Comox Valley Record Year In Review: AUGUST

Airport Assn. opposes third bridge; body washes ashore

  • Dec. 28, 2018 6:00 p.m.

The Courtenay Airpark Association said a bridge at 21st Street would destroy the airpark and make the Courtenay River inaccessible to float planes. But at this point in the ‘Connecting Courtenay’ discussion, any ideas for a third crossing are merely speculation.

In a presentation to council, Dave Mellin said the non-profit association returns $45,000-$50,000 annually to the City.

“But this is a minor amount in comparison to the economic and lifestyle benefits to the people and the community of Courtenay and the Comox Valley,” he said. “Monies generated by the association are reinvested in improvement to the airpark. If the airpark is lost, what’s next? Lewis Park? Bill Moore Park? Simms Park?” The group’s concerns stem from a draft Transportation Master Plan that provides direction on transportation infrastructure for the next 20 years. The association would like to see a 25-year lease with a five-year renewal. Later in the month, council approved a motion from Mayor Larry Jangula to abandon any ideas of constructing a third river crossing at 21st Street.

• A woman’s body washed ashore Aug. 11 near Denny Road in the Little River area near Comox. Comox Valley RCMP confirmed the body was found around 4:30 p.m. on the shoreline – not far from the Little River ferry terminal which services the Comox-Powell River route. One witness said she saw something floating in the water in front of her home, but believed it to be a log. Shortly afterward, she spoke with police on the beach and received confirmation from an officer a body was found. She added police had blocked off an area with police tape, and was concerned as the area is a popular spot for families and visitors to the area. Circumstances surrounding the woman’s death were under investigation as the Comox Valley RCMP worked with the BC Coroner’s Service.

• Only one person spoke out against Cumberland’s proposed cannabis zoning bylaw amendment at a public hearing. In Courtenay, Jangula hoped to create a bylaw to ban production and sales of cannabis. He had hoped City staff would provide steps to consider for cannabis regulation when laws from senior governments take effect. But council approved a motion from Doug Hillian for a staff report with options to restrict cultivation and production of cannabis on agricultural land in Courtenay.

Big donation

The family of a young Comox man who passed away last year donated $10,000 to Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum project. In November 2017 at age 25, Trevor Ashwell died following a head-on car crash on Highway 19 near Fanny Bay. For reasons unknown, a southbound vehicle had crossed the meridian into the northbound lanes and collided with the van in which the wheelchair-bound Trevor was travelling. He had been studying geography and GIS mapping at the University of Victoria. The Kus-kus-sum project aims to restore the former Field sawmill site to natural habitat on the Courtenay River.

• Four Courtenay firefighters were in Fort St. James helping with the fight against wildfires in B.C.’s Interior. The department received a call for assistance Aug. 13.

Kurt MacDonald, deputy fire chief, said the initial deployment was estimated at seven to 10 days, although last year when members went to battle fires in the Clinton area, they were there for nearly one month.

• Sisters-in-law Jennifer and Alyssa planned to swim from Denman Island to Hornby Island, a distance of around 2,200 metres, to raise money and awareness for the damage that is being done to the coastal ecosystem. Their motivation was the loss of an orca, known as Tahlequah or J35’s calf. Jennifer said after learning about the killer whale calf’s death, she began to research the effects of fish farming on the ocean.

“Basically it started off with the whales, and then I got into the salmon and realized that this is a huge issue that’s directly affecting all of us that live here and the world. I thought that if we could just swim and get people talking about it and raise awareness, then we could hopefully get people to do what they can and make changes so that we can protect our coast and our salmon.”

Thrill for GVL residents

Six residents from Glacier View Lodge floated down the Puntledge River in Courtenay, compliments of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue. They spent about an hour on the water, floating from Condensory Bridge to the Courtenay Airpark — fulfilling a bucket list wish. Double tubes were used to carry a resident and caregiver. Search and Rescue volunteers were on kayaks, paddleboards and a power boat, parked at the 5th Street Bridge.

On Aug. 18, a hiker near Battleship Lake called police and reported coming across a disoriented elderly man walking in the area. A police officer attended right away, activated the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR), and requested BC Ambulance. Members of CVGSAR hiked into the woods and located the man, but it appeared he was having a medical emergency, so BC Ambulance hiked in to meet them. The man was safely evacuated from the woods and transported to hospital.

Hornby school torched

A fire at the Hornby Island Community School destroyed the gym and office area. Due to the size of the fire, crews called for mutual aid from the Denman Island Fire Department. BC Ferry workers started up the ferry early to bring seven firefighters and a fire truck from Denman to Hornby. To fully extinguish the fire, crews enlisted the help of a local man who used his excavator to pull the roof on top of remaining flames. It took about nine hours to extinguish the fire.

• The Comox Valley Regional District board unanimously defeated a rezoning application for a property in Merville to accommodate a water bottling operation. About 150 people had attended a public hearing about the application. Area B director Rod Nichol said if the provincial government had not granted the conditional water licence in the first place, the whole process could have been avoided. The applicant, Christopher Scott MacKenzie, said he plans to head north to the Strathcona Regional District and bottle water there.

SPORTS

•For the first time, women would compete in ice hockey at the annual 55+ BC Games, held September in Kimberley and Cranbrook. The multi-sport event offers activities from archery to whist. Other sports include ice curling, pickleball, badminton, bowling, soccer, swimming, tennis, golf, and track and field. Organizers have been adding activities since the Games started 30 years ago. Last year in Vernon, ladies soccer was introduced.

• On B.C. Day in Comox, the 2018 version of the Comox Valley Road Runners Nautical Days 4-Mile Road Race featured a new route to enhance runner safety. There were 104 participants. This was the 49th running of the event — the longest continually running road race in B.C. First across the finish line was James Lam of Langley in 20 minutes, 57 seconds.

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