LARDEAU VALLEY GROUPS
This page is dedicated to the local groups that are active in the Lardeau Valley.
We have between 30 and 40 groups in this area, most who operate as non profit societies or cooperatives and others who formed just to focus on a purpose but are not a non profit society. Some of these listed offer programs in the Lardeau Valley, but are located in Kaslo.
If you belong to one of these LV groups and have more information, photos of your events or members, or other information you would like to share, please send it to us for inclusion here on the website.
Equipment for use by local non profit groups in the Lardeau Valley currently includes:
2 flip charts
2 sandwich boards (2 more are currently being built)
2 heavy duty extension cords
2 canopies for outdoor use
2 folding tables
projector and screen (can be used outdoors)
To borrow any of this equipment please email email@example.com
Lardeau Valley Groups:
Advisory Planning Committee – RDCK Area D Representative/s from Area D plus Area D Director sit on this committee which makes recommendations regarding land use in the area. Regular updates are posted in the Pennywise, or you can contact the RDCK for more info: 1 800 268 7325
Argenta Cemetery – A committee which cares for the Argenta Cemetery and arranges for burial there for anyone who resides north of Schroeder Creek in the Kootenay Lake / Lardeau Valley area. The Argenta Cemetery was opened officially in 1953. Contact Argenta Cemetery Committee, GD Argenta BC V0G1B0
Argenta Community Association – A Non profit group which cares for the physical building (the Argenta Community Centre) and all things related to this, such as events, workdays, etc. To book the hall please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. or for other info contact: Argenta Community Association, G.D. Argenta BC V0G1B. or email: email@example.com
History of the (first) Argenta Post Office…
The Argenta post office
Today we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the re-opening of the Argenta post office. It originally opened 15 years before that. Some records survive in the National Archives shedding light on how it came to be.
The application for a post office was referred to the postal inspector on May 16, 1898, and a report was three months later, stating that Argenta’s population consisted of about 20 miners and prospectors.
At the time, Argenta was a leaping off point for the Duncan and Lardeau mining districts. The townsite was surveyed in 1893 but had not amounted to much. It had one hotel — the McLeod — operated by infamous horse thief Red McLeod. By 1898, its proprietor was William H. Bell.
Letters to Argenta were sent aboard the SS Kokanee, a Canadian Pacific Railway sternwheeler, which made twice weekly runs from Kaslo. The mail was left with William Bell at his hotel and return mail sent back the same way. So Bell was the unofficial postmaster and proposed to take on the official title.
The CPR was prepared to carry the mail from Kaslo to Argenta at a rate of five cents per mile, which worked out to $2 per round trip, $4 a week, or $208 per year. That’s the equivalent of about $5,700 today. On the revenue side, the post office was expected to bring in $75 per year, or about $2,000 in today’s currency. It wasn’t unusual for individual post offices to be subsidized.
The one drawback of transporting mail by sternwheeler was that the CPR wasn’t sure it could maintain the service over the winter.
For whatever reason, the post office didn’t open. So a second application was submitted and referred to the postal inspector on December 28, 1898 who filed his report in February 1899.
Not much had changed: W.H. Bell was again proposed as the postmaster, the expected costs and revenues were the same, and the CPR could only promise service between May and September.
However, that summer Argenta experienced a boom thanks to the proposed construction of two railway lines by rival companies. Two more hotels went up, one operated by Andy Johnston and the other by Swan Peterson.
There was also the intriguing Kootenay Landing Hotel, which fittingly began its life at Kootenay Landing — on a floating scow. A.C. Pearson and Henry Williams were the co-proprietors. When business became dull at Kootenay Landing, they towed their two tarpaper-covered buildings to Argenta. Here they advertised “The Kootenay Landing hotel is the best house to stop at in Argenta” and “The wet grocery department of the Kootenay Landing Hotel at Argenta is away above par.”
However, A.C. Pearson was twice fined for selling liquor without a license — $75 for the first offense and $100 for the second, which pretty much put them out of business. A few months later, the woman who ran the restaurant was brought before a magistrate on a charge of insanity and committed for a medical exam.
But before all of this happened, the postal inspector was asked to find out what the CPR would charge per hundred pounds and the probable weight of mail to be carried. He replied the CPR charged 35 cents per hundred pounds going from Kaslo to Argenta and the mail would probably weigh about 100 pounds per trip.
In the meantime, a private company made an offer. The Lodestar Gold Mining and Development Company of Kaslo owned a small sternwheeler called the Marion that was making daily trips between Kaslo, Lardeau, Argenda, and Duncan City and offered to carry mail for $7 per round trip.
The Marion was an interesting boat. It was built at Golden in 1888 and operated on the Columbia River, then was transferred to Revelstoke the following year and navigated the Arrow Lakes. In 1897, it was shipped to Kootenay Lake and acquired by the Lodestar company which ran it on Duncan Lake — then called Houser Lake — as well as the upper Duncan river.
The company owned five mining claims on Hall Creek and was headed by managing director James F. Smith of Montreal. James D. Carlyle, its secretary-treasurer, was in charge of the Marion. But it doesn’t appear the company’s mines were very successful.
The postal inspector noted in his report of July 5, 1899 that the head of navigation was at Lardeau and Argenta and that “These are rival towns, Lardeau being known as the Canadian Pacific Railway town and Argenta as the Kaslo and Slocan Railway Company’s town. Both are now preparing to build railways to the Trout Lake district, and it is estimated that from 500 to 600 men are employed on railway construction, besides a considerable number of miners and prospectors. The greater number of the men employed are in the vicinity of Duncan and a service to Argenta would not be of much benefit unless extended to Duncan.”
Duncan was the name for Howser in those days, which had also applied for a post office, and it was suggested mail could be dropped off at Argenta or Lardeau and then taken to Duncan by packhorse.
The postal inspector wrote: “There are a number of miners and prospectors in the vicinity of Duncan, who would make use of an office at that place. There is a store and hotel at Duncan, and establishment of an office appears to be a necessity. The service to Duncan would also provide for a service to Argenta in the event of an office being established at that place.”
However, he added: “It is found to be very difficult to obtain reliable information with reference to these remote districts without a personal visit as most persons with whom communication can be had, are as a rule interested in some way and consequently information given is biased.”
The Argenta and Duncan post offices both opened on September 1, 1899.
The Argenta postmaster was not W.H. Bell as originally proposed but merchant H.A. Carney. He and his father Augustus Carney arrived in the area in 1893 and were prominent land stakers and timber cruisers. Augustus was also a provincial land surveyor and magistrate. Carney Creek was named after them.
In the first ten months of his job, H.A. Carney was paid a total of $21.50, which is a little less than $600 today. But starting in 1900 he was able to supplement his income by taking the mail 12 miles to Duncan once a week. For this he earned another $185, or about $5,100 today.
We don’t know which company got the mail contract — the CPR with the SS Kokanee or the Lodestar Gold Mining with the steamer Marion. But if it was the Marion, it wouldn’t have been for long, because in January 1901, the ship sank in a gale while moored at Kaslo. In 1907, the Marion was broken up and its machinery used to bore wood pipes at a mill at St. Leon Hot Springs.
H.A. Carney resigned as postmaster on June 25, 1900 and a little over a month later was replaced by George Crawford, a packer, who held the job for exactly two years. The post office closed on August 1, 1902 by which time things had become very quiet in Argenta. The Johnson hotel burned down in March 1900 just as its proprietors were arranging to have an insurance agent visit.
The Nelson Tribune of August 15, 1903 wrote: “Argenta is playing the role of a deserted village, and its sole inhabitant holds undisputed sway alike over the town lots of credulous investors of 1893-94 and the abandoned railway grade which skirts the upper shore of the lake.”
The Duncan post office changed its name to Howser on January 1, 1900 and remained in business until 1969 when it closed ahead of the townsite being flooded by the Duncan dam.
Why the Argenta post office re-opened in 1914 isn’t clear, except that the population had obviously grow to the point where it could be justified. A newspaper headline of October 8, 1914 said “Argenta has a post office.” The story read in its entirety: “A post office is to be opened at Argenta with H.D. Robertson as postmaster. The citizens of Argenta were much in need of this accommodation.”
Argenta Library – Located in the basement of the Argenta Community hall, the collection consists of books for all ages, audiobooks, and DVDs. Materials may be borrowed with an annual membership. Public Internet access computers and wireless are available. Open part-time Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Contact the library for hours at firstname.lastname@example.org
Argenta Emergency Preparedness Group – A group formed to obtain fire fighting equipment, train firefighters (for wildfires) as well as helping to prepare the community for evacuation in case of emergency. Contact
Argenta Monthly Meeting of Quakers – founded in the 1950’s by a group of Quakers (Religeous Society of Friends) who had relocated from the United States. The original meeting house, located on the shore of Kootenay Lake, is now privately owned. The current Meeting House is half way up the Argenta road (driveway on the left). Meeting for worship is at 11:00 each Sunday. All are welcome. Contact: Clerk, Argenta Monthly Meeting General Delivery Argenta BC Canada V0G1B0
Argenta Water Power Co-op – A cooperative formed in the 1950’s to share in the ongoing operation of the power plant which provides power to a percentage of the community. Hugh Elliot, an electrical engineer and resident of Argenta, designed and helped to care for the power plant for many years as well as designing and helping to run a community freezer which was used extensively up until a few years ago.
Friends of the Lardeau River – A non profit society formed to help protect and care for the Lardeau River corridor.
Gar Creek Water Users Association: Formed in 2012, this group was formed to find a permanent source of drinking, irrigation and fire suppressiion water for the south side of Johnsons Landing . Contact
Howser Water Users Association
Jewett Elementary School 250 366-4224 Our local elementary school is well supported in the Lardeau Valley. Currently there are 1 teacher and students from K to Gr.4.
Johnsons Landing Community Association – A non profit society focused on the care and maintenance of the community hall and grounds in Johnsons Landing. Contact: President, JLCA: RR1 S4 C25 Kaslo BC V0G1M0.
Kaslo Area Birders – This group meets in various locations around the north Kootenay Lake area for birding outings. They also have nest box programs in this area.
Contact: Marlene: 366 4474
Kaslo InfoNet – Lardeau Valley.com – The Kaslo infoNet Society (KiN) is a non-profit society formed in 1996 to build a community access network for Kaslo and its neighbouring communities. KiN is dedicated to achieving local access to global information and creating a presence for the North Kootenay Lake communities on the World Wide Web. Contact
Lakehead & Beyond Produce Society – The purposes of the society are to: grow, promote and encourage sustainable agriculture for distribution to members of the Lardeau Valley and beyond. Also, to assist and educate community members in sustainable agricultural practices. Contact PO Box 14, Meadow Creek BC V0G1N0 www.lakeheadproducts.webs.com
Local grown food organically Supplying community supported agriculture (CSA) offering produce deliveries weekly.
History of Lakehead to present:
In 2009, a group of Lardeau Valley community members pulled together to form Lakehead and Beyond Produce, a not-for-profit society that set out to help rebuild the strong, healthy agricultural & horticultural economy our valley once knew. With uncertainties over what land would be available to begin and a multitude of ideas being bantered about, a noticeable gap in the market for a CSA program steered Lakehead toward its first opportunity. (CSA- Community Supported Agriculture, is a program where community members can buy a share of the farm’s produce. The share is purchased at the beginning of the season, and in return, the shareholder receives a weekly box of the freshest, naturally grown, seasonal produce over the growing season. For more information visit http://lakeheadproducts.webs.com
In 2010, the Lakehead board members leased approximately 2 acres of land in the heart of Meadow Creek. Volunteers worked together to fence the property, prepare the land, and build the first greenhouse. Garlic went in that autumn and a further array of crops went in the following spring. One full-time and two part-time workers were hired, CSA shares sold quickly and the first year proved to be a success. Now in the second year the, CSA program has gained many more shareholders and has proved itself to be the ideal flagship for increasing the awareness for the necessity of building local, sustainable food sources.
Having the Lakehead Market Gardens has provided the local primary school with learning opportunities through visits to the farm throughout the season, and housed the children’s squash growing project, it provided the local Harvest Festival with an agricultural backdrop which allowed for a multitude of produce oriented fun and games; it ensured a plentiful supply of fresh farm vegetables, (often wheel-barrowed direct to market from the field!) to the new Meadow Creek Sunday Market, and has provided farm tours and growing advice to visitors from near and far. Other Lakehead projects now include a management project for the invasive thistles which have wreaked havoc on so much of the Valley’s valuable farm land, creating a hub that can provide practical advice and help to locals wishing to work and create an income from their land, and excitingly, this year has seen Lakehead embarking on a challenging project to create a seed potato industry in the valley.
In 2011 a permanent home for Lakehead was found, and the vision to provide the Lardeau Valley with an agricultural & horticultural resource hub has come closer to becoming a reality. Thanks to amazing support from some incredibly generous local community members, a 20+ acre site in Meadow Creek has been purchased, and Lakehead has a long term lease. The hard but rewarding work continues!
Lardeau Fire Protection A local (Lardeau) group of volunteers formed to protect their community from fire emergencies. Contact:Ph: 250 366-4100
Lardeau Valley Community Club The purposes of the society are to manage and maintain a community hall to be used for cultural, recreational, education and other community activities and to promote community improvement. Contact: LVCC PO Box 108 Meadow Creek BC V0G1N0 Ph: 250 366 4236 email: (hall manager:) email@example.com
Lardeau Valley Emergency Preparedness Committee: A group formed to share information and host events of benefit to LV residents in order to raise awareness and understanding about being prepared for emergency events that may occur. Contact
Lardeau Valley Food Co-op. A long running cooperative located in Argenta BC for bulk food purchases.
Lardeau Valley Historical Society – Incorporated for a second time in September of 1989, this non profit society was formed to care for the historic buildings and values of the Lardeau Valley area.The Museum is located on Highway 31 in Meadow Creek, just past the Lardeau Valley Community Club hall and is open during July and August on the weekends, or by appointment. Contact, or: PO Box 74 Meadow Creek BC V0G1N0. EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lardeau Water Users – Ph:250 366-4467
North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society offers support services for the communities of Kaslo,North Kootenay Lake, the Lardeau Valley and the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. Our Family Centres at JVH school in Kaslo and Jewett Elementary School in Meadow Creek offer programming for families with young children. From our office in Kaslo we offer counselling fore mental health and addictions, children, women, victims of crimes, and family support. The Food Hub in Kaslo has books on food and gardening, a baby emergency supplies cupboard, garden and kitchen tools for rent, a bulk buying club and a Food Cupboard for families and individuals who are needing emergency food. We also offer the Lifeline service, a button that you wear that can summon help if you need it while you are in and around your home. Please check out our website to learn more: www.nklcss.org
North Kootenay Lake Arts & Heritage Council The North Kootenay Lake Arts & Heritage Council sponsors the Kaslo Saturday Market; an annual Art Walk in the downtown area; a scholarship for students wishing to pursue post secondary training in the arts, history, or journalism; Art in the Market summer programs; and an annual Gallery Show at the Langham Cultural Centre. In addition, NKLAHC provides access to grants made available by the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. Arts Advocacy is at the top of their list of concerns. Contact P.O. Box 1045 Kaslo BC VOG 1MO
North Kootenay Lake Bear Smart Program: For information on keeping fruit trees safe, keeping bears out , etc, Contact or ph: 250 366-4232
Parent Advisory Committee – c/o Jewett Elementary School.