Rosa Guthrie of Rosa’s Taco Stand, pictured in this 2011 photo, closes doors on the Blackburn Park concession a final time. (File photo)

Rosa Guthrie of Rosa’s Taco Stand, pictured in this 2011 photo, closes doors on the Blackburn Park concession a final time. (File photo)

Year in Review: The Observer looks back at headlines from January 2022

  • Dec. 24, 2022 5:00 a.m.

The Salmon Arm Observer looks back at the stories that made headlines in 2022.

January

A few dozen people could be seen on the snow-covered ice of Salmon Arm Bay on Sunday, Jan. 2. The modes of transportation were varied, with some people donning skates to play hockey on hastily cleared rinks, while others were on cross-country skis, thick-tired ‘fat bikes’ or snow shoes.

• A flood at Hillcrest Elementary closed the school to all students and staff who were planning to attend Jan. 4. Frozen pipes caused a failure in the fire suppression system at Hillcrest on Sunday, Jan. 2. That caused a series of floods which have affected a large portion of the school.

• A small group of hardy souls welcomed in the New Year on Jan. 1, 2022 by braving the frozen waters of Shuswap Lake. Although they first went to Canoe Beach for their dip, they weren’t able to get through the ice. Later that day they went down to the government wharf in Canoe where they found open water and took a speedy dip.

• After a Salmon Arm woman and her son managed to escape from their burning home in the early hours of Jan. 8, police tracked footprints in the fresh snow leading from the house. A GoFundMe page set up for Bonnie Thomas, who was in her home on Second Nations Road with her son Darcy Andrew, stated someone set a fire in the carport. “Fortunately, her son Darcy was awake and, after being alerted by a neighbour, was able to wake Bonnie in time for them to escape.” The flames were extinguished by firefighters from three fire halls. When police arrived an officer tracked a set of footprints, following them into the thick bush behind the residence for two kilometres. The officer located an unconscious man lying in the snow. The officer performed CPR for an hour until the man was taken by Search and Rescue to a waiting ambulance and then airlifted to a Kelowna area hospital. “The quick actions of the Salmon Arm members and the help from the Kelowna Police Dog Services member, and Salmon Arm Search and Rescue, averted tragedy,” said Cpl. Luiz Sardinha of the Salmon Arm RCMP.

• If your Salmon Arm home was assessed around the $400,000 mark in 2020, it’s likely assessed at well over half a million dollars now. According to BC Assessment, a ‘typical’ Salmon Arm single-family house assessed at $426,000 in 2021, based on its potential selling price on July 1, 2020, would be assessed in 2022 at $574,000, an increase of 34 per cent.

Rosa’s Taco Stand closed its doors at Blackburn Park for the final time in October, but owner Rosa Guthrie was experiencing more than just sadness over retirement. She said the city gave her no choice; “for years they make it difficult…” She also apologized to her customers and said she appreciated all the support over the years. In an interview with the Observer in early December 2021, Guthrie mentioned several complaints with the city. Wrote acting chief administrative officer Erin Jackson in an email: “Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to discuss the particulars of this situation, but can say that the City has worked with Rosa for many years and did try to resolve the issues that led to her departure.”

• Two 8,000-square-foot buildings were planned for a property near the Shuswap Regional Airport in Salmon Arm. Phase 1 of the development at 3601 20th Ave. SE was already underway – four 468-square-metre (5,038-sq.ft.) storage buildings for mini warehousing. Phase 2, which was presented at the city’s Jan. 17 development and planning meeting, will include 16,000 sq.ft. of commercial warehouse space fronting on 20th Avenue SE. The applicant, Aviator Business Park Inc., stated in a letter the two newest buildings will be designed to appeal to commercial or industrial businesses that need to lease warehouse space to start or grow their business.

• The Columbia Shuswap Regional District lost more than 30 firefighters as a result of its vaccine mandate. “We’ve had some resign, as well as some volunteers that weren’t coming to training or calls anyway and just made it official,” wrote CSRD communications coordinator Tracy Hughes in a Jan. 21 email. “We are still working with numbers of 36 but it is subject to change as some (not many) have elected to get their vaccine.”

• On Sunday morning, Jan. 23, a large group of B.C. truckers, dubbed the ‘Freedom Convoy,’ left the Lower Mainland. They were travelling to Ottawa to protest the federal government’s mandate requiring all truck drivers crossing into Canada be vaccinated. Around 2 p.m., the convoy reached Salmon Arm, where they were greeted by hundreds of people supportive of the truckers and their cause. Many carried signs showing their love, while others showed messages of opposition to ongoing restrictive mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Salmon Arm RCMP thanked those who obeyed the direction of attending officers during the “largely peaceful and lawful” demonstration. “The estimated 600 people were largely respectful of the officers…,” said Staff Sgt. Scott West in a Jan. 24 media release.

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