The Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group 2017 announced Monday, Dec. 11, the Syrian family of five the group matched with would be arriving on the Island Friday, Dec. 15. — Photo courtesy of QRSG17 Facebook page

The Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group 2017 announced Monday, Dec. 11, the Syrian family of five the group matched with would be arriving on the Island Friday, Dec. 15. — Photo courtesy of QRSG17 Facebook page

Syrian refugee family arriva in Parksville delayed

Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group was supposed to meet family Dec. 15

The Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group 2017 has found a home for the region’s newest refugee family. And just in time.

The QRSG17 announced at Monday’s (Dec. 11) Town of Qualicum Beach council meeting that the family would be arriving this week. However, since the meeting, the QRSG17 has said the family’s arrival to Parksville Qualicum Beach has been delayed.

Also on Monday, Wilfrid Worland, QRSG17 core member and spokesperson, said the QRSG17 took possession of a town house in Parksville for the family after a call out to the public asking for assistance in finding a suitable home.

“True to our branding, we had hoped to bring our family to Qualicum Beach but owing to the pressures of both time and cost, we looked further afield,” Worland said, adding the group “feels fortunate” to have found a home for the family.

“As a group, we’re taking the approach it takes more than a village; last year it was a town, this year it’s a city to resettle a refugee family,” Worland said.

Last week, QRSG17 chair Terry Roberts appeared as a delegation before Parksville city council at its Dec. 4 meeting to provide an update and say that a home had been found.

Mayor Marc Lefebvre invited Roberts to bring the family to city hall for a tour and introductions.

“We could probably go for lunch or supper with the family,” said Lefebvre, noting he and councillors have done the same for newly arriving physicians and others in the community.

“It’s a great time of year to be doing this sort of thing,” Lefebvre added. “It brings home the message we should all be doing more, and often.”

RELATED: Qualicum refugee group matches with family

Worland said the family, consisting of dad, mom and three children, would be arriving at Nanaimo Airport Friday, Dec. 15.

The Syrian family of five has been living in Beirut, Lebanon for the past four years after fleeing from Syria. The family will fly to Toronto from Beirut, with an overnight stay, before flying on to Vancouver and then Nanaimo, where they will be greeted by members of the refugee sponsorship group.

Worland said they were notified just last week that the family’s flights had been booked.

It was in mid-November the QRSG17 found out it had been matched with the family. At the time, the group was told the family could arrive in four to six weeks.

QRSG17 chair Terry Roberts said the family’s father, 33, has a farming and construction background and the mother, 28, was a nurse in Syria. The children are aged eight, four and 18 months.

At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Neil Horner, who congratulated the group on their work, asked whether or not the family might choose to return home to Syria in the future, citing Russia’s decision on a partial pullout of Russian forces from Syria.

RELATED: Putin declares victory on visit to airbase in Syria

“I’m just wondering, is this family going to want to go home when things are back to normal, or do you think they’ll stick around here?” Horner asked Worland.

Worland said refugees always have the choice of returning home, but he also said he can’t speak on behalf of the family.

“We think after what they’ve been through, they’re likely to see things here and maybe see a better alternative for their lives,” Worland said.

— With files from J.R. Rardon

For story tips, email: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read