Castlegar 2011 Year in Review July-Dec

The top stories from July to December 2011 from the Castlegar News.

  • Dec. 30, 2011 6:00 a.m.


Chances are this one could be a winner




A healthy crowd of interested parties was on hand July 26 for the ribbon cutting of the new Chances Gaming Centre just north of West Kootenay Regional Airport on Highway 3A.Manager Chad Bullock, ownership member Ralph Berezan and up to 60 newly hired local employees could have been forgiven for some pre-opening butterflies as onlookers shuffled and waited.Just before 1 p.m. some brief comments were made by Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff, Bullock, Berezan and BC Lottery Corporation director of operations Rod Bailey. They knew the gallery was waiting for the wraps to come off the brand new facility.The Mayor re-emphasized points he had made following a council meeting some weeks before, that the gaming centre is a benefit for the city and area, and ought to stem the tide of gaming-destined funds being taken out of the area.Just prior to the ribbon cutting manager Chad Bullock, a Fort St. John native, said things had all gone “really well” leading up to opening day.”It’s been great hiring the staff,” he said. “We’ve found a lot of excellent, wonderful people in the area.”When I first arrived in June it was primarily just a shell. As you can see it’s an amazing facilty… it’s going to just detail the area.”Bullock comes to Castlegar by way of a similar stint in Terrace. One of the challenges he feels has been met, something related to a relatively out-of-the-way location, is an efficient supply network. On this point he also feels the Terrace experience will serve him well.”It was tricky but not un-doable.”As for the sense of anticipation Bullock said,”It’s going to be great working with all our staff. They’re all prepared and excited. Some of them, I know, didn’t sleep very well last night. They just wanted to get in here and show the public what we have.”Rod Bailey told the throng that research indicates the facility is expected to generate over nine million dollars annually, with a percentage of that money sticking around the area.Just how the ratio works out will be interesting to keep track of in years to come.


Seniors’ games Spectacular


August 2011 was memorable in the West Kootenays for the holding of the B.C. Senior Games. The hosting honours were shared by Castlegar, Nelson, and Trail and every step was made to ensure the games were a success.


Council approves Official Community Plan

The City of Castlegar held a public hearing on Monday to discuss the Official Community Plan Bylaw 1150.

The hearing included a presentation from planning technician Shannon Marshall detailing the plan which will be used by municipal and regional governments to guide land use and community planning.

The plan reflects community values which had been identified through input from Castlegar City Council and consultation with the general public.

At the regular Council meeting, which took place after the hearing, the Official Community Plan, Bylaw 1150, was read and moved for a third time and adopted by Council.

“It’s been adopted and is now a living document that continues on. You can update it now,” said mayor Lawrence Chernoff. “It’s more of a guideline really. Some of the things were looking at is the airport property, the infill [using existing vacant lots for development], all those kinds of things. It’s having a plan and somewhat a vision so that you look towards the future and that’s what this document does.”

The vision for the plan states: Castlegar is a small city with a big heart, and BIG ideas. It’s a place where opportunity meets lifestyle. Our community is shaped through innovation: innovation in sustainability, regional servicing, and technology. We area a community with a sense of place, created by people with purpose and passion surrounded by trees, mountains, and water, we have a consistently high quality landscape and airspeed. Excellence in energy action and conservation showcases our leadership in environmental stewardship. Our economic affordable, housing forms are diverse, neighbourhoods are complete and inclusive and the community is well serviced. We are a connection point that unites the region – a hub from which to explore life’s adventure. Nature and technology are our enablers. We have opened our eyes to what’s possible and live happily ever after in Castlegar.

“This is what the plan details where you can put things in the proper perspective. Multiple dwelling areas, single housing and all those, so there is a place in the community for these things to develop,” said Chernoff. “So as you get development permits, it allows you to develop these areas. We can see what will fit in different areas.”

The turnout at Thursday open house was unfortunate small, but Counsellor Deb McIntosh said that the public has had plenty of other opportunities where they have contributed to the plan.

“I’m a little disappointed to see no one here for the public hearing, although there has been some really good, upstanding citizens that came and put a lot of hard work into the document, a lot of thought, a lot of back and forth,” she said. “This was something that was done by the citizens not by council. This has been directed by the people that pay the taxes and live in the community. We’re really proud of the document. We think Shannon did a great job and we’re pleased that people came forward to help with it.”

“The Plan has been in the making for two years. The public has had some great ideas with what they would like to see or not see in the community,” he said. “It’s really a guideline – something to follow so you don’t get the hodgepodge. You need to have planning. You need to be able to set your community up so it has a place to grow but to grow in the proper places.”

One of the areas in Castlegar that the Plan looks at for growth is the airport area.

“We’ve got that big, nice 37 acres at the airport that were putting in water over there  – that’s all part of the airport development plan. That helps the economy of the community and that’s really what you are trying to do,” said Chernoff. “It’s the same thing as density. If someone wants to build an apartment where do you thing the best place would be? It might be downtown because you’ve already got the infrastructure in place so let’s make it a little denser and a little bit bigger. We are longitudinal here so let’s compress that and maybe go up or do whatever we need to do.”

The mayor said that planning for the future is crucial in growing Castlegar.

“We’re really looking for economic development,” he said. “To sustain this community over the long term and move it away from a one horse town, or one resource town and that’s where the planning comes into place. It’s like the gaming centre – that’s jobs and those kind of things. All those things we can do on the airport property gives us more jobs, more taxation, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”


Awards Gala honours Sculpture Walk winners winners from Castlegar’s Sculpture Walk were honoured Saturday night at a gala hosted by Element Club Bar and Grill.

The gala featured the awards presentation, raffles, a toonie sculpture draw, and a performance by Many Hat Theatre Company of “Here on the Flight Path”.

“It was just a fantastic evening. Everyone had a lot of fun,” said volunteer project manager Pat Field. “There was some great food, great entertainment with the dinner theatre and we gave away $8,000 in prizes and announced all the award winners. There was a real buzz in the room. A lot of energy.”

The residents of Castlegar have really got behind the Sculpture Walk, which just completed its second year. This year’s Sculpture Walk featured 26 pieces that were placed throughout the downtown. Residents and tourists were able to vote for the best in the People’s Choice category. Organizers are already looking ahead to next year’s event.

“It just seems to Dget better and better,” said Field. “As more and more people become engaged with the program, the citizens take ownership to it that’s what creates the links in the community. While the focus is on art and the artists, it’s really all about community building and culture building.”

Award winners for the People’s Choice Awards were:  Overall – Carl Sean McMahon for Linotype Wapiti; 1st – Gregory Johnson for Jack’s Story Time; 2nd – Christina Nick for Wheel of Life; 3rd – Tamara Schweigert, Three Ring Circus. Winners for Artistic Merit Awards were: Overall – Daniel Kloc for Raven; 1st – Shohini Ghosh for Tranquil; 2nd – Peter Vogelaar for Venus De Cello; 3rd Cameron Douglas, Road Apples.

Two pieces were also purchased: Huge and Foolish by Rabi’a was bought by Columbia Basin Trust and Nokhom Maskwa by Stewart Steinhauer was purchased by the Kalawsky family.

The winner of the Mystery Hunt was local student Kelsey Madson.

Overall winner of the People’s Choice Award, Carl Sean McMahon travelled from Saltspring Island to accept his award for his piece Linotype Wapiti, which has been purchased by the City of Castlegar and will stay here.

“I was overjoyed,” he said. “I’m just so happy that the city purchased it and it actually stay here. It’s incredible. It’s got some historical history. It’s great.”

The piece, which is a sculpture of an elk, is made out of an old linotype printing press from 1913 which was donated by the Castlegar News.

The printing press was going to be destroyed, but was rescued and sent to McMahon, who made the Wapiti piece. “It’s a piece of history of Castlegar that’s now going to stay in Castlegar,” said Field. “It’s really neat that the citizens chose the cultural heritage of Castlegar as an important piece, as well as the art being a fantastic piece as well. But choosing that the as one to stay in the community [is great].”

Caged Rage pulls ’em in

It was a night of blood, sweat and maybe even a few tears as Castlegar’s Element Club Bar and Grill hosted Caged Rage 5: Rapture. In all, there were nine fights, including three professional bouts.

“I think, overall, it went very well,” said organizer Glen Kalesniko. “The fights were awesome. There were some really great match-ups and some very exciting fights. It seemed like everybody enjoyed the show. That’s what I heard from everyone there.”

It was a very good night for the Trail fighters, who train at Kalesniko’s Pride Gym.

“They did very good,” he said. “We had seven fighters fighting. We had nine originally, but two of our fighters had their opponents pull out just before the event. We had seven fighting and won six and had one draw. It was pretty good.”

Kalesniko attributes their success to, “training, training, training.”

Having the home or near home octagon advantage is also a big benefit for the local cagers.

“They also all really like fighting in front of their friends and family,” he said. “It adds extra stress but there’s more reward too at the end.”

In the main event, Brad “Kamikaze” Causey defeated Vancouver’s Daniel Swain by TKO in the second round.

“It was a great fight,” said Kalesniko. “Swain gave him a great match. Brad finally got him in the position he wanted and pinned him – did a ground and pound.”

In other results: Professional – Jordan Knippelberg (Trail) submitted Brendan Frost (Kelowna) by Arm Bar; C.J. Bagg (Trail) submitted Mark Dolbie (Penticton) by Arm Triangle; Amateur – River Jones (Trail) defeated Robin Wood (Portland, Oregon) by Unanimous Decision; Josh Kitchen submitted Dusty Kramps (Calgary) by Rear Naked Choke; Chris Leuning (Trail) defeated Craig MacLean by Unanimous Decision; Miller Rogers submitted Shae Erickson (Calgary) by Rear Naked Choke; and Tyler Macauley (Trail) and Scott Hebert (Chilliwack) fought to a draw.


Chernoff successful in bid for third term as Castlegar mayor




Preliminary results have been released for the City of Castlegar 2011 election. Incumbent Lawrence Chernoff has been re-elected as mayor for Castlegar defeating Gordon Zaitsoff 1,020 votes to 786. The 234 vote margin in considered closer than some expected.

“You never know what the public’s going to do or how they’re going to decide,” said the successful mayoral candidate shortly after the results were released. “And I look at this as being closer than I suspected it would be. But that’s a decision of the community.”I thank my supporters and the community for allowing me to be mayor for the next three years.”It’s a challenge I’ve accepted for the last six years, and  hope to do it again and enjoy what I’m doing there.”

Despite losing in his bid for the mayor’s chair, Gordon Zaitsoff was pleased with the results.

“I thought the election went very well,” he said. “We were able to bring some issues to the forefront. What it’s done is send a pretty strong message to mayor Chernoff that there are some concerns in the city and some of the areas that should be addressed sooner than later.”

Kirk Duff was the only incumbent not to be re-elected as he finished seventh with 820 votes. Duff was the longest serving councillor heading into the election, having been in council for 18 of the past 21 years.

Newly elected to council for 2011-2013 are Dan Rye, who finished second with 1,194 votes, and Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, who finished fifth with 973 votes.

Rye, the manager at Kootenay Market, ran a strong campaign and has previous council experience in Gold River. As a former Rotary president and Chamber of Commerce president, Rye has proven that he knows the community and has the dedication and passion to be successful.

Heaton-Sherstobitoff, who is employed by B.C. Hydro, campaigned around making council more accountable and transparent. She has already butted heads with incumbent councillor Deb McIntosh at the all-candidates forum.

Re-elected to council were McIntosh, who finished first with 1,281 votes, Kevin Chernoff (974 votes), Russ Hearne (977), and Gord Turner (860).

Not elected were Tyler Maddocks (736), Peter Wulowka (606), and Cord Lafond (437).

The new council will be sworn in on Dec. 5 at the regular council meeting.

In an extremely close school trustee vote Jo-Anne Bursey with 1079 votes and Jen Carter with 1018 votes were elected, edging out Bev Maloff with 1007.

Zaitsoff was acclaimed as director for Regional District Area J (Lower Arrow-Columbia). Andy Davidoff was elected director for Area I (Rural Castlegar) with 218 votes. Davidoff, who is the Kootenay-Columbia Teacher’s Federation president, finished ahead of Owen Morris (58 votes), Larry Walker (52) and Sandra Smith (23).


Castlegarians got into the festive spirit in a big way this year with the CP Holiday Train coming to town and Winterfest featuring the Santa Claus parade.