Riondel Races to the Rescue: Volunteer Fire Fighters Extinguish Flames

gGc fire 1

Fast-acting fire fighters with the Riondel Volunteer Fire Department extinguished a wildfire in Gray Creek before it razed out of control the evening of May 16th.

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Although the fire was out of the fire department’s jurisdiction, seven volunteers raced to put out the one-acre blaze which was growing quickly by the time the crew arrived.

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“We were able to contain the fire, and essentially put it out before Forestry personnel arrived,” said Riondel Fire Chief Cory Medhurst.
The fire fighters used their wildland truck, which was acquired last year for wildfires.
“This serves as a good reminder that wildfire season is early and upon us,” said Chief Medhurst.

Ggc fire 3

The RDCK reminds residents to call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 toll free on most cellular networks to report a wildfire. Alternately, you can report a wildfire by calling 9-1-1.
For up-to-date information on fire prohibitions, fire danger rating, and current wildfires, please

Burning Information – Think Before You Burn


Although fire bans have not yet been imposed in the region, residents are urged to use extreme caution if they decide to have open fires given the unseasonably warm and dry weather. “Fires can have devastating impacts upon communities; the mass evacuations and destruction in Fort MacMurray are a sober and prime example,” says Andrew Bellerby, Regional Fire Chief for the RDCK.

“Please don’t burn unless absolutely necessary and if you still insist on having a fire, make sure you have plenty of extinguishing devices available.” Never, ever leave a fire unattended or toss out cigarette butts.

Those residents who insist on having open fires are asked to keep the following points in mind:
• The type of material to be burned (only burn organics—no plastics, toxins, etc.)
• The size of the area to be burned
• Wind direction and strength
• Establish fuel/fire breaks and guards
• Have fire suppression (sprinklers, hoses)
• Make sure the fire is monitored at ALL times
• Ensure that the fire is extinguished
• If a fire spreads beyond control, contact your local fire department immediately.

The public is encouraged to attend Disaster Day on Hall Street in Nelson on Saturday, May 7th to learn more about emergency preparedness, wildfire mitigation, Fire Smart principles, and a number of other valuable topics. Grab a free hotdog and meet your local first responders who work hard to keep our communities safe!

From Alanna Garrett,  Emergency Preparedness:

Individual Preparedness – Grab ’n’ Go Kit 

Food and Water Tools

  • Water (4 litres per person per day and pets) Flashlight and Batteries
  • Food (for 3 days, that does not need refrigeration) Portable Radio and Batteries
  • Infant Items-Diapers, Bottles, Canned Milk & Food Wrench (shutting off valves)
  • Pet Items-Food, Water, Leash, Kennel Rope, 6 metres
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Duct Tape
  • Paper or Plastic Plates, Utensils
  • Multi-Blade Knife
  • Alternate Cooking Source, with Fuel
  • Candles/Holder/Matches
  • Shovel

Health Safety

  • First Aid Kit Whistle
  • First Aid Manual Emergency Blanket/Sleeping Bag
  • Medication (3 Day Supply)
  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Eye Glasses / Contacts and Solution
  • Work Gloves
  • Dentures
  • Lg. Garbage Bags (Rain Protection and waste disposal)
  • Personal Hygiene Items – Tooth Brush
  • Toilet Tissue, Anti-Bacterial Wipes
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Clothing- 3 Day Supply, suitable for the season

Important Papers Miscellaneous

  • Insurance Papers  (scan/digital photos)
  • Map/Visitor’s Guide
  • Copies of Personal Identification/Passport Extra House and Car Keys
  • Family Documents/Photo Album
  • Numbers for RCMP, Fire and Ambulance Cell Phone/Charger (do not use 911 in a large-scale disaster)
  • Cash
  • Name and Number of your Out of Area Contact(s)
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Memory stick for Important Documents
  • Tent
  • Documents / photos of home (before/after)
  • Children’s Toys
  • Playing Cards

Emergency Preparedness Websites

  • PreparedBC
  • BC Wildfire Information  
  • Regional District Central Kootenay
  • BC Wildfire Public Information Line: 1-888-336-7378 press 3 for Kootenay Information
  • To Report a Wildfire: 1-800-663-5555   or  *5555 on most cell phones
  • Tune into local Radio Stations for current emergency information.
  • Evacuation Orders and Alerts go to

Some Upcoming Events



First, attend the East Shore Ambulance Auxiliary Society AGM, from 10am on Saturday, April 30 at the RIondel Ambulance Hall. All those from the Eastshore Ambulance Service Area are welcome to attend. Coffee and cookies available.



Fundraiser for the Ontario SEVEC exchange. Watch a movie while your kids have fun at a carnival!

Saturday, April 30th at 2:30pm, CBESS

Concession by donation – face painting, ball toss, all sorts of games! Petting zoo, too.

$10/20 tickets or $1/ticket

10 tickets to attend the movie.




Highway Clean Up Going On Now!

Today is our annual Highway Clean Up Day! That means there will be community members, business owners and school children on the roads this morning, cleaning up the highways. Please use extra caution when out and about!


Youth Society AGM – Please join us!

Eastshore Youth Society Annual General Meeting

Tuesday April 19th at 3pm at Crawford Bay School

This is the society that holds the assets and helps organize how the Community Directed Youth Funds (CDYF) Grant from the CBT is spent.

This grant is for increasing local activities, opportunities & services for youth 12 to 18.

We are nearing the end of our fourth year of receiving this funding and we will be looking for your input as we move forward. If you have youth in this age group or are interested in the opportunities for our youth on this shore, please attend to see what’s going on and consider helping out.

Paris Marshall Smith – New Fields Forward Coordinator

Creston & District Community Directed Funds Committee announces hiring, welcomes Fields Forward Coordinator Paris Marshall Smith

Paris Fields Forward Bio Pic

March 31 2016, Creston, BC – Since the launch of the Fields Forward partnership, dozens of volunteers, community development professionals, local government representatives, farmers, and food producers have dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours to local agriculture and food security projects. Riondel’s Paris Marshall Smith has been one of the volunteers. Now, Paris is stepping into the Fields Forward Coordinator position – continuing a career dedicated to strengthening local food systems. Her role will be to guide and support community action. Paris comes well equipped for the many tasks this will include – from research to project design to fundraising. She brings two related Masters degrees, training as a professional community planner, and a track record of helping communities to set and realize food security goals.

Bringing food systems stakeholders together
Fields Forward is the first project funded by the Creston & District Community Directed Funds initiative. It was designed to answer a call from the community to boost economic development in the agri-food sector and improve local food security. Funding was announced late last December after more than a year of community consultation, research, and planning. The volunteer Committee allocated just over $250,000 to fund the project’s first three years. This is a significant portion of the $600,000 entrusted to them by Columbia Basin Trust for investment in locally-driven community change.
Coordinator will support collective action.
Putting a paid coordinator in place is central to the Fields Forward strategy. “No single organization, business, or group can transform our food system alone,” says C&DCDF consultant Laura Hannant, “Real change happens when we pull together.” The Coordinator will help Fields Forward partners to communicate with each other, find shared goals, develop and advance projects, mobilize funding, and engage volunteers.
C&DCDF Committee Chair Hugh Grant explains that the selection process was a competitive one. “We were looking for a diverse skill set and a track record of success. We ended up with a very good problem in that we had several excellent candidates. It was encouraging that most of them live right here in Creston & District.”
“The process was a reminder of the need to create more local food systems jobs,” elaborates Laura Hannant, ”Our community is rich in people with the knowledge and skills to move us closer to food security. The challenge is find ways to compensate people for the work that needs to be done. This is part of what Fields Forward is all about.”
A dedication to sustainable change
“We feel privileged that Paris Marshall Smith has accepted the Coordinator role,” says Hugh Grant. “Her specific experience and expertise in food and agriculture, community and economic planning, innovative whole system design, and building community partnerships is exactly what Fields Forwards needs. We know that Paris will take a thoughtful, practical approach.”
Paris’ education and career have centred on growing food systems to foster wellbeing and community resilience. Her studies have taken her from Vancouver to Denmark to South Africa. Her work and volunteer efforts have involved everything from to coordinating a farm internship program to sitting on regional planning councils to consulting for provincial government.
Most recently, Paris has dedicated more than five years to building food security at the Yasodhara Ashram on Kootenay Lake. She led work to procure, produce, preserve, and process food for over 52,000 meals per year. This involved managing hundreds of volunteers, running mentorship programming, and building a network of local partners and suppliers. “When I started out, all the right components were place, but we were limited by a lack of integration and collaboration with others. Over time, we learned to harness our own unique production capacity and develop relationships of trust with local farmers and food producers.” Today about 60% of the food eaten at the Ashram comes from within 100km.
“Sitting down at a table with the knowledge of where food has been grown and the hands that have grown it, builds a richness that is immeasurable. I feel passionate about the opportunities that exist when food and community are celebrated. I know that I share this value with many in our communities,” says Paris.
She feels positive about how Fields Forward has been helping people to act on their shared values and goals. “It is inspiring to see change happening through collaboration. We are strengthening what works well and finding new ways to translate ideas into action. I feel like we are truly building the foundation for Creston and District to leap forward.”
Many hands make light work
Fields Forward kicked off at a two-day forum in January. More than 80 people took part in intensive “Strategic Doing” training and action planning. Participants included small and large-scale farmers and food producers, food retailers, local and provincial government representatives, and members of community and commodity groups. Together, they started work on breaking big-picture goals into manageable “pathfinder” projects. Ten project-based working groups were formed.
Nine groups are still hard at work. 22 working group meetings have been held and well over 500 volunteer have been logged. Work is being done to attract first-class farm workers to the region, host food and farm bus tours, celebrate achievements in sustainable agriculture, establish school gardens, understand the economic impact of the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market, develop local agri-food infrastructure, explore the possibility of a Creston Valley brand, and improve access to training and farm extension services.
Grant applications are already being written, fundraising events are being planned, research is underway, and projects are taking off. With Paris stepping up to coordinate, progress is set to accelerate. She is hopeful about what will come next, “The potential of Fields Forward is exciting. We live in one of the most fertile valleys of the province – a place of quality and diversity in both people and nature. I am committed to helping the community find ways of realising this unique potential.”

For more information:
Paris Marshall Smith
Community Directed Funds

No Closures at CBESS!


At the open special meeting on March 29 at the SD8 district office, the Board of Trustees and Board of Education presented the facilities review draft plan.

At this meeting it was determined that the board chose to throw out the scenario in which Crawford Bay senior students (Grades 10-12) would travel to LVR in Nelson for their grad program years, leaving CBESS as a K-9 school.

The community spoke with a strong voice against this scenario and the board heard us.

Well done to the hard-working board who has put in countless hours towards the development of this plan, a crucial step in off-setting deferred maintenance costs and meeting the challenge of declining enrollment across the district.  Continue reading

School Board to Announce Facilities Draft Plan Tonight

See below for an excellent article by Brendan Quinn of the Nelson Daily regarding the draft plan coming out tonight at the special open board meeting at the board office in Nelson (5pm). The Yasodhara Ashram Society wrote a long, compelling and very well-thought-out letter regarding this proposal. Erin Cristofoli and Ingrid Baetzel will be present at the meeting tonight and will report the results as soon as possible. (Watch here and Mainstreet’s Facebook page to see whether the scenario of making CBESS into a K-9 school has remained in the draft plan, despite loud community outcry, or not)

Kootenay Lake School Board set to announce facilities draft plan

There could be changes coming Crawford Bay Elementary/Secondary School as the Kootenay Lake School District prepares to move forward with its facilities plan.

There could be changes coming Crawford Bay Elementary/Secondary School as the Kootenay Lake School District prepares to move forward with its facilities plan.

Kootenay Lake School District 8 board will announce its draft plan Tuesday during a Special Board Meeting as they move forward with the next round of public meetings discussing the future of schools in the Nelson area.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m.

According to Kootenay Lake Secretary Treasurer Kim Morris, the board has been receiving a lot of responses regarding their scenario scoring plan, with public opinion ranging from positive and encouraging to “let’s get on with it and make a decision.”

“Since the last round of public meetings we’ve received lots of feedback from all over the place from all kinds,” said Morris.

“We’ve asked the public for feedback around the scenario scoring and whether they can support it or not in their particular neighbourhood and if they’d thought of any further scenarios that we should be looking at,” she said.

Facilities meetings begin Wednesday (March 30) at Winlaw Elementary before shifting Thursday (March 31) to Salmo Secondary.

The following week meetings continue at Central School Gym in Nelson (April 4), Prince Charles Auditorium in Creston (April 6) and at the J.V. Humphries School (April 7).

Meeting times are 6:30-9 p.m. local time.

Morris said that the board has examined these responses meticulously and will be ready to come forward with a solid plan during Tuesday’s Special Board Meeting.

While some constituents have been happy with the process, some are worried about what some of the likely scenarios will mean for their communities.

“In terms of unhappiness there have been some communities, of course, where a closure is contemplated,” Morris said.

In particular, the scenarios involving schools like Jewett Elementary in Meadow Creek and Crawford Bay Elementary/Secondary, the latter potentially facing a moving of the Grad program (Grades 10-12) to L.V. Rogers High School in Nelson, are causing some concern for parents and students attending those schools.

A brief prepared by the Yasodhara Ashram Society elucidates on these concerns and “make suggestions for amendments to the current methodology and scope for School District 8’s facilities planning process.”

In the brief, the YAS states that they consider the SD8 initiative to be a “necessary and prudent exercise of responsibility,” but take issue with the potential reconfiguring of Crawford Bay Elementary School.

“The scenarios emerging from the SD8 process are seriously compromised by the limited mandate of the planning exercise, particularly when related to a small, rural community like Crawford Bay (and by extension to the East Shore),” the briefing explained.

The document suggests that the removal of Grades 10-12 from CBESS may have far reaching impacts, including parents of children currently attending CBESS being forced to move from the East Shore if their children are required to go to a different school.

The YAS recommends that the current plan for CBESS be reviewed by separate organizations like the Regional District of Central Kootenay and the BC Assessment Authority, as they feel property values may also be affected.

The brief also suggests a scenario that has not been examined yet by the board as another option that should be looked at.

“There is a scenario that SD8 should have scored but did not: revitalizing CBESS. A compelling argument can be made that enhancing the CBESS post-secondary programs and services is justified. What if the 53% underutilization at CBESS were seen as an opportunity?”

Despite the apprehension regarding some of the specific scenarios, Morris stands by the process and said that it’s important not to speed through the procedure and stresses that the parties involved look carefully at each individual plan.

“I don’t think we’re necessarily in a rush, I think we’ve taken a pretty thoughtful and consultative process and I think we want to carry on with that,” Morris said.

“Everybody is excited to get to the next point in the process but it’s important that we still stick to our process and stick to the public feedback and make sure that we’re not rushing an important decision that’s going to affect the next decade.”


Special Open Board of Education Meeting
Tuesday, March 29, 5pm

Nelson School Board Office
5pm Creston (videoconference)

With the six days left, review the scoring system, how your preferred scenarios were scored and submit your comments and critiques to The district has committed to consider any viable suggestions received. The sooner submissions are received the better, since work has already commenced on the draft plan. All of the facilities plan data and scoring is here.

Furthermore, now that you understand how the scenarios are scored, you may be able to develop one or two phenomenal ones that will score well – submit them!

Please provide your comments & suggestions well before March 28!

Presentations of the draft plan begin March 29. See schedule below. The feedback period for the draft plan ends April 30.