Category Archives: News

Rally For Shelter Nov 20, 2019

Grand Forks has no extreme weather shelter and winter is upon us.

People are worried that the homeless will likely face life threatening conditions because of this situation.

On Nov 20, 2019 a rally was held in Gyro Park to call attention to this and plea for the currently empty facility that had been the Women’s Transition House to be allowed to be used for this purpose this winter.

The facility being considered here is on the grounds attached to the Boundary Hospital. At one point it was a nurses’ residence I believe. I’m also given to understand that currently it is not being used.

Editorializing ahead

The Committee that has been meeting on this topic since the beginning of the summer (coincidentally around the time that the city forced the shut down of the Warming Centre) has zeroed in on this location as the next-to-best possible place for the shelter. The most popular choice around that table in mid august was the previous location, the former Greyhound Bus Depot, but the city’s actions on enforcing the zoning bylaw took that off the table.

I have to tell you that the opinion around the table was not unanimous – the representatives of the special interest Facebook group Citizens for a Better Grand Forks were not really interested in that option since they had successfully pushed council to shut that down.

This topic, using the for former Transition House, was brought to council’s attention during the Councillor Report of Councillor Thompson at the last meeting of council. The video below should start playing at the beginning of her report.

I would like to point out that the property in question is owned by Interior Health.
Interior Health is Not in the business of Housing – that is BC Housing’s area of responsibility.

BC Housing supported the previous Warming Centre and may provide support for an Extreme Weather Shelter once again if one is set up. I don’t know that for sure but that’s my guess.

Even though Interior Health does not provide housing their area of responsibility is the Health of the citizens in its catchment area. The health effects of exposure to the elements overnight during the winter can range from colds and pneumonia to frostbite and limb loss all the way to death.

I understand that it’s likely not a simple process in a bureaucracy as large as IH to make a quick decision like allowing the use of the facility for this purpose. I’m sure there are all kinds of little friction causing issues to slow the whole thing down. And that most of those are there to protect the organization (and by extension the taxpayers) from malpractice, inefficiency, corruption and duplication of services. But other than malpractice the rest are not concerned with health directly are they?

So I have to ask which of the dual roles of IH, Health and Bureaucratic Government Organization is the more important one?

Floodplain Mapping Presentation Nov 18, 2019

UPDATED Nov 20 – Added PDF of handout to end of article

As a result of the flood of 2018 a new set of floodplain maps needed to be created (the previous ones had been made in the early 90s). This is important for various reasons: Safety, Zoning Bylaws, City and Land Use Planning to name a few.

Previous mapping efforts employed the capabilities of the field at that time – and the results reflected that. New technologies such as LIDAR have improved the field significantly since then enabling a more precise data set. Coupled with advances in computer systems this has made the results of simulation modeling of water flow, and where it goes, much better.

Urban Systems has been a major participant in this process and on Monday Nov 18 two of their team, Senior Planner Joel Short and Professional Engineer Cameron Gatey, came out to present the results and discuss the ramifications to the town and its land-use-related laws.

In addition Recovery Manager Graham Watt, Mayor Taylor, some council members and city staff were present to help explain and answer questions.

About 50 people attended the event in the GFSS auditorium.

Drug Trash Placed On Mayor’s Driveway

Unless you’re new to town or pay no attention to local politics or social media you can’t have missed the controversy over the homeless in Grand Forks.

Many of those who are scared, upset and frustrated with the petty crime, tarp shanties and the ongoing ‘fight’ with BC Housing have taken to pushing back at the only government within reach – city council. The agenda appears to quite simple: When they couldn’t enlist all of council in their desire to eradicate the current support system for the homeless they’ve gone after the holdouts with the primary target being the Mayor.

When Mayor Taylor did what we expect of someone who really cares about all the people in the city and refused to be pushed into a stance that runs counter to the needs of neediest in his community the hate machine swung into action. Diatribes, accusations, character assassination and vitriol oozed into every social networking group about local affairs on Facebook. I hear that on the closed to the public groups the language and accusations have been actionable.

But in spite of all of that Mr. Taylor sticks to his principles and will not be bullied.

Apparently someone has decided that speech is not enough and moved on to actions.

Recently one individual on Facebook was doxxing the Mayor – offering a map to get to the Mayor’s property for anyone who cared to private message them. Why would someone offer that? And why would someone need to know that?

Well now we know an answer: sometime the other night they dropped a mess of used syringes in a line across his driveway. Within the debris was also some of the things drug users also use to get their fix. And a partially full disposal container.

There was also a little derogatory sign erected nearby. There’s indications they prowled around inside a building on the property.

Mr. Taylor is not the only person who lives here: his daughter and grandson also call this home.

The controversy online about this is telling.

  • Some call it violence or even terrorism. Others disagree with using those terms.
  • Some equate this obviously intentional act with the callous and casual disposal of individual needles in public places by addicts (as if one bad deed cancels out another) . . . conveniently forgetting that the addicts are likely so high they are barely competent.
  • Some even suggest that he, or someone associated with the same side he is perceived to be on, did this as some sort of stunt to cast opposing groups in a bad light . . . in this era where anything can be (and is) questioned I guess that kind of what-if-ism is to be expected.

It’s a sad state our town has come to but, as with the problem at the heart of the controversy, we are not special or unique in this. It can, and does, happen in other places.

This is an effort to shut down democracy by trying to scare a local politician to either go along with the angry groups or leave the stage so others can do that. Intimidation and scare tactics are examples of what fascists and thugs resort to when persuasion fails.

That it is happening to the mayor under whom I’ve most seen the processes at city hall become more open and democratic is ironic.

While the hope is that the police will find the person(s) responsible for this the fact is that it happened.

People en-flamed by passionate feelings about something can find themselves doing things that they later regret. With today’s social networked world it becomes easy to plug into echo chambers populated by others who share and echo your fears and concerns.

Facebook is a challenge to society in particular.

The idea that angry like minded people can cloister themselves in closed-to-the-public groups might have seemed like a nice idea at some point to somebody but some of what it’s actually being used for is concerning at best and frightening at worst.

Just as false news and malicious rumour pervade the arena of national level politics it’s now happening at local levels albeit not as slick.

You might have noticed that many people behave differently online from who they are offline. Often they’re louder and more likely to say things they’d shy from saying offline except with close friends. Express negative thoughts and views – cast shade on others publicly.

When they converse in one of these closed-to-the-public-view groups they loosen up and can get quite malicious. And creative with the facts. The pseudo ‘private’ feeling the group has apparently allows them a free-to-shoot-their-mouths-off feeling. And I’m willing to bet some of it crosses the line from okay to actionable. Or possibly criminal.

But all that is out there – Facebook gives them a place to play hidden from view until a court order forces it all out into some lawyer’s hands that is. So until they are stung I think a lot of people will continue to spew hated, vitriol, and untruths. They can’t stop themselves . . . and someday it could all be fodder for some lawyer on the other side of the room in a court.

Until then one can only hope that cooler heads will prevail, as they say, and it doesn’t get worse.

To close this off I’ll point out something to the Doxxer in this piece. And anyone else thinking it’s a good idea. Or thinking what happened is more of a prank than anything more.

Doxxing can end you up in court. Maybe prison. Or the poor house (oh the irony if they became homeless).

That’s because whatever bad thing that happens to the target of your doxing falls on your neck the same as if you did the crime. Arson happens and you’re now an arsonist and that’s what you’ll get charged with. Assault happens and that’s what you’ll get charged with.

It falls under section 22 of the Criminal Code, counseling someone to commit an offense. If you’re thinking of trying it out your should check it out first – I hope it chills any crazy ideas out of you.

Trail RCMP Update – May 27, 2019

On June 16, 2019, at 1:00 p.m the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP will host the Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of the Special Olympics BC.  This event is open to the public for registration.  The RCMP ask the public to join them and show their support for this worthy cause.  People of all fitness levels are welcome to come walk or run in the event.  Please see the attached poster for more details.

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Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2445

On May 24, 2019, the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP responded to a call of male shooting arrows with a bow across Casino Road, in Trail, BC.  Alcohol consumption was a factor in this matter.  The RCMP spoke to a 35-year-old and a 56-year-old male who didn’t realize the potential consequences of their actions.  The males were compliant and ceased this activity after the warning from the RCMP. 

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Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2453

On May 25, 2019, at 12:54 a.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP conducted an investigation into the alleged impaired driving of a 44-year-old-male driver and his vehicle near the intersection of Rossland Avenue and Highway 22, in Trail, BC.   The RCMP determined that his ability to drive a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol.  The driver failed a roadside screening device breath test administered by a RCMP officer.  The driver was issued a 90-day Immediate Driving Prohibition under Section 215.43(2.1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act and has his vehicle impounded for 30 days.

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Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2463

On May 25, 2019, at 8:15 p.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment responded to a call of a serious assault with a weapon between a 42-year-old male accused and a 24-year-old-male victim, in the 2300 block of Washington Street, in Rossland, BC.  The victim was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital, in Kelowna, BC, in which he underwent surgery for injuries to his neck.  The victim recovered in hospital after surgery.  The two males were known to each other and the public is not believed to be in danger.     

The accused was arrested by the RCMP and will make his first appearance in Provincial Court, in Rossland, BC, on August 15, 2019, for Assault Causing Bodily Harm contrary to Section 267 of the Criminal Code.

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Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2484

On May 26, 2019, at 11:01 p.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment responded to a call of disturbance in the 2000 block of Daniel Street, in Trail, BC.  The complainant was upset that her roommate put too many towels in the dryer.  Alcohol was a factor in the dispute.  This matter was determined not to be a police matter and the parties were asked to separate from each other for the night.

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Beaver Valley May Days

The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP conducted extra patrols and Road Safety Check Stops in Fruitvale, BC, over the course of the Beaver Valley May Days Weekend Celebration from Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26, 2019. 

Notable investigations stemming from the event:

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2462

On May 25, 2019, at 12:54 a.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP conducted an investigation into the alleged impaired driving of a 58-year-old-male driver and his vehicle on Old Salmo Road, in Fruitvale, BC.   The RCMP determined that his ability to drive a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol.  The driver failed a roadside screening device breath test administered by a RCMP officer.  The driver was issued a 90-day Immediate Driving Prohibition under Section 215.43(2.1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act and has his vehicle impounded for 30 days.

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2465

On May 25, 2019, at 22:14 p.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP conducted an investigation into the alleged impaired driving of a 41-year-old-male driver and his vehicle near the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Columbia Gardens Road, in Fruitvale, BC.   The RCMP determined that his ability to drive a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol.  The driver failed a roadside screening device breath test administered by a RCMP officer.  The driver was issued a 90-day Immediate Driving Prohibition under Section 215.43(2.1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act.

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2470

On May 25, 2019, at 23:17 p.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP conducted an investigation into the alleged impaired driving of a 40-year-old-female driver and her vehicle on Main Street, in Fruitvale, BC.   The RCMP determined that her ability to drive a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol.  The driver failed a roadside screening device breath test administered by a RCMP officer.  The driver was issued a 90-day Immediate Driving Prohibition under Section 215.43(2.1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act and has her vehicle impounded for 30 days.

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2474

On May 26, 2019, the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP responded to a report of a collision between a motorcycle and SUV vehicle on Columbia Gardens Road, in Fruitvale, BC.  The 44-year-old motorcyclist had allegedly crossed the center line of the roadway and collided with the SUV being driven by a 57-year-old male.  The motorcyclist was taken to the Kelowna General Hospital, in Kelowna, BC, to be treated for his injuries.  His status is currently unknown.

On May 26, 2019, the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP responded to a report of a collision between a motorcycle and SUV vehicle on Columbia Gardens Road, in Fruitvale, BC.  The 44-year-old motorcyclist had allegedly crossed the center line of the roadway and collided with the SUV being driven by a 57-year-old male.  The motorcyclist was taken to the Kelowna General Hospital, in Kelowna, BC, to be treated for his injuries.  His status is currently unknown.

The RCMP continue to investigate this matter to determine what factors lead the motorcycle to allegedly crossing the centre line of the roadway and hit the SUV.

Do you have any information to share or questions to ask of the Trail RCMP on these or any other matter contact our contact:

Sergeant Mike Wicentowich
NCO i/c Trail Detachment
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) / Government of Canada
mike.wicentowich @ rcmp-grc.gc.ca (to restore the email address just remove the spaces before and after the @)
Tel: 250-368-2180 / Cel: 250-231-1704 / Fax: 250-364-1453