The unique and challenging year that was 2021, a year dominated again by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, has drawn to a close. While the coronavirus stories took centre stage much of the year, there was still plenty of other news in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. Here’s a look back at highlights from the PQB News from May.
• On the advice of the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnsworth, issued a new order prohibiting non-essential travel between the three regional health zones in B.C., as an attempt to further curb the transmission of COVID-19.
This order came into effect on April 23 and stayed in effect until May 25.
• Qualicum Beach athlete Willem Whitehead was one of six recipients on Vancouver Island of the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.
The awards, launched by the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC) in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, recognize Indigenous athletes, under 25 years of age, who are competing in performance sport, and demonstrating a commitment to their education, culture, and promoting healthy and active lifestyles.
The 15-year-old Whitehead, of the We Wai Kai First Nation, engages in a variety of sports that include lacrosse, hockey, canoeing, track and field and basketball.
• A group of livestock and pet owners want a ban on the unrestricted sale and use of fireworks in the Regional District of Nanaimo.
There was a petition that had more than 17,000 signatures, supporting the call for the RDN to implement a bylaw to restrict the sale of fireworks to specific days of the year and requiring permits to set off the fireworks.
• Arrowsmith Search and Rescue crews were called in to extricate an injured hiker, who plunged 10 metres off the edge of a gorge near Nile Creek on Sunday (May 2) afternoon.
Just after 2:30 p.m., ASAR members were advised of the situation near Nile Creek, located between Qualicum Bay and Bowser.
Ken Neden, the manager of ASAR, said the woman was walking a hiking trail with a small group of others when a bank over the creek gave way. He said the woman fell onto some rocks near a small pool.
• Motorists can expect to see a new set of stop lights where the Inland Island Highway intersects with the Alberni Highway.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had previously reviewed the safety performance of the Highway 19 and Highway 4A intersection, wrote Danielle Pope, a media relations official for government communications, in an email to PQB News.From the review, it was recommended full signalization of the intersection was required in order to improve public safety.
• A group of volunteer heroes from Parksville Qualicum Beach had earned international acclaim for a daring rescue recorded in a viral TikTok video last year.
On May 12, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (ASAR) members were interviewed by a United Kingdom television outlet regarding a harrowing winter whitewater rescue at Qualicum Falls Provincial Park on Dec. 12, 2020, when a man fell into the Qualicum River and was “clinging for life” on a log.
The UK outlet, ITV Studios, produce the program Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera, a clip show which features hard-to-believe footage recorded on mobile devices. Producers of the show reached out to the ASAR after seeing the viral video of the rescue online.
• Colours play a significant role in Emily Dao’s creative process.
A Grade 9 student attending Ballenas Secondary School, Dao says in art class, her teacher would often compliment her classmates on their technique and illustrations, but would often tell her that she had a unique colour palette.
“For me, when I show the prettiness of nature and life through colours, I not only show an appreciation for it but it also gives other people the opportunity to see how I see beauty,” she said.
• A Qualicum Beach store owner aimed to stay positive after one of his businesses was robbed on Monday (May 10).
The founder and owner of Gold Silver Guy, Jeff Ross, said his alarm system triggered at approximately 5 a.m.
Once police were notified, he arrived at his business and found the front door shattered, with glass shards from smashed showcases everywhere and much of his inventory missing.
He believes the thief had to resort to a crow bar, or similar tool, to pry the front door open since its glass has a protective coating to prevent it from completely fracturing.
• The white raven has been spotted once again in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
Nature photographer and author Mike Yip said on Sunday (May 16) that a fledgling white raven, with its four black siblings, was seen near the end of Winchester Road in Coombs.
The discovery was made by resident Bridget Flynn.
“This marks the continuation of one of nature’s most fascinating spectacles, and is rare everywhere in the world except in the Coombs-Qualicum region on central Vancouver Island,” said Yip. “White ravens are the product a mated pair of common ravens carrying the same rare recessive gene.”
• A Regional District of Nanaimo director wanted the RDN to look at tiny homes as a way of addressing the shortage of affordable housing.
Area B (Gabriola, DeCourcy, Mudge Islands) Vanessa Craig made a motion before the Electoral Area Services Committee that staff prepare a report that outlines the current status of the legality of people living in tiny homes — with and without wheels — in the RDN; provides information about the approach of other local governments to tiny homes; and identifies potential actions that could facilitate making living in a tiny home legal.
Craig indicated the latest report released by BC Housing highlighted the widening gap between the cost of housing and income.
• Families in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region will soon have access to 91 new licensed childcare spaces.
On Wednesday, May 19, the City of Parksville issued a public release that the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island’s (BGCCVI) ‘Parksville Child, Youth and Family Centre’ will be located in the Parksville Community Centre (PCC) for a minimum of 15 years.
The provincial government also announced in a public release, issued on May 19, that the city was awarded a grant of $2,034,829 to complete renovations to the PCC to facilitate the new childcare spaces and community programming.
• Randy Binns was sound asleep in his townhouse on Village Way in Qualicum Beach, when he heard a loud crash at approximately 3:15 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18.
“I thought maybe it was my cat knocked something off the table, so I got up right way to investigate. And when I turned on the light, I saw a tree had landed on the roof,” he said. Binns was shaken by the incident but is also counting his blessings.
“If it had come down any harder or crashed through the roof and I had been on the couch, because I fall asleep on the couch quite often, that would have been the end of me,” said Binns. “If it went the other way, it would have hit my bedroom. It could have been deadly.” The tree landed above the townhouse’s small patio which has a sliding glass door.