Looking Back: 2011 year in review continues

There was no shortage of issues to write about in the year gone by

Classic cars were a big draw in Qualicum Beach.

Classic cars were a big draw in Qualicum Beach.

June 3

• As of Thursday the Coastal Fire Centre has 128 firefighters in action outside B.C., mostly in the area of Slave Lake, Alberta, including 23 from the mid-Island region.

The Coastal Fire Centre is based in Parksville and covers the entire southwest corner of the province including the Lower Mainland inland to the Coquihalla toll booths and north almost to Kitimat.




• You may not get your mail. And you might want to consider sending an e-mail instead of a letter.

Postal workers were poised to start striking today (Friday, June 3) after issuing 72-hour strike notice on Monday while negotiations with Canada Post were ongoing.




• Vandalism in Parksville’s Community Park Wednesday was a case of arson, say police.




June 7

• Search and rescue volunteers from the length of Vancouver Island converged on the Horne Lake area Sunday as they took part in the second annual Rescue on the Rock event.




• The weather was perfect as Kwalikum Secondary grads paraded to the Civic Centre for their Under City Lights dry grad festivities Saturday night in Qualicum Beach.




• June 10

• The harmonized sales tax and the referendum on its fate are still widely misunderstood, but support for returning to the old provincial sales tax is declining.

That’s the main finding of a poll released Thursday by Angus Reid Public Opinion.




• Medical infrared thermography, the technology used in the 1950s for military night vision, is now being used to provide early risk assessment of breast health in Qualicum Beach.




June 14

• Qualicum Beach Airport Appreciation Day kicked off Saturday providing an opportunity to see a local airshow up close and personal.




• A project is underway to develop a detailed proposal for restoring fish and wildlife habitat in the Englishman and Little Qualicum river estuaries and some interesting discoveries are being made, according to James Craig with the BC Conservation Foundation (BCCF).

The $10,000 project was proposed by the BCCF, with $5,000 coming from Living Rivers — Georgia Basin/Vancouver Island, and the other half matched by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.




June 17

• Despite having the oldest per capita population in the country, Qualicum Beach only has one palliative care bed.

However, that appears likely to change.

The owners of the Qualicum Manor wish to have a medical office on the premises as part of their application to the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) for funding to establish palliative care and respite care at the facility.

The proposal involves a two-storey addition.




• The group formed to try to save Kwalikum Secondary School from closure used the school’s successes to try and sway the B.C. education minister against shutting it down. Yet, the response was not one they put a lot of faith in.

Minister George Abbott visited School District 69 (Qualicum) last week to meet with the board and staff as well as the Oceanside Communities for Quality Education group.




June 21

• Thousands of families filled the streets of downtown Qualicum Beach Sunday for the annual Father’s Day Show and Shine, held by the Seaside Cruizers.




• PASS/Woodwinds held their graduation ceremonies at Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in Qualicum Beach last Thursday.




• About 1,500 people attended the recent public meetings held for the proposed Raven Underground Coal Project, the majority of them raising concerns and showing their disapproval of the project, said Coalwatch Comox Valley president John Snyder.




June 24

• The Town of Qualicum Beach hired a consultant to meet with concerned parents and citizens to come up with a plan to help convince the school district not to close Kwalikum Secondary School.

The school board, however, is treating the report as another document in its reams of information they will use to reach a decision.




• The dysfunction among the board of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Foundation — which led to the United Nations body that governs them to threaten the loss of its status unless it shapes up — continues.

Clashing personalities and agendas — evident in a meeting this week — is preventing the group to make progress in forming a cohesive unit, capable of running a biosphere.




The Parksville Qualicum Beach News has a new publisher.

Peter McCully takes over the helm this week, coming over to The News from the Gulf Islands Driftwood on Salt Spring Island. He was the publisher there for four years and worked as a sales consultant, manager and associate publisher for a total of 12 years.

Peter brings with him a record of excellence, recognized by provincial and national newspaper associations.


Peter and his wife Barb are looking forward to relocating to the area and becoming part of the community.

June 28

• After a long tough process the Arrowsmith Water Service settled important governance and funding issues.

The new agreement gives the partners weighted voting power depending on their level of ownership, giving Parksville three votes, the RDN two, and one to Qualicum Beach.

The ownership proportions remain the same, but Qualicum Beach will not contribute to the costs of the new Englishman River intake and water treatment facility.




• Backpacks have now been banned at the Qualicum Beach Museum after staff discovered some items missing from the displays last week.




• Qualicum Beach is nearly Scotch broom free thanks to a dedicated bunch of volunteers who have been returning to battle the invasive plant year after year.




July, 2011

July 1

• The announcement in the first week of July that the province will pony up $7.5 million to upgrade the E&N rail line is good news to MP James Lunney.

“This is something we have been pushing for for some time,” Lunney said Wednesday. “I’ve been on the E&N file for years now and we’re very keen to go ahead, but I knew we weren’t going to secure federal funds without a provincial commitment and the premier heard that from me on election night.”




• Local teachers in School District 69 joined those across the province giving a strong strike mandate in ongoing negotiations.

About 60 per cent of teachers across the province participated, of which 90 per cent (25,282 teachers) voted to give their provincial leaders the mandate.




• The province is “absolutely committed” to opening a health centre in Oceanside, said Premier Christy Clark.

Speaking in Qualicum Beach during a whirlwind tour of Vancouver Island Tuesday, Clark said she sees such a facility as a clear need in the community.

• Arrowsmith Search and Rescue joined the search for a missing kayaker on Hornby Island.

Search manager Ken Neden said he received a call for assistance at 4 a.m. Thursday from Comox Valley Search and Rescue to help search for a 16-year-old whose kayak washed ashore.


The teen, identified as Orlando Graham, launched his red kayak from Sandpiper Beach at approximately 2 p.m. on June 29 and failed to return home before dark.

July 5

• Police began investigating the suspicious death of 47-year-old Douglas Trebble in the Pine Estates trailer park on of Bowlby Road in Errington, after his body was discovered by a visiting neighbour on Sunday.

Cpl. Darren Lagan, Island District RCMP media officer, stated police had evidence to suggest there was a fight in the man’s trailer. They would not reveal more about that evidence. They later announced the death was a case of murder.




• A man died while boating off Ballenas Island north of Schooner Cove in Nanoose Bay just before noon on Sunday.

The unidentified 54-year-old man and his wife were towing a small boat behind their 42-foot pleasure craft just north of the island in nice weather when they stopped to adjust the towline and the man fell overboard.




July 8

• With work on the school district’s Family Place project beginning, the City of Parksville will begin interim traffic improvements along Highway 19A.

“We’ve known for a long time it’s a problem traffic area,” acting mayor Chris Burger told The News about the area between Moilliet and Pym streets, as detailed in a recent report from staff.




• A gas war in Courtenay had some drivers in the mid-Island wondering if it was going to spread and affect prices in Parksville and Qualicum Beach, but at least one company said that’s not likely to happen.

Deidre Reid, a spokesperson for Chevron Canada out of Vancouver, said a new seller of fuel in Courtenay (Costco) entered the market with low, introductory gas prices.




A few of the malnourished bear cubs taken in by the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre last fall are now set to be released back into the wild in the next few weeks.

“They are big and healthy now and are ready to get out there,” said assistant manager with the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, Julie Mackey.




July 12

• While the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots took place, a smaller but equally brutal attack was made in Coombs, where 20 rabbits from the sanctuary at the World Parrot Refuge were massacred.

Susan Vickery, founder of the animal welfare charity that looks after the rabbits said she was horrified when she showed up early the next morning to discover a dead rabbit laying

outside the entrance to the sanctuary.

She said the way the fences were damaged and the little amount of evidence left behind, she believes the rabbits were crushed to death under someone’s boots.




July 15

• Due to loud construction noises at around 4:30 a.m. Monday morning at the French Creek Harbour, Regional District of Nanaimo chairman Joe Stanhope brought forward a motion to send a letter to the federal department responsible.

Stanhope, director of Area G and a French Creek resident, said the noises from the breakwater extension project woke up many people and he received calls.




• Despite some nerves over the recent poor weather, excitement was building for Parksville’s big summer event, starting in Community Park.

Though it has taken months of preparation and work, the 12th annual Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition kicked into high gear July 15 with the pound-up

July 19

Two solo sand sculptors from Holland finished one-two in the 2011 Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition on the July 16-17 weekend.



Tendering for the construction of the Nanoose Bay Fire Hall was completed this month, but all bids were higher than the budget estimate.

The board approved borrowing up to $3.2 million.




July 22

• Despite sparking heated debate around the council table, the Town of Qualicum Beach’s cosmetic pesticide bylaw is causing little stir in the flower beds outside.




• Political representatives from surrounding regions, including our own Regional District of Nanaimo chairperson Joe Stanhope, travelled to Vancouver this week to share their disapproval of ferry fare increases with the B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.




July 26

• The Ministry of Highways was working to save the Little Qualicum River bridge this month, but they did so in an environmentally sound manner.

July 29

• A proposal to add 25 residential units to The Gardens at Qualicum Beach has stalled, mostly due to the reaction from tenants.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek attended an information meeting, after which he said he didn’t hear a single expression of support  and took that message to Wednesday’s council meeting.

•  A Canada goose that thought he was a rabbit is back in the wild after being rehabilitated at Wild ARC in Metchosin.

The goose, known as André at the EARS rabbit sanctuary in Coombs, B.C. where he was dropped off orphaned, spent the first few months of his life sharing food and sleeping quarters with rabbits sent there from the University of Victoria.

He was in with the 20 rabbits that were stomped to death when an intruder broke into the facility in June. André, a fuzzy yellow gosling at the time, was unharmed.




In Tuesday’s News:

The Year in Review

continues, with the

remaining summer month and then into the fall

and winter.


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