Category 2 Fires Banned in Kootenay Region July 29th

by Ingrid Baetzel, Editor – The East Shore Mainstreet

July 26/19 – Kootenay Lake, BC: As of Monday, July 29, B.C. Wildfire Service will impose a ban on Category 2 fires in the Kootenay region.

Banned fires include open fires larger than half a metre wide and half a metre high, stubble or grass fires, the use of burn barrels or burn cages, the use of air curtain burners, the use of fireworks and the use of tannerite for target shooting. Small campfires or cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes are not included in the prohibition.

The prohibition covers the Southeast Fire Centre, which includes the Rocky Mountain and Selkirk resource districts. The ban applies to all public and private lands unless otherwise specified by municipal or regional government bylaws.

Penalties for violating the ban can include significant fines, jail time or bearing the financial responsibility for wildfire cost.

Starbelly Jam Starts Tomorrow!

Join us in celebrating the 20th Annual Starbelly Jam on Friday July 19th, & Saturday July 20th 2019! This remarkable yet small outdoor music festival is held in Crawford Bay, BC on the third weekend of July.

Buy your tickets today:

Starbelly Jam offers up more than a great selection live music, a welcoming atmosphere, on-site food vendors, a craft faire full of unique & handmade treasure. Take part in the free workshops & enjoy the roaming jugglers and clowns. Make new friends, catch up with old friends, be part of this engaging & vibrant community cultural event that is now going to celebrate 20 years! Join us for an amazing experience, great for the whole family to enjoy. Prepare yourself for best version of this festival ever, returning to its original program design of a two day festival, limiting the size of the population, bringing back that “more relaxed” festival atmosphere.

Hey you, need a ride?

By-Donation shuttle service is available this weekend. Our Starbelly shuttle will meet you at the ferry landing in Kootenay Bay.

The East Shore Transportation Society will be meeting the ferry from noon on Friday to the last ferry on Saturday evening at 10:30.

For parking in Balfour, there is a park and ride by the Kootenay Gourmet. If you park across the highway in front of the Balfour Superette, please talk to the manager at the store- they will tow you if you are in their way.

Contact 250-551-6020 for more information!

East Shore Better At Home

by Peggy Skelton, Chairperson –
East Shore Better at Home Advisory Committee

Better at Home on the East Shore has had a year of growth and change. Our numbers are showing that the trend for transportation services and friendly visits continues to rise. This speaks to the excellence of the services provided, and the quality of our volunteers with whom we could not do without.

The biggest news, however, is that through the hard work of the East Shore Better at Home Advisory Committee, and the continued support from the East Shore Kootenay Lake Community Health Society, Garry Jackman RDCK, Garry Sly, South Kootenay Lake Community Services Society (SKLCSS) “Community Connections”, East Shore Hospice and numerous others who wrote letters of support, and of course Rebecca Fuzzen, we will now be receiving ongoing funding for our East Shore Better at Home Program! A heartfelt thank-you to all!

Starting July 1st, 2019, the charitable Valley Community Services Society in Creston will become the administrator for the yearly $10,000 in funds for our East Shore Program.

This transition means that Valley Community Services will have the hands on management role. They will retain, manage, and report on the funds.

Also, as of July 1st, 2019, Rebecca Fuzzen will become an employee of Valley Community Services. This will allow her more support and education as well as a better connection with the provincial Better at Home Program. It is our hope that Valley Community Services recognizes the hard working employee they have added to their team.

There needs to be kudos and great appreciation given to Community Connections (SKLCSS), who managed the budget since the program began in April of 2017, and applied for grants on the program’s behalf.

We are pleased to see Community Connection (SKLCSS) supporting other community programs such as Helping Hands Day.

The East Shore Better at Home Advisory Committee will continue to provide support and suggestions to help the program grow and meet the needs of present and future seniors on the East Shore.

I’d like to say my personal thanks to all our Advisory members it wouldn’t have happened without you! And to our volunteers who are worth more than gold…you are amazing and nothing would happen without you.

Transportation Survey!

by Laverne Booth

The new East Shore Transportation Society is conducting a survey until June 28, 2019. The purpose of the survey is to confirm current and future use of a community bus, and to identify needs to make a case for funding from  health authorities and other sources. 

The survey is only 9 questions and will not take long, the fastest way to do this is click on this link and you will be taken right to the survey.

If you prefer to do the written survey, you can pick up a copy at your local post office and return it to the same place. In Riondel please return to the the senior’s room at the community center.

Please be honest, the bus service will not work for all, but input is needed from all at this time.  Please just do the survey once, but do get family members of all ages to fill it in.

RDCK Report for June 2019

MORE ON TRANSIT: A few concurrent initiatives are happening around transit.  Other articles in this issue will provide updates on the community bus which was purchased from Valley Community Services (based in Creston) a few months ago.  This bus is held by a local society.  As it comes into service it will serve some of the immediate needs of our communities plus it can start to build the ridership case for establishing BC Transit service within Area A.

Currently the RDCK partners with BC Transit and Interior Health to provide a variety of transit services across the Central Kootenay with some connections to the East and West Kootenay.  Funding formulas vary with BC Transit typically paying for half the cost of regular transit (through your provincial taxes) and the other half coming through local property tax where the services are established.  Interior Health pays for the Health Connections service, described further below, from their funding allocation provided by the province.

The typical range of services include regular transit (running on a fixed route and schedule), by request service (examples can be found in parts of Creston), handyDART and Health Connections.  Area A residents in the south portion (around Wynndel) have access to a fixed schedule bus which loops back and forth from Creston two days a week.  They also have access to the handyDART service if they qualify.  This is a door to door service for persons who have disabilities which prevent them from using the regular transit service.  Information on what the handyDART service entails can be found on the BC Transit website.  The overall schedule for the Creston Valley Transit System, with connections to Wynndel, Ericson and West Creston, can be found by searching Creston Valley Transit.

Creston Valley residents, along with any Area A resident who can make it into Creston for the morning departure time, can use the Health Connections bus to ride to Cranbrook and back for medical appointments two days a week.  If seats are available, passengers without medical appointments may also ride this bus.  The Health Connections bus is funded by Interior Health so it does not require a local property tax.  The rider fare is very reasonable at just $2.50 per trip but the trips need to be booked 24 hours in advance.

For the northerly portion of Area A, we currently only have connectivity to the extensive West Kootenay transit network via the bus at Balfour.  It took some time, but at least now the bus arrivals and departures from Balfour are scheduled to allow time to board or disembark from the ferry.  Once on the Balfour side, riders can access regular transit or they can board the Health Connections bus which goes to the Kootenay Lake hospital in Nelson.  They can also make connections to go to the Kootenay Boundary regional hospital in Trail.

BC Transit, in partnership with local government, has been very successful in increasing ridership in the west Kootenay since 2013 when several of the disjointed transit schedules were aligned to allow for easier travel from Trail to Nelson plus creating feeds from Nakusp, the Slocan and the Kaslo area.  Now BC Transit is planning for a further expansion and enhancement of the system. If residents from the northerly portion of Area A can show an adequate demand for service we may be eligible to receive a substantial subsidy to establish BC Transit service along the east shore. This will likely take one and a half to two years after the demand case has been established.  Currently BC Transit is looking for expansion ideas to put into their fall budget proposal.

On May 22, Transit planners along with the RDCK transit coordinator met with 17 stakeholder reps from the east shore to begin the planning cycle.  In the coming months BC Transit planners will return to the east shore to hold public meetings to present ideas for transit routes along the east shore and to gauge the level of local support.  If you anticipate a need to use transit now or over the next several years please consider coming out when meetings are announced.

A longer vision is to have BC Transit service running the full length of Area A from Riondel to Creston plus looping down to the ferry terminal.  The current “service areas” which the RDCK would use to raise its portion of the funding are not continuous and each is aligned with a different transit network.  Sorting out a long term plan will be complex and may require voter assent.  The shorter term objective, as stated above, is to demonstrate a local demand for service and plug into the already established network on the other side of the Kootenay Lake ferry by having a feeder route on our side of the lake.

REMINDER ABOUT REGIONAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM: As noted in previous articles, the RDCK has been proactive in linking residents to grant programs, such as those offered by Fortis and BC Hydro, to upgrade their homes and appliances to save energy.  The most recent program we are helping to promote is the Regional Energy Efficiency Program which has two funding streams, one for new construction and the other for home retrofits.  The RDCK has partnered with the Community Energy Association and Nelson Hydro to roll out this program.  Go to and look under the “services” tab then “sustainability” where at the bottom of the page you will see the link to “energy”.

A community meeting has been scheduled for 6pm on June 11th at the Crawford Bay hall where the program will be explained and contacts for further information and program applications will be available.

VOLUNTEERS FOR RDCK COMMISSIONS: We still have space for additional community volunteers on the Area A Economic development Commission, the Recreation 9 Commission and the Area A Advisory Planning Commission.  There is also one more space available for an Area A resident from Wynndel on the Agriculture Advisory Commission.  Please contact me to learn more about these positions.  Your local knowledge and input is important to our communities.

If you have questions or comments on any topic please drop a note to or call me at 250-223-8463.

Bringing Local History to Life!

The Boswell Historical Society Presents:


Strategies to discover, document, and share the formative stories of our community

Presenter:  Tammy Bradford, Creston Museum’s manager, curator, archivist and historian

Saturday, May 25

Boswell Memorial Hall

Join us for coffee and muffins at 9:30 a.m., Tammy’s presentation at 10:00, followed by lunch at 12:00.  Attendance by donation.

Supported by the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance

PARKS & REC MASTER PLAN – Open House May 14 in Riondel


Notice of public open houses

Parks & Recreation Master Plan for Creston and Areas A, B, C

View on the RDCK website:

Creston, BC:  The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is developing a Parks and Recreation Master Plan that encompasses the Town of Creston and the Electoral Areas A, B, and C.  The Master Plan will guide the RDCK’s provision of parks and recreation opportunities and services to meet the needs of residents over the next 25 years.

Last summer, the public and stakeholders were invited to provide their input as part of a consultation process. A draft of the Master Plan has been developed and will be ready for review.  Two open houses will be held during which key elements of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan will be displayed. A feedback form will be available for attendees to provide comment.

The draft Master Plan will be posted on the RDCK website following the open houses to allow the public and groups to review and provide feedback on the draft document.

Open House 1

Place:        Riondel Community Centre (Seniors Room)

Date:         Tuesday May 14th

Time:         7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Format:    Drop in, come and go

Open House 2

Place:        Creston & District Community Complex (Erickson Room)

Date:         Wednesday May 15th

Time:         7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Format:    Drop in, come and go

“The draft Master Plan is the product of community consultation and research, and it’s important for the public to know how their feedback has guided the process so far,” said Tanya Wall, Director of RDCK Electoral Area B and Chair of the Creston valley Services Committee. “I encourage community members to attend one of the open houses and review components of the plan.”

For more information, visit

Incorporated in 1965, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is a local government that serves 60,000 residents in 11 electoral areas and nine member municipalities. The RDCK provides more than 160 services, including community facilities, fire protection and emergency services, grants, planning and land use, regional parks, resource recovery and handling, transit, water services and much more. For more information about the RDCK,

Ground Squirrel Control Statement by Hall Board

Public Statement: Regarding Columbian Ground Squirrels, aka ‘gophers’, at the Crawford Bay Community Park.

After more than a decade of attempts to control the ever-increasing gopher population in our park, the Crawford Bay & District Hall & Park Association chose to take a new approach this spring. Previous efforts included trapping, asphyxia, drowning, and shooting which we could not legally do because of Crawford Bay’s official, designated ‘No Shooting’ area.

Over the past few years there have been more and more issues arising from the gophers’ expanding population. There are now a dangerously large number of holes and that has become a liability concern for the Park. These holes can cause twisted ankles, and possibly worse, to humans, domestic animals, and wild animals. Gopher holes also pose a potential threat to the Park board’s ability to maintain liability insurance for public events held at our park.

On occasion the potential danger has also precluded new activities, such as the formation of a women’s softball team, from being successful.

The gophers now have extensive tunnels UNDER the pavilion, kitchen, Community Corner, outhouse and the tennis courts, where there are 31 gopher tunnels alone! If this situation is not remedied the gophers will continue to cause massive damage to the structural integrity of this public space and this could affect local taxpayers.

To add to our challenge, the gopher colony continues to expand their territory. Now they are causing damage to the park’s neighbours including: Kokanee Chalets, the Medical Clinic, the Credit Union, Sunny Woods Garden Centre, Crawford Creek RV Park as well as several adjoining private properties.

Our goal was not to eradicate the gopher population but to reduce it to a level where other solutions such as live trapping, might be practical and effective. We chose to work with Cranbrook Pest Control, who are government-certified, professionally trained, insured and bonded. We asked many questions of them about our concerns with kids, pets, and our local wildlife prior to hiring them. We were informed that they would use Rozol RTU, putting it deep below ground into the holes. We were also told this would not affect preditors and that the ground squirrels would die underground.

We were NOT told that the pale green, rice-sized grains of poison would be found above ground. After the application of Rozol RTU on Monday, April 27th, some community members shared information that we had brought in Cranbrook Pest Control to help us. As soon as we heard their concerns we immediately put up warning signs around the park and cancelled the planned second visit from Cranbrook Pest Control.

On Friday May 3rd, we were contacted by our local area Conservation Officer, C. Haslehurst. The discussion was very informative and the board was assured that what we did to control the gopher population WAS legal. He also also confirmed that there are only two legal ways to reduce the population – poison administered by a licensed and provincially registered company or trapping by hiring a licensed trapper.

Our initiative did not work out the way we expected. Unfortunately, likely due to the extraordinary number of gophers in our park, a small number of gophers made their way out of the tunnels before dying. As soon as we became aware of this board members and community volunteers began walking around the park numerous times each day to check for dead gophers above ground. These patrols will be on-going for some time.

We would like to thank those generous community members and volunteers for taking the time and initiative to help us over the past week or so and who have communicated their concerns and ideas. We are all in this together and your caring is so appreciated.

We are actively investigating trapping options and others suggestions by local residents. However the the optimum time for doing this, which is before the females have their young, will soon have passed and it might be that we can’t initiate any other controls until the spring of 2020.

Of course anything that we do in the park will ONLY be effective if our neighbours – landowners adjoining the park – choose to work with us and we have already begun contacting them about this.

At present the Crawford Bay & District Hall & Park Association has only seven directors. We have responsibility to manage the eight-acre park, our community hall and the eight acres surrounding it, as well as the Kootenay Bay Boat Launch. This is too much for so few volunteers to take on. The best way for community members to have input into the management of these facilities is to become involved by participating in park work days, volunteering to actively help with park upkeep, boat launch maintenance and hall renovations as well as attending Annual General Meetings and standing for election to the board. We welcome new volunteer board members at any time of the year.

Board of Directors – Crawford Bay & District Hall & Park Association Box 71, Crawford Bay, BC, V0B 1E0