closed at 70 Mile House and south of Clinton due to the fire.  The highway will remain open southbound at Clinton to support the evacuation of residents to Kamloops.

 

TNRD to require plastic bags be removed from mixed recycling

Plastic bags will no longer be accepted with mixed recycling by the TNRD starting Sept. 5.

Because recycling recover facilities throughout B.C. have changed to meet new standards, they’re no longer able to process plastic bags in mixed recycling loads at current prices. Therefore, the TNRD board has accepted a staff recommendation to remove plastic bags from mixed recycling rather than incur extra costs.

Plastic bags can still be taken to any TNRD eco-depot or transfer station to be recycled separately. Residents should also check to see if their grocery store has a plastic bag “take bag” program, or inquire at their local bottle depot for recycling options.

“There are also many ways to reuse plastic bags, such as garbage bags in vehicles or smaller garbage cans, or as padding in parcels and packages. They are also handy when cleaning up after pets.

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Videos show extent of destruction from wildfire at Loon Lake

A pair of videos released by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Wednesday (July 26, 2017) show details of the destruction at Loon Lake from the Elephant Hill wildfire.

One video was taken by a drone on Saturday and the second was taken from a vehicle driving along the roadside Monday.

Residents of Loon Lake were given access to the videos before they were released.

 

Evacuation order, alert expanded for Monte Lake wildfire

(Image: BC Wildfire Service)

A wildfire evacuation order and an evacuation alert declared Wednesday evening (July 26, 2017) in the Monte Lake area were both expanded at about 9 p.m.

The fire — known as the Martin Mountain Fire — broke out near Highway 97 in the afternoon, and BC Wildfire Service responded with ground crews and air support. Burning 1.5 hectares north of Monte Lake, it was estimated at 100 hectares by 7:30 p.m.

The TNRD declared a local state of emergency and ordered the evacuation of 39 properties along the highway, as well as putting 60 on alert.

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Elephant Hill wildfire becomes more active again

A return to warm and dry conditions has resulted in increased fire behaviour in many parts of the Elephant Hill wildfire, says the BC Wildfire Service.

The Elephant Hill fire, formerly named the Ashcroft Reserve fire, is burning north of Ashcroft and Cache Creek and east of Clinton.

The Elephant Hill wildfire currently covers about 61,500 hectares, the wildfire service said today (July 26, 2017). About 300 firefighting personnel are assigned to the fire, backed up by 60 pieces of heavy equipment, 50 structural protection specialists, 60 support staff and air support. Existing and additional resources are being reallocated as necessary to manage the increased fire activity.

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Evacuees urged to wait for all-clear before returning home

(CFJC photo)

Information bulletin from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, July 13:

VICTORIA – The Province asks wildfire evacuees to continue to heed evacuation orders and alerts, and thanks communities outside fire zones that are hosting affected individuals, pets and livestock.

While thick smoke appears to be clearing in some areas, the wildfire situation remains dynamic. Residents and other evacuees are urged to wait until they receive official notice from their local authority that it is safe to return home. Local officials will not keep people out any longer than is absolutely necessary – but public safety is and must remain the top priority.

Wildfire crews remain focused on protecting communities, infrastructure and natural resources. Violating an evacuation order can detract from these vital, ongoing efforts if first responders need to divert resources to rescue people who’ve chosen to stay behind.

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Drone video shows heart-breaking wildfire destruction

I attended a press briefing at TRU today (July 11, 2017) on the wildfires and listened to the reports from various agencies on the fight against the fires in our region, and the response to evacuations. I was able to ask a couple of questions during the Q&A, and afterward was told Boston Flats residents have been given a look at what’s left of their mobile homes.

Almost every home in the park was destroyed as the Ashcroft Reserve fire — now pegged at 10,304 hectares — roared through the area a few days ago.

BC Wildfire Service officials told the briefing that 130 firefighters are pitted against the blaze, supported by eight helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment. As the fire advances north and east, alerts and orders in the area may be relaxed.

A drone video taken over Boston Flats and released at the press conference shows that only a couple of the mobile homes were spared.

Thompson-Nicola Regional District Chair John Ranta told the briefing 72 people were evacuated from Boston Flats, another 1,000 from Cache Creek, as well as 101 properties north of Cache Creek. Boston Flats is south of Cache Creek.

At the Kamloops ESS center, 2,200 people have registered. In Clearwater, 115 evacuees have registered, and another 51 in Barriere.

All agencies are urging evacuees to register at reception centres. “There are people who have not registered,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

Officials also urged people not to spread unfounded rumours about fires on social media. “There is a new rumour every day,” said Ranta.

His thoughts were echoed by Stone, who said, “I would ask people to please not speculate. Let’s defer to the professionals.”

TNRD sets up Facebook pages for volunteers, donations

The TNRD is asking residents who are looking to help to connect through two newly created Facebook pages. The TNRD has set up two public Facebook pages: (1) for people to provide/access donations and lodging, and (2) for people to offer volunteer services. You can find these pages at TNRD Volunteer Connections – Wildfire 2017 and TNRD Donations and Lodging.

Ashcroft-Cache Creek evacuees pepper agencies with questions

Evacuees listen as emergency agencies answer questions at TRU Grand Hall.

There was no shortage of questions from about 70 wildfire evacuees from the Ashcroft-Cache Creek area tonight (July 8, 2017) at an information meeting.

Representatives from various agencies including the Thompson Nicola Regional District, RCMP, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, TRU and Red Cross gave the evacuees updates on the wildfire situation and fielded questions ranging from how many homes have been destroyed to what to do when prescription medications run out.

One of the most frequent questions was when the highway will be re-opened to Cache Creek. Highway 1 is closed in both directions 10 km. west of Cache Creek to five km. east.

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