February was the month for the 2018 Winter Olympics, and Comox Valley athletes were front and centre – none more so than Cassie Sharpe.
The Comox freestyle skier, who grew up on the slopes of Mount Washington, landed at the top of the Olympic podium in South Korea, in the ladies’ halfpipe competition.
Sharpe was so “sharp” at the event, she didn’t even need her final run.
Sharpe posted the top two scores in qualifying – 93 and 93.4. In the finals she proved the qualification round was no fluke.
She posted a 94.4 on her first run in the finals, a score that was only bettered by Sharpe herself, when she improved to 95.8 on her second run.
In fact, had all her runs counted, she’d have swept the podium.
The silver medallist at the competition, Marie Martinod of France, scored a 92.6.
When Martinod fell on her third run, Sharpe stood at the gate for her final run, knowing she was already the Olympic champion.
News of the gold spread quickly throughout the country, and Sharpe’s stock rose to “rock-star” status overnight.
She received shout-outs on social media from such Canadians as Prime Minister Trudeau himself, and even movie star Ryan Reynolds.
While the most celebrated, Sharpe was not the only athlete to represent Mount Washington at the Pyeongchang Games.
Comox snowboarder Carle Brenneman competed in snowboard cross at the Olympics for Team Canada.
Snowboarder Spencer O’Brien, who was born in Alert Bay and grew up in Courtenay, competed with Canada’s slopestyle/big air team.
And Teal Harle, a Mount Washington alumni who was born and raised in Campbell River, was also part of Canada’s freestyle skiing team.
The Comox Valley Regional District purchased a 15.7-hectare piece of land for the construction of a new water treatment plant. The property, located adjacent to 4787 Lake Trail Rd., was acquired from Comox Timber Ltd. for $372,160.
Suspicious package at YQQ
An Air Canada flight from the Comox Airport (YQQ) to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) was delayed almost four hours on the morning of Feb. 9, after the discovery of a suspicious package on-board the aircraft.
|A pilot speaks with members of the RCMP and Comox Airport personnel Feb. 9 outside the airport, following a delay of Air Canada flight 8306 to Vancouver as a suspicious package was found on board. Photo by Erin Haluschak|
Fred Bigelow, CEO of the Comox Airport, confirmed all security procedures were followed. As 19 Wing Comox members and the RCMP were examining the aircraft, a passenger called the airport looking for a lost bag.
“Normally that kind of package would be found when the aircraft is cleaned but it wasn’t for reasons I don’t know,” said Bigelow. “The aircraft was searched by the RCMP and confirmed it was this lady’s package – her bag with a laptop.”
The accountability of the Union Bay Improvement District came into question yet again.
The video for the January board meeting of the UBID could not be posted on its website due to a technical error.
The error marked the second time in three months that missing video footage impacted UBID meetings. Seventeen minutes of footage from the November 2017 board meeting was inadvertently deleted when the video was posted to the improvement district’s site a few weeks later.
New cheerleading gym
A new Valley-based cheerleading gym (Forbidden All Star Cheerleading) opened in 2018.
It is one of just three all-star cheerleading gyms on Vancouver Island. The others — Island Elite and the Pacific Cheer Empire — are both located in Victoria.
After more than two years of advocating for a permanent outdoor facility, the Comox Valley Pickleball Association’s efforts finally paid off.
Comox committed to the construction of six outdoor pickleball courts, to be constructed in the spring, at the playing fields behind Highland Secondary School.
Isfeld conquers Island
For the second time in five years, the Isfeld Ice won the Island 3A boys basketball championship, while cross-town rival Vanier was third. Both teams, along with Carihi of Campbell River, advanced to provincials in Langley.
The next headliner announcement for the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest was one executive producer Doug Cox had been working on for 20 years – Ry Cooder.
“I’ve been trying to get him for 20, 21 years now,” said Cox, who didn’t mince words when asked where he would rank Cooder. “He is my all-time favourite, for sure.
“I’ve always really admired him. He’s been a huge inspiration to me, as a musician… probably more so than any other player, just with the path he has taken with his career – all his different ventures. He’s played on a lot of my favourite albums of all time and is my favourite slide guitar player. I try not to ‘fan out’ on a lot of people, but this one is really special.”