2021 Comox Valley Year In Review: July

  • Dec. 27, 2021 5:30 a.m.
Annika Funk puts the finishing touches on her ‘Be Kind’ mural on 6th Street in Courtenay, above the AIDS Vancouver Island offices. Photo by Terry FarrellAnnika Funk puts the finishing touches on her ‘Be Kind’ mural on 6th Street in Courtenay, above the AIDS Vancouver Island offices. Photo by Terry Farrell
A Comox Valley Search Rescue team member checks the Comox Logging Road area around a van for occupants. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Search Rescue.A Comox Valley Search Rescue team member checks the Comox Logging Road area around a van for occupants. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Search Rescue.
Nicky Smiley shields a swan from the sun as they await the arrival of Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society personnel to rescue the bird. Photo by Ella SmileyNicky Smiley shields a swan from the sun as they await the arrival of Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society personnel to rescue the bird. Photo by Ella Smiley
A humpback, spotted just off Cortes Island breaches, breached several times, as it played by itself for nearly half an hour. Photo by Terry FarrellA humpback, spotted just off Cortes Island breaches, breached several times, as it played by itself for nearly half an hour. Photo by Terry Farrell
These items mark a memorial to Indigenous children whose unmarked graves were discovered at residential schools. Photo by Mike ChouinardThese items mark a memorial to Indigenous children whose unmarked graves were discovered at residential schools. Photo by Mike Chouinard
The 5th Street Bridge was down to single-lane alternating for work. Photo by Mike ChouinardThe 5th Street Bridge was down to single-lane alternating for work. Photo by Mike Chouinard
A player delivers a bowl toward a well-guarded jack during league play at the Courtenay Lawn Bowling Club. Photo by Terry FarrellA player delivers a bowl toward a well-guarded jack during league play at the Courtenay Lawn Bowling Club. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox's Suzy Venuta latest Outward Bound adventure included renowned anthropologist, ethnobotanist, author and filmmaker Wade Davis along for the trek. Photo supplied

Vaccine site moved

Island Health permanently closed one mass vaccination clinic in the Comox Valley as hot temperatures in the area didn’t allow Glacier Gardens Arena in Comox to stay cool. The Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay would remain open to offer COVID vaccines.

“They weren’t able to keep (Glacier Gardens) cool on our hot days,” said Christina Lumley, Island Health director of mass immunization. “We moved here last night (July 1) and we are happy to be in the air-conditioned space.”

Davis joins Outward Bound

A Comox woman heading off on her latest Outward Bound adventure was to have some esteemed company. Suzanne Venuta and a small group from around Canada were undertaking a Mount Assiniboine hike. Joining the party was esteemed anthropologist, ethnobotanist, author and filmmaker Wade Davis. “This has been in the works for a couple of years,” she said. “Wade will be with us, and his daughter’s going to be with us too.” The Assiniboine Reach Beyond — 2021 Expedition was supposed to happen last year but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Many student winners

A number of local students were honoured with awards and scholarships. The Megan Dalziel G.P. Vanier Secondary Memorial Bursary Committee selected Chanelle Meeres as the 2020-21 recipient. The bursary was established to honour Dalziel, who excelled in academics and athletics at Vanier and went on to lead the UVIC women’s basketball team to two national championships.

Austin Harris, a Grade 11 student from Highland, won a silver medal at Skills Canada. He took part in the Skills Canada National Electronics virtual competition in late May and received notification of his medal during a virtual ceremony.

A French immersion student at Ecole Puntledge Park new to the language took the top spot in Canada for his grade level in a virtual speaking contest. Sasha Woldnik won first place among Grade 6 students in the Concours D’art oratoire, a French oral language competition.

Other winners included Georges. P. Vanier Secondary’s Theodore Lemay, who received the $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study engineering at Queen’s University, and Highland Secondary’s Hailey Brears and Isfeld’s James Fazeli-Sinaki, each received $40,000 scholarships through the Beedie Luminaries program.

Doctor’s suit over vaccine

In a Denman Island physician’s view, a battle over vaccines was about free speech. The College of Physicians and Surgeons though apparently wanted Dr. Stephen Malthouse to stop speaking on COVID-19 issues. In a B.C. Supreme Court file, Malthouse said the CPSBC had been trying to stop him from challenging direction from public health officials over measures aimed to stop the spread of COVID-19 after he questioned the use of the mRNA vaccine.

CVRD trash AAP fails

Regional district proposals for mosquito abatement and a sewer system conveyance project cleared the alternative approval process (AAP) but another for rural garbage service failed. The CVRD received enough elector response forms to reach the 10 per cent threshold for opposition: 12.17 per cent in the northern region, 15.27 per cent in the central and 15.67 per cent in the southern. The results meant the CVRD board would shelve current plans to provide waste collection service.

Doc brings his beer here

A Comox Valley orthopedic surgeon went into the beer business in 2020 with some friends on the Prairies. In response, they also started canning their Warehouse Brewing Company beer and were now shipping the brew into B.C., including this area. Cascadia Liquor found the beer was cracking the top 20 for craft beers right out the gate.

Arts events return

The Filberg Heritage Lodge announced it would be supporting local arts with weekend pop-up booths all summer long featuring Island artists and artisans. Meanwhile, for music, for the second straight year, Music at Anderton Gardens filled the outdoor venue with the sounds of outstanding local singer-songwriters, including Coast to Coast, Helen Austin, the Lunchbox Legends, Nathan T. Senner and Sue Pyper.

12th Olympiad for Henry

TV veteran Henry Irizawa left Comox for Tokyo to cover his 12th Olympic Games. It was to be different because of the COVID-19 situation in Japan, which prompted the Japanese government, with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee, Japanese Olympic organizers and local government officials in Tokyo, to restrict fans from the venues. “Fans are such a big part of it,” he said. “They create the atmosphere.”

Heatwave harms animals

The hospital staff and volunteers at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) were extra busy for weeks with a huge influx of baby birds and other animal patients, caused in part by the recent heatwave. MARS received more than 60 birds, including 16 swallow and six eagle nestlings. Some nests were abandoned, while in others overheated nestlings jumped from nests, while some in nest boxes suffered heat exhaustion.

A hot, dry summer

With less than a millimetre of rain recorded at the Comox weather station, the eastern side of Vancouver Island, including the Comox Valley, was at a Level 4 drought – the second-highest level recorded by the province. This meant adverse impacts on fish and ecosystems, with water shortages in several private groundwater wells. In the Comox Valley area, Black Creek and the Tsolum River were areas with high risks of water scarcity.

2021 Year in ReviewComox Valley