2017 Comox Valley Year In Review: November

Ruth Masters passes away, Portuguese Joe’s announces closure.

Ruth Masters passes away

The Comox Valley bid farewell to one of its most iconic personalities on Nov. 7, as Ruth Masters passed away at the age of 97.

Masters was a famous figure throughout Vancouver Island and B.C., where she had made a name for herself as a staunch activist, environmentalist, and humanitarian.

An avid protester, Masters was involved in many causes during her lifetime, particularly those related to environmental conservation. She also put together three books and served in England for the Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

Tributes poured in from across the Island after Masters’ passing. A celebration of her life was held on Dec. 10, with hundreds in attendance.

Portuguese Joe’s announces closure

Comox Valley residents were also sad to hear in early November that Portuguese Joe’s Fish Market would close its doors on Jan. 1, 2018.

Joe and Nilda Veloso had opened Portuguese Joe’s in 1965 after immigrating to Vancouver Island from Europe.

Cecil Veloso, one of the sons of Joe and Nilda, wrote a letter to the Record in early November that the ever-increasing costs associated with running the local fish market — and added competition — had made the business unsustainable.

Portuguese Joe’s Fish Market has operated out of its same location on Comox Avenue for more than five decades. Its last day of operations is set for New Years Day.

CVCDA telethon breaks record

On a more positive note, early November saw a landmark success for the Comox Valley Child Development Association. On Nov. 5, the organization’s telethon raised $148,008 — shattering the previous record of $111,388.

The money raised from the annual fundraiser goes towards supporting the day-to-day operations of the CVCDA. This year, the funds will also go towards a new facility for the organization’s Autism Program.

Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in the spring.

Heavy rain leads to boil-water-advisory

As usual, November was the rainiest month of the year for Vancouver Island, and the Comox Valley was no different. The community experienced 25 days of rain throughout the month.

As a result of intense rainfall, the Comox Valley Regional District issued a boil-water-advisory on Nov. 19. The advisory was in effect for eight days and affected roughly 45,000 people in Courtenay, Comox, and surrounding areas.

Isfeld volleyball teams reach provincials

In local sports, 2017 marked another successful season for the Mark R. Isfeld senior volleyball teams. The senior girls’ team placed fourth at the provincial AAA championships in Vancouver. Entering the provincial tournament as Vancouver Island’s number four seed, the team finished one spot better than last year when they finished fifth at the 2016 championships in Kelowna.

The senior boys’ volleyball team also competed at provincials this year. The team qualified for the tournament in dramatic fashion, after coming from two sets behind to beat the Lambrick Park team 3-2 at the AA Island finals in Victoria.

Despite the momentum heading into provincials, the boys struggled in Langley, where they lost three of their five games. The Ice would have played for 11th place but opted instead to drive to Vancouver to watch the Isfeld girls compete.

Report confirms poor air quality

A report from the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate change was released in November and confirmed that Courtenay’s air quality is worse than the B.C. average. The report analyzed patterns in ambient air quality in Courtenay from 2011–16 and how it was affected by meteorological conditions.

The five-year study proved that the mean annual and daily levels of fine particulate matter are higher in Courtenay than most communities in B.C. and exceed provincial objectives. The levels of fine particulate matter were particularly high from November to February, adding credence to the argument that smoke from wood stoves contributes to the Comox Valley’s poor air quality.

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