The closure of Rocana Meats’ Salmon Arm facility in August left local pork producers without a local abattoir for processing. (File photo)

The closure of Rocana Meats’ Salmon Arm facility in August left local pork producers without a local abattoir for processing. (File photo)

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

  • Dec. 26, 2022 1:30 p.m.

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


Hog farmers in the North Okanagan-Shuswap were having to reassess their operations following the recent closure of a Salmon Arm slaughter facility. Rocana Meats abruptly closed its doors in August, forcing local producers to consider their options which, as far as abattoirs go, are increasingly few and far between and difficult to access. “The very limited number of abattoirs that are in the region are completely booked up this time of year and/or do not offer custom services, so it isn’t really reasonable to expect someone to be able to just rebook their animals elsewhere at this time,” said Julia Smith, executive director and project manager of the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association. Smith noted processors have been closing all over the province since 2008.

• Some hockey enthusiasts in Salmon Arm were finding it difficult to get to Silverbacks games to cheer on their home team. The problem lies in not being able to access designated parking spaces for people with limited mobility. Graham Threlkeld recently wrote to city council “on behalf of all handicap fans, not just myself.” Threlkeld said after observing the parking situation for a full season and seeing an ongoing shortage of designated spaces, he and others are requesting four more spaces as close to the entrance as possible.

• The Shuswap stepped up and beyond in support of Ukraine refugees in Salmon Arm. Jean-Luc Desgroseiliers, founder of Shuswap Support to Ukrainians, set a Gofundme goal of $35,000 to help support families moving to the Shuswap from war-ravaged Ukraine. That amount had grown to $37,503 by Oct. 10. A dinner and auction at the Salmon Arm Legion raised close to $6,484 and an Oct. 1 meet and greet featured a meal, 70 silent auction items and seven live-auction times that raised another $17,325.

• The parking lot at Centenoka Park Mall was all but full on Friday, Oct. 28, one strong contributor being the soft opening of Salmon Arm’s new Peavey Mart. Peavey Mart’s chief operating officer Dave Simmonds was in town Oct. 26, upbeat and smiling as he provided a tour of the new location, noting the company now has nearly 100 stores across Canada. He described Peavey Mart as a farm and ranch retailer, predominantly focused on a rural customer, a farmer, an acreage owner. “So you’ve got workwear that applies to being in a barn, or footwear, and at the same time it’s functional for city folks. It’s not like you don’t do work in the city. I think the appeal is like that throughout the store,” Simmonds said.

• Snow has arrived in Salmon Arm, but an emergency shelter hasn’t. Several organizations have been searching for a location for a permanent or temporary shelter but, so far, nothing has been found. “We know that a permanent shelter is needed for people experiencing homelessness in Salmon Arm, which is why BC Housing is working with CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) Shuswap Revelstoke, the municipality and community partners to find a location for a permanent or temporary shelter,” reads a Nov. 4 email to the Observer from BC Housing. BC Housing explained the operator of the Lighthouse shelter (the Salvation Army) “informed BC Housing in the spring that they could no longer sustain operations after May 31, 2022, due to staffing challenges. As a result, the shelter closed.

• Even as she faced imminent death, Maureen Kennah-Hafstein’s determination and focus to improve treatment and outcomes for people with Parkinson’s disease in B.C. held strong. Her years as a teacher were evident in her approach to this goal: she also wanted to educate people about the disease. As I told Maureen, it has been an education, an honour and many times a joy to have written stories with her along her path, to have witnessed her tenacity in demanding and working toward a better world for others, to have seen her courage, humour and generosity in sharing her heart-wrenching details of Parkinson’s, and to have witnessed her gratitude and appreciation for so much, despite her pain.

• Debbie Cannon bubbles with excitement when she speaks about Salmon Arm’s successful bid for the 2024 55+ BC Games. “We’re really pumped; everyone is so supportive and excited,” she said enthusiastically, the day after learning of the city’s success. Cannon, a city councillor, was one of four people on the bid committee. That was a strategic decision, she said. As the Games were on Vancouver Island this year and are in Abbotsford in the Lower Mainland in 2023, it would likely be the Interior’s turn in 2024.

• A company with a long history in British Columbia has opened a new branch in a building once dedicated to Salmon Arm’s past. When its doors first opened in 1967, Salmon Arm’s Centennial Building was home to the city’s Centennial Museum. (The museum sold the building in 1990 and moved to the R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum site.) In recent years, the space was occupied by a law firm. Now, the unique local structure at 51 3rd St. NE serves as the Salmon Arm branch of the consulting firm McElhanney.

• Organizers behind Dancing with the Shuswap Stars called this year’s event a “smashing success.” The event took place on Friday night, Nov. 18, at the SASCU Recreation Centre. This was the sixth year for this competitive fundraiser, which benefits the Shuswap Hospice Society, and the first in two years that the public was allowed to attend. “While we don’t have the final tabulation of how much money was raised, we know it was a healthy sum!” read a Sunday, Nov. 20, post on the Dancing with the Shuswap Stars’ Facebook page.

• Council approved a five-year contract between the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and the Shuswap Recreation Society. Due to restrictions and disruptions during the pandemic, discussions of a contract longer than just one year did not materialize until the summer of 2021, explained David Knight, arena manager with the rec society, in a report to council. He said the structure of the new contract remains essentially the same as the previous one-year agreement that ended in May 2021.

Chris Lethbridge was taking a stand against ICBC and the B.C. government after being told he owes sales tax based on an $11,000 estimate for a used truck that cost him $2,100. The Salmon Arm man said he purchased the truck, a 2008 Dodge with about 300,000 kilometres on it, in a private sale in October. “We did the deal in the insurance office and as soon as I made the deal, they said that truck is worth $11,000, you owe taxes on $11,000…,” said Lethbridge. “I’m not paying about $1,300 in taxes on a vehicle I paid $2,100 for. It’s ludicrous.” In February, the B.C. government announced it was changing tax rules to prevent tax avoidance by people selling used vehicles privately. The changes came into effect on Oct. 1. Lethbridge said he called two other ICBC offices and received different quotes on his truck, one at $8,300 and another at $13,500.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sign up for our newsletter to get Salmon Arm stories in your inbox every morning.

#Salmon ArmShuswapYear in Review


Rookies Division competitors Kim and Terry Kushniruk get close during their time on the dance floor for Dancing with the Shuswap Stars held at the SASCU Recreation Centre on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (Kristal Burgess Photography)