The new hospital is located on Lerwick Road. Photo by Scott Strasser.

2017 Comox Valley Year In Review: October

New hospital opens, cannabis dispensary draws controversy

New hospital opens

The month began with the soft opening of the North Island Hospital Comox Valley Campus on Oct. 1, following a transition of patients and acute care services from St. Joseph’s General Hospital. The $334-million building had been under construction for a few years and replaced St. Joseph’s as the community’s primary healthcare facility.

Three weeks later, An official farewell ceremony was held at St. Joseph’s to honour the faith-based facility’s 104-year history in the Comox Valley. More than 100 people attended the open house.

Cannabis dispensary draws controversy

Local headlines in October were dominated by multiple incidents surrounding Leaf Compassion, a new medical cannabis dispensary in downtown Courtenay. After opening without a business licence on Oct. 1, the dispensary was raided twice by Comox Valley RCMP for “contravening the Controlled Drug and Substances Act” by selling marijuana from a storefront.

The store’s owner, Kyle Cheyne, went on the offensive after the dispensary’s second raid. He vowed he would continue to reopen the store and provide people with safe access to medical cannabis, despite the RCMP’s actions.

After the second raid, Cheyne made a post on the company’s Facebook page that urged residents to contact Courtenay City Hall about the issue.

Following that plea, Courtenay mayor Larry Jangula received a death threat via phone message and City Hall staff claimed to receive several angry emails.

Courtenay council eventually denied Leaf Compassion a business licence in November.

North Courtenay Connector completed

Alongside the new hospital, another civic construction project that saw completion in October was the North Courtenay Connector, which opened on Oct. 20. The new bridge replaced the temporary one-lane crossing of the Tsolum River, located on Dove Creek Road.

The $15-million project included a 700-meter-long roadway that connects Headquarter and Piercy roads north of Dove Creek Road, and makes a continuous route between Vanier Drive and Condensory Road.

CVRD approves water treatment project

October was a busy month for local politics. The month saw the approval for the go-ahead of the Comox Valley Regional District’s $110-million water treatment project. The CVRD’s water committee approved the revised scope, schedule, and cost of the project on Oct. 17.

The new infrastructure — which is expected to be completed in 2021 or 2022 — will completely rehaul the CVRD’s drinking water system for 45,000 people in Courtenay, Comox, and surrounding areas.

The initiative is expected to improve the Valley’s quality of drinking water, bring it up to provincial standards, and reduce the number of boil-water-advisories issued by the CVRD.

Pump Station project shelved

Another political project that made the news in October was the Comox No. 2 Pump Station, which was shelved by the CVRD Sewage Commission on Oct. 24. The controversial project had been in the works for a few years and would be needed for the replacement of a deteriorating section of the CVRD’s sewerage system.

However, consultants hired last year by the CVRD found “three red flags” with the project during the pre-implementation phase. With these issues in mind, members of the Sewage Commission voted unanimously to put the project on hold for at least a year while other options are explored.

Abbeyfield House gifted to John Howard Society

Near the end of October, Courtenay’s Abbeyfield House was gifted to the John Howard Society. The semi-independent retirement home operated in Courtenay for two decades before closing earlier this fall.

The board of the 10-bedroom, non-profit retirement home had announced in July that it was closing its doors because the facility was not compliant with B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Act. Ten Abbeyfield tenants had to find alternative housing following its closure.

John Howard Society North Island executive director Wendy Richardson called the facility “a completely perfect fit” for her organization.

Sports

High scoring soccer

The Comox Valley United Div. 1 men’s team came from 4-1 down with less than 15 minutes to go to salvage a point against Westcastle United on Oct. 14. Three late goals from United were enough to bring the score to 4-4 and earn the team a much-needed draw.

Undefeated Raiders

The Comox Valley Bantam Raiders finished October undefeated (10-0) for the regular season. After dominating their opponents in September and October, the Raiders eventually fell in their first playoff game against the Victoria Spartans on Nov. 5.

Just Posted

New version of outdoor art show set to take place in Comox in August

Despite the announcement earlier this year of the cancellation of the Originals… Continue reading

Tales from MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Robert Moyes Special to The Record Doug Cox, artistic director and executive… Continue reading

Comox Valley artist named Living Legend for wildfowl carvings

An artist from the Comox Valley has been named a Living Legend… Continue reading

New sport introduced in Comox Valley schools earns a bullseye in student approval

Valley students were introduced to the sport of archery for the first… Continue reading

New regulations increase boating distance from killer whales

As of June 1, boats must stay 400 metres away from the southern resident orcas

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read