The late Randy Wiwchar — long-time City of Courtenay employee, youth and cultural advocate, community volunteer and mentor to many — has been formally recognized by the City with two major honours. Wiwchar has been posthumously awarded a Freedom of the City designation, the City’s highest award. In addition, the outdoor square at the corner of 5th Street and Cliffe Avenue adjacent to the Sid Williams Theatre will be renamed the Randy Wiwchar Plaza, with a formal event expected in the summer.
Both honours were announced at Monday’s council meeting, with members of the Wiwchar family participating virtually.
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said the honours reflect Wiwchar’s significant contributions to the city, and his efforts that shaped many of the programs, facilities, parks, and services enjoyed by residents and visitors.
“While we lost our friend and colleague Randy Wiwchar over five years ago, he left an enduring legacy in our community,” said Wells. “As those who knew Randy are well aware, he was a very thoughtful person. He made the lives of the people around him better every day, whether it was appreciation, encouragement, or a kind gesture. His commitment to our community was tireless, and we’re so pleased that these honours will serve as a lasting reminder of who he was, and all he did for Courtenay and the Comox Valley.”
Wiwchar came to Courtenay in 1990 from Flin Flon, Man. to take on the role of administrator for the Courtenay Recreational Association, a role which transitioned to the city in 1996. Wiwchar, as director of community services, led numerous initiatives over the years, such as Courtenay’s Centennial Celebrations, Lewis Centre expansion, 2010 BC Seniors Games, Olympic Spirit events, Sid Williams Theatre and Native Sons Hall renovations, the LINC Youth Centre, Simms Millennium Park and Pavilion, the Rotary Trail, and many other parks, trails and playgrounds.
Wiwchar was also the City’s liaison with many local community groups and organizations, and was known as a champion for arts and culture.
His community work didn’t stop after work hours, and he was particularly focused on projects and programs benefitting youth. He volunteered his time with countless initiatives large and small, including the Courtenay Rotary Club, the Comox Valley Minor Hockey Association, participating in community boards, and coaching youth baseball and hockey teams.
Wiwchar passed away in 2016 at the age of 60. In 2017, a legacy fund established for Courtenay’s Centennial through the Comox Valley Community Foundation was renamed the Randy Wiwchar Legacy Fund in recognition of his dedication and service to others. The fund supports the development of local children and youth through their participation in academic, athletic, cultural, recreational, vocational, and other activities provided by community organizations in the Courtenay area in circumstances where funding is a barrier to participation. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.cvcfoundation.org
Any individuals or organizations wishing to be notified about the plaza renaming event as planning progresses should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Recreation, Culture, and Community Services at 250-334-4441.