2021 Comox Valley Year In Review: December

  • Dec. 29, 2021 4:30 p.m.
Dr. Jonathan Kerr will fill the vacant seat on Comox council.Dr. Jonathan Kerr will fill the vacant seat on Comox council.
Demolition of the front of the old St. Joseph Hospital began Dec. 7. The site will become Providence Living’s new long-term care home in Comox - Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea - and will feature special design components to accommodate persons living with dementia.Demolition of the front of the old St. Joseph Hospital began Dec. 7. The site will become Providence Living’s new long-term care home in Comox - Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea - and will feature special design components to accommodate persons living with dementia.
A tugboat hauls the old Queen of Burnaby into Baynes Sound. Union Bay residents are concerned that the ferry is full of asbestos, and is here for ship-breaking purposes.A tugboat hauls the old Queen of Burnaby into Baynes Sound. Union Bay residents are concerned that the ferry is full of asbestos, and is here for ship-breaking purposes.
Tonia Frawley was picked as the new school board chair.Tonia Frawley was picked as the new school board chair.
Cumberland director Jesse Ketler has been elected to a third term as chair of the Comox Valley Regional District board.Cumberland director Jesse Ketler has been elected to a third term as chair of the Comox Valley Regional District board.
The Comox Valley Christmas Parade returned Dec. 5 after a one-year absence. The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association began planning the event earlier in the fall upon approval from health authorities. The theme of this year’s parade was Silver Bells.The Comox Valley Christmas Parade returned Dec. 5 after a one-year absence. The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association began planning the event earlier in the fall upon approval from health authorities. The theme of this year’s parade was Silver Bells.
Lt-Col. Rhonda Stevens (left) assumes command of 19 Wing Comox from Col. Bryn Elliott (right), Maj.-Gen E.J. Kenny, commander 1 Cdn Air Div/CANR is the presiding officer (centre). Back row, CWO D.A. Campbell, 1 Cdn Air Div/CANR CWO (left) and CWO Don Farr 19 Wing CWO (right).Lt-Col. Rhonda Stevens (left) assumes command of 19 Wing Comox from Col. Bryn Elliott (right), Maj.-Gen E.J. Kenny, commander 1 Cdn Air Div/CANR is the presiding officer (centre). Back row, CWO D.A. Campbell, 1 Cdn Air Div/CANR CWO (left) and CWO Don Farr 19 Wing CWO (right).
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds taking off at 19 Wing Comox in May 2021.The Canadian Forces Snowbirds taking off at 19 Wing Comox in May 2021.
Dannielle Goulet of Cumberland has entered the ranks of professional bodybuilding.Dannielle Goulet of Cumberland has entered the ranks of professional bodybuilding.

Kerr wins council seat

Jonathan Kerr became the newest addition to Comox council. In the Nov. 27 byelection, the Comox physician attracted the most support among four candidates vying for a seat vacated by Pat McKenna. Kerr won more than half the vote, finishing with 54 per cent.

Considerable spike in local COVID school exposures

Several schools in the Comox Valley confirmed COVID-19 exposures, with one school shutting down in-person learning for a week. According to the BC School Covid Tracker website, four schools in the area had exposures from Nov. 16 to 28.

High-speed internet to Hornby, Denman

Hornby and Denman Island residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of high-speed internet. In the Nov. 27 referendum, along with advance voting and mail ballots, 1,192 people voted in favour of the project while 81 residents said no.

Comox allows backyard chickens

Comox council voted to allow residents to have up to six hens on their property, but only for those with a minimum lot size of 1,500 square metres. Couns. Nicole Minions, Stephanie McGowan, Alex Bissinger and Mayor Russ Arnott voted in favour. Couns. Ken Grant and Maureen Swift were opposed.

Ship-breaking generates complaints

A public notice says ship-breaking activities that contravene regional district bylaws were taking place in Union Bay. According to the notice, Union Bay Industries had run a log-sorting business until 2018 when it was sold to foreign owners, who started a ship-breaking business.

“These end-of-life vessels contain large amounts of carcinogens and toxic substances,” the notice states.

The ship-breaking is within the traditional, unceded territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, which calls the activity “an environmental disaster waiting to happen.”

Frawley elected as school board chair

The board of education for School District 71 will have a new chair for the final year of its four-year term. Tonia Frawley, who represents Comox, was chosen as chair at a meeting Nov. 23. Both she and previous chair, Sheila McDonnell, had been nominated for the position.

Ketler acclaimed as CVRD board chair

Jesse Ketler was acclaimed to a third term as chair of the Comox Valley Regional District board of directors at the inaugural meeting Nov. 30. Area B director Arzeena Hamir was also elected to a third term as vice-chair of the board. She too was acclaimed to the position.

COVID cases linked to youth conference

Some COVID-19 cases circulated among participants of a church conference for young people in the Comox Valley. The Consumed Youth Conference took place in Courtenay over the Nov. 19-21 weekend. In the days following the event, reports started surfacing on Northgate Church’s Facebook page about participants reporting they had tested positive.

Bunny Shannon remembered

Elizabeth “Bunny” Shannon was the reason Janice Caton became a school trustee. At November’s board of education meeting, Caton took the opportunity to honour the memory of Shannon, who passed away recently, saying Shannon, who served on the board for 19 years, was the one who talked her into running.

“Bunny was my mentor and Bunny is the reason I’m sitting on the board of education,” Caton said.

Comox Valley COVID case count soars

The Comox Valley shot to the top of the list of new cases for COVID-19 hot spots in B.C. The BC Centre for Disease Control releases weekly counts based on the number of cases in subregions. Its map for cases between Nov. 28 and Dec. 4 showed 161 cases in the Comox Valley, more than any other subregion. By comparison, Surrey had 147, the Central Okanagan 156 and Kamloops 114, areas with notably higher populations. Vancouver is broken into six subregions, which ranged between 23 and 31, but which added up to 170 cases. The previous week, the Comox Valley stood at 80 cases.

Transformation begins at The Views

Transformation work at The Views has begun, with the demolishing of parts of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital. The $52.6 million project is on time and on budget for a 2024 completion, according to new Providence Living president/CEO Candace Chartier. The facility will be named Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea. It will feature special design components to accommodate persons living with dementia, but not limited to people with dementia.

New commander at 19 Wing Comox

19 Wing Comox has a new wing commander. Lt.-Col. Rhonda Stevens assumed command from Col. Bryn Elliott on Dec. 10, with the ceremony presided over by Maj.-Gen. Eric Kenny, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region. She is the first female wing commander since 19 Wing Comox was established in 1941.

Perfitt guilty in robbery and stabbing

A local man was convicted in Courtenay Supreme Court on counts of aggravated assault and robbery of a local liquor store. Dustin Perfitt was arrested for stabbing a clerk and stealing cigarettes at the Mex Pub liquor store on Sept. 18, 2020.

Snowbirds return for training

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds plan to return to the skies over the Comox Valley in mid-April for their annual training prior to the show season.

Christmas concerts in Courtenay

After a long and challenging 18 months, the Celebration Singers and the Grace Notes prepared to perform again, with “Maybe This Christmas” at St. George’s United Church in Courtenay.

CLT returns with Charlie Brown

Courtenay Little Theatre returned to the Sid Williams Theatre for the Christmas season with another wonderful family show, ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,’ based on the beloved Charles Schulz characters from the Peanuts comic strip.

Swimmers golden at BC championships

Representing Vanier and Isfeld high schools, 10 Comox Valley Sharks swimmers competed at the BC School Sports championships in Richmond. The girls of Isfeld won three provincial championships, dominating the relay events.

Cumberland bodybuilder now a pro

Dannielle Goulet has officially entered the ranks of professional bodybuilding. The Cumberland resident won a pair of gold medals at the Natural Canada Pro Qualifier in Toronto. She also won overall in the women’s physique open category, and received a pro card.

High school basketball returns

After a lengthy delay due to COVID, high school basketball resumed in the Comox Valley. The senior boys teams from Isfeld and Vanier squared off Dec. 16.

The hosts from Isfeld won 76-67. Also that day, the Highland girls senior team beat Isfeld 64-59.

2021 Year in ReviewComox Valley