PHOTO BY SHANNON COLTHORPE Smoke billows from a second-storey apartment at Puntledge Terrace while firefighters deploy equipment. An elderly man and his dog both perished in the fire.

2017 Comox Valley Year In Review: March

The “fight” promised by Comox Valley Regional District Area B director Rod Nichol on behalf of his constituents, regarding the planned Comox No. 2 pump station, was front and centre in the news in March.

Record reporter Scott Stanfield tackled the contentious issue in a series of articles, bringing to light many of the residents’ concerns that, according to the homeowners, had fallen upon deaf ears to that point.

Arguments against the planned pump station include residents’ claims that a sewer system is not needed, or wanted, in their community.

“We don’t ever have to boil water here, so why would we want city water here?” asked Stafford Street resident Paul Horgen.

Residents believe the CVRD made the decision without properly consulting neighbours, arguing that without representation on the sewage commission, there’s no chance for their voices to be heard.

The pushback would eventually help lead to the postponement of the project.

Fatal fire

Tragedy struck in March, as a fire at the Puntledge Terrace apartment complex took the life of a man and his dog.

Kurt MacDonald, deputy chief of the Courtenay Fire Department, said crews arrived to find heavy smoke coming out a second-storey unit. They attacked the fire quickly and found the man inside.

“We did CPR for quite some time,” MacDonald said. “We worked on him for a long time before it was called.”

Firefighters also performed CPR on the man’s dog, but the dog also perished.

“We have the pet rescue O2 kits, so we had that in use. The RCMP participated in that as well. They were shoulder-to-shoulder with us working on the dog.”

MacDonald said the fire started in the man’s living room area. There was extensive damage, but the flames were contained to his unit.

Thea VanHerwaarden shows off her coveted white apron, indicative of her placement in the “Final 12” of MasterChef Canada. Photo via CTV

MasterChef

Comox home chef Thea VanHerwaarden made the final 12 on the popular CTV reality television show MasterChef Canada, eventually finishing as runner-up in the competition.

School outing turns tragic

Students and faculty at G.P. Vanier were shocked when Grade 11 student Sara Manitoski died in her sleep during a scheduled mid-week overnight excursion on Hornby Island.

Gunplay on Piercy

A man was gunned down in broad daylight on Piercy Avenue in Courtenay in March, the first of at least four shootings in the Comox Valley in 2017. Despite the increase in gun-related crimes, police authorities and city officials continue to downplay the threat to residents.

A&E

A new multi-act concert event geared specifically to younger audiences was announced in March. The inaugural Wet Coaster would feature bluesman Jesse Roper as its headliner, with c o s y and Non-Stop Talk also performing. Local musician Adam Norman took on the project, with support from the Vancouver Island MusicFest marketing and production teams.

• Atmosphere Gathering announced Half Moon Run as the headliner for the Cumberland summer festival. The breakout Canadian band has its roots in the Comox Valley.

• The Comox Valley welcomed a new theatre group to the community. Three Legged Dog productions, the brainchild of Pat McKenna, debuted with Guys & Dolls.

• Natalie Nickerson was chosen as the Comox Valley’s next poet laureate, replacing Captain Thunderpants himself, Kevin Flesher, whose two-year stint as the inaugural Comox Valley poet laureate came to an end.

• Vancouver Island MusicFest announced its Sunday headlining act – The Barenaked Ladies.

SPORTS

The Mark Isfeld Ice qualified for the 3A senior boys’ provincial basketball championships for a fourth straight year, after finishing third overall in the Vancouver Island championships with a 3-1 record.

They finished with a 2-2 record at provincials.

Lynne Noble, Penny Shantz, Colleen Robson and Kathy Branch won the BC Senior women’s curling crown.

Curling champs

The Vancouver Island rink, half of which resides in the Comox Valley, won the B.C. Senior Women’s Curling Championship. Lead Kathy Branch of Comox and second Colleen Robson of Courtenay joined forces with Penny Shantz of Nanoose Bay, third, and Qualicum skip Lynne Noble. They moved on to the 2017 national championship in Fredericton, N.B.

The ladies did the province proud, beating the Cathy King rink of Alberta for the bronze medals.

BUSINESS

Harbour Air announced the addition of direct flights between Comox and Vancouver, from the Comox Marina. There are two flights leaving the Comox Marina daily, Monday through Friday, throughout the spring and summer months.

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Thea VanHerwaarden shows off her coveted white apron, indicative of her placement in the “Final 12” of MasterChef Canada. Photo via CTV

Lynne Noble, Penny Shantz, Colleen Robson and Kathy Branch won the BC Senior women’s curling crown.

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