Comox Valley Record Year In Review: SEPTEMBER

Man charged with arson; woman pinned by deer

  • Dec. 29, 2018 6:00 a.m.

A 25-year-old man was charged with arson in connection with the fire that ravaged the Hornby Island Community School late last month. The blaze destroyed the gym and office area. Within days, residents united to support not only students, but the community as a whole. The non-profit Hornby Island Education Society, which supports lifelong learning for the entire community, started a School Renewal Fund to assist with financial gaps, both in the short- and long-term.

• Buckley Bay resident Saffina Welch had a surprise when she looked out her kitchen window one morning to see two juvenile cougars playing in her yard. The former biologist, who took a video of the cats, figures they were about a year old.

• In another animal incident, police assisted a Comox woman after she was pinned to the ground by a deer. She had approached the large male deer, and he turned on her, knocked her to the ground, and wouldn’t let her get up. Two attending police officers grabbed onto the deer and were able to free the woman so she could walk to a waiting ambulance. The BC Conservation Service attended, sedated the deer and untangled him. The woman sustained minor injuries.

• Town of Comox Coun. Russ Arnott announced his bid to run for mayor in the October municipal election. Newcomer Tom Diamond had declared his candidacy in July.

• The Comox Valley Regional District heard from both sides during an open house about 3L Developments’ proposed riverside community in the Stotan Falls area. A standing-room-only crowd packed into the Filberg Centre. The proposed development includes about 1,100 new residential units, with 265 acres given to the district for park use. An amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy would be required to create a new settlement node in Electoral Area C.

Frisch drops out of mayor race

David Frisch presented an early twist to the Courtenay election landscape when he announced he was stepping down from the mayoral race. He instead decided to seek a second term on council. His decision came on the heels of Mayor Larry Jangula filing his own nomination papers at City Hall. Couns. Bob Wells and Erik Eriksson were also seeking the mayor’s seat.

• Courtenay council adopted a Storefront Cannabis Retailers Policy that provides guidelines on where cannabis retail stores will be allowed in the city. The policy says retailers should be at least 300 metres from schools and playgrounds, and at least 400 metres from other cannabis retail stores. The distances are in line with the results of a survey completed by 549 people.

• Suspended Courtenay pharmacist Isidore ‘Rudy’ Sanchez was fined $115,000 by a discipline committee of the College of Pharmacists of B.C. But even if he pays, he is many years away from re-obtaining a licence to practice. Sanchez managed the Marigold Compounding Natural Pharmacy, which the college shut down in 2014. Results of an investigation showed a “blatant disregard for public safety and meeting pharmacy practice standards.” A group, Save Marigold Pharmacy, formed to support Rudy. A 2014 rally at the Courtenay Courthouse lawn drew a large crowd of Sanchez supporters.

Trial begins

The trial for a woman involved in a multi-vehicle collision two years ago, in which a pedestrian was killed, began at the Courtenay Courthouse. Serina Laliberte faced nine charges, including impaired driving causing death, causing an accident resulting in death, dangerous driving causing death, two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, two counts of causing an accident resulting in bodily harm and two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. She pleaded not guilty to all nine charges. The trial was to continue in October. Crown and defence lawyers agreed more time was needed.

• By the start of February, tenants will be living at the long-awaited Braidwood housing complex in East Courtenay. Located at 810 Braidwood Rd., the three-storey building will contain 28 studio apartments and six one-bedroom units, along with a caretaker’s suite, for individuals at risk of homelessness. Monthly rental rates will range from $375 to $623 for a studio, and $734 to $757 for a one bedroom.

• A 29-year-old man died after his motorcycle left the road and went down a steep embankment, coming down from Mount Washington on Strathcona Parkway.

SPORTS

Olympic snowboarder Spencer O’Brien was one of the featured athletes in a new Indigenous Sport Gallery unveiled at the BC Sports Hall of Fame in Vancouver. The exhibit recognizes Indigenous athletes who have made an impact on B.C.’s sport history.

• More than 100 participants braved the elements and the course at the inaugural PACE Multisport Dodge City X in Cumberland. The race featured a 1.5-km swim in Comox Lake, a 23-km mountain bike ride, and a 9.5-km trail run through the forest. The men’s winner in the standard race was local favourite Clay Ward in 2:33:47. On the women’s side, Squamish’s Zoe Dawson won in 2:53:05, beating out Cumberland’s Kelsey McCallan and Debbie Wright.

• Tyson McGuffin, one of the top pickleball players in the world, shared his expertise with some local players at a boot camp at the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay.

• The Comox Valley Terry Fox Run brought 103 people to Simms Millennium Park, despite the cold. It’s been 38 years since Terry Fox was forced to end his Marathon of Hope, but his story continues to inspire people across the country.

ENTERTAINMENT

On the entertainment front, another new season of live music from the Georgia Straight Jazz Society opened at the Avalanche Bar and Grill with a return performance by the Ryan Oliver Quartet. Oliver is a Juno-nominated saxophonist.

• DakhaBrakha, the Ukrainian world music quartet that wowed everyone at the 2017 Vancouver Island MusicFest, returned to Courtenay for a show at the Native Sons Hall.

• Juno and Grammy-nominated, Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter Adonis Puentes returned to the west coast of B.C. to perform an exclusive show at the Sid Williams Theatre.

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