Santa greets youngsters like Bowie McCarthy, 3, at the recent Downtown Courtenay Christmas event at Native Sons Hall. Photo by Mike Chouinard

2019 Comox Valley Year In Review: December

Habitat opens four homes; Thief steal church’s Christmas tree

  • Dec. 31, 2019 11:30 a.m.

Snowbirds delay spring training

Spring training for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in Comox will be delayed due to an incident with Snowbird 5 prior to a U.S. airshow. The pilot was not seriously injured, but the team had to delay its schedule for 2020. Their annual practice prior to the airshow season will now take place in May rather than in April.

Truck parade off, downtown light-up on

Cumberland council approved a new downtown celebration for early December, with a light-up event. There was to be no truck parade in the community though. However, the organizers of the Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks, which travels through communities through the holiday season, was still happening this year, though on a smaller scale.

Thief steals Christmas tree

As Advent was about begin, someone stole the fir tree Faith Lutheran Church had planned to chop down for Christmas. The person responsible also took some lights from outside the Courtenay church. However, some good neighbours stepped forward, with Doveside Christmas Tree Farm offering a new tree.

Habitat opens four homes

For the first time, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North finished eight homes in a single year, one year ahead of this goal in the organization’s strategic plan. They also handed over keys to four more families in the Comox Valley during a ceremony at the Lake Trail Road site in Courtenay. This latest phase came in well ahead of schedule because of all the help, especially from members of 19 Wing Comox, who worked on some of the homes.

New school, upgrades

The Province announced funding for a new school on Hornby Island, as well as major upgrades to Lake Trail Middle School. The B.C. government committed $10.4 million for a new, 95-seat Hornby Island Community School, replacing the previous building lost in a fire in August 2018. As well, construction was set to begin on the $27.2-million seismic upgrade of Lake Trail Middle School, which will replace everything but the school’s gymnasium. It will also include a new child care centre.

Cumberland fire hall

The Village of Cumberland voted to adopt temporary borrowing and loan authorization bylaws for a new fire hall after the proposal cleared the alternate approval process (AAP). Through this, if at least 10 per cent of electors expressed written opposition to the Village, the bylaw could not go ahead. The AAP threshold was 310 voters, but by the deadline, the Village received only 57 responses. The move by council authorizes borrowing of up to $4.2 million for the new fire hall.

City considers smoking ban

Courtenay council gave second reading to a bylaw to prohibit smoking and vaping in parks, public spaces and City properties. The idea was to increase public safety and enjoyment, minimize exposure to second-hand smoke, and to reduce the risk of fire and littering. Since the last revision of the Clean Air Bylaw in 1992, Coun. Manno Theos noted that vaping has become more prolific and cannabis use has been de-criminalized.

New CVRD office

The Comox Valley Regional District spent December moving into its new office at 770 Harmston Ave. The CVRD board had determined that based on the flood-prone location on Comox Road, limited space and expensive lease costs, a new regional office building was a priority. It had awarded the contract to build its new home in 2018. The new office has been built to LEED Gold standards for an improved environmental footprint.


First MusicFest headliner announced

Vancouver Island MusicFest made its first announcement for the 2020 festival with Alberta alt-country singer-songwriter Corb Lund set for the event. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since he played MusicFest. Since then his career has skyrocketed and taken him all over the world,” said artistic director Doug Cox. “We’re really happy to have Corb back with us in 2020.”

Potter honoured

Denman Island master potter and long-time North Island College instructor Gordon Hutchens received a Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art and Design. He was presented with the 2019 Award of Distinction by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation (BCAF) at a ceremony in Vancouver.


Snooker champs

Maryann McConnell hosted a delightful ‘Evening With Cliff Thorburn,’ as the former world snooker champion, member of the Order of Canada, and holder of countless Canadian and international snooker titles, came to play at Courtenay’s Evergreen Club. Local resident McConnell was, herself, formerly the No. 2-ranked women’s snooker player in the world.

Hoops teams off to fast starts

Despite moving up to 4A basketball, the Vanier Secondary senior boys basketball roster opened the season strong, with early tournament wins in Chilliwack and Surrey. The team includes seven key members from last year’s team that won the senior boys 3A Island championship. Meanwhile, at Isfeld, the Ice got off to a strong start in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. The teams, along with other boys and girls senior and junior teams, continued to find tourney success through the month.

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Jakob Tortorelli of Vanier was MVP at a Chilliwack Tournament. File photo by Peggy Street

Munir Mahmoud and Yassin Ibrahim are greeted by fellow Eritrean immigrants Adem and Mahdi Idris, at the Comox Valley Airport. Photo by Terry Farrell

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