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Coalmont, B.C., phone booth destroyed in bizarre feud to be replaced

05/26/2015 06:39 EDT | Updated 05/26/2016 05:59 EDT
After the destruction of Coalmont's only phone booth in May during a bizarre feud and alleged murder attempt, residents of the tiny B.C. town found themselves facing another fight — with Telus.

At stake? The phone booth itself. Telus declined to replace the wrecked pay phone, but Bob and Diane Sterne wouldn't take no for an answer.

While the Sternes' social media campaign and petition garnered little attention, it was a direct email to a Telus executive that got things moving.

"My wife kind of did a Hail Mary play and she put out an email to all of the Telus executives that she could find names for," Bob Sterne told Chris Walker, the host of CBC Radio One's Daybreak South.

"A week later … they decided that they were going to install a new pay phone that was publicly accessible in the area."

The phone booth was destroyed at the beginning of May after a long-simmering feud between Roland Giroux and Warren Spence boiled over.

Giroux is alleged to have crashed his car into the phone booth in an attempt to kill Spence, who was using it at the time. Spence managed to get out of the phone booth before the car hit, but he was still injured.

The result? Spence is in physiotherapy, Giroux is charged with attempted murder, and Coalmont's lone public phone booth was in pieces.

Located in rugged mining country 20 kilometres west of Princeton, Coalmont has a population of roughly 100 full-time residents. Cellphone coverage is spotty.

Sterne said his biggest concern was that without a pay phone, Coalmont had lost its only public access to 911. 

"There's a lot of tourist traffic here in the summer time particularly, and some in the winter as well, and the booth was right by the Trans Canada Trail, and there's a lot of other heavier-used tourist trails in the area, so it was very important."

It's not yet known when the phone will be replaced. 

To hear the full interview, listen to the audio labelled: Phone booth destroyed in alleged murder attempt to be replaced in Coalmont.

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