Every Friday we feature Valley history taken from our back issues.
Five years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:
A new North Island hospital should be built in a neutral location and not replace St. Joseph’s or Campbell River General, a report presented to VIHA concluded.
“This is a hugely important issue — we’ve had a great response and I think it’s fantastic,” VIHA CEO Howard Waldner said.
Following feedback at public forums and opinions of 240 stakeholders, TurnKey Management Consulting outlined four options: upgrades at St. Joseph’s and at Campbell River, a new regional hospital on a neutral site or secondary sites spread between the two hospitals.
Ten years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:
Canada Safeway applied to Courtenay council to build a large grocery store, retail shops and gas bar at the northwest corner of 17th and Cliffe.
Safeway asked council to rezone 8.2 acres for the shopping centre. At the time, the site consisted of 13 privately owned properties, including the Best Western Hotel and Bonds Fish and Chips. Developers had planned to demolish all buildings except the restaurant.
Staff and council favoured the development, mostly because the shopping centre was expected to strengthen the viability of the downtown.
“I’m in favour of any development that will create jobs and increase our tax base,” Coun. Starr Winchester said.
The store expected to employ 150 to 200 people.
Fifteen years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:
A Comox dentist on his way to visiting relatives in Cairo made an unexpected stop for lunch with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Dr. Phil Nasralla was among 59 Canadians aboard an Egypt airliner hijacked before reaching Cairo and forced to land on an abandoned airstrip in Libya.
Because he kept passengers relaxed by telling jokes, Nasralla became the group’s spokesman. He gave eight interviews, including the CBC and CNN, and made a banner saying Courtenay, B.C. to hold up for the pack of international press.
After landing, the plane was surrounded by armed Libyan authorities until the hijackers surrendered. Nasralla figured the hijackers were on drugs. They had demanded a meeting with the leaders of Libya, Egypt and the U.S., saying they had a ‘message from God’ on the plight of the Palestinians.
The Egyptian-born Nasralla told his colleagues the Libyans treated the passengers royally and that he shook Gadhafi’s hand during a lunch prepared for them. A hero’s welcome greeted the passengers, including a band and red carpet treatment when they arrived in Cairo.
Twenty years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:
Politics and recreation mixed like oil and water as angry ferry workers tailed Comox MLA Stan Hagen when he delivered a $700,000 cheque for an expanded CRA building at Lewis Park.
Hagen hurried by protesters as they hurled questions and complaints his way.
“I guess I have to run the gauntlet,” Hagen said cheerily, acknowledging it was all part of an MLA’s day “dealing with the challenges.”
The picketers followed him to the CRA nursery school for the cheque exchange.
The GO B.C. grant funded an expansion and renovation.
As Hagen left, he sparred briefly with Liberal candidate Alicia Burns.
“We’ll be wherever you are,” union rep Judith Willis shouted.
Twenty five years ago this week in the Comox Valley Record:
Five Courtenay firemen escaped serious injury when caught in a propane explosion that destroyed a Comox Road mobile home.
The five, including fire chief Lawrence Burns, were treated for burns and released shortly after the blast leveled the home of psychiatric nurse Lyn Edmondson.
Neighbour Ingrid Bosanich had smelled propane drifting from the yard next door.
Burns responded to the call by himself. At Edmondson’s house, he found propane leaking from the regulator of a fuel tank feeding the home, which he shut off.
But it turned out the house was filled with smoke.
“The man on the nozzle couldn’t see where the fire was,” Burns said. “He called for a light, and as we handed him one, it blew.”