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2020 Year In Review: July

Comox girl wins Miss Teen BC; Comox teen draws the attention of Vancouver Whitecaps

Courtenay shooting

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. concluded an investigation into an incident in Courtenay involving the Comox Valley RCMP.

On the night of June 9, officers had responded to a call from a person concerned about the health and safety of a man who reportedly had a firearm in a hotel room at the Comox Valley Inn on Cliffe Avenue. The man initially communicated with police but then ended the interchange and re-entered the hotel room. He returned to the doorway of the room with a firearm. Despite officer attempts to re-initiate conversation, the man shot himself and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Canada Day barn fire

Fire crews had a busy Canada Day. Three departments responded to a barn fire near Oyster River. Crews also responded to a structure fire on Macaulay Road, also in Oyster River. When they arrived, three barns were on fire, with a fourth in danger of catching.

RCMP member hit in head with wood

An RCMP member was injured after being hit with a piece of wood while taking a suspect into custody on July 1. The officer was assaulted after attending a local business on an unrelated matter when an employee identified someone who had allegedly shoplifted. The member went outside to take the shoplifter into custody and, without warning, was punched and hit in the head with a piece of wood. The member suffered cuts, bruises and a possible concussion.

Warming centre remains open for summer

Courtenay council allowed the Connect Warming Centre to continue operating at 685 Cliffe Ave. until the end of September. The centre has been a resource for vulnerable members of the community since opening its doors Jan. 16. Some people visit on a daily basis. The city originally entered into an agreement with the Comox Valley Transition Society — a member agency of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness – to operate the centre from Jan. 13 to March 31.

Comox girl wins Miss Teen BC

Kassidy Stewart had never entered a pageant before, so it was a bit of a surprise for the Comox resident when she walked away with the Miss Teen BC crown.

“My next step is to go to nationals,” she said.

She decided to give it a try this spring and submitted her entry. With the pandemic situation, she had to do an initial interview with the executive director for the pageant online.

Speedway sold

After 40 years of owning and operating Saratoga Speedway, the Hargrave family sold the Black Creek racetrack to Rob and Lee Leighton. Rob, who owns Leighton Contracting in Courtenay, is no stranger to racing cars. In 1999, he won the bomber car championship title at Saratoga, and the stock car title in 2005. He and Lee are in discussion with the regional district about building a campground and a new go-kart track on the site.

Child care spaces for Comox

Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund created 16 spaces for children 30 months to kindergarten age at the Aspen Grove Children’s Centre in Comox.


MusicFest celebrates online

Lucinda Williams, Corb Lund and others were set to bring their musical talents to Vancouver Island Music Festival. But like so many events, the annual gathering was cancelled due to COVID-19. An online broadcast was instead organized to celebrate MusicFest.

Troubadours entertain shut-ins

The Tailgate Troubadours - a trio comprising musicians from the defunct Valley Echoes - provided summer entertainment for shut-ins during the pandemic.


Mt. Washington opens Island’s longest zip line

Mt. Washington’s summer operations included Vancouver Island’s longest zip line experience. The ZipTour spans a length of 2,313 metres with a breathtaking drop of 415 metres, including a first step off the top platform that puts riders more than 100 feet above the ground doing 100 km/h almost instantly. The four-stage course starts with a ride up the Eagle chairlift to the top of Mt. Washington and finishes at the Alpine Lodge, providing a bird’s eye perspective of the surrounding terrain.

Teen catches eye of Whitecaps

The Vancouver Whitecaps professional soccer organization invited 13-year-old Liam Mackenzie of Comox to attend its Pre-MLS (Major League Soccer) Academy, designed to introduce players to a professional club environment while they attend school. Liam plays with the Victoria-based Vancouver Island Wave, which competes in the B.C. Soccer Premier League. He trains on a course containing cones, flags and nets in a yard on a family property.

Basketball star jumps to U Sports level

Peter Greaves, a 6’8” centre who was part of three Island championship-winning teams at Vanier Secondary in Courtenay, signed a letter of intent to play basketball at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna. The team competes at the U Sports level, but played in a local league while the coronavirus pandemic wears on. Greaves had a stellar high school basketball career. He earned numerous all-star awards and was a top 10 selection for the 4A division of senior boys basketball in B.C. The three Island championships were a first for Vanier.

Volleyball stars Alberta-bound

Two Courtenay volleyball stars committed to post-secondary schools in Alberta. Gracie Walls was recruited to play on the team at Olds College, while Michelle Belyk was to play for Calgary’s Mount Royal University Cougars.

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