Opinion

EDITORIAL: Top stories of the year

It’s a good time to look back, take stock, on this last day of 2013.

What were the biggest stories of the year? We will let others write about war, weather, ferries, smart meters and Rob Ford. As always, we concentrate on our little paradise, Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Within 104 editions published this year, we have told countless uplifting stories about people — young and old, artists and athletes, high-profile and otherwise — who have made a difference in our region.

We have aimed to honour to our veterans and all of our seniors, even if we disagreed on occasion. We feel we are able to disagree, to passionately debate the issues of the day, because of the sacrifices made by so many, both alive and passed.

We tried to look forward, with a view to keeping alive these communities we love with new ideas, new ways to attract and retain younger people, so important when one considers we live in the region with the oldest population in Canada.

Selecting a couple/few stories as the most impactful or surprising or shocking is not an exact science. Many will disagree with whatever we select, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We believe the opening of the Oceanside Health Centre (OHC) and the return of the B.C. Liberals to a majority government were the top stories of 2013.

Health care is always top of mind for Canadians, which we believe makes the selection of the OHC opening a bit of a no-brainer. For all its growing pains and faults, the opening of this $17 million facility was a significant development for the people of Parksville Qualicum Beach.

The provincial election result, both here and province-wide, was a bit of a shocker and rates up there as one of the top stories of the year. And it may change both the way pollsters do their work, and how we view polls in the future.

The NDP was said to have a big lead and set to form a majority. Not so fast.

Locally, the fact Michelle Stilwell carried the constituency for the B.C. Liberals wasn’t all that surprising. However, her margin of victory — 50 per cent of the vote and 3,500 votes clear of the NDP candidate, former Qualicum Beach town councillor Barry Avis — provided the surprise.

— Editorial by John Harding

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