Professional carver Ryan Cook creates a bear with his saw at the CVEX, which reached its 146th year. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there were limits on attendance and how long people could stay. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Professional carver Ryan Cook creates a bear with his saw at the CVEX, which reached its 146th year. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there were limits on attendance and how long people could stay. Photo by Mike Chouinard

2020 Year in Review: September

  • Dec. 29, 2020 5:30 a.m.

Fossil discovery

The skeletal remains of an ancient swimming reptile called a plesiosaur were discovered on the banks of the Trent River south of Courtenay. Pat Trask, who in recent years has been finding bones along the river, says the rib cage he found could belong to an elasmosaur, a type of plesiosaur. If so, it would be the second elasmosaur discovery in the Comox Valley. Trask’s twin brother Mike found a bigger one along the banks of the Puntledge River in 1988. It is on display at the Courtenay and District Museum & Paleontology Centre.

“To find another elasmosaur is kind of freaky, because they’re really rare,” said Trask, the earth sciences curator at the museum. He estimates the bones are 85 million years old.

School board chair resigns

Ian Hargreaves resigned as chair and Area C trustee of the board of education for Comox Valley Schools. He said his vision for the board was not consistent with that of most trustees. He also criticized board members for ignoring staff advice or leaving public meetings when a vote did not go their way. This friction took a toll on his health and resignation was his only option.

5th Street Bridge rehab set to begin

Despite some delays caused by the COVID pandemic, preparations for upgrading the 5th Street Bridge remained on track to meet the original deadlines. A six-month construction period is expected to begin in April. The project is estimated to cost $6.3 million. An alternate approval process (AAP) to obtain elector assent for a borrowing bylaw was scheduled for the fall. The city has received a federal/provincial grant worth $1.96 million. The borrowing amount is $3.4 million.

Mother, daughter create food service

Angela Anderson and her daughter Kara, 15, created a service called Sunday Station, which provides individuals with a sandwich, coffee, articles of clothing and toiletries out of the parking lot at the old Courtenay train station. They host the service on the third Sunday of the month.

Snap election called

B.C. Premier John Horgan terminated his minority government agreement with the B.C. Green Party and called an election for Oct. 24. Horgan said he “struggled mightily” with the decision to call an early vote, but the long duration of the pandemic required stability.

Suspect stabs clerk, robs liquor store and flees

Someone robbed the Mex Pub Liquor Store and stabbed the clerk in Courtenay Sept. 18. At 8:20 p.m., police were alerted to a robbery and serious assault at the business. The victim said she was working inside the store when a man entered, approached the employee, then stabbed her. He then took money and cigarettes, and left the scene. The suspect, a 33-year-old Courtenay man, was arrested days later.

19 Wing Comox home to new SAR aircraft

Following years of planning, the first new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft found its home at 19 Wing Comox. The new fleet – called the Kingfisher – will have 16 CC-295 aircraft in total. Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan was in Comox for the arrival of the first aircraft.

Father Charles Brandt to receive national lifetime achievement award

When the Canadian Museum of Nature announced the finalists for its 2020 Nature Inspiration Awards, there was only one name in the Lifetime Achievement category: Father Charles Brandt. A well-known environmentalist in the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts, Father Charles, 97, was nominated for the award by the Comox Valley Land Trust.

BUSINESS

Comox gets first built-to-standard passive house

Griffith Homes built a passive house in Comox. The 2217 sq. ft. home is designed and built to passive house standards, equipped with a blend of state-of-the-art features complemented with a modern, west coast design. A certified passive house provides optimal comfort and health using minimal energy. This approach to design results in an approximate 80 per cent reduction in energy needed for heating.

ARTS

Former teacher publishes birding guide

A local birder is aiming to introduce and welcome others into his 16-year obsession with the release of a new Vancouver Island birding guide. Former Comox teacher Mike Yip, who lives in Nanoose Bay, unveiled his latest book of wildlife photography, Beginner’s Guide to Common Vancouver Island Birds, Vol. 4. Yip said birding is an easy hobby to get into and that his guide will make it even easier.

Arts-based project responds to overdose crisis

The Comox Valley Art Gallery, in conjunction with Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, developed an arts-based community-action research project in response to the overdose crisis that has blindsided governments and communities across Canada. The project is called “Walk With Me: Traversing the human dimensions of the overdose crisis – seeking knowledge, justice, respect and unity.”

SPORTS

Half-marathon special event

Justin Kent of Surrey qualified for the Half Marathon World Championships in Poland, after posting a time of 1:04:20 on the Comox Valley half-marathon course. Kent was among a group of six B.C. Endurance Project runners who used the Vancouver Island course as a time trial for the world championships in October. The Comox Valley course was chosen by the group based on its reputation as a fast course. The Comox Valley Road Runners hosted the event, despite not having any local participants.

Comox golfer wins PGA of Austria Senior Championship

Comox-raised golfer Mike Burrows, an Austrian resident, went 5-under-par to claim a one-shot victory over Czech pro Alan Babicky in the 36-hole PGA of Austria Senior Championship Sept. 8. In true championship fashion, the title came down to the final hole where Burrows sunk a seven-foot par putt to win.

Courtenay doctor completes virtual Boston Marathon

Janet Green ran another Boston Marathon — a virtual one — Sept. 13 in Surrey. Along with a few other members of the Marathon Maniacs group, the Courtenay doctor ran 105 laps of a track to fulfill the parameters set out by the Boston Athletic Association, in lieu of this year’s cancelled event. She said her time of 4:45:02 was “very, very slow for me.”

 

Six members of the BC Endurance Project start the Comox Valley half-marathon course, in an effort to qualify for the Half Marathon World Championships in Poland in October. Photo by Terry Farrell

Six members of the BC Endurance Project start the Comox Valley half-marathon course, in an effort to qualify for the Half Marathon World Championships in Poland in October. Photo by Terry Farrell

Angela Anderson and her daughter Kara operate Sunday Station on the third Sunday of the month in Courtenay. Scott Stanfield photo

Angela Anderson and her daughter Kara operate Sunday Station on the third Sunday of the month in Courtenay. Scott Stanfield photo

A look at the exterior of a passive house in Comox, built by Griffith Homes. A passive house provides optimal comfort and health using minimal energy. Photo supplied

A look at the exterior of a passive house in Comox, built by Griffith Homes. A passive house provides optimal comfort and health using minimal energy. Photo supplied

The Comox Valley Walk of Achievement committee celebrated the installation of the Walk of Achievement plaque for BC Supreme Court Judge Bryan Williams, with Bryan’s family. Pictured are David Durrant, Bryan’s wife Audrey, Jacqueline Green, Neil Havers, Erik Eriksson and Bryan’s son Todd. David, Jacqueline, Neil and Erik are the Walk of Achievement Committee.

The Comox Valley Walk of Achievement committee celebrated the installation of the Walk of Achievement plaque for BC Supreme Court Judge Bryan Williams, with Bryan’s family. Pictured are David Durrant, Bryan’s wife Audrey, Jacqueline Green, Neil Havers, Erik Eriksson and Bryan’s son Todd. David, Jacqueline, Neil and Erik are the Walk of Achievement Committee.

Sue Morrison submitted this great photo of a mother bear and one of her two cubs waiting to cross Ryan Road to head into the Crown Isle neighbourhood. The photo was taken Sept. 19.

Sue Morrison submitted this great photo of a mother bear and one of her two cubs waiting to cross Ryan Road to head into the Crown Isle neighbourhood. The photo was taken Sept. 19.

Protesters spread around the Sid Williams Plaza in downtown Courtenay Sept. 18 as part of an effort around BC to draw attention to threats to old-growth forests. Skits took aim at provincial politicians over a lack of commitment to protect forests. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Protesters spread around the Sid Williams Plaza in downtown Courtenay Sept. 18 as part of an effort around BC to draw attention to threats to old-growth forests. Skits took aim at provincial politicians over a lack of commitment to protect forests. Photo by Mike Chouinard