Looking Back: 2011 held many surprises

Today’s edition of The News concludes 2011 year in review. Read short stories about the year’s big events

Andrew Williamson

Andrew Williamson

Oct. 4

• There was a time many years ago when Nile Creek was known locally as Pink Creek, because of the huge abundance of pink salmon spawning there every fall.

While it hasn’t yet bounced back to those remarkable levels, the hard work done by the Nile Creek Enhancement Society has managed to bring a stunning reversal of the waterway’s fortunes, to the point where fisher folk are again vying for the best spot at the creek mouth.




• A third candidate has declared his intention to run for mayor of Parksville. Antonio Farinha has been in the mid-Island area since 1965 and moved to Parksville from Port Alberni in 1984.

In announcing his candidacy, he said he finds the “Parksville political climate hypocritical and stagnant.”




Oct. 7

• “Why do people use drugs and alcohol?” Dr. Bayla Schecter asked during the recent Oceanside Division of Family Practice second monthly public health information session.

“Because it feels good and to escape from what’s bothering them.”

The talk was on “What is Addiction.”




Oct. 11

• Parksville is looking into banning feeding deer and bylaw options that could allow culling if deemed necessary.

“The less interaction between humans and wildlife the better, whether it’s with your bumper or feeding them,” said conservation officer Stewart Bates.




• Like a lot of kids, little Emma Edwardson has big dreams when it comes to her sport of choice, and in this case, she really does continue to raise the bar.

Emma, who trains in Nanaimo, recently finished first overall in the Millshaw Medal Jumper.




Oct. 14

• Oceanside’s Save On Foods Generals split their two junior B hockey games over the Thanksgiving weekend, but the results on the ice became small potatoes when word came down that two coaches and both goalies are done like dinner.




• The fight against BC Hydro smart meters took to the Qualicum Beach Farmers’ Market Saturday as protesters waved placards, collected petitions and talked to passersby about the issue.

Spokesperson Leanne Salter said the protest will be at the corner of Veterans Way and Memorial Avenue every weekend.

“It’s really a resistance movement, I think, to let Hydro know they can’t tell us what they will be doing on our own property,” she said. “People feel this is an imposition on the charter, on their rights and freedoms.”




Oct. 18

• Three people are dead following a head-on collision on Highway 19 near the Alberni Highway exit Sunday.

Central Island Traffic Services Sgt. Rick Schofield said the two-vehicle crash happened at 4:30 p.m. at Exit 51, when a vehicle heading north left the highway, crossed the grass median and onto the southbound lane. The vehicle slammed head-on into a southbound vehicle occupied by a driver and a passenger, both of whom were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the northbound vehicle was rushed to hospital in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, but succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash.




• Regional District of Nanaimo recreation programmer Anne Porteous is in China this week, assisting with the China Water Safety Project, a pilot project to improve water safety for children in that country.

Porteous, who works at Ravensong Aquatic Centre, is a Red Cross Master Instructor Trainer, is in Xiamen, China Oct. 20 to help train 20 water safety instructors by adapting the Canadian Red Cross Learn to Swim Program to fit the Chinese cultural context.




Oct. 21

• Members of the Hospital Employees Union working at Standford Place seniors care facility in Parksville have been handed a wage rollback in an Oct. 7 arbitrator’s decision, which outlines the troubled state of business at the seniors facility.

Arbitrator Vincent Ready stated in his decision that the financials of Standford Place were such that a collective agreement should not “place the survival of an employer’s business in jeopardy.”




• Qualicum Beach honoured four of its own Wednesday, naming them as Freemen of the Municipality for their many years of service to the community.

John (Jack) Collins, Art Skipsey and Leo and Ann Klees were celebrated.




Oct. 25

• Hikers who found ribbons on huge old growth Douglas Fir trees on the slope overlooking Cathedral Grove are worried Island Timberlands is going to cut them down even though the forest company has denied the trees are about to be logged.

The Arrowsmith Parks and Land Use Council (APLUC) issued a press release last week stating that Island Timberlands has made clear its intention to harvest on the borders of Cathedral Grove and the boundary of MacMillan Park.

On Friday, the forest company responded saying it has no immediate plans to harvest in the area and is wondering why the group is making the accusations.




Oct. 28

• Kwalikum Secondary School’s Dave Stewart was recognized as the province’s Most Outstanding Secondary Music Educator by his peers last weekend.

Selected by a jury of peers for the BC Music Educators Association’s annual general meeting in Richmond Oct. 20-22, the award recognizes significant contributions to the teaching profession and the musical community at large.

Nov. 1

• Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon has suffered a heart attack.

Cantelon was taken by Liberal staff from the legislature to hospital Thursday after he complained about not feeling well.

The news was released Friday by Government Caucus chair Gordon Hogg.

In a brief statement, Hogg said Cantelon suffered a heart attack in Victoria earlier in the week and was taken to hospital for treatment.



Parksville deputy fire Chief Marc Norris welcomed dignitaries and the public to the fire hall’s open house and official ribbon cutting.

Members of the public were invited to check out the new digs and enjoy some cake and refreshments, but not before hearing a bit of the history surrounding the fire department.



Nov. 4

Parksville resident and longtime rally car driver Tom Burgess was honoured by the Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneers Society at its 11th annual induction ceremony in Vancouver on Oct. 9, and The News finally caught up with the 70-year-old spark plug.



With all of the focus on the mayor’s role in our communities, The News asked some of the area’s former leaders about their time in the big chair.

Former mayors in Parksville and Qualicum Beach offer their advice to the candidates seeking the job in this municipal election campaign.



Nov. 8

Robin Campbell at Manna Ministry, an organization within the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church that helps provide food and clothing to the local homeless, said more needs to be done to help the people in Oceanside who have no shelter. He said the extreme weather response shelter for the Oceanside region isn’t enough.



Nov. 11

The annual Christmas Campaign by the Society of Organized Services is getting underway.

The community services organization is the umbrella group, helping facilitate people’s donations to make the holiday a little brighter for those families in need in District 69.

Again this year, The News is helping  promote the campaign and will be keeping an eye on their fundraising goal of $95,000.



Nov. 15

The clouds parted Friday morning and the sun was shining as a large crowd gathered at the Remembrance Day service in Parksville.

November 11 was a day full of reminders that freedom and democracy come at a terrible cost.

Nov. 18

• Saturday is general election day in B.C.’s civic race. New municipal councils, school boards and regional area directors will be chosen to represent us — and our community’s interests on a variety of subjects. We pay taxes, so don’t forget to vote for who we are going to trust to make those big decisions.




• A home on Barclay Crescent in French Creek is likely destroyed after a fire Wednesday morning got into the roof.

Firefighters from Parksville and Qualicum Beach responded to calls from neighbours about smoke pouring from the roof of a double wide trailer Wednesday morning at around 9:30 a.m.




Nov. 21

• Chris Burger is the new mayor of the City of Parksville.

He garnered 2,355 votes. His nearest challenger, Paul Reitsma, only received 749 votes.

The other two mayoral candidates, Rick Honaizer and Antonio Farhina, were not serious threats. Honaizer garnered only 76 votes, to Farhina’s 51.




• Teunis Westbroek romped to another easy victory at the polls Saturday night, defeating challenger Mike Wansink by almost a two-to-one margin.

When the votes were counted, Westbroek was found to have the support of 2,608 voters, compared to 1,478 for challenger Mike Wansink.

That gave Westbroek 63.8 per cent of the vote, compared to Wansink’s 36.2 per cent.




Nov. 25

• Sharp work by the Nanaimo RCMP detachment’s forensic investigation unit is being called crucial to the arrest of two people in relation to the July 2 murder of Errington resident Douglas Trebble, 47.

Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Const. Gary O’Brien was tight-lipped about the details of the arrest, but noted the first of the two arrests was made in Qualicum Beach, while the second arrest took place in Victoria.




Nov. 29

• A delegation of residents who live in San Pareil had some harsh words for the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) for the way it conducted a petition in their neighbourhood that will see taxpayers footing the bill for costly water system improvements.

A petition asking residents to favour a $1.4 million plan that would see modifications to the water system to improve firefighting flow in the area, garnered enough signatures to allow the RDN to proceed. However, some residents are accusing the RDN of unethical practices in conducting the petition process.




Dec. 2

• The name of a man charged with the murder of an Errington man has been released.

Police say Oceanside resident Clayton Donald Brewer, 35, has been remanded in custody, facing one count of second degree murder in relation to the death of 47-year-old Douglas Trebble.




• Staff with the Town of Qualicum Beach couldn’t be on hand to prevent a vicious dog attack on a resident and her dog last week, but they’re working to make sure it never happens again, recommending the dogs be destroyed.




Dec. 6

• Two men have been arrested as suspects in a Saturday night home invasion in Errington.

Police arrested the two men in Coombs after a 9-1-1 call from the people living in the home indicated the house had been entered by two individuals armed with a sawed-off firearm and a taser.

The pair now face weapons, drugs and threats charges, in addition to forcible entry allegations, and will be in court by next year.




Dec. 9

• It didn’t take long for the newly-elected members of Qualicum Beach council to flex their municipal muscles Monday as they overruled the mayor’s appointment to the Regional District of Nanaimo board.




Dec. 20

• Some heroic actions by staff at Oceanside Place will no doubt result in a happy Christmas for a couple of families.

Over the past three months, staff at the Parksville ice arena have been involved in two separate incidents that required their training in CPR and application of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which then lead to two lives saved that might have otherwise have been lost.




• The City of Parksville likely won’t need to draw as much water from the Englishman River in future during the summer months, thanks to an innovative water storage and recovery project.

Dec. 27

• The funding is in place, the plans are ready and the shovels are poised to begin construction on Oceanside’s long promised health centre, as soon as they get the final signature from the Ministry of Health.

Vancouver Island Health Authority president and CEO Harold Waldner is confident that will happen “very early in the calendar year.”

Dec. 31

• An eight-year-old girl was severely injured and airlifted to hospital after being hit by a vehicle while walking with her family on Highway 19A.

The incident happened as the family,  visiting friends in the area from their home in Burnaby, paused while walking over the bridge spanning the Big Qualicum River.



So concludes this year’s

Year in Review.


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