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City councillor takes issue with Alberta newspaper

The High River Times got a smack-down of the first order last week, from a Castlegar city councillor who read an editorial casually slurring Castlegar.

The editorial was referring to towns that smell bad (see and apparently councillor Kevin Chernoff thought the reference to Castlegar in that regard really stunk.

“People who have never been here might believe stuff like that, so it could hurt us both in terms of tourism and migration,” he said. “Newspapers have a responsibility to be accurate, not just print whatever rumour or misperception they buy into.”

To this end, Chernoff penned a letter to the editor, which the High River Times published Nov. 6. (see that read as follows:

“First of all, as you have written some inaccurate statements, I am going to assume you have never been to Castlegar. Castlegar is located in the West Kootenay, a pristine area of Southern British Columbia. We have everything from large lakes to the ultimate in back country adventure at our door step.

“Your statement, "In Whitecourt and Castlegar, B.C., the smell of pulp mills fills the air at all hours of the day," would sound ridiculous to anyone who has spent any time here.
“Your perception of pulp mills is antiquated at best and, in fact, the Castlegar Pulp Mill is one of the most modern facilities in Canada.
“Unlike you, I have worked, lived and played in Castlegar all my life and I can tell that we rarely experience issues with odour from the mill - normally only during a start up after a maintenance shutdown. It lasts no more than a day, and is infrequent enough to be largely irrelevant ...perhaps two or three times a year.
“We also have far less smog than a city so near to Calgary as your own, and the sweet, fresh scent of clean rivers and unspoiled wilderness is our standard olfactory backdrop.
“When compared to my trips through parts of Alberta and the pungent smell of cow manure that lingers for weeks on end, I would have to pick Castlegar, hands down (smell being only one of the many reasons) ... much like the many Albertans who flock to our corner of British Columbia for the weekends and have purchased property in our pristine area. We can’t all be wrong.
“Before you judge or brand a town, you would better serve your readers by knowing the facts, rather than printing what I can only assume was a rumour or something you read.
“If you ever do find the time to come to Castlegar, drop me a line and I will show you your perception of our community is inaccurate.
“Who knows, we may even give you some locally-produced paper so you can continue to write, maybe with a little more research this time?
Kevin C”