Marchers gathered for the local global climate strike. Photo by Erin Haluschak.

2019 Comox Valley Year in Review : May

Coffee shop closure; youth striking downtown

May began with a busy start for fire crews in Oyster River, as it took them more than 24 hours to fully extinguish a brush far at a property on Macaulay Road. Earlier in the day, crews responded to a debris fire on York Road, and another fire caused by a property owner burning an anthill.

Policing young

Twenty-four Comox Valley students spent a week getting up early, working as a team and understanding the intricacies of police work as they took part in the bi-annual Mountie Camp at HMCS Quadra.

Strike force

More than 300 students showed up in front of Courtenay City Hall as part of the second Global Climate Strike within the Comox Valley. The march travelled throughout the downtown core and finished in front of Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office on Fifth Street.

Art cancellation

An inability to come to terms with the Town of Comox on a mutual working agreement led to the cancellation of the Originals Only Art Show. The show had been held in August at Comox’s Marina Park for the past 16 years.

Life sentence

Michael Philip Simard, 45, who was found guilty of two-second degree murder charges from an incident in Courtenay in October 2016 was sentenced to life in prison and will not be eligible to apply for parole for 18 years. Simard shot his former partner Leanne Larocque, 42, in the head and her close male friend Gord Turner, 45, after he shot his way into Larocque’s home in Courtenay with an SKS semi-automatic rifle loaded with an oversized magazine and 10 rounds.

Coffee shop closure

Visitors to North Island Hospital campuses in Courtenay and Campbell River found out that the cafes in both hospitals shut down. Rocky Mountain Coffee Co. closed down each of its locations, giving notice to the public through paper signs taped to the doors. The two hospital cafes had been operating since 2017 after the Comox-based company was the successful proponent of a Request for Proposals.

Artist recognized

Lynn Branson, a Comox Valley artist has been named a Living Legend by the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art at Salisbury University in Maryland. The distinction of Living Legend is presented annually to three nominees in recognition of their contributions and work to preserve wildfowl art. Branson is the first woman to receive the recognition.

Bell honoured

Longtime Cumberland resident Florence Bell received the Distinguished Service Award for Volunteerism from the BC Heritage Society at a ceremony in Nanaimo. The award celebrates outstanding and significant achievements in heritage conservation across B.C.


In business, Locals Restaurant in Courtenay was named one of Canada’s top six most sustainable restaurants by Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice.

Downtown Courtenay’s Seattle’s Shoes celebrated 25 years of ownership by Derek Newnes and his wife Cathy.

Travellers flying in and out of the Comox Valley Airport would have plenty of opportunities to experience what the Island has to offer as soon as they walk through the doors. YQQ officially welcomed the Island Good brand and pledged to increase efforts to offer more local products to consumers.


In arts, it was announced that Canadian bluesman Colin James would perform at Vancouver Island MusicFest in July.

Lawrence Cooper was selected as the Comox Valley’s third poet laureate. He fills the post of former poet laureate Natalie Nickerson.

Royston artists Sharon Lennox won the International Artist Award at the International Society of Scratchboard Artists’ Eighth Annual Exhibition in Berea, Ky. Scratchboard is a panel coated with white clay and a layer of black Indian ink on top. Using a sharp object, the artist scratches the images out of the black ink.


In sports, Island Honda Banzai placed first at the 2019 Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race.

Six members of the Comox Valley Raiders Football club were selected to play in Alberta-British Columbia Border Bowl games in Kelowna. The challenge pits all-star teams from Alberta and B.C. against one another in multiple age groups.

Cumberland resident Danielle Goblet won three golds and a best poser award at the Natural BC Cup fitness competition – her first-ever.

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Barb Kelly (front) and her husband Ron Kelly leave the Courtenay courthouse after the sentence was handed down for the man who killed their daughter, Leanne Larocque. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Lynn Branson received a Certificates of Recognition from the Office of the Governor of the State of Maryland Photo submitted.

Jackie Bruneau and Andrea Wagemaker, owners of On the Fly Café at the Comox Valley Airport are pleased to include local products on their menu. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

Island Honda Bonzai are the winners of the 2019 Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

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