2021 Year in Review: Top stories from January to March

With 2021 coming to a close, the Energeticcity newsroom decided to compile the year’s top stories. Each articl…

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With 2021 coming to a close, the Energeticcity newsroom decided to compile the year’s top stories.

Each article covers three months of the year and the top five stories from each month.

Here are the top stories of 2021 between January to March:

A Supreme Court of Canada Ruling earlier this year officially defined the western boundary of Treaty 8 along the Arctic-Pacific divide.

There has been a long-standing dispute about the western boundary, around 48,000 square miles, since 1909.

This is due to the discrepancy between the map presented and the wording of the Treaty, saying the territory ends at the ‘central range of the Rocky Mountains’.

The issue was brought up again in 2005 with Treaty 8 First Nations claiming that the boundary was along the Arctic-Pacific.

In a legal briefing from Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, the Province and three non-Treaty 8 First Nations argued that the “central range of the Rocky Mountains” refers to the height of the Rocky Mountains. Canada and the Treaty 8 First Nations claimed the boundary is the more westerly Arctic-Pacific Divide.

The BC Supreme Court ruled that the western boundary was located on the Arctic-Pacific Divide in 2017, which was affirmed by the BC court of appeal last year, dubbed “West Moberly v. British Columbia”.

Four people from a family of seven passed away in a helicopter crash on January 1st. They were identified as Wade and Aubrey Basisky and their daughters Jewel and Fleur.

The four were in a Robertson R44 helicopter when it crashed in a field near Eaglesham, Alberta. The Baliskys have three surviving children.

An anonymous tip to City bylaw officers led to Triumph Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness’s shutdown. Owner and head coach of Triumph Tosha Mytron said the bylaw officer that came to do the inspection was shocked to find out about the decision handed down from Victoria.

What frustrated Mytron was that her gym has gone to great lengths to ensure all public health measures are followed since the beginning of the pandemic.

The reason for the decision to shut her club down comes down to wording on her business license. Because her license says “Martial Arts School” and martial arts were to be suspended, the club was forced to shut down immediately, according to the public health order.

Mytron explained that the club had offered more programming than just martial arts. Like many small businesses faced with the economic impact of Covid-19, she needed to adapt and pivot her programming to abide by provincial health regulations.

“We are more fitness focused. But in addition to that, we have fitness classes on the schedule that have nothing to do with combat sports,” said Mytron.

Triumph was able to open its doors again on March 3rd.

A GoFundMe raised over $9,000 after being created to help a couple who lost their home to a fire on New Year’s Eve.

Just after noon on December 31st, 2020, Joe and Bonnie Bayda’s home on Red Creek Road suddenly caught fire. According to family members, the grandson of the elderly couple saved the grandmother and had enough time to grab her oxygen tank.

Neighbour Annette Alexander said that everyone, including a dog, was able to get out safely. The only one that was unaccounted for after the fire was a cat that lived inside the home.

The couple didnt have insurance, and lost everything in the fire.

West Moberly First Nations continued its fight against Site C, urging the Province to suspend work at the dam.

In a statement on January 15th, the band claimed the long-awaited Site C report failed to identify safe options to complete the dam. This was just after Premier John Horgan said the Province is bringing in two international consultants to assist in the report conducted by Peter Milburn.

As a result of the conference, West Moberly called on Horgan to halt all work at the dam immediately, believing hiring more consultants shows Horgan has lost faith in BC Hydro to build the dam safely.

A 120-day trial starts in March 2022 as West Moberly is suing the Province, BC Hydro and Canada over the project.

The community alleges Site C violates constitutionally protected rights under Treaty No. 8, which guarantees the First Nations right to hunt, fish, trap and other traditions without interference.

If the trial favours West Moberly, the court will be asked to order a permanent work stoppage and full reclamation of the site to its natural state.

Shane Sutherland, 27, was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Amanda Black.

Police arrived at a home in Village St John, finding Amanda Black, 22, dead around 7:30 p.m. on February 8th.

RCMP initially deemed the death suspicious and said the two individuals knew each other.

After several adjournments throughout the year, for a variety of reasons, a preliminary inquiry was scheduled in November for two days, starting on February 3rd, 2022.

The judge will then decide if there is enough evidence to send the accused to trial after hearing what the crown has obtained.

Sutherland remains in custody and has not been found guilty of the charge.

A 37-year-old Fort St. John man was arrested by ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit for allegedly offending upon his daughter.

The suspect’s name has not been released to protect the victim’s identity.

The 37-year-old man has been charged with:

ICE has a tip submitted to their team based in Calgary and was able to identify the suspect allegedly uploading child sexual abuse materials online. After investigating, it was revealed the photos were the man’s young daughter.

ICE alleges that the man had been distributing the photos to another user online.

The man was arrested on February 8th, 2021.

Dawson Creek RCMP informed the public of a suspicious individual acting as a gas company worker.

On February 8th, around noon, a male knocked on a resident’s door, claiming he worked for a gas company and requested to inspect the furnace.

The male did not have an ID and was denied entry. The gas company later confirmed that they did not have anyone in the area at that time.

The RCMP reminds residents that if someone is knocking at the door wishing to gain entry, always ask and check for an official ID. The person in question should be wearing company-specific clothing with the company emblem easily identifiable.

The Village of Pouce Coupe Councilors unanimously voted to remove Mayor Lorraine Michetti from all committees and boards after a controversial social media post.

Council held an emergency meeting on February 20th, which also resulted in a request for Michetti’s resignation. This is due to there being no legal means to remove a mayor from council.

The day prior, a post published on Michetti’s Facebook page circulated social media around the Peace Region, resulting in multiple statements from Peace Region leaders.

Michetti’s Facebook post read, “Don’t want pipeline’s? They want to protect our land. Yeah ok”. Pictures of garbage surrounding homes followed this.

On July 5th, the Village announced on Facebook that the meeting was invalid following a court order.

Following the resignation of two councillors after the controversy, a by-election was held in August.

Two motions were passed during the first meeting with the revamped council on October 6th. Both motions were unanimous as no councillors voted against the motions.

One motion was to draft a letter to each board Michetti sat on to inform them that the mayor had been replaced. The second motion was to remove Michetti from all portfolio positions.

Michetti again petitioned for the BC Supreme Court to get her portfolio positions back.

The matter was brought before a judge on December 13th, and a court ruling will be made later as a judge reviews information surrounding the case.

Northern Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak on the Medical Inpatient Unit at Dawson Creek & District Hospital after nine lab-confirmed cases among patients in the unit as of February 8th.

The outbreak was declared over on March 12th, and in total, there were nine cases in patients and five cases in staff. One of the patients died in association with the outbreak.

A second outbreak to the unit was declared on April 20th, which ended on May 20th.

In total, four cases were recorded among patients and one staff member tested positive in the unit.

Two patients who had tested positive in association with the outbreak later died.

Right-wing social media personality Kevin J. Johnston was charged with assault in Dawson Creek after punching a grocery store manager.

On March 26th,  Johnston was arrested by Dawson Creek RCMP while  ‘live’ on social media after purchasing an item without a mask.  He was asked to leave by No Frills staff.

The video posted to his social media platforms shows RCMP arresting Johnston after he was seen yelling, ” I am making a citizen’s arrest” at a No Frills employee.

In a separate video, Johnston was seen throwing a punch at a No Frills employee. This came after the worker hit Johnston’s hand away while he tried to shove his phone in the employee’s face.

Dawson Creek RCMP says the employee followed a group that entered the store without masks to the parking lot to collect license plates for a police report.

While officers were placing him in the police car, Johnston kept claiming the No Frills staff member assaulted him.

“Get in the truck, man, this is not looking good for you,” says RCMP to Johnston as supporters yelled “police brutality”.

Johnston was in Mile Zero for a freedom rally.

Johnston will receive a trial date in January 2022.

The BC SPCA had 119 small dogs surrendered into their care from a property in the Fort Nelson area on March 12th.

According to Marcie Moriarty, Chief Enforcement and Prevention Officer for the BC SPCA, the animals’ owners found themselves in an overwhelming circumstance and had reached out for help, which the SPCA was happy to support.

The dogs were transferred to the SPCA facilities in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek for initial intake, assessment, and treatment.

A Fort Nelson resident who claimed to have called in the tip about the 119 dogs taken by the SPCA said there was more to the story than the organization released.

Mandy Rowsell was making her monthly gas meter rounds when she noticed no tracks were going in or out of a residence since her previous visit the month before. When she approached the door, she said the sound of what she thought was three or four dogs came from behind the door. Worried that the occupant may have died, she called the RCMP.

The SPCA then spoke with Energeticcity, responding to Rowsell’s claims about the accuracy of the information released from the SPCA.

In May, the last dog surrendered in the large intake from Fort Nelson was adopted from the South Peace SPCA.

A WorkSafeBC investigation began after a workplace fatality to a First Choice Towing driver at Troyer Ventures.

On Thursday, March 4th, police, paramedics, and fire rescue were called to Troyer Ventures on reports of a workplace fatality. RCMP concluded their investigation, saying the death was not deemed suspicious. RCMP turned over the investigation to WorkSafeBC.

Bruce Olofson, 61, worked for First Choice Towing for about 12 years.

A memorial took place for Bruce that brought tow truck drivers together for a parade in his honour.

CNRL decommissioned several assets in Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.

Several residents, who wished to stay anonymous, told Energeticcity that the company was decommissioning the Pine River Gas plant, Sukunka field operations, and most of Tumbler Ridge field operations. One of the reports included a screenshot of an email from CNRL management.

The company sent out a notice to Pine River Gas Plant workers informing them that the “orderly suspension of the plant is at a safe, idle state”.

The email states there were significant costs associated with the closure of the plant. It states the cost led to Sunkunka management to cease operations.

CNRL and SNRI were not available for comment after attempts from Energeticcity.

On April 1st, the BC carbon tax went up to $45 per tonne, costing 9.9 cents per litre of gasoline, 12 cents per litre of diesel and 8.8 cents per cubic metre of natural gas.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) said the BC carbon tax has been the highest in Canada since 2008, while emissions in the Province continue to rise.

Once the carbon price reaches $50 next year, it will increase by $15 per year until it maxes out at $170 per tonne of emissions in 2030, as part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal plan.

Thanks for Reading!

Energeticcity.ca is the voice of the Peace, bringing issues that matter to the forefront with independent journalism. Our job is to share the unique values of the Peace region with the rest of B.C. and make sure those in power hear us. From your kids’ lemonade stand to natural resource projects, we cover it–but we need your support.


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