It has again fallen upon my shoulders to prepare you, dear reader, for what to expect in Kamloops and beyond as 2019 makes its grand entrance:
• As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a Liberal Party of Canada fundraiser in Kamloops in January, a group of nine protesters donning yellow vests wave signs outside the venue, proclaiming Trudeau a “traitor.” They inadvertently make $12.50 when attendees toss loonies at them, mistaking the safety vests as those worn by parking lot attendants.
• In February, the City of Kamloops’ enhanced anti-idling bylaw comes under review after bylaws officers misinterpret the policy and issue dozens of fines to the city’s homeless — and to Ray Dhaliwal’s first year on council.
• The plan by the city and Thompson Rivers University to construct a dome over Hillside Stadium to allow for winter sports training hits a snag in March when a copyright violation letter arrives from the lawyers for author Stephen King. The city blames D&T Developments.
• In April, Thompson Rivers University student Kimberley Webster files a notice of claim in B.C. Supreme Court, alleging she experienced a contact high while watching the Cheech and Chong movie Up In Smoke. Webster’s notice of claim states her viewing of the movie negatively impacted her performance as a student and increased her appetite for Doritos. Webster asks that the movie be banned from the airwaves and that Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin and Paramount Pictures reimburse her for three bags of chips and a new couch — to replace the one that scared her while she was under the influence of second-hand celluloid smoke.
• In May, former city councillor Donovan Cavers is treated for injuries to his thumbs in what is believed to be Twitter-related trauma.
• In June, the Kamloops RCMP detachment announces that a new inspector, staff sergeant and media-relations officer will be joining the force. In keeping with the detachment’s policy on adhering to privacy legislation, Mounties refuse to release the names of the new officers.
• In July, downtown parking woes continue to plague the city when drivers learn the much-vaunted Whoosh pay-by-phone app requires users to connect via rotary phone.
• In September, Thompson Rivers University publishes a comprehensive new policy on academic freedom following last year’s controversy involving Derek Pyne, a professor who claims his academic freedom was violated when he was suspended, allegedly for exposing colleagues who paid to have academic papers published in dubious journals. The new policy states the university has the freedom to suspend academics when they speak out.
• In October, the City of Kamloops and the B.C. Lions agree on a three-year extension that will see the CFL team continue to hold training camp in the Tournament Capital. While the city will pay the football team about $50,000 per year to train at Hillside Stadium, taxpayers are told the economic impact is close to $1 million, with city staff citing various spinoffs, including team visits to city restaurants, the screening at each game at BC Place Stadium of a promotional video of Kamloops and rentals from MovieMart of The Lion King.
• By the end of November, heavy snow has exhausted the city’s snow-removal budget, leading to calls from Aberdeen residents for the city to stop fighting climate change so windrows can be eliminated.