Parents, Justine and Dan Ludwig, as well as siblings, Jack, three, and Faith, six, are excited to welcome baby Weston into the family. Weston was the first baby born in the Comox Valley in 2019. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

2019 Comox Valley Year In Review: January

New Year’s baby arrives; fire razes Too Good To Be Threw

  • Dec. 26, 2019 6:00 a.m.

The new year started off right for the Ludwig family, as Weston Ludwig, born Jan. 1 at 9:48 a.m., was the Comox Valley’s first baby of 2019.

Weston was a little early, and caught parents Justine and Dan a little off-guard.

The Ludwigs spent New Year’s Eve singing karaoke, playing games and watching movies with the family.

“We came home with the kids and we tucked them into bed, and my contractions had started,” said Justine.

“I decided to start timing them, and by three in the morning we thought we’d better head to the hospital. Things happened fairly quickly after that.”

3L closes road access to Stotan Falls

The 3L Development/Comox Valley Regional District saga showed no signs of resolution in January, as 3L closed access to its property around Stotan Falls, citing “liability concerns.”

For years, the Nanaimo-based 3L has been hoping to build homes in the area but has been stymied by the CVRD. The developer has twice won court decisions after challenging the CVRD about due process. In October, the company again petitioned the Supreme Court of B.C. after the district board denied its application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy in order to create a new settlement node — which is needed to create its proposed riverfront community.

The access road remained closed, under the watchful eye of paid employees, throughout the year.

Pipeline protest

2019 could fairly be described as “The Year of the Protest” in the Comox Valley and beyond, as activists young and old let their voices be heard, regarding everything from the climate crisis to logging strikes.

About a hundred people gathered in downtown Courtenay Tuesday at noon as one of many rallies happened across the province o support pipeline protesters arrested in northwestern B.C. Photo by Erin Haluschak

On Jan. 8, the first local protest saw about 100 supporters rally in front of Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office, in one of dozens of rallies across the province to support 14 pipeline protesters, who were arrested at a blockage southwest of Smithers, B.C.

Mariner Apartments flood

Numerous renters were displaced from the Mariner Apartments in Comox, after a water main break completely flooded the bottom floor.

Discarded carpeting and underlay sits outside an apartment unit at The Mariner in Comox, after a town water main burst, completely flooding the lower floor of the complex. Photo by Terry Farrell

UBID suspends trustee

The Union Bay Improvement District board voted to suspend trustee Susanna Kaljur for an indefinite period of time, at a January meeting. Board chair Ted Haraldson cited Kaljur as being “disrespectful, and has not followed agendas or subjects at hand at meetings.” The suspension was deemed to be illegal.

BUSINESS

New restaurant

Kelly & Carlos O’Bryan’s opened a location in Courtenay at 2910 Kilpatrick Ave. The franchise also has locations in Kamloops, Kelowna, Kitsilano in Vancouver, West Kelowna, Vernon and New Westminster.

Providence acquires The Views

The Views at St. Joseph’s – a 117-bed seniors’ care home in Comox – reached an agreement with Providence Residential & Community Care Services Society (PRCC) to transfer the ownership and operations of St. Joseph’s to PRCC – a new entity formed by Providence in 2017.

Long-term care facility announced

Also in January, Island Health announced that Golden Life Management Corp. will build and operate a new long-term care facility in the Comox Valley.

The Cranbrook-based company began groundwork on the ocean-front village in 2019, near the southern entrance to Courtenay. It will contain 126 publicly funded beds, including 120 care beds and a total of six hospice beds. Island Health anticipates construction of the facility to be completed in the spring of 2021.

Thrift store ravaged by fire

A fire at the Comox Valley Transition Society’s thrift store, Too Good To Be Threw, caused extensive damage to the property, and destroyed virtually all the retail stock in the store. The fire, which was suspicious, broke out just after midnight on Jan. 20.

A fire broke out in Too Good to be Threw thrift store in downtown Courtenay in January. The charity thrift store lost all its inventory in the blaze. Photo courtesy of Susan Harrison

“It was a bit sad to see 10 years of work and fine-tuning our operation so damaged. We really are starting over again,” said CVTS executive director Heather Ney, adding the insurance they carried will not cover the value of the retail merchandise.

“We did not insure the inventory because you can’t put a value on it,” said Ney. “But we insured for … fixtures and business interruption, but we haven’t ever insured for inventory because it’s impossible.”

A&E

Mini-series airs

A CBC mini-series that spent more than a week shooting in two locations in the Comox Valley aired in January. Unspeakable, an eight part mini-series about the Canadian tainted blood scandal of the early 1980s, premiered Jan. 9 on the network.

The Vancouver-based production filmed part of the series in May in two Valley locations – the Comox Valley Airport (which doubled as an airport in Sweden) and St. Joseph’s General Hospital, which served as hospitals in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver because of the look, which changes from floor to floor.

SPORTS

Mayor’s Cup a huge success

The 2019 Mayor’s Cup charity hockey game, featuring Thomas Gradin and other members of the Vancouver Canucks Alumni, raised more than $16,000 for the Comox Valley branch of KidSport. Much of the money was raised by the local hockey players themselves who paid at least $100 apiece for the chance to play alongside some former NHLers.

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A waste bin sits full of water-damaged furniture after a town water main burst, flodding the bottom floor of a walk-up apartment complex in Comox. Photo by Terry Farrell

Kelly & Carlos O’Bryan’s at 2910 Kilpatrick Ave. in Courtenay opened in 2019. Photo by Erin Haluschak

A fire broke out in a workshop at Cozy Mini Storage in Comox Jan. 17. No other buildings were damaged. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

A fire broke out at a residence on Lewis Avenue in Courtenay in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 25. Photo via Aurora Schieszer

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott (right) made good on his Mayor’s Cup wager at a Courtenay council meeting, presenting the “trophy” to Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells, while wearing a Don Cherry jersey, which Wells supplied. The fundraising hockey game, played Jan. 18, raised more than $16,000 for the Comox Valley branch of KidSport. Photo by Scott Stanfield

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