Decorated Second World War fighter pilot ace Stocky Edwards is turning 100. Photo submitted

2021 Comox Valley Year In Review: June

A local hero turns 100; Hefty fine for shellfish operation

  • Dec. 26, 2021 4:30 p.m.

Stocky turns 100

The Comox Valley’s most decorated Second World War veteran turned 100 years old in June, and the community celebrated in style.

Edwards was a fighter pilot ace who has been knighted by the French government, an Order of Canada recipient, Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame inductee and named one of the 100 most influential Canadians in aviation.

On June 5, a pandemic-friendly birthday party was held, with dignitaries, military members, RCMP officers and more driving (and flying) by wishing Edwards a 100th happy birthday.

Two CF-18 Hornets from 4 Wing Cold Lake even came to the Comox Valley for a special flyby.

Edwards completed 373 combat missions, and earned a Distinguished Flying Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for acts of valour or courage.

“You get sort of … you don’t know anything else. The day the war was over, it was a feeling of ‘what do I do now?’” Edwards told the Record.

Habitat ED steps down

Patrick McKenna, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (Habitat VIN), announced his plan to step down after six years of leadership in order to relocate closer to family.

McKenna, who was also a councillor for the town of Comox, made the tough decision to return to his home province of Nova Scotia, to be closer to family.

VIJHL grows

The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the junior B league that includes the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, announced two new franchises for the start of the 2021-2022 season.

The addition of the Port Alberni Bombers and the Lake Cowichan Kraken brings the league up to 11 teams.

Award for mountaineering club

The Comox District Mountaineering Club was honoured with an award from BC Parks. The club won the volunteer group category in the awards that recognize groups and individuals who care for B.C.’s 1,000-plus parks and protected areas.

“Winning the award is right up there with winning the lottery for us,” CDMC president Juanita Wells said. “We’ve been involved with the park (Strathcona) for so long, even before it was a park. We have a vested interest because former members built a lot of the trails out there. We don’t want to see them ruined, and we don’t want to see them lost.”

Hefty fine for shellfish operation

A Comox Valley-based shellfish operation has been hit with fines totaling $10,000 for licence violations.

The province court released details of its decision in June, as Judge Brian Hutcheson found Keith Chui, a commercial clamfish harvester, guilty of eight counts of violating the federal Fisheries Act.

The issues surrounding the charges against Chui were incomplete information on mandatory shellfish container tags, inaccurate information of product harvested from his aquaculture site spanning several years and failure to submit two Annual Aquaculture Statistical reports. The DFO news release notes that 38 traceability tags were missing required information about who harvested, the location and when this happened.

His activity records also did not accurately represent what was harvested from his site between 2014 and 2016, and he failed to submit his Annual Aquaculture Statistical Report for 2015 and 2016.

Auchterlonie assumes leadership of CJOC

On June 18, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie returned to the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC), when he assumed leadership of the command from Acting Commander Major-General Bill Seymour.

Auchterlonie, who grew up in Cumberland, returns to CJOC after three years as the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific/Joint Task Force Pacific in Esquimalt.

Prior to that, from 2016 to 2018, he served as the deputy commander of CJOC.

Restoration of Kus-kus-sum site begins

Restoration at the Kus-kus-sum site began in June, with the removal of hard paving (concrete and asphalt) from the surface of the site.

Courtenay rugby player named to national team

Courtenay rugby player Foster deWitt was one of 13 B.C.-born players selected to Canada’s 32-man squad that toured the United Kingdom over the summer.

The 25-year-old deWitt, who plays hooker and loosehead prop, played the sport at Vanier Secondary and with the Comox Valley Kickers.

Courtenay resident selected as Olympic judge

Courtenay resident Mike Prangnell, a former professional skateboarder, went to Tokyo this past summer to be a judge for the skateboarding competition, which made its Olympic debut at the Japan games.

“It was amazing to be there and be part of it,” he said upon his return. “I think they did a really good job of keeping the event a skateboarding event. Even during the finals… they were playing all these old punk rock bands, like Slayer, and all these obscure bands, and I was thinking ‘we are listening to punk rock music at the Olympics and there are people skateboarding. It was pretty neat.”

Santos served with ultimatum

Notorious local slumlord Amandio Santos, whose 20th Street house was labeled a “nuisance property” by the city earlier in the year, was served with an ultimatum: either board up or demolish the house, or pay the city for carrying out the work.

The city has had longstanding issues with Santos about bylaw enforcement at the property, specifically around the health and safety of occupants. The building was intended to be a single-family unit, but Santos converted it to boarding suites. The city informed him of safety issues, and told him to post a No Occupancy notice on the house. A letter also said to board it up and bring it up to code. These requirements have not been satisfied, director of development services Ian Buck said at the June 21 council meeting.

Santos put the house up for sale shortly after being served the ultimatum. The house sold later in the year.

Cumberland adding hotel to heritage registry

Cumberland announced in June it is adding the King George Hotel to its community heritage registry. The hotel, which originally opened in 1911, closed permanently in 2014.

In 1918, those infected with Spanish Influenza were cared for at the King George Hotel; it was closed for a time and anyone who contracted the flu was confined there.

Comox ValleyYear in Review

 

On June 18, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie returned to the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC), when he assumed leadership of the command (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Notorious local slumlord Amandio Santos, whose 20th Street house was labeled a “nuisance property” by the city earlier in the year, was served with an ultimatum: either board up or demolish the house, or pay the city for carrying out the work. Scott Stanfield photo

Mike Prangnell takes flight during his days as a pro skateboarder. Photo supplied