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COMMUNITY PROFILE
Community
Profile
October 2008
48
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Preamble
Town of Smithers
The Town of Smithers is located in the heart of the Bulkley Valley in
Welcome to Smithers. Ours is a community of friendly
people, incredible surroundings, small-town charm and
economic prosperity. Safe, clean and beautiful, our town is a
wonderful place to live, start a business and raise a family.
We know that whatever your interests and hobbies, you will
find many outlets for your creative and recreational energy in
Smithers.
northwestern British Columbia. Many people and businesses relocate to
Smithers for the high quality of life and the low cost of living. Friendly
people, countless recreation opportunities and a strong, diverse
economy make Smithers a destination of choice in which to invest,
work, play and live.
Smithers offers a competitive business climate, with a great
location and a skilled labour force. Smithers is a regional
centre, housing services and businesses used by residents of
the entire Bulkley Valley. Our town is home to a number of
industries, and the majority of Smithers’ businesses are
locally-owned. Economic development initiatives, such as a
runway extension at the airport and proposed ski hill
expansion, will further develop our economy.
The Town of Smithers has prepared this Community Profile
to give the reader an idea of what life is like as a resident of
Smithers. You will likely notice that some themes—the
natural beauty, the downtown charm, and the positive
economic outlook—are repeated frequently throughout the
profile. This is not done in exaggeration. We genuinely
believe, and hope you will discover, that Smithers is simply
exceptional.
Mayor and Council
Town of Smithers
1
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Table of Contents
Preamble
Table of Contents
Smithers in Brief
Smithers and the World
Naturally Beautiful
Climate
History
Economy
Building a Business
Industry
Retail
Transportation
Communications and Media
Housing
Financial Services
Infrastructure
Smithereens
Demographics
First Nations
Education
Recreation
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
9
10
11
13
14
16
17
17
18
19
20
21
22
25
Outdoor Activities
Arts
Festivals
26
34
36
Community Services
39
Town of Smithers
Regional District
Emergency Services
Police Presence
Health Services
Social Support Services
40
41
42
43
44
45
2
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Smithers in Brief
Smithers is a picturesque town of some 5,200 residents, nestled in the heart of the
Bulkley Valley at the edge of BC’s Interior Mountains. While the Town is
approaching its centennial, the region has been home to the Wet’suwet’en First Nation
for thousands of years. From the banks of the Bulkley River, the valley rises through
rolling hills before abruptly soaring more than two kilometres to the mountain peaks.
Smithers gets the best of all seasons, with warm summers and snowy, sunny winters.
3
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Smithers and the World
Smithers is located near the centre of the Bulkley Valley, a 100km long, 10km wide strip of land at the eastern edge of British
Columbia’s Interior Mountains. The Bulkley River winds its way northward through Smithers, before flowing into the famous Skeena
River. Both river and valley are named in honour of Colonel Charles Bulkley, the head engineer of the Russian-American Telegraph
project that resulted in the valley’s first non-aboriginal exploration in 1866.
Telkwa is a village 12km south of Smithers. It and the adjacent but now
abandoned Aldermere were the first settlements in the region. Other
communities south and east of Smithers include Houston, Burns Lake,
Vanderhoof and Prince George.
Moricetown, originally called ‘Kyah Wiget, is a Wet’suwet’en village
30km north of Smithers. The Bulkley River narrows as it flows through a
steep canyon, creating an excellent fishing spot that locals have taken
advantage of for thousands of years. Other communities north and west of
Smithers include Hazelton, Kitimat, Terrace and Prince Rupert.
Located on the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway 16, Smithers is
connected to the world by road, rail and air; Smithers Regional Airport has
undergone a runway extension to allow for modern jet aircraft access,
increasing the ease with which people will travel to Smithers.
4
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Naturally Beautiful
The Town of Smithers is set between the Bulkley River and the backdrop of Hudson Bay Mountain.
Snow-capped mountains belonging to the Babine and Hazelton ranges surround the valley, forming part
of the larger Interior Mountain range. These in turn connect with the Coast Mountain range, putting
Smithers at the eastern edge of a solid wall of soaring mountains hundreds of kilometers wide.
The Kathlyn Glacier overlooks the Town from its perch on Hudson Bay Mountain. Dozens of lakes dot
the nearby countryside, connected by fish-laden creeks and rivers to the Pacific Ocean. The area offers
residents and visitors a unique mix of open green spaces, mature forestlands and scenic vistas. It is a
place of stunning natural beauty.
The Bulkley River.
(Photo Courtesy of the RDBN)
Astlais Mountain, or “The Onion”, in the Babine Range east of Smithers.
Twin Falls on Hudson Bay Mountain above Smithers.
5
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Climate
The superb quality of life enjoyed by residents of Smithers is partly due to the area’s
unique climate. The Town has relatively moderate temperatures for its location.
With bright, warm summers, snowy winters, rainy springs and cool autumns, Smithers
Location*
Latitude:
Longitude:
54°49’ North
127°10’ West
Sunshine
Total Hours:
Total Days:
1651
292
truly experiences all four seasons.
Average Daily Temperature (Celsius)*
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Daily Maximum
-4.9
-0.4
5.1
10.8
15.7
18.9
21.6
21.2
15.8
8.8
0.8
-3.8
-5.1
-1.3
2.8
6.3
8.4
7.9
4.0
0.1
-5.4
-11.1
0
4.8
9.3
12.6
15.0
14.6
9.9
4.5
-2.3
-7.5
Annual Average Precipitation*
Rainfall:
354mm
Snowfall:
204cm
Daily Minimum
-12.7 -9..4
Daily Average
-8.9
-4.9
Alpine flowers in summer.
6
*Data from Environment Canada
Powdery winter snow in the mountains.
COMMUNITY PROFILE
History of Smithers
The Bulkley Valley Before Smithers
Prior to the arrival of the railway in the early 1900’s,
the Bulkley Valley had been supporting countless
generations of the Wet’suwet’en, or “People of the
Lower Hills”. The Wet’suwet’en are a Carrier people
whose oral history recounts the story of their origins in
the village of Dizlegh, on the Bulkley River just east of
Hazelton. The traditional Wet’suwet’en territory
extends from near Hazelton (60km northwest of
Smithers) past Burns Lake (150km southeast of
Smithers), and south through what is known today as
the Lakes District.
Main Street in 1913, the year Smithers was established.
(Photo courtesy of Harry Kruisselbrink)
Fur traders were the earliest non-aboriginal presence in the
region. In the 1860’s, an attempt was made to build a
telegraph line to Asia. The route selected took the project
through the Bulkley Valley. Although the endeavour
ultimately failed, a later project by the government of
Canada to extend a telegraph line to the Yukon ignited
interest in the area due to its agricultural and mining
potential and settlements emerged throughout the valley.
Main Street in the 1950’s. The Babine Mountains are in the
background. (Photo courtesy of Harry Kruisselbrink)
7
COMMUNITY PROFILE
A Railroad and a Town
Construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway through northern
British Columbia began in 1908. The company needed to establish a
divisional headquarters in the Bulkley Valley. The settlement was
established in 1913, and took its name from Sir Alfred Smithers, the
chairman of the board of directors of the Grand Trunk Railway.
Following the establishment of Smithers, hundreds of people flocked
to the area. Smithers reached a population of 1,000 by the mid
1920’s. In 1921, Smithers became the first village in BC to be
incorporated. On January 1, 1967 - Canada’s centennial year Smithers became an incorporated town.
Main Street in 1979. The Street underwent a major transformation
soon after. (Photo courtesy of Harry Kruisselbrink)
The Town Today
Main Street today. The Babine Mountains are in the
background. (Photo courtesy of Cristoph Luther)
Today, Smithers is a regional hub for more than 20,000 people. Charming Main Street
remains the geographic and commercial centre of town. Smithers is an extremely
walkable community. The Town has adopted a unique alpine theme, which is reflected
in the façades of downtown buildings. Smithers is unquestionably one of the most
beautiful towns in British Columbia. Forestry, mining and agriculture form the
backbone of the Town’s economy. Recently, tourism has also become an integral
piece of the economic fabric, as visitors flock to Smithers for excellent fishing, skiing,
and other outdoor activities. The spectacular natural beauty of the Town, a strong
economy and a commitment to community have made Smithers a wonderful place to
live.
8
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Economy and Infrastructure
The Town of Smithers has one of the most diversified and stable economies in north central BC
Two major forestry companies operate a sawmill and a particle board mill in Smithers.
The mineral extraction sector continues to be very active in the region. The inclusion of
agriculture, a growing tourism sector and Smithers’ status as an administration and services centre
for the region makes it clear the Town has an exceptional range of employment and business
opportunities. With affordable commercial and industrial land, excellent services, sound
infrastructure and a skilled labour force, Smithers provides an excellent environment for new and
growing businesses.
9
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Building a Business in Smithers
Business Climate
www.cfdcnadina.ca
www.tourismsmithers.com/chamber
The economic outlook in north central British Columbia is
extremely positive. Tourism across BC is expected to increase
following the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In 2007,
mineral exploration expenditures in the north western park of
the Province were $170 million. The region’s mineral potential
means further exploration will continue, followed by possible
mine development. Northern British Columbia has a
competitive advantage in future hydroelectric and wood fibre
projects. As the container port in Prince Rupert continues to
expand, so will jobs in the transportation industry. Because of
its location and amenities such as the School of Exploration and
Mining (p. 23) and the Smithers Regional Airport, Smithers
stands to benefit from all these developments.
The set of 8 Below, which filmed on Hudson Bay
Mountain in 2005. (Photo Courtesy of Brian Burrill)
Whom To See
People looking to locate their business in Smithers should
contact the Town of Smithers for information on licensing
and other regulations.
The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce provides
resources and services to its members, including relocation
packages. The Chamber hosts the Northwest Trade Expo
(p. 38), seminars and workshops, and new business
receptions and business awards.
Community Futures Development Corporation of Nadina is
dedicated to creating economic and social development.
Their services include a small business assistance program.
Many local enterprises have benefited from Community
Futures’ resource library and the vast experience of its staff.
Main Street at night during the Christmas season.
(Photo courtesy of Christoph Luther)
10
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Major Industry
www.smithersexplorationgroup.com
Wood Products
Since 1919, when a sawmill was built in Smithers to supply
lumber to the prairie provinces, the forestry industry has been
a major economic driver in Smithers. Today, Pacific Inland
A hiker enjoys the
scenery in the
mountains near
Smithers.
Resources (PIR), a division of West Fraser Timber, operates a
sawmill, planer and whole log chipper at its Smithers site.
With an annual lumber production capacity of more than
735,000 cubic metres (312 million boardfeet), PIR ranks
among the biggest of West Fraser’s 28 sawmills. The other
major forestry operation in Smithers is a particleboard plant
owned by Northern Engineered Wood Products Inc.,
otherwise known as NEWPRO. The Smithers mill currently
produces approximately 46 million square feet of particle
board per year. These companies indirectly employ many
people in a large support services sector.
Decommissioned
m inin g
r oa ds
provide access to
remote locations
for a number of
r ecreational
pursuits.
Mining and Mineral Exploration
PIR’s office. The forestry industry is a major
employer in Smithers.
11
Mining and prospecting have been important economic
activities since Smithers’ inception. Recently, mineral
exploration in British Columbia has been experiencing a boom.
Throughout northern BC, private investment in exploration
totaled $275 million in 2007, most of which was concentrated
in regions near Smithers. Two mines currently in operation
employ many Smithers residents, while more than ten other
sites are in development or have submitted proposals to the
provincial government. Several diamond drilling companies
are headquartered in Smithers, some of which operate across
Canada and around the globe. The Smithers Exploration Group
provides support to endeavours such as the School of
Exploration and Mining (p. 23) in an effort to further Smithers’
status as a mineral exploration centre.
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Agriculture
Most of the first settlers in the region came to farm the fertile
banks of the Bulkley River. Thanks to the government’s desire to
expand settlement in the interior areas of the province, thousands
Many people visit
Smithers for its
myriad recreational
offerings. Among the
most popular is
Steelhead fishing in
the Bulkley River.
of acres of farmland were cleared throughout the area following
World War I. Today, expansive farmland exists throughout the
hills rolling north and east of Smithers, as well as south to Telkwa
and beyond. The most prevalent crops are hay and oats for
livestock feed. Bulkley Valley dairy farms supply milk and
cheese plants in the Fraser Valley, Edmonton, and Saskatoon.
With the opening of the Northwest Premium Meat Cooperative
abattoir in Telkwa, local ranchers have the opportunity to process
and sell their meat locally.
Tourism
With several hotels, lodges and B&Bs located in Town, tourism
is a major contributor to Smithers’ economy. Outdoor recreation
is the major attraction for tourists. Several fishing lodges are
located on the nearby rivers, as the summer and fall runs of
oceangoing salmon bring anglers from around the world to
Smithers. The area is especially renowned for its world-class
steelhead fishing. Other summer and fall attractions include golf,
hunting, hiking and mountain biking. Winter brings snow, and
with it, skiing. Hudson Bay Mountain is home to the best alpine
skiing facility and largest network of cross-country skiing trails
in northern British Columbia (p. 26). For its year-round
attractions, Smithers is becoming a destination of choice for
tourists.
Both dairy and beef cows are a common sight in the countryside around Smithers. (Photo courtesy of Brian Burrill)
12
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Retail
www.tourismsmithers.com/chamber
Smithers features a good variety of retail outlets that meet the
needs of Bulkley Valley residents. Because it is a regional
centre, the Town has more shops than are often found in a
community of its size. Among the retailers are national grocers
and drugstores, a department store and several clothing stores.
Large hardware and automotive supply stores can help with any
project. Smithers is well known for its wide selection of
sporting goods stores and there are several specialty goods
stores in the downtown area.
Smithers has a good selection of restaurants, offering Canadian,
European, and ethnic cuisine in settings that range from casual
to upscale.
Businesses along Highway 16 Frontage Road in Smithers.
Business Success Stories
Businesses prosper in Smithers. Many locally-owned retailers have
been in operation for several decades. Some companies
headquartered in Smithers have grown into large firms servicing
much of western Canada. For more than twenty years, Central
Mountain Air has connected towns across BC and Alberta. AllWest Glass has grown into a company with more than 20 branches
across BC, Alberta, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Bandstra Transportation has operated out of Smithers for more than
half a century, providing regular freight service throughout the
province.
Many retailers and professional services
are located on Main Street.
13
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Transportation
By Road
Smithers is neatly divided by the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway
(Highway 16). The highway begins in Winnipeg, Manitoba and bears
northwest through Smithers on to Prince Rupert. It is northwestern BC’s
main artery, connecting Smithers to nearby towns and to the rest of the
province. 100km northwest of Smithers, Highway 37 branches off
Highway 16 and runs north to the Yukon. Getting to Smithers by car is
scenic and simple. It is roughly a four-hour drive - through mountains,
forests, canyons and plateaus - to Prince George or Prince Rupert.
Greyhound Canada operates daily bus service to both cities.
Looking north along Highway 16, with the
Hazelton Mountains in the background.
By Rail
A VIA rail passenger train bound for Prince George.
Smithers has been intrinsically tied to the railroad since its inception as a
regional headquarters for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The tracks laid a
century ago have provided the town with goods and export capabilities,
allowing industry to flourish. Built in 1919, the railway station is still used as a
passenger terminal with the majority of the building leased as office and
restaurant space. VIA Rail runs its scenic Skeena service through Smithers;
trains run east to Jasper three times a week and west to Prince Rupert three
times a week. CN Rail operates freight service through Smithers (see next
page).
14
COMMUNITY PROFILE
By Air
Smithers Regional Airport serves the entire Bulkley Valley. In 2008
the runway was lengthened to 7,500 feet. This allows jet aircraft to
land, and will expand tourism opportunities in Smithers. Numerous
airlines connect Smithers with the outside world. Air Canada offers
twice-daily service to Vancouver International Airport, while
Hawkair provides daily service to Vancouver’s South Terminal.
Central Mountain Air, headquartered in Smithers, offers flights to
numerous destinations in BC and Alberta. There are also several
charter airplane and helicopter operations.
The Smithers Airport, with Hudson Bay Mountain in the background.
Shipping Freight
There are many options for transporting freight to and from
Smithers. Smithers is within three days’ shipping to most major
North American centres (left). The Town is serviced by locallyowned as well as national and international freight and courier
companies.
Driving Distances from Smithers
Prince Rupert, BC:
350 km
Prince George, BC:
370 km
Vancouver, BC:
1,150 km
Edmonton, AB:
1,130 km
Calgary, AB:
1,160 km
Toronto, ON:
4,380 km
Seattle, WA:
1,260 km
San Francisco, CA:
2,690 km
Los Angeles, CA:
3,220 km
Chicago, IL:
3,280 km
Houston, TX:
4,540 km
CN rail is a major contributor to the local economy. For years,
wood products destined for export have left Smithers on CN cars
bound for the continental United States, central and eastern
Canada, as well as the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
With a current annual capacity of 500,000 20-foot containers,
bulk grain and coal handling facilities and the shortest shipping
times to Asian markets, Prince Rupert is quickly becoming the
premier port on the Pacific coast of North America. Only a few
hours by rail from the port, Smithers is positioned to take
advantage of global trade opportunities.
15
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Communications and Media
Print Media
Broadcast Media
Smithers’ local radio is provided by CFBV, better
known as The Peak. The station is based in
Smithers and is rebroadcast in Burns Lake and
Granisle. At 870 AM and 106.5 FM on the dial,
The Peak plays a mix of adult contemporary music.
Other radio stations available in Smithers include
rebroadcasts of CBC Radio One and CBC Radio
Two (97.5 FM and 88.1 FM, respectively), and
CJFW (92.9 FM), a country music station based in
Terrace. The nearest television station is CFTK, a
CBC television affiliate based in Terrace.
Local news, sports and other topics are covered
in Smithers by The Interior News, a weekly
newspaper. Since being founded in 1907,
the paper has provided residents with
information about local events and a Bulkley
Valley perspective on provincial and national
issues. In an effort to provide a wider scope
without compromising their small town style,
The Interior News and other newspapers in
northern BC created the Northern Daily.
The free publication is available at a number of
local businesses. Northword, published
bimonthly in Smithers, is a lifestyle magazine
covering northwest BC.
Telecommunications
Local telephone
provided by
companies offer
Cable television
and mobile service is
Telus. Most major
long distance services.
is available within the
Internet
The Telus microwave tower at dusk.
town, and satellite television is available
from national providers.
16
Broadband and dial up internet services are
provided by Cybernet, a company located in
Smithers, and Telus. Internet access is
available at local internet cafés and the
Smithers Public Library.
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Housing
There are more than 2,000 private dwellings in the Town of
Smithers, approximately two-thirds of which are single-family
detached houses. The surrounding region, including the Village
of Telkwa, contains roughly 2,400 additional private dwellings,
the large majority of which are single-family detached houses.
The new Willowvale subdivision on the southern end of
Smithers will add another 60 housing units. Overall, the Town
offers a mix of housing options. Everything from one-bedroom
apartments to new houses on secluded streets are available to
rent or own. Just out of town, ranches, farms and properties with
acreage abound. And, of course, most properties come with a
beautiful view of Hudson Bay Mountain.
A residential street in Smithers.
A commonly accepted guideline for affordability is that housing
should not exceed 30% of a household’s gross income. In 2007, a
study prepared for the BC Northern Real Estate Board found that the
Housing Affordability Index for Smithers is roughly 25.4%,
The housing market in Smithers is conducive to both
comfortable living and investment, as properties are relatively
affordable.
compared to 73.8% for Vancouver and 68.5% for the province as a
whole. The average selling price of a detached house in Smithers was
$178,000 in 2007.
Financial Services
A full range of financial services are available in Smithers. The Bulkley
Valley Credit Union, a locally-based, member-owned financial institution with four branches is headquartered in the Town. Three chartered
banks have full-service branches in Smithers. There are insurance brokers and public accounting firms (CGA and CA practices). In addition
to the investment services provided at the credit union and banks, there
are stand-alone financial planning and investment dealer offices located
in Smithers. Several legal practices are also located in Smithers.
A residential neighbourhood in Smithers (foreground). Most
houses in Smithers have a view of Hudson Bay Mountain.
17
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Infrastructure Information
Water and Sewer
Garbage Removal
The Town of Smithers provides water to its
residents from three deep wells.
The Town of Smithers provides weekly
garbage pick-up. The Regional District of
Bulkley Nechako operates the Smithers/
The Town only uses chlorine during a short
system flushing period each spring. The result
is that Smithers’ residents enjoy high quality
drinking water .
Telkwa Transfer Station. In addition to
accepting household garbage, construction
material, and old appliances, the transfer
station has a trade shack where salvageable
items can be left for others to use. A recycling
depot is also open for public drop-off.
Most residences and businesses within
Smithers’ municipal boundaries are on Town
sewer.
Natural Gas
Electricity
BC Hydro provides electricity to Smithers and
most of British Columbia. The Crown
Corporation gets more than 80% of its power
from hydroelectric dams, including the W.A.C.
Bennett dam, one of the world’s largest.
Smithers’ iconic Alpenman.
Because of this, the electricity used by
Smithereens is both green and affordable.
18
Pacific Northern Gas, a British Columbia
company, has an exclusive contract to provide
the Town of Smithers with natural gas.
The company adheres to high environmental
standards, while striving to provide natural gas
to its customers as efficiently as possible.
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Smithereens
Residents of Smithers are known as Smithereens. Smithereens have a strong sense
of community pride. Thanks to the presence of the Wet’suwet’en and other First
Nations people, Smithers boasts a high degree of cultural diversity. Smithers is
acknowledged as a good place to raise children. For all its other qualities, Smithers’
greatest attribute is its friendly population.
Photo courtesy of Paul Perkins.
19
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Demographics
Smithers’ 2006 population was 5,200 within the municipal
boundaries, a slight decrease from 5,400 residents in 2001.
Smithers is a young town, with a median age of 36, more than
four years younger than the provincial median. 30% of
Smithereens are younger than 20, much higher than the provincial
average. 42% of Smithers residents are between the ages of 20
and 50, right in line with the provincial average. Residents 50 and
over compose 28% of the population, below the provincial
average. Smithers is a place with many families: nearly 80% of
all residents are part of Smithers’ 1,400 families.
Smithers’ population of 5,200 does not take moose into
account, despite the fact that they frequent local businesses.
Population Breakdown by Age Group
Smithers is a community of cultures, home to an
energetic and diverse group of people. The history
and different backgrounds of residents is evident in
local businesses, organizations and events.
35
Percentage of Population
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
0 to 9
10 to 19
20 to 29
30 to 49
50 to 64
65+
Age Group
Smithers
BC Avg.
20
Although many residents of Smithers consider their
ethnicity to be Canadian, many other ethnicities are
acknowledged. Most prominent among these are
English, Scottish and Irish. Swiss, Dutch, German,
and French are also prevalent, as many immigrants
arrived in the Valley from Europe following World
War II. First Nations comprise the fifth-largest group
by ethnic origin in Smithers.
COMMUNITY PROFILE
First Nations
The canyon at Moricetown is an
excellent salmon fishing area, and
as such was the historical summer
g a t h er i n g p l a c e for t h e
Wet’suwet’en people.
(Photo courtesy of Ian Murphy)
There is a strong First Nations presence in Smithers.
The largest group is the Wet’suwet’en, who have made the
Bulkley Valley their home for thousands of years.
The Wet’suwet’en speak Babine-Witsuwit’en, one of many
Athapaskan languages that cover much of northwestern
Canada. The Wet’suwet’en traditional territory covers
approximately 22,000km², stretching from Babine Lake to
Francois Lake and from Hazelton to Burns Lake.
The Office of the Wet’suwet’en is an organization guided by
the directives of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.
The Office is based in Smithers and offers its services
throughout the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Some of the programs
and services provided include early childhood development,
genealogy research, cultural heritage and archaeology
research, and fisheries and wildlife protection. The Office
also conducts treaty negotiations on behalf of the
Wet’suwet’en people.
Archaeo logical evidence indicates cont inuous
Wet’suwet’en inhabitance of that territory for at least 6,000
years. Today, the total Aboriginal population in Smithers,
including those who are not part of the Wet’suwet’en
Nation is roughly 750.
Mayor Davidson and the Hereditary Chiefs, Office of the
Wet’suwet’en, at the Grand Opening of the New Municipal Hall
July 2004.
The Moricetown Band Council is the local government of
Moricetown. The Council operates many programs for
residents and off-reserve band members. The Moricetown
Health Centre provides community health initiatives,
counseling, personal care for elders and chronically-ill
patients, help with patient travel, and mentoring programs.
The Kyah Wiget Education Society operates an independent
elementary school that includes education in the Witsuwit’en
language, as well as adult education programs. Other Band
Council efforts include financial and social services and
cultural programs.
21
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Education
www.sd54.bc.ca
www.bvcs.ca
www.ebenezerschool.com
School District #54
The Bulkley Valley School District is the public school district serving
Smithers, the nearby communities of Houston, Moricetown, Telkwa
and all rural areas between. With approximately 400 employees, the
School District is one of the region’s largest employers.
The District operates eight schools, four of which are in Smithers.
Muheim Memorial and Walnut Park Elementary Schools serve the
downtown area, while Lake Kathlyn Elementary School is located on
the north edge of Town. All three schools instruct Kindergarten
through Grade 7. French Immersion is offered through Muheim.
Grades 8 through 12 are provided by Smithers Secondary School
(SSS). SSS offers a broad range of educational opportunities,
including an alternative extension school, the Bulkley Valley Learning
Centre. Total public school enrolment in Smithers is approximately
1,700.
Walnut Park Elementary School, one of
three public elementary schools in Smithers.
Private Schools
Private school options also exist in Smithers. The Bulkley
Valley Christian School operates two campuses - an
elementary school and a secondary school - with a combined
enrolment of roughly 300 students. St. Joseph’s School is an
elementary school associated with the Catholic Church, with
an enrolment of nearly 200 students. Ebenezer Canadian
Reformed School is a combined elementary and secondary
school associated with the Canadian Reformed Church, with
an enrolment of 140.
Smithers Secondary School
underwent an expansion in 2001.
(Photo courtesy of Yellowridge Construction Ltd.)
22
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Local Post-Secondary Opportunities
Post-Secondary education is vital for community growth.
Higher education opportunities are available in Smithers at
a campus of the Northwest Community College (NWCC),
an institution with a large
northwestern British Columbia.
presence
www.nwcc.bc.ca
www.smitherslibrary.ca
www.smithersexplorationgroup.ca
throughout
The Smithers campus offers a wide range of programs
including business technology, social service work and
carpentry. The college also offers many classes which are
transferable for university credit, or which may be used for
high school equivalency credit. NWCC is located
downtown and is an important education resource for the
region.
The Smithers Public Library offers free membership
to residents of Smithers and the surrounding area.
The School of Exploration and Mining is a joint effort by
NWCC and the Smithers Exploration Group to provide
education in all fields related to mining and mineral
exploration. Established in 2004, the school broadens
education and employment opportunities for Smithers and its
residents. It ensures that Smithers will have a well-trained
supply of mining employees, crucial to the development of
the region’s rich natural resource potential. Programs offered
include Driller’s Helper, Camp Management, Exploration
Field Assistant and Equipment Operations.
The Smithers campus of NWCC is a convenient
way for locals to continue their education.
23
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Nearby Post-Secondary Institutions
The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)
serves the needs of people and communities throughout the
north. UNBC was founded in 1990 and officially opened in
1994. The main campus is located in Prince George, and the
university has regional campuses in towns throughout
northern British Columbia. Despite its relative youth,
UNBC has been recognized as an exceptional institution;
McLean’s magazine has ranked UNBC as the fourth-best
primarily undergraduate university in Canada for three
consecutive years. Furthermore, it is ranked first in that
category in western Canada. UNBC provides students in
Smithers with an opportunity for a high-quality education
relatively close to home.
www.unbc.ca
www.cnc.bc.ca
The Geoffrey R. Weller Library (left)
and the Agora courtyard (above) flanked
by the cafeteria and administration
buildings are two examples of the
beautiful modern architecture on the
campus of UNBC. (Photos courtesy of
the University of Northern British
Columbia)
The College of New Caledonia (CNC) is a comprehensive college
serving north central BC. The main campus is located in Prince
George, and there are seven regional campuses in towns throughout
the central interior. Thousands of students have attended CNC for
The College of New Caledonia offers courses in
towns throughout north central BC. The main
campus, above, is in Prince George. (Photo courtesy
of Andrew Mackenzie at Bryant Electric Ltd.)
their programs, which are as varied as Log Home Building,
Business Administration, Nursing, Recreation and Ecotourism.
24
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Recreation and Culture
The Town of Smithers is recognized for its residents’ exceptional quality of life. The sheer number
of activities, organizations and events available means that Smithereens of all walks of life can
enjoy themselves. There are countless opportunities to be active in the arts, athletics, culture and
outdoor adventure. Parks, lakes and trails abound to allow for the enjoyment of the beautiful
natural surroundings. Summer days are longer in the north, so outdoor activities are possible well
into the evening. The many ways in which free time may be spent are intrinsic to the unique
culture and character of the Smithers community.
Photo courtesy of Ski Smithers
Photo courtesy of Brian Burrill
25
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Sports and Outdoor Activities
Ski and Ride Smithers
www.bvnordic.ca
www.skismithers.com
Ski and Ride Smithers, is a located on Hudson Bay
Mountain, a half-hour drive from Smithers. The resort has
more than 30 runs and a freestyle park spread across 300
acres of skiable terrain. A restaurant and lounge complete
the resort atmosphere.
In 2008, the provincial government approved the Ski and
Ride Smithers Master Plan. The three-phase plan will
result in a substantial increase in the number of lifts, runs,
and on-mountain commercial and residential space. This
ambitious plan will make Hudson Bay Mountain
Adventures one of BC’s premier skiing destinations.
Top: The top of the
chairlift at Ski and Ride
Smithers. (Photo courtesy
of Brian Burrill)
Left: A skier enjoys the
powder on Hudson Bay
Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Ski and Ride Smithers)
The Buchfink Family Memorial
Ski Lodge at the BV Nordic Centre.
Other Skiing Options
Cross-country skiing is extremely popular among Smithers
residents. This is evidenced by the fact that the Bulkley Valley
Cross Country Ski Club has the highest per capita membership of
any BC club. The Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre, the focal point for
cross-country skiing in the region, is one of the best facilities in BC.
It features 45km of groomed trails, including a biathlon range and
an area for dogs. The BV Nordic Centre also features a luxurious,
two-storey day lodge open to all skiers. The BV Nordic centre is
not the only option for skiing, as the trails and parks around
Smithers offer cross-country skiers infinite variety.
For the more adventurous, there are a number of private companies
specializing in backcountry and heli-skiing.
26
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Smithers Civic Centre
The Smithers Civic Centre, more commonly known as “the arena”,
is used for figure skating practices and carnivals, minor hockey
practices and games, senior hockey and public skating. It is also the
home of the Smithers Steelheads Hockey Club, a not-for-profit
team that competes in the Central Interior Hockey League.
Additionally, the arena is used for large events such as high school
graduation ceremonies and the annual Trade Expo (p. 38).
The arena building was an airplane hangar at the Terrace airport
during World War II. The building was purchased by a Smithers
Community group in 1954 and converted into an arena. An ice
plant was installed in 1963 and the arena has provided a recreation
venue for Smithers residents ever since. It is currently owned and
operated by the Town of Smithers.
The Smithers Civic Centre is a hub of activity on most winter days.
Smithers Curling Club
Curling is a popular sport in Smithers. The Smithers Curling
Club strives to provide affordable and fun recreation. The Club
hosts Ladies’, Men’s and Seniors’ leagues, as well as Junior
programs. With six sheets of ice and a large hall area, the
facility is able to host large events. In 2005, the club hosted the
men’s provincial playdowns.
Inside the Smithers Curling Club. The club has six sheets open
from late October through March, as well as a hall for rent.
27
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Bulkley Valley Regional Pool and Recreation Centre
www.bvpool.com
The BV Regional Pool is located in downtown Smithers.
It is an excellent facility with a 25 metre pool (including
four swim lanes), a 25-person hot tub, and a sauna. Part of
the pool is devoted to a “leisure lagoon” featuring a
wheelchair ramp, fountains and a pool for young children.
Lessons and programs include pre-school programs, junior
and adult swimming lessons and aquatic fitness classes.
Lifeguard training classes are also offered. In addition, the
BV Otters swim club calls the pool home.
The pool and climbing wall, at the BV
Regional Pool and Recreation Centre,
await the first visitors of the day.
(Photos courtesy of the BVRP)
The Recreation Centre is in the same complex as the pool.
It features a 22-foot-high climbing wall, two convertible
racquet courts and a fitness studio. The facility provides
Red Cross babysitters’ courses, kayaking courses, climbing
instruction for all ages, and various after-school clubs.
Golf
There are two golf courses within a 5 minute drive from Smithers.
A large Golf & Country Club is one of northern BC’s finest golf
courses. With Hudson Bay Mountain as a backdrop, golfers are
treated to a challenging 6,539-yard, par-72 course. The Club
features a driving range, a clubhouse with dining facilities, and a
full-service pro shop. There is also a smaller 18-hole, par-3 golf
course. 2,200 yards long, it is a great facility for beginner golfers
and people looking for a shorter game. The facility also includes a
driving range.
Hudson Bay Mountain looms over the proceedings at the
18-hole Smithers Golf and Country Club. The landscape
provides an impressive setting for a round of golf.
(Photo courtesy of the Smithers Golf and Country Club)
28
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Outdoor Facilities
Smithers features numerous outdoor facilities for sports and athletics.
The Town of Smithers provides two tennis courts free-of-charge for all
residents and visitors. A 400m state-of-the-art rubberized track is located
at Smithers Secondary School, available for public use. There are five
soccer fields located in town, with the field at Smithers Secondary
School also used for rugby. There are numerous ball diamonds in
Smithers; those at Elks Park and Heritage Park are often used for softball
and baseball tournaments. An outdoor hockey rink is maintained by
volunteers during the winter. It becomes a roller– and street-hockey rink
during the summer and fall. A skateboard park is located in Heritage
Park, and there is a BMX park at Elks Park.
Tennis courts with Hudson Bay Mountain in the background.
Playgrounds
Smithers features a number of playgrounds for public use.
Many of the playgrounds and recreational facilities listed above
are connected by the Perimeter Trail (see page 30). In addition to
playgrounds at all the elementary schools (public and private), the
Town of Smithers maintains five playgrounds in the various
residential neighbourhoods around Town, as well as at Riverside
Park. With typically breathtaking views of the surrounding
mountains, they are enjoyed by family members of all ages.
Playground equipment at Heritage Park.
29
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Perimeter Trail
The Smithers Perimeter Trail is a scenic and convenient trail
running, as the name suggests, around the entire perimeter of
the Town. It is approximately 9.4km in length with multiple
Crater Lake, on
Hudson Bay
Mountain, is a
popular hiking
destination.
access points throughout Town. The trail is an all-purpose,
non-motorized facility, built to serve the needs of local
cyclists, equestrians, and pedestrians. It varies in terrain and
setting, with hilly, forested walkways near Riverside Park and
flatter sections adjacent to Railway Avenue. The trail
connects all areas of the Town, and is used every season by
many residents and visitors.
Smithers Community Forest
The Smithers Community Forest is located on the south slope
of Hudson Bay Mountain,. At 4,620 hectares, it is over eleven
times the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. It features
numerous trails, including a 3.5km Interpretive Nature Trail
encompassing a variety of ecological habitats. The self-guided
trail winds through a working forest, home to many species of
plants and animals. The Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre (p. 26)
maintains 45km of groomed cross-country ski trails within the
forest. The Forest is a joint venture between the Town of
Smithers and Village of Telkwa. One of its mandates is to
provide outdoor recreation opportunities along side forest
education for all Bulkley Valley residents and visitors.
Part of the Smithers Perimeter Trail.
30
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Outdoor Adventures
When the snow flies during the winter months Smithereens
take advantage of it. Downhill skiing is popular with
residents and visitors alike and hundreds of kilometres of
nearby trails provide scenic venues for cross-country skiing
and snowshoeing. Local lakes turn into ice fishing and skating
destinations, while snow-covered hills are perfect for
tobogganing. The truly adventurous can try ice climbing. One
of the most popular activities is snowmobiling; many areas,
notably parts of Babine Mountains Provincial Park, are
designated as snowmobiling areas. The Smithers Snowmobile
Club operates a number of cabins in these areas for use free-of
-charge.
Ice climbing and snowmobiling are two of the
many winter activities Smithers residents enjoy.
Once the snow clears, new activities prevail. Hiking and
mountain biking are favourites, as the winter ski and snowshoe
trails are beautiful places year-round. Horseback riding is
another popular way to take in the surroundings. Local lakes
and rivers are used for kayaking, canoeing , boating and rafting.
Perhaps most notable, however, is the quality of the region’s
sport fishing. The Bulkley and Skeena Rivers and their
tributaries offer some of the best salmon fishing in the world.
Five types of Pacific salmon use the river system as a spawning
ground, while local lakes are home to a variety of trout species.
Many residents and visitors also enjoy hunting.
The rivers around Smithers are known for their
exceptional fishing, especially the fall Steelhead run.
31
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Parks, Lakes and Camping
Open air and green spaces are abundant in and around Smithers. The Town
of Smithers oversees nine parks within the community, many of which are
connected by the Perimeter Trail (page 30). Chief among these are Elks Park,
used especially for sports, Heritage Park, centrally located and used for a
variety of activities and festivals, and Riverside Park, used for camping and
hiking. Veterans’ Peace Park is next to the library, used for Remembrance
Day ceremonies. The Town also oversees the Fall Fair grounds, site of
Midsummer Festival and the B.V. Exhibition (page 36).
The ceremonial entrance to
Veterans’ Peace Park in
downtown Smithers.
There are many lakes nearby, popular with residents and visitors.
Tyhee Lake Provincial Park, a 15-minute drive south of Smithers,
features 200 metres of beach front, camping and picnic areas,
a playground and a nature trail. Other lakes close to Smithers
include Lake Kathlyn, roughly 2km north of Smithers, and
Seymour Lake, 2km southwest of town on the road towards the ski
hill.
The view of Tyhee Lake from the picnic area.
In addition to the municipal campground at Riverside Park, there are
several private campgrounds in the area. These provide an up-close
view of the wilderness around Smithers. The BC Forest Service also
operates sites throughout the province, some of which are a short drive
from Smithers.
32
Part of the campground at Riverside
Park. Besides camping, the park is also
used by many local groups for events.
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Local Points of Interest
Twin Falls and Glacier Gulch form one of the area’s most popular tourist and hiking
destinations. Millions of years ago, a glacier created a mile-wide gulch in the
mountains above Smithers. Part of the Kathlyn Glacier remains today, and melt
runoff creates dueling 500-foot waterfalls from spring through autumn. The bottom
of Twin Falls is accessible by a nice hike of roughly 20 minutes. The base of the
glacier is a few hours’ hike on a moderately-difficult trail beyond the falls.
A view of the magnificent Kathlyn Glacier from
the top. See page 5 for a picture of Twin Falls.
(Photo courtesy of Brian Burrill)
Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park is located 16km northeast of Smithers.
The park was created because it hosts some of the world’s finest fossil beds.
The fossils, which can be viewed and handled by all visitors, provide a glimpse
into the region’s past. Plant, insect and other animal forms millions of years old
are preserved in the rocks.
A sedimentary rock formation at
Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park.
(Photo courtesy of Dezene Huber)
Babine Mountain Provincial Park is a 32,400 hectare mountainous environment.
Glacier-fed lakes, rugged peaks and sub-alpine meadows make for some of the best
hiking in BC. The Joe L’Orsa Cabin in Silver King Basin provides hikers with
overnight accommodations. The area is also used by skiers, snowshoers and
snowmobilers.
33
The Joe L’Orsa Cabin in
Babine Mountain Provincial Park.
COMMUNITY PROFILE
The Arts
www.bvfms.org
www.bvartscouncil.com
As if by a magnet, artists are drawn to Smithers. Perhaps it’s
the natural beauty of the surroundings - expansive mountain
vistas, roaring rivers and tranquil forests. Or maybe it’s the
calm pace of the Town that inspires such a wealth of artistic
and cultural talent. Whatever the reason, the seasons are alive
with displays of visual and performing art. Music workshops
and lessons, local art work hanging in coffee shops and
galleries, elementary school chorals, First Nations drumming
performances, and dance recitals are all part of Smithers’
vibrant art scene. Several artistic and cultural groups exist in
and around Smithers; only a fraction of them are mentioned
here. Whatever your artistic interests, there is surely an
organization in Smithers that shares them.
A Smithers Secondary School Concert Band performance
at Christmas. (Photo courtesy of Mike Doogan-Smith)
Many societies and groups fall under the umbrella organization of
the Bulkley Valley Community Arts Council (BVCAS), which
provides financing and coordination for local groups. The BV Folk
Music Society organizes guitar camps and the Midsummer Festival.
The BV Concert Association offers opportunities for residents to
enjoy the performing arts, including music, dance and theatre.
Other musical options include the BV Youth Fiddlers, BV Classical
String Society, Smithers Community Band, vocal groups, private
instrument and vocal lessons and excellent band programs through
both the public school system and BVCAS. A private dance studio
offers lessons to people of all ages. The Smithers Film Society has
biweekly presentations of independent films, including many
Canadian productions, from September through April.
34
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Della Herman Theatre
www.gallery.smithersart.org
The Della Herman Theatre is located in Smithers Secondary
School. The theatre is used for drama and dance productions,
and for concerts of all types. It also frequently hosts out-oftown performers and guest speakers. With a capacity of 280 and
a professional-quality sound system, the theatre is well-suited to
be the hub of performing arts in the Bulkley Valley.
Local musicians performing at the Della Herman Theater.
(Photo courtesy of Brian Burrill.)
Art Gallery and Museum
The Smithers Art Gallery is located in the Central Park Building, which
was once the town’s Provincial Government building. The gallery
features local and regional exhibits that change monthly. Admission is by
donation. Artists’ cards and prints for purchase are available in the
members’ gift gallery.
The Central Park Building once housed government offices.
Today, it is the home of the museum and the art gallery.
The Bulkley Valley Museum is also housed in the Central Park building.
Displays throughout the museum portray the lives of pioneers in the
Valley, the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the
development of the region’s mining, agriculture and forestry industries.
The museum houses a collection of over 5,000 photographs in its
archives. School and group tours and interactive programs are available.
35
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Festivals and Events
www.bvfair.ca
Bulkley Valley Exhibition
The Bulkley Valley Exhibition also known as the Fall Fair, is held the third
weekend in August. Young and old come together to celebrate the Town’s
agricultural past and present. The heart of the fair is the rodeo and other horse
events, but the fair goes far beyond those. There are many exhibits and
competitions, ranging from photography and handicrafts to winemaking,
vegetable-growing, and livestock-breeding. There is a midway and a carnival
with rides not for the faint of heart. The fair happens each year thanks to the
dedication of a number of volunteer groups, and is an excellent example of the
prevailing community spirit in Smithers.
Rides at the Fall Fair. (Photo Courtesy of Brian Burrill)
(Photo Courtesy of Brian Burrill)
36
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Spirit of the Mountains Festival
The Spirit of the Mountains Festival is a winter celebration
involving sports, entertainment and cultural activities.
People from across the Valley participate to make the late
January festival a spectacular event .
The Spirit of the Mountains logo
was created by local artist
Frank Sampson.
Telkwa BBQ
The demolition derby at the Telkwa BBQ.
(Photo courtesy of Sonia Apostoliuk)
The Telkwa Barbeque and Demolition Derby is held every Labour Day weekend at the
Telkwa Barbeque Grounds. Since the event was first held in 1907, people have gathered
from all over the Valley to play in a slow-pitch softball tournament and, more recently,
to watch the demolition derby. The popular event is a fundraiser for the Kinsmen Club,
and the proceeds go towards serving the community.
Farmers’ Market
The Bulkley Valley Farmers’ Market is held on Saturday
mornings from May through October. Farmers and other
vendors gather to sell fresh produce, preserves, baked
goods, flowers, and crafts. The market is located at Central
Park in downtown Smithers until October, when it moves
indoors.
A summer Saturday morning at the
Bulkley Valley Farmers’ Market.
(Photo courtesy of Ian Murphy)
37
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Midsummer Festival
www.bvfms.org
The Midsummer Festival is an annual June music festival
organized by the BV Folk Music Society. Music lovers from
across the province converge on the Fall Fair Grounds next to
the Bulkley River. The festival brings local and regional
musicians and groups together, and affords them the
opportunity to perform with professional acts before large
crowds. Many people choose to camp out at the event to
better experience the music and people. The festival features a
wide variety of music, including First Nations music, and is a
favourite event among Smithereens.
A performance on the main stage at Midsummer Festival.
Every year, dozens of acts, including many local ones, play
for thousands of visitors. (Photo courtesy of Ian Murphy)
Northwest Trade Expo
The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce Northwest Trade
Expo is held annually in April. The event is an excellent
opportunity for businesses to enhance brand and product
visibility in the community and for business owners to develop
important business connections. The Trade Expo has something
for attendees of all ages, and serves as an important catalyst for
local business growth.
Booths at the Northwest Trade Expo.
(Photo courtesy of the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce)
38
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Community Services
No matter their circumstances and demographics, people everywhere depend on their
community and the services it provides to enjoy a fulfilling life. Because of Smithers’ status
as a regional centre, Smithereens enjoy a range of services that would often be reserved for
a larger community. Numerous organizations and clubs provide an array of programs and
support services towards a diversity of causes.
The Smithers Volunteer Fire Department Hall.
Flower gardens behind the Old Church .
39
COMMUNITY PROFILE
The Town of Smithers
The Town Office
www.smithers.ca
Municipal governance is carried out through the Town Hall.
Smithers’ Municipal Government is comprised of a Mayor and
six Councillors, elected triennially. The Mayor and Councillors
sit on a number of public committees. The Town’s powers and
responsibilities are regulated by the Local Government Act of
British Columbia and the Community Charter. The Town Hall
contains Council Chambers, meeting rooms and administrative
offices, and houses most of the Town’s support departments.
As such, it is the place to go for all queries concerning taxes,
bylaws, permits, minutes and municipal records. Constructed in
2004, with the alpine theme prevalent throughout the `Town, the
Town Hall is the centre of municipal activity in Smithers.
The current Smithers’ municipal hall was built in 2004.
The architecture incorporates numerous local themes and products,
including blue stained “bug-kill” wood in the Council Chambers.
Municipal Employees
Employees of the Town of Smithers perform a wide range of
duties integral to the day-to-day operation of the Town.
Chief among these is road maintenance; in winter, snow
removal is of utmost importance, while repairs must be done in
the summer. Smithers’ numerous parks and fields must be kept
clean and well-groomed. Arena maintenance is also the
jurisdiction of the Town. Additionally, employees of the Town
of Smithers operate the fire department and the airport, enforce
bylaws and oversee land and building usage.
Town of Smithers Department of Works and Operations’ vehicles.
40
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
www.rdbn.bc.ca
Many Smithereens do not reside within the Town boundaries;
thousands of people who work, shop and attend school in Smithers
live in the rural areas surrounding the Town. A number of services
in these rural areas are provided by the Regional District of Bulkley
-Nechako (RDBN). The RDBN acts as the governing body in the
absence of incorporated municipalities, and is overseen by a 15person board of directors. The Town of Smithers is represented on
the board by a Town Councillor, and Smithers Rural Electoral Area
is represented by an elected director.
Smithers
Hudson Bay Mountain, viewed from the east side of the Babine Mountains.
Smithers lies between the Babines and Hudson Bay Mountain .
41
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Emergency Services
Smithers Fire Department
Fire protection is provided by the Smithers Volunteer Fire
Department. The department is staffed by a paid Fire Chief,
Deputy Fire Chief, and roughly 40 volunteer firefighters.
The fire hall is located in downtown Smithers. The Smithers
Fire Response Boundary extends approximately 8km beyond
municipal boundaries. In 2008, the Smithers Regional Fire
Training Centre opened. Whereas aspiring firefighters in
northern BC once had to travel to Greater Vancouver to receive
full certification, training of the highest quality is now available
in Smithers.
The Smithers Volunteer Fire Department ladder
truck with Hudson Bay Mountain as a backdrop.
BC Ambulance Service
The British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) provides
timely and high-quality emergency medical service in Smithers.
The BCAS is a Crown Corporation responsible for all
ambulance services in British Columbia. The Smithers BCAS
station is located downtown and employs 2 full-time and more
than 10 part-time paramedics. With 3 ambulances, the Smithers
depot provides 24-hour-a-day service to the Highway 16
corridor from Moricetown to Quick. The BCAS also provide air
ambulance service to larger facilities when needed.
The BCAS station in Smithers operates three ambulances.
42
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Police Presence
Smithers RCMP Detachment
Law enforcement in Smithers is provided by the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police. The Smithers detachment is
responsible for policing an area from Deep Creek (20km
southeast of Telkwa) to Moricetown. The detachment
employs more than 10 constables responsible for general
policing duties, as well as traffic enforcement officers, a
First Nations Officer (a liaison between the RCMP and the
Aboriginal community), and administrative officers.
Civilian employees include clerical staff, a victim services
worker and a court liaison.
The Smithers RCMP Station.
RCMP Community Police
The Smithers Community Police is a partnership between
the Town of Smithers and the RCMP. The Town employs
a Prevention and Community Safety Officer, whose focus
is crime prevention and bylaw enforcement. The
Prevention and Community Safety Officer emphasizes the
public’s roll in crime prevention and safety, in an effort to
free up RCMP resources, by working with such
organizations and programs as Crimestoppers, Block
Watch and Citizens on Patrol.
43
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Health Services
Bulkley Valley District Hospital
www.northernhealth.ca
The Bulkley Valley District Hospital (BVDH) is an acute care
facility located in Smithers. Operated by the Northern Health
Authority (NHA), it is the main hospital serving the Bulkley
Valley. BVDH is a 25 bed acute care facility providing
emergency, surgical, maternity, cancer, and palliative services.
Additionally, the hospital provides outpatient services including
laboratory and medical imaging.
The BVDH also brings a number of specialists to Smithers on a
rotating basis. Among these are specialists in the fields of
psychiatry, urology, orthopaedics, internal medicine, neurology,
obstetrics and gynaecology, and geriatrics.
The Bulkley Lodge, a long-term care facility in Smithers.
The Bulkley Valley District Hospital.
Other Health Services
The Northern Health Authority (NHA) is responsible for providing
primary care, mental health and addiction treatment, home and
community care and public health to the region. NHA operates two
senior residential facilities in Smithers: the Meadows (run jointly with
Smithers Community Services Association, page 45), affordable
housing for seniors requiring some assistance to live independently,
and the Bulkley Lodge. The Bulkley Lodge provides long-term
residential care and an extensive activity program for seniors. NHA
also operates Northern Health Connections, an affordable bus service
for patients who require travel for out-of-town services. There are more
than 15 physicians practising in Smithers.
44
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Social Support Services
Smithers Community Services Association
www.scsa.ca
Smithers Community Services Association (SCSA) is a social
services organization that offers a wide range of programs and
services to the community. Founded in 1973, SCSA has expanded
over the years, adding programs as needs arise within the community.
Many of the programs that were formerly under SCSA supervision
have spun off to become self-governed societies and organizations in
their own right. SCSA undergoes rigorous organizational review
thanks to its accreditation through the International Council on
Accreditation. SCSA is overseen by a board of nine volunteer
directors. The association has more than 35 employees working on
approximately 20 programs.
A Smithers Transit bus outside SCSA’s offices.
SCSA’s programs are varied. They operate an independent living
facility for seniors and a 24-unit housing complex for families in
need of affordable housing. The CORR home program provides
short-term placement of young offenders in private homes as an
alternative to incarceration. SCSA also offers a foster parent
support program. Broadway Place Emergency Shelter provides a
supervised and safe environment for anyone in need of
emergency shelter. In addition to housing, SCSA offers numerous
transportation services, including door-to-door services, a daily
route from Smithers to Telkwa and special senior transit. Other
programs include the Good Food Box (an effort to provide
affordable fruits and vegetables) and adult learning and family
literacy programs.
Alpine Court, an affordable housing complex run by SCSA.
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COMMUNITY PROFILE
Dze L K’ant Society
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society is a non-profit
organization and registered charity founded in 1974 and guided by
aboriginal values. The society provides activities, services and
information to all people, in an effort to develop skills, mental,
physical, spiritual and emotional well-being and self-reliance.
The Friendship Centre is also dedicated to promoting friendship
and awareness among all people. It does so by organizing programs
designed to increase cross-cultural understanding and community
participation. The society also operates the Dze L K’ant
Community Hall, a downtown venue used to host everything from
concerts and conferences to social gatherings.
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre on Main Street.
Service Organizations
Numerous non-profit groups provide Smithereens with a wide
range of services and support. International service groups, such as
the Rotary, operate a local branch. Canadian organizations such as
the Royal Canadian Legion and Kinsmen also have a presence in
Smithers. More-specialized groups such as the Royal Canadian Sea
Cadets operate in Smithers. Other groups, such as the Bulkley
Valley Community Foundation, are purely local organizations.
Smithers is also home to more than a dozen churches, all of which
provide services to the town, particularly through volunteer efforts.
For a full list of churches please see page 47.
The restoration of St. James Anglican Church was a community
volunteer project. Thanks to the tireless efforts of many locals, the
“Old Church” is used as a performance space and for social gatherings.
46
COMMUNITY PROFILE
Contact Information
Town of Smithers
PO Box 879
Smithers, BC
V0J 2N0
1027 Aldous Street
Phone: 250-847-1600
Fax: 250-847-1601
Email:
Web:
[email protected]
www.smithers.ca
Churches
Anglican Church of St. James
1636 Princess Street,
250-847-9881
Bethel Reformed Church
3115 Gould Place
250-847-5100
Canadian Reformed Church
2788 Upper Viewmount Road
250-847-3707
Christian Reformed Church
1471 Columbia Drive
250-847-2333
Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints
3974 10th Avenue
250-847-9802
Evangelical Free Church
1838 Main Street
250-847-2929
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Highway 16
250-847-5800
Mountain View Assembly
2701 Upper Viewmount Road
250-847-2466
Mt Zion Lutheran Church
Highway 16, Telkwa
250-847-3364
Seventh-Day Adventist
3696 4th Avenue
250-847-5983
Smithers Baptist Church
3919 7th Avenue
250-847-3725
Smithers United Church
3889 8th Avenue
250-847-3333
Youth, Sports, and Performing Arts Groups
For a complete community directory, please contact the Town office, or visit the
Recreation, Parks & Culture department’s page at the Town of Smithers website
(www.smithers.ca).
47
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
4023 1st Avenue
250-847-2012