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HOLLYWOOD comes to Fernie

Get out your fluorescent one piece, head band and skinny skis – Fernie is heading back to 1986. By Rebecca Edwards

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Expect cheesy 80s music, fluorescent outfits, big hair and skinny skis – as well as shots of Fernie's beautiful mountains. Qbhf!29!Ñ!UIF!GFSOJF!HVJEF!.!Xjoufs!311:03121!

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Fernie locals are transformed. Photos: The Free Press !Xjoufs!311:03121!.!UIF!GFSOJF!HVJEF!Ñ!Qbhf!2:


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On Location

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On location at the plaza at FAR. Photo: FAR

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A wide selection of Giftware, Hardware, Paint & Toys Great & friendly advice Located at 441 2nd Ave in historic downtown Fernie

250-423-4496 ferniehomehardware@telus.net

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Mon.-Thurs. & Sat. 9:00 am - 5:30 pm Friday 9:00 am - 7:00 pm Closed Sundays

From decorating to renovating, we have you covered. !Xjoufs!311:03121!.!UIF!GFSOJF!HVJEF!Ñ!Qbhf!32


dogs

Steve and Jennifer with their co-workers, Mojo and Farley. Photo opposite : The Free Press

FERNIE ALPINE RESORT’S

RESCUE DOG TEAMS 2010-2011

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RESCUE DOGS

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Avalanche Rescue

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Fernie Alpine Resort will host dozens of avalanche rescue dogs and their handlers this winter at the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association’s annual training and testing course. Rebecca Edwards finds out how dogs are trained to be winter life-savers. by Rebecca Edwards

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www.thefreepress.ca - Winter 2010/2011

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RESCUE DOGS

Just another day at work for

Mojo

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ON THE SLOPES

Do’s & Don’ts

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The Shuttle & The Charters Calgary & Cranbrook - Airport SHUTTLE Services Winter 2010-2011 FERNIE ---> CRANBROOK * Wed., Sat., Sun. ONLY * Best Western Fernie 10:00

Ski Hill 10:30

CRANBROOK ---> FERNIE * Wed., Sat., Sun. ONLY * FERNIE ---> CALGARY

CALGARY ---> FERNIE TERS PRIVATE CHAR uest! req on up le availab

Cranbrook Airport 11:45

Cranbrook Airport 14:00

Ski Hill 15:15

Best Western Fernie 15:45

* DAILY * Best Western Fernie 6:00 11:00

Ski Hill 6:30 11:30

Calgary Airport 11:30 16:00

* DAILY * Calgary Airport 13:30 19:00

Ski Hill 17:30 23:00

Best Western Fernie 18:00 23:30

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Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog (CARDA)

TRAINING TIMELINE 6 months2 years:

6 months later:

1 year of working:

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FOR RATES & TO RESERVE:

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www.thefreepress.ca - Winter 2010/2011

Winter 2010/2011 - www.thefreepress.ca

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NOW! LET IT SNOW!

By Rebecca Edwards

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T h ursda y , F eb r u a r y 1 1 , 2010

Serving the South Country, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford since 1898

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F4,@%6,7(%-7>>,(+% G"->='6%+4"-%@"#5,@%>,-+)(% /'$)-%HE%1%HI Throne speech

Flathead mining ban No oil, gas, coal or mineral extraction By Rebecca Edwards Free Press Staff

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ining and drilling for oil, gas, coal and minerals will be banned in the Flathead River drainage, under a provincial regulation announced in Tuesday’s throne speech in Victoria. MLA Bill Bennett told The Free Press that an order in council will be made this week by the B.C. cabinet ministers to remove mining or drilling of any kind from the allowed land uses of B.C’s Flathead River drainage basin, effective immediately. “We will put a strict moratorium over the whole valley, there will be no coal, oil or gas,” he said. “We will be facing an issue of compensation for the mining claims that are in there – we know that and we know we have to deal with that. “The victory here is two-fold – we will be able to manage the

valley the way it has been managed over the last 70 years. “The second part is that we are not going to get a national park. One of the main reasons people didn’t want the park is they believe that we have done a good job managing the valley to this point – and I think they’re right. “I think this is a victory for the people who want to take a middle way. It’s true they don’t support mining in the Flathead but they also don’t support putting it into a park – they want to continue using it the way their parents did, they want continued outfitting and logging jobs.” The ban on oil, gas and coal bed methane will be implemented under the Southern Rockies Management Plan, which controls use of Crown Lands, and will be effective immediately. The throne speech also pledged to forge a partnership

with Montana to sustain current forestry and recreational activities. Bennett said he has spent two years working for this result and credited premier Gordon Campbell for backing a “difficult” proposal for the Liberal government. He admitted he once believed mining in the Flathead was supported, but changed his mind after consulting a group of local loggers, hunters, anglers and guides. “In 2005 before the election I called a meeting of a group of locals at Sparwood Library. “I told them I thought the Flathead was going to become my most controversial issue and asked what do you want your MLA to say on this. “They all said they didn’t want mines in the Flathead, they want to keep it the same. “I believe the vast majority of people in the riding feel the same.”

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Oil, gas and coal mining and drilling will be banned in the Flathead Valley, the province announced this week. Photo by Garth Lenz/iLCP


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Summer soccer stars

FERNIE

Anti-BP protest - Page 12

ELKFORD

Grizzly visitors to Elkford - Page 2

TECK

Around 140 children took part in the British Soccer Camp in Fernie last week. Photo special on pages 14-15

BP sells coal bed gas project to Apache By Rebecca Edwards Free Press Staff

Update on coal dryer Page 3

SPORT

International soccer camp - Page 14 - 15

Photo by A. Treharne

T

he future of BP’s proposed Mist Mountain coal bed methane project is unknown, after the company sold it and all its Canadian extraction assets to help fund its clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico. The company announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to sell its Canadian upstream (extraction) assets for $7 billion to Apache Corporation, a large oil and gas company with sites across the world. The sale also included assets in Egypt, Texas and New Mexico. Hejdi Feick of BP Canada said that until the transfer goes through, it will be business as usual at the coal bed methane exploration site at Fir Creek near Corbin Road, Sparwood,

which opened last month. She added: “Provided we get regulatory approval, we expect to transition the business over to Apache fairly quickly, and be completed by the end of this year. “In the meantime work at the drill site will continue. The drilling is finished but test work will continue. We are selling the business as a going concern which means that any planned activities will continue forward then will be transitioned to Apache. She added: “We were approached by Apache for the entire upstream Canada gas business. That includes Mist Mountain, Noel Major gas project in north east B.C. and all our gas operations. It’s part of one big business. “Our employees are trying to wrap their heads around it. I know the Mist

Mountain team has had a I am sure we will review lot of calls about it so I all the assets we have purwould ask people to give chased.” them time to get back to MLA and Energy Minister them over the coming days Bill Bennett said this week as we get more informa- he looks forward to meettion.” ing the new company repRobert Dye, Vice resentatives and finding President of Apache Media out their intentions. Relations, “ I t said the means “We are selling the company a new business as a going did not player in concern which means target any the comthat any planned individual munity activities will projects and the with its continue forward then Elk Valley purchase. will have will be transitioned He added: to get to to Apache.” “We just k n o w announced Hejdi Feick A p a c h e this transBP Canada and how action – it t h e y is certainw o r k . ly premature to have an They are a big company, opinion on any of the BP I have not had any dealCanada assets at this point. ings with them personally We don’t expect this trans- before and, as minister action to close for several responsible I am wellmonths and after closing placed to make sure that

happens. “We will have to find out whether or not they have any intention of pursuing the coal bed gas exploration in the Elk Valley.” Casey Brennan of Wildsight had not heard the news of the sale until being contacted by The Free Press. He said: “This is the world we live in – when you treat the landscape as an asset that can be held privately and bought and sold regardless of what the stewardship of the land might be, this is the result.” “We try to work with corporations – we tried to work with BP. “We are not against development of the resources outright – we just don’t think the way it has been pursued in the Elk Valley is the appropriate way to go.”


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SPCA APPEAL

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Crafty kids

Cats up for adoption - Page 3

PM’S VISIT

Stephen Harper honours local MP Page 4 FERNIE

Kids are enjoying summer creatively thanks to the summer activity program at Fernie Heritage Library. More photos on page 12 Photo by Mike Bull

Miner’s jurassic fossil find By Rebecca Edwards Free Press Staff

T Physio heads to Bhutan - Page 10

SPORT

After the TransRockies - Page 13 - 14

he largest moveable ammonite fossil ever found in Canada was unearthed by a miner at Coal Mountain six years ago – but it is so heavy, no museum has ever displayed it. Structural engineers said the 5,500 lb fossil could damage the floors at Courtenay Museum on Vancouver Island if it was displayed there. But now two lightweight exact replicas have been made so the fossil can be examined up close. The 150 million year old, 1.5 metre diameter, 5,500 lb fossil has been sitting out of sight in the loading area of the paleantology centre since it was donated by mine owners Teck in 2006. Hydraulic shovel operator Richard Budd noticed the unusual rock among his shovel load during a night shift in winter 2004, and set it aside for geologists. Speaking to The Free Press this week, Budd, of Hosmer, said he was pleased to hear the fossil could finally be displayed. He added: “I picked it up and

right away I knew it was different from the ridges on the rock. I moved it out to the side and a load operator came and picked it up. “When the geologists saw it in the morning, they were pretty excited about it.” Nic Milligan of Teck said this week that one of the replicas may be moved to the company headquarters in Vancouver, but another replica may be commissioned to go on display in Sparwood. The other replica will be displayed at the paleantology centre in Courtenay. Milligan added: “It is not uncommon to find fossils at the mines although nothing of this scale. “The beauty of it is that it completes the picture of where the coal came from and how it formed.” The ammonite is the second largest of its kind found in Canada. The largest is located near Coal Creek in Fernie and is so heavy and delicate it cannot be extracted from the mountain. The mold and replicas of the Coal Mountain fossil have been made by a company called Palcoprep based in Drumheller. The polyurethane

The 1.5 metre ammonite, which was discovered by Coal Mountain mine worker Richard Budd in 2004. Photo by Palcoprep

replicas have now been cast and are being painted. They weigh less than 150 lbs. Company president Frank Hadfield said the ammonite was a sea creature similar to a squid or octopus that would have had tentacles emerging from its coiled shell and an eating apparatus like a

parrot’s beak. Hadfield said ammonites became extinct at the same time as dinosaurs, but this ammonite dates from earlier in the Jurassic period. He added: “There haven’t been many fossils of that size found – most ammonites are the size of a dinner plate.”


www.thefreepress.ca

THE FREE PRESS Thursday, May 7, 2009

Truck driving 101 By Rebecca Edwards Free Press Staff

I

t is my second day as a truck driver at the Fording Coal Mine in Elkford – and for the first time I get behind the wheel of my 930e Komatsu haul truck, which has a payload of 320 tons and stands as high as a two-storey house. At the coal face I wait in line as the truck in front of me is filled with rock and debris by a mechanical shovel that is even bigger than my own truck. Once it has moved out of the way I back up at just the right angle, stopping at the right place under the bucket, knowing where to stop because its driver sounds the horn. I wait there for a few minutes as the truck rocks from side to side with the weight of debris pouring into it from above, then, prompted by another sound of the shovel’s horn, I drive off back down the mountain to dump my payload and start the process all over again. In fact I’m not in a real truck, but in a replica of a truck seat, steering wheel and dashboard, surrounded by three screens that show an exact computer generated 3D image of the actual Eagle Mountain mine. This is Teck’s latest training tool,

a truck simulator which helps them assess the skills of all their drivers – from the newest rookie to the most experienced old-timer. The driver is given an assessment on how close to the perfect angle he or she backed up the truck at and how close to the perfect spot he or

Komatsu 930e • 3,500 hp / 320 tons • Top Speed (loaded): 40 mph • Body Height: 24 ft 2 in • Body Length: 51 ft 2 in • Turning Radius: 49 ft 1 in • Fuel Capacity: 1,200 gal • Curb Weight: 235 tons • Gross Vehicle Operating Weight: 556 tons • Maximum Capacity: 320 tons she stopped under the shovel. This is pretty important when 100 tons of valuable coal could be hovering above the ground. “You can’t beat the system”, says Teck Coal training and development manager Shaun Anctil, who at the

helm of the simulator computer can put the driver in all kinds of scenarios. He added: “You get a few old guys who told us it would be a waste of their time – they thought how is this going to teach me anything? Those same people come out of the simulator recognizing it as a worthwhile thing. Some of the senior guys have the worst bad habits. “I can set your truck on fire – unless you have ever put a fire out how can you know how you will react to that? Even the most experienced drivers forget to put the brake on”. After the initial adrenalin of seeing fire the simulator helps them practise safety procedures and release the built-in fire extinguishers. Anctil says the simulator most helps those who have no previous mine experience. “It used to be we never had a shovel driver who had worked here less than 20 years, the past two years we saw people coming in off the street with no mine experience and having to be trained. “It’s not a substitute for a real truck and noone’s ever going to convince me that training is going to go from two weeks to one weeks, but it is a reassurance and it supports what we do really well.”

A Komatsu 930e is loaded at Fording Coal Mine Photo by R. Edwards

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Reward for grizzly info

REMEMBRANCE DAY

Holocaust survivor speak - Page 12

Serving the South Country, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford since 1898

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ELKFORD HALLOWEEN

‘Sickening’ bear kill is condemned by hunting clubs By Rebecca Edwards Free Press Staff

A Pumpkin carving - Page 15

SPARWOOD HALLOWEEN

Berets and parades - Page 17

SPORT

Olympic - Page 23

$2,500 reward has been offered by local hunting clubs to anyone who gives information leading to the conviction of a poacher who shot and dumped a grizzly bear near Elkford. Fernie Road and Gun Club, Sparwood Fish and Wildlife Assocation, Elkford Rod and Gun Club, Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club and the East Kootenay Wildlife Association have each guaranteed a $500 reward in the hope it will bring forward new information on the illegal kill last month. The four-year-old male grizzly was shot twice, in the paw and spine, then dumped down an embankment at the CNI Road near Greenhills Mine, Elkford around Oct. 1-3 this year. Its carcass was discovered several days later after a driver saw the blood on the road and went to investigate. Nobody else has yet come forward with information on the

Fernie Rod and Gun Club, Sparwood Fish and Wildlife Assocation, Elkford Rod and Gun Club, Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club and the East Kootenay Wildlife Association have each guaranteed a $500 reward in the hope it will bring forward new information on the illegal kill last month. Members of the clubs pictured are: (Back row – left to right) Chris Stagg, Norm Hendricks, Kent Petevello, Kevin Podrasky Andy Pezderic, Dave White. (Front row – left to right) Kevin Marasco, George Wilson, Mario Rocca and Nolan Rad. Submitted photo

illegal killing. Fernie Road and Gun Club president Kevin Marasco said he and the rest of the local hunting community had been “sickened” by the act. “I can’t believe anybody who has information on this would let it go. When I talk to anyone in the club they say person who did this isn’t a hunter – they are an outright poacher. “At first I thought maybe someone had made a mistake, but after all the publicity saying that the Conservation Officers understand mistakes do happen and they haven’t come forward, I think it is

torch-bearers

This four-year-old grizzly bear was illegally killed and dumped down an embankment in Elkford last month. Hunting clubs have raised a $2,500 reward for information leading to the poacher’s conviction. Conservation officers released a photo of the dead animal in the hope it would shock someone into coming forward. Photo by Conservation Officer Joe Garay

somebody that shot it for fun. “It just blows me away that people would shoot a grizzly bear for nothing and dump it down a bank.

If you have information on poaching call 1-877-952-7277 “I go out to hunt for meat and it just kills me even to see people who don’t take all their meat out of their animals. To kill for sports, I don’t agree with it and it just sickens me.” Marasco added that he feels that illegally hunting a grizzly bear is the worst infraction of the wildlife laws. “We are doing so much work on conservation of wildlife – this kind of thing goes against all that. “If anybody in our club is convicted of any wildlife infractions they are thrown out – that has been in the club constitution for years. We don’t want any of that in our club.” Conservation Officer Joe Garay is investigating the grizzly death and welcomed news of the reward. He added that investigating offi-

cers can nominate witnesses for a further reward of up to $2,000 from the B.C. Wildlife Federation following a successful conviction, meaning the reward could rise to up to $4,500. “I think it is a great gesture on their part – hopefully it will encourage somebody to come forward with the information on who may have shot and dumped that grizzly. “What the clubs are doing shows that the regular hunters are concerned about this kind of thing – unfortunately it is just a few rotten apples that can spoil it for everyone.” Garay said somebody may have driven past the poacher as they pushed the carcass down the embankment on around Thursday Oct. 1- Saturday Oct. 3. “They may have seen a vehicle parked there and assumed people were berry picking. “We have up to two years to prosecute somebody so even if it takes time for the information to come out we can still take action. “They might brag about it, or if there was two of them they might fall out and one of them will get excited about the money and come forward with information about what happened. We have to cross our fingers and hope for that.”


Inside Magazine T hursda y , O cto b er 1 , 2 0 09

FERNIE

Teddies go to preschool Page 11

ELKFORD

Serving the South Country, Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford since 1898

‘I think I’m done with skiing’ Emily Brydon plans to quit racing after 2010 By Rebecca Edwards Free Press Staff

F

Teachers get a makeover - Page 2 SPARWOOD

Cougar still at large Page 2

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ernie-born skier Emily Brydon plans to hang up her ski boots at the end of this ski racing season, after Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the 20092010 Ski World Cup. “I think I’m done,” she said in an interview with The Free Press at the base of her home ski hill Fernie Alpine Resort. “I will have done three Olympics, I’ve been on tour for a lot of time, I just think I’m ready to try a different part of life and quit skiing while I still love it.” Brydon added: “I’m

tired. I have a lot of energy this year because of the Olympics, they are such a huge event and something that just inspires me but I think after the Olympics when I go back to Europe for the World Cup it is going to be a hard part of the season. “I have to get enough energy to finish them and then I think that is how my racing is going to end. “I told my sports psychologist the list of reasons I don’t want to ski next year, and told her that if I ever say I do want to ski, she has to read them out to me. “You can get so affected by results and I never want to ski for that. I also want to enjoy an active life for the rest of my life – I always want hiking and mountain biking to be part of my life, but my body’s getting a bit old and achy now.” Brydon said she has not yet decided what she will do after she finishes ski racing – partly because she wants to see what oppor-

SPORT

Racing in memory of Jim - Page 14

Emily Brydon says she will retire from ski racing at the end of the 2009-2010 ski season. Submitted photo

Emily Brydon at Fernie Alpine Resort this summer.

tunities arise from her contacts in the sports world. “I hope to have a career that is fun and inspiring, maybe one where I use my mind as well as my body. “There are a lot of things that I want to do, but I am trying to leave it there, to see what turns up. I would like to live in England for a few years. “I will see – there are so many things that have the potential to happen so I don’t want to narrow it down and shut out something else that might come up.” Brydon joined the national ski team aged 18, fresh from graduating from Fernie Secondary School. She took her first World Cup bronze aged 20 in St Moritz, Switzerland and won her first gold on the

same course in 2008. She came close to quitting in 2006 when – struck down by injury – she became disillusioned with the sport. However she decided to go back for one last Olympic cycle after starting work with the sports charity Right to Play and starting the Emily Brydon Foundation to support youth in the Elk Valley. Her first World Cup race will be in Lake Louise in December and her first Olympic race is on February 14. Brydon is aware she now faces a new hurdle unknown to most athletes – compiling her first resume. “My school work experience was at The Free Press when I wrote a column, I worked as a barista at Second Cup in Calgary

Photo by R. Edwards

when I had an injury because I wanted to have a ‘real’ job to put on my resume. “I worked at Alpine Canada for a little bit too, and I founded the Emily Brydon Foundation. “I suppose that’s four things for my resume. “My mom was bugging me the other day about this – she said, ‘Don’t you think that ‘worked as a barista’ is going to look a bit strange next to ‘founded a foundation’?’ “We get a lot of opportunities through sport, like public speaking, we have a lot of work experience without having worked in a nine-to-five job. “Anything to do with injuries and blood I’m not good with but I’m sure I will find something that I’ll enjoy.”

“I want to go to the opening ceremony – but I know I should get an early night instead.” Read more from our Emily Brydon interview in The Valley inside this edition


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The bears are back in town

BC SPCA

By Rebecca Edwards Free Press Staff

Paws for a cause Page 3

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Church roof complete - Page 8

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Derby day 2010 Page 14

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everal downtown bear encounters this week have sparked warnings against attracting more wildlife into town. Wayne Osborne was working at his desk at Fernie Fly Fishing on Highway 3 on Saturday morning, when out of the corner of his eye he saw a little black nose nuzzle up to his leg, and he reached out to stroke it, thinking it was his daughter’s dog. When the animal pulled away he turned around and realized it was a small black bear cub. “He wasn’t scared or aggressive,” Osborne told The Free Press this week. “He was just inquisitive - he just started looking around. “I was talking to him, I asked him if he wanted to buy anything. He just looked at me, then waddled out of the shop!” Later that day, Laurelle McNab was taking a nap at her home in Pine Avenue,

near Fernie Aquatic Centre, when she heard a noise from the kitchen. Thinking there may have been an intruder, she called her friend Michelle Knight. “I didn’t know if it was a person or an animal – I wasn’t going to take any chances so I locked myself in my bedroom and called my friend. She said I wasn’t making any sense, I was so scared.” They looked around and found a jar of peanut butter with teeth marks in it outside the house. The girls, who are both from Australia, weren’t sure what would make those marks, until a neighbour pointed out that the bear was still in the garden. The bear had also knocked over a TV, ransacked a kitchen cupboard and eaten a slab of butter and two banana cakes from the worktop. “I backed away from the bear and called the police,” said Laurelle. “It came back into our yard and strolled around for about 20 minutes

SPORT

Athlete competes at Westerns - Page 15

The bear hung around Laurelle McNab’s Pine Avenue yard after it was scared out of the house. Photo by L McNab

Laurelle McNab (left) and Michelle Knight (right) were shocked to find a bear had broken into Laurelle’s house near downtown Fernie. Submitted photo

and came onto the deck. He saw we were there, but he was not at all fazed by us. At first I was scared, but you could tell he wasn’t aggressive at all.” The RCMP arrived and told Laurelle that the bear had been seen around other downtown areas that day and needed to be put down to stop it becoming dangerous. The bear was moved away from residential areas and shot. It was the first bear euthanized this summer in Fernie and the second in the Elk Valley. The same bear was captured on camera by Margaret Burard of Fernie on Thursday at 2:45 p.m., climbing over a fence on Second Avenue, opposite 901 Fernie. Red Tree Lodge staff also had a close encounter with a bear on Thursday. One staff member was working up a ladder on the roof of the building that morning when he saw a small bear

poking its nose through an open side door. The bear ran off when he saw the man, but later that evening, sales and marketing manager Holly Stotts was carrying out a night check when she opened a door to find the cub wandering down the corridor near the open door. She said: “I was so scared, but he took off almost as soon as I saw him. I think he had been curious about what was inside and then realized he had been caught and ran away.” Bears have also been seen around Rosen Lake. Conservation Officer Frank de Boon said that the cool summer means it has been a poor berry season, and the bears are heading closer to town in search of food. “It could be a long fall as far as bears go,” he added. Courtnay Sopko of Elk Valley Bear Aware said that the incidents show it is even more important for people

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to keep garbage, pet food and bird feeders indoors, and to make plenty of noise when walking and biking on trails.

Margaret Burard caught sight of a bear scaling a fence in downtown Fernie last Thursday afternoon.

Photo by M. Burard


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