Comox Valley Record Year In Review: JULY

Comox mayor steps down; RCMP Officer in Charge transfers

  • Dec. 28, 2018 6:00 a.m.

Comox Mayor Paul Ives announced he would not be seeking re-election in the October municipal election. He made the announcement at the conclusion of a council meeting, and received a standing ovation from fellow council members and staff. Ives had served the municipality for 16 years. He was first voted in as a councillor in 2002 and again in 2005, then for three terms as mayor.

“For me, the time has come to step down from this role as mayor – it’s not been an easy decision for me, but one that has been made easier after much discussion with my spouse and immediate family who’ve been supportive of my time away from them,” he explained.

Insp. Walton reassigned

After serving four years as the Officer in Charge of the Comox Valley RCMP detachment, Inspector Tim Walton announced he would be leaving for a new position on the Island — Officer in Charge of Island District Traffic Services out of Victoria (RCMP Island District). He was replaced by Insp. Mike Kurvers.

July 5 was a harrowing day for a group of tubers floating down the Puntledge River. The foursome – presumably a family – veered left when they should have veered right, and ended up clinging to branches of a shore-side tree in a fast-flowing area of the river. By the time first responders arrived, one of the four had reached shore. The other three, including a toddler, were still in the water. The toddler was the only one wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). All members of the party eventually got themselves out of the water. They were met by first responders and led along the shoreline to safety. Less than a week later, a 25-year-old man from Nanaimo was bruised but safe following a rescue in the Puntledge near Stotan Falls. Ground Search and Rescue, police and firefighters attended the scene. The man was stranded on a logjam just below the falls.

• After 40 years of whimsy, the curtain closed on the Wacky Woods. The popular forest-based art gallery in Fanny Bay was created in the 1970s and maintained by the late artist George Sawchuk, who lived next to the woods with his family.

According to his widow, Pat Helps, dozens of his artworks were displayed in the Wacky Woods, alongside inscriptions.

• The last remaining video store in the Comox Valley was closing its doors. Issues with supply, among other challenges such as building costs, forced the owners of Gone Hollywood to shut down. Kevin Dol had taken over the Comox establishment 11 years ago with his wife Patricia.

• All North Island College campuses across Vancouver Island were closed due to a non-specific bomb threat called into the college’s phone lines. Out of an abundance of caution, all campuses were evacuated.

• Island Health introduced 11 intensive treatment beds for men dealing with addiction issues in the Comox Valley. Clients needing longer term, residentially-based addictions treatment services can now access the beds at the Comox Valley Recovery Centre. The beds serve men living with opioid use disorder and other addictions.

• Volunteer Comox Valley closed its office at Eighth Street due to a lack of sufficient financial resources.

• Island Health opened 17 interim beds at the Comox Valley Hospital to address long-term seniors’ care issues, bringing the facility’s total number of beds to 146. Norm Peters, Island Health’s executive director for residential care and end of life, said the additional beds will alleviate some stress in other areas of the Comox Valley campus.

Valley loses respected journalist

Respected former Comox Valley journalist Philip Round lost his battle to mesothelioma cancer on July 20. As not only a journalist, but also a former politician, Round made an impact on the lives of many individuals in and around the Valley. Following his career at a local paper in the United Kingdom, Round was elected as the youngest councillor in England at age 21 in 1974. He served (along with wife Judith) a term as mayor of Hebden Bridge in the late-70s. He worked at the BBC in Leeds – both in press and public relations. In 2004, Philip and Judith moved to the Valley. He eventually joined the Comox Valley Echo as a reporter.

A public hearing into the rezoning application for a property in Merville, to accommodate a water bottling operation, attracted nearly 150 people to the Filberg Centre in Courtenay. Scott McKenzie has applied for a zoning amendment to his property in order to open an on-site water bottling operation, drawing groundwater from a well fed by a common aquifer. Most speakers opposed the application.

Orca in Comox

A transient orca took up temporary residency for about a week late-July in the Comox Harbour, drawing hordes of people to the shores and water, seeking a closer look. Prior to arriving in the harbour, the 27-year-old orca, known as T073B, was monitored swimming by the Gulf Islands with a group of killer whales.


Comox Valley cyclist Ben Katerberg won two gold medals at the 2018 Global Relay Canadian Road Championships in Saguenay, Que. The 17-year-old won the 25-kilometre junior men’s individual time trial in 33:49 at just under 45-km/h — 47 seconds ahead of teammate Conor Martin. Katerberg then won the junior men’s road race, a challenging 120.9k circuit in hot/humid conditions.

• Comox Valley athletes did their community proud at the BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley. Ten athletes brought home medals, including six golds. The local efforts contributed to the Vancouver Island-Central Coast Zone 6 team finishing first overall in the standings.

• Local mountain biker Emmy Lan won the U15 division at the Canadian DH MTB Championships at Panorama Mountain Resort.


•In the arts scene, Hiłtsista’am (The Copper Will Be Fixed) opened at the Comox Valley Art Gallery. The exhibition is the culmination of the vision of Cultural Carrier Nagezdi, Rob Everson, hereditary chief of the Gigalgam Walas Kwaguł. It featured diverse work created by Indigenous artists and cultural carriers of the West Coast. The work responds to the impact of the Potlatch Ban and its reinstatement on the lives, families, communities, art-making and cultural practices of the artists. This year marks the 67th year since the Canadian government’s Potlatch Ban was lifted after it was imposed on First Nations for 67 years.


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