City of Courtenay honours late employee with plaza renaming ceremony

The plaque for former City of Courtenay employee Randy Wiwchar was unveiled Saturday morning at the plaza renamed in his memory. Photo by Mike ChouinardThe plaque for former City of Courtenay employee Randy Wiwchar was unveiled Saturday morning at the plaza renamed in his memory. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Wiwchar’s family was on hand for the ceremony. Photo by Mike ChouinardWiwchar’s family was on hand for the ceremony. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Mayor Bob Wells speaks about Randy Wiwchar during the event. Photo by Mike ChouinardMayor Bob Wells speaks about Randy Wiwchar during the event. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Members of the public snap some photos from the renamed plaza in front of the Sid Williams Theatre. Photo by Mike ChouinardMembers of the public snap some photos from the renamed plaza in front of the Sid Williams Theatre. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Starr Winchester, former mayor and a friend to the Wiwchar family, recounts her memories of the longtime city employee. Photo by Mike ChouinardStarr Winchester, former mayor and a friend to the Wiwchar family, recounts her memories of the longtime city employee. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Randy Wiwchar might not have wanted the spotlight, according to family and friends, but on Saturday, that’s where the late City of Courtenay employee got.

Colleagues, members of the public and Wiwchar’s family gathered for a ceremony in front of the Sid Williams Theatre to rename the area Randy Wiwchar Plaza, as the theatre’s general manager, Deborah Renz, oversaw the event as MC.

Starr Winchester, a longtime council member and former mayor, recounted her memories of her time as a colleague and friend. Most movingly, she spoke about being diagnosed with cancer the same week that Wiwchar was, and although he had received his news first, he and wife Wendy were over to visit Winchester with a card and chocolates as soon as they got the news.

“His positive attitude was incredible,” she said. “Today’s dedication is so special.”

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Winchester also shared many memories from city staff of Wiwchar, who worked for years as director of community services. They had told Winchester he had been ‘selfless’, generous with praise and made people feel appreciated.

Wiwchar’s sons Riley and Tory both spoke about their father, recalling their own memories of him, and they thank the community for its generosity.

Mayor Bob Wells discussed many of the highlights of Wiwchar’s career, which included work to provide more facilities, parks and other amenities for the citizens of Courtenay, and he added the community will remember his work for years to come.

“He was a champion for arts and culture, recreation, sports, youth,” he said. “I feel personally feel fortunate to have gotten to know Randy and his family.”

Wiwchar passed away in 2016 at age 60. In February, the City of Courtenay decided to rename the former Civic Square in his honour as well as posthumously award him the Freedom of the City designation, which is the highest award given by the city.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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