(PQB News photo compilation)

(PQB News photo compilation)

Top 10: A look back at the most-read PQB News stories from 2022

Another unique and interesting year is in the books

Another interesting and unique year has drawn to a close. Our staff members at the PQB News wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2023 and thank our readers for your patronage and feedback during the past year.

Today, we’ll take a look back at the 10 most-viewed stories and videos from 2022 based on our website analytics. Our site at www.pqbnews.com had approximately four million page views for the year, and for that, we thank all of our readers once again.

1. Inn on Qualicum Beach waterfront suffers significant damage after being battered by waves (Jan. 8)

The Sand Pebbles Inn in Qualicum Beach suffered significant damage after giant waves battered the town’s waterfront on Friday, Jan. 7.

The heritage business, in existence for 65 years, lost its sea wall and the water brought down some parts of the building’s outer structure. There were guests inside the building when it happened, who were eventually evacuated safely.

2. Beloved Ballenas teacher, partner die in tragic motor-vehicle incident near Lillooet (March 23)

Ballenas Secondary School in Parksville mourned the loss of one of its beloved teachers.

News of the passing of Shayne Vollmers, and his partner Carrie Smith, was shocking to fellow teachers and students. Vollmers and Smith, with their pet dog were returning home from a skiing trip when they were involved in a motor-vehicle incident while travelling along Highway 40 between Lillooet and Gold Bridge on March 21.

According to a Lillooet RCMP spokesperson, the vehicle rolled over an embankment with no guardrail and ended at the bottom of hill. The dog also died.

3. Parksville lottery winner’s children head to court for share of $3M prize money (April 25)

Two adult children of a deceased Parksville woman who won a $3-million lottery prize launched legal action to obtain what they consider their fair share of the jackpot.

According to a B.C. Lottery Corporation release in July of 2021, Frances Lloyd was enjoying a low-key Sunday morning at home when she decided to open her laptop and check her ticket from the June 19 Lotto 6/49 draw.

Lloyd died on Jan. 2 without a last will and testament, according to a lawsuit filed April 11 in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

4. Volcanic eruption causes strong currents, tsnunami advisory for Vancouver Island (Jan. 15)

Coastal B.C. was under a special tsunami advisory following a volcanic eruption near the Tonga Islands.

Mike Farnworth, B.C. minister of public safety and solicitor general, said Saturday morning (Jan. 15) it was expected that the advisories would remain in place for several hours.

“To be clear, this is an advisory only, and not a tsunami warning. The risk is limited to increased tidal currents. Until the advisory is lifted, stay away from beaches, shorelines and marinas, and follow the directions of local governments,” said Farnworth in a statement.

5. Residents urged to avoid area after massive waves damage part of seawall in Qualicum Beach (Jan. 7)

A king tide, combined with high waves, resulted in damage to a part of the seawall in Qualicum Beach.

The area, according to Town of Qualicum Beach officials, was extremely hazardous and they asked that residents avoid the area. The walkway and beachfront from the roundabout to Sand Pebbles Inn, the marine spit and waterfront washrooms were inaccessible.

6. Crews respond to massive fire at Parksville Heritage Centre building (Nov. 10)

A fire detroyed several businesses in the Parksville Heritage Centre. No injuries were reported and fire crews battled the blaze overnight Nov. 9-10.

The businesses impacted were La Belle Parksville, British Bobby restaurant, Upward Refillery and NextGen Automation, the Heritage Animal Hospital and the Parksville Qualicum Beach News. Two cats were brought out of the animal hospital, according to Parksville Fire Chief Marc Norris. He added they were the only animals in the treatment area at the time of the fire.

7. The changing face of homelessness in Parksville Qualicum Beach, Part 1 (May 10)

Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, “I want to be homeless today,” but that was Kevin Nicholson’s reality for many years.

Five years ago, with a few hundred dollars in his pocket and dreams of living out his senior years on Vancouver Island, he travelled back to the area he had worked as a young man, only to realize housing was no longer affordable.

“The Island had changed a lot in the last 30 years, and I found myself in a tent,” he said.

This is the reality many people face with skyrocketing rental costs and occupancy rates at 0.2 per cent in Parksville and 0 per cent in Qualicum Beach.

According to an article in the Parksville Qualicum Beach News in October 2021, the average rental cost of a one-bedroom suite in B.C. costs a whopping $2,155 per month and is steadily increasing. SOS seniors advocacy services co-ordinator Dawn Barry revealed many local residents, including seniors, who are on fixed incomes such as income assistance, disability pensions, CPP, and OAS (government pensions) are only a paycheque away from homelessness.

8. Dr. Henry signals B.C. could move to ease restrictions by Family Day (Jan. 28)

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix looked back at B.C.’s response to the pandemic on the two-year anniversary of the first recorded case of COVID-19 in the province.

The duo held a news conference on Friday, Jan. 28, something they have done many times during the past two years. Though their briefings may look the same as they did years ago, the pandemic has changed greatly.

Looking ahead, Henry said things could change by Family Day if B.C. continues on its current trajectory. The most recent public health orders are up for review on Feb. 16. Henry said if B.C. continues on its current trajectory some restrictions could be lifted — though she cautioned that any reopenings would be gradual.

9. RCMP report one man dead after being trapped beneath mobile home in Coombs (Feb. 1)

One man died after an incident at a property in Coombs on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

Sgt. Shane Worth of the Oceanside RCMP reported that emergency services personnel were dispatched to the property on Grafton Avenue near Station Road at approximately 2 p.m.

He indicated a mobile home being moved on to a property had collapsed, with a person trapped underneath.

RCMP and BC Ambulance responded, as well as the Coombs-Hilliers, Errington and Qualicum fire departments.

10. Fire department called in to assist after flooding at Parksville RV resort (Jan. 7)

Surfside RV Resort Ltd., adjacent to the Parksville Beach Community Park, experienced significant flooding caused by rising ocean waters on Friday (Jan. 7).

Resort manager Shawn Bennett said the water in the flooded areas has started to recede and they will assess possible damages to the infrastructure. One the concerns they had to deal with was electrical outage.

“Some of the areas don’t have power,” said Bennett.

Oceanside Emergency Program co-ordinator Aaron Dawson visited the flooded area and offered assistance to residents whose units are currently without electricity.

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