My Take on Snow Lake - Sept. 15, 2017

Snow Lake losing two pillars of the community

Snow Lake is about to lose two residents who have been staples in the community since the mid-1970s. With hearts as big as the hole they will leave in Snow Lake upon their departure, Betty and Chester Rudd have led rather than followed in nearly every aspect of the community’s daily life – Betty the consummate volunteer and Chester, her backup, her muscle and a man who could master most any job put in front of him. They never backed down from a challenge in all the years they lived in Snow Lake, and they never walked away from someone in need.

The couple plan to move south in the next month or so, in order to be closer to medical providers and facilities. They will be missed! Just how much was displayed in several venues over the preceding weeks. Firstly, the couple was celebrated at a luncheon put on by the Snow Lake Health Auxiliary on Aug. 19, then Town of Snow Lake Coun. Jodi Wilson presented Betty with a thank-you certificate at the Aug 22 council meeting, and then again, on the afternoon of Aug. 26, Betty’s brainchild, the Second Glance (a community store that sells used items) held a come-and-go goodbye for their leader. In-store workers had the coffee and cupcakes flowing and the doors were swinging both ways all afternoon! Although aware that she will be missed, Betty stated that she and Chester will miss the community and people of Snow Lake more.

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On to another matter, last fall I mentioned in this column that the remains of prospector Kate Rice’s home were unearthed on the Wekusko Lake Island that bears her name. Word came in the spring of this year that some demented individual(s) had disseminated and burned those remains. Geological contractor Dave Koop was initially involved with their discovery (his employee Trevor Sewap made the initial find) and he was also the person who found and reported the destruction. “We found the whole area burned, torn up, and destroyed,” said a disgusted Koop back in June after a visit to Rice Island. “What a shame! I am so upset … why would someone do this?” Koop immediately offered $500 for actionable information on the person(s) responsible for the damage. Snow Lake’s Underground Press newspaper added $200 to that figure.

Well, it appears there are a number of people besides Koop who are shocked and saddened by the vandalism. Don Hoy, president and CEO of Wolfden Resources, which is the company that now owns the Rice Island nickel claims, said that his company would also like to put $500 towards finding the perpetrator of this "crime against Snow Lake’s heritage." Dave Koop further advised that Harold Hewlin of Wescore Drilling will also be putting up $200. With these amounts there is currently $1,400 available to the person providing information on the offence.

It was also noted with a sense of sadness as well as Canadian pride that on Aug. 24, 2017, under military honour and in the presence of his unit, the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion, the remains of First World War Soldier Private Reginald Joseph Winfield Johnston were laid to rest in Loos-en-Goehelle, France. Members of his family were present. Private Johnston’s great-niece Joanne Schuman and great-nephew Rupert Klyne currently reside in Snow Lake and his nephew Dale Johnston resides in The Pas.

One final item ­– this one dealing with the somewhat unpleasant subject of garbage. From the time the original NorAcme/Britannia Mine closed down in the late 1950s till 2011, garbage collection for the community of Snow Lake was a private contract. Six or so years ago, municipal politicians decided that the town should take it over. They purchased a spanking new truck with all the bells and whistles, new garbage carts for everyone in town, and placed one (sometimes two) designated employees on the garbage run. Word comes that the idea has been revisited and apparently reconsidered. The Town of Snow Lake is currently putting together an RFP (Request for Proposals) for reprivatizing the community’s garbage collection services. 

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