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2021 Comox Valley Year In Review: August

Brush fire at the base; ground breaks at new Habitat build
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A steady flow of tubers head downstream from Puntledge Park. Photo by Terry Farrell

Fire hall contract awarded

The Comox Valley Regional District board awarded a contract for the construction of the auxiliary fire hall for Merville. While seven construction firms took part in a site visit, the CVRD only ended up with one bid, from Kinetic Construction for just over $1.3 million. The new auxiliary hall is to be built at MARS property at Williams Beach Road and Highway 19A and is to be managed in collaboration with Oyster River Fire Rescue. “We’ve been a long time coming on this,” Area C director Edwin Grieve said.

Drive-in movie at Ex

Nothing says summer like the drive-in, so Coastal Community Credit Union and Fortis BC teamed up to bring an outdoor movie to the Comox Valley as a fundraiser for the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. Abominable played at the Exhibition Grounds, with proceeds supporting the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. Spots were limited to 50 people.

Not guilty of attempted murder

A B.C. Supreme Court justice accepted the defence’s argument and found Clinton Armstrong not guilty of a charge of attempted murder of his former spouse but guilty of offences of assault with a weapon and aggravated assault, along with several other charges. Part of the decision had to do with the weapon of choice – specifically, a box-cutter as opposed to something like a kitchen knife. The judge noted the extent of the victim’s injuries but pointed to the “heavy burden of proof” on the Crown to prove the intent to murder.

Area director goes electric

The Comox Valley Regional District’s Area A director Daniel Arbour asked the regional district to do more for a future free of fossil fuels. His move came at a time when the province was investing in charging stations for electric vehicles. He said his motive was not to make petroleum illegal immediately. He wanted a zoning change that references hydrogen fuels, electrical energy and other sources, but with petroleum-derived fuels removed from the wording. “I’m trying something that could be a first in North America,” he said.

Man gets mysterious infection

A leg injury followed by a dip in the ocean became a matter of life and limb for a Denman Island man. Graeme Johnston impaled his leg with a stick and had to remove it from a two-inch wound. He had the wound treated, was given antibiotics and told to stay out of the water for a few days. After this time, he waded into Baynes Sound but soon developed symptoms similar to sepsis and septicaemia, so he went to the hospital where he required intravenous antibiotics. The BC Centre for Disease Control later come back with the diagnosis of a bacteria known as Shewanella, which was not known in local waters.

Spark leads to base brushfire

An errant spark from an underground controlled explosion at CFB Comox created a brush fire causing a plume of smoke seen throughout the town. The 19 Wing Comox fire department reported the grass fire near the northeast side of the base, and a mutual aid request was placed for assistance from Comox Fire Rescue. Technicians along with 19 Wing Comox firefighters soaked the surrounding ground, but due to winds the fire spread quickly, covering about 300 metres, though it was contained to the base.

Cider takes top honours

Blue Moon Winery and Ciderworx of Courtenay was named International Cidermaker of the Year 2021 in the 15th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, GLINTCAP for their Raven’s Moon Craft cider, winning 14 medals: one gold, 12 silver and one bronze. “We expected to win a few medals ... but for all those to medal, I was really surprised,” said George Ehrler, who, with son Quinn, runs the family business.

Next phase for Habitat homes

Future homeowners and guests joined Habitat for Humanity North Island to break ground on the next project in the Comox Valley. The new site is to be at 1375 Piercy Ave., with completion over the next few years. The event also marked a bit of transition for the organization, as it had to replace former executive director Pat McKenna, who returned home to Nova Scotia.

Man saves deer in muck

A Comox Valley resident didn’t think twice after diving into neck-deep manure to save a fawn stuck as its mother watched in a nearby cornfield. Sean Ferguson saw a Facebook post from a passerby who saw the deer stuck in a large manure field at a farm off Comox Road. Within a few minutes, Ferguson left his home to assist. “I figured out where it was and there were already a handful of people there. I looked at where the deer was and thought we just have to jump in, so I did with all of my clothes on – it was really deep.”

More bus infrastructure

Transit exchanges and dedicated bus lanes were some of the things BC Transit wants to see for the Comox Valley. At a July meeting, representatives appeared before Cumberland council to provide an update on a study of infrastructure in the region. A key project would be some kind of transit exchange for the south of Courtenay at Anfield Centre.

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Courtenay athlete Sean Hayes had an impressive professional debut on the strongman circuit, placing third at the 2021 Canada’s Strongest Man. Photo supplied
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Comox Valley resident Stephen Burgess may have found a rare painting by Dutch artist Wijmer at the local Value Village. Photo by Erin Haluschak
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Protests locally and throughout the province were prompted by police treatment of people protesting old-growth logging at Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
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A perspective view shows outdoor patio space along Dunsmuir Avenue. A developer is planning to erect a four-storey mixed-use building where the Cumberland Hotel currently stands. Image, Village of Cumberland staff report