2019 Comox Valley Year In Review: July

Bridge cantilevers proposed; ringworm closes zoo

  • Dec. 29, 2019 6:30 a.m.

With the exception of Manno Theos and Doug Hillian, Courtenay council liked the idea of rehabilitating the Fifth Street Bridge with widened, cantilevered pedestrian and cycling paths on each side. Cantilevers will add $2 million to a $6.3 million bill, and two months to a six-month construction period. The bridge was built in 1960. It has since undergone a deck resurfacing, seismic upgrades and other maintenance. Theos would like to explore the scope of building a new bridge, which would cost $25- to $30-million. A number of downtown merchants expressed displeasure with the idea. Some feel a three-lane bridge is needed.

Ringworm closes zoo

The Town of Comox confirmed the presence of ringworm in ‘Cosmo the Cow,’ an animal at the Hands on Farm Petting Zoo. The farm was closed late June when a vet advised of the possible infection. The zoo was given a clean bill of health the following week. Later in the month, the farm was again closed when ringworm was detected in a goat named Pepper, and again re-opened a few days later.

Village mourns Bates’ passing

Fred Bates, who served as mayor of Cumberland for three terms ending in 2011, passed away. Bates had previously served as a Village councillor for two terms. He was also a director on the Comox Valley Airport Commission, and was president of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association.

“He was in a league of his own in every aspect and will be deeply missed by many,” his daughter Tracy Lavoie announced in a Facebook post.

Hiker stuck for days

It was supposed to be a day hike up Mount Albert Edward for Murray Naswell. Instead, he got stuck on a cliff for the better part of two days. After an extensive search-and-rescue effort, the Courtenay man was found in a cabin at Moat Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park, five days after leaving for the summit. The culprit was fog, and he admits, to some degree, a bit of arrogance on his part for when he chose to leave for the summit.

Mountain biker dies

A mountain biker died on the Cumberland trails after he crashed near the Blockhead trail. A couple of bikers who came across the man, estimated at 55-60 years old, performed CPR. The man had been riding solo.

Musician silenced

Prior to the silencing of an accordion player in spring, the Town of Comox received multiple complaints about accordion music in public spaces. Accordion player Jon Cunningham said he was silenced in May by the Town after being turned down for a busking permit. Comox Mayor Russ Arnott said bylaw enforcement is mostly complaint-driven. Within the last few years, he said Cunningham had been playing without a licence.

Machete attack

Bob Plumb, 89, was viciously attacked in downtown Courtenay in the early morning of July 31. He was in his vehicle in the 400-block of Fifth Street when he was approached by a man on a bicycle who asked him for a cigarette. The man attacked Plumb with what appeared to be a machete, resulting in several slashes to his face, and likely the loss of vision in his left eye.


Chef honoured

Local chef Lesley Stav received the Culinary Federation President’s Award, one of the highest honours the federation bestows upon a member.

Yogurt facility proposed

Cumberland council is considering a proposal for a Tree Island Yogurt facility on a site in the Village. Owners Merissa Myles and Scott DiGuistini started the Courtenay-based company after returning from a trip to France during which they tasted artisanal yogurt.

New water system

After years of preparation and planning, the Comox Valley Regional District’s water treatment system project moved into the construction phase. The design-build contract was awarded to AECON Water Infrastructure Inc.


MusicFest rocks the Valley

Vancouver Island MusicFest once again brought crowds to their feet with a range of acts that included Colin James, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, the Muscle Shoals Allstars, Robben Ford, Bobby Rush and several acts from far corners of the world.


Lacrosse stars

Adam Bailey, Kris Fournier, Haydin Gibson and Jordan Vincent were selected to play with provincial lacrosse teams in the summer. Later in the month, the CV Wild bantam B team won gold at the BC championships.

Wirth his weight in net

Nolan Wirth made the most of his first league start between the pipes for Pacific FC, which beat the Canadian Premier League-leading Cavalry FC of Calgary, 3-1 in Victoria. The 24-year-old goalkeeper from Comox saved seven of eight shots, including a goal-line stop in the dying minutes.

Soccer gold

The Upper Island Riptide U15 girls soccer team won the gold medal at the A-Cup provincials in Surrey. The girls beat the West Vancouver Rangers 2-1 in the final. They had lost 4-2 to the Rangers in the round-robin.

Skeet supremacy

Matt Bauer won a junior division at the Canadian Open Skeet Championships at the Fish and Game Club.

Underwater rugger

Comox Valley-raised Emma Green, who lives in Australia, was preparing to represent Canada at the Underwater Rugby World Championships in Austria. The sport involves two teams each with six players who try to score goals by sending a saltwater-filled ball into a goal at the bottom of a pool.

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