There is a buzz building about an exciting cultural event scheduled for May 5th in the heart of Courtenay. “Elevate the Arts” is a grassroots celebration of all things arts and culture that is gaining some serious momentum. Perhaps it’s because they’ve hit a nerve in our community. With so much discussion about how to keep our downtown’s vibrant, this group seems to be grabbing the issue by the horns and stepping up to celebrate arts, culture and community in the core of Courtenay.
This 100% volunteer initiative aims to very simply “elevate the arts”. It’s being championed by a passionate group of local professionals, artists, musicians, businesses and community non profits. Their objective is to do more than celebrate the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the downtown Cultural District. They want to illuminate the people, businesses and organizations who contribute to the arts in so many ways.
“A vibrant arts and culture community relies on more than the artists to succeed. It’s also the commitment of businesses, non profits government, educators, local professional and volunteers that are at the root of a dynamic arts scene.” says Elevate the Arts co-chair and Comox Valley Community Arts Council Vice President Bobby Herron.
“This event is about giving the arts a place of respect in our community. People are quick to turn to artists to support fundraisers with donations of art or performance and artists are consistently generous with their talents. We also like to talk about the ‘economic benefits’ of the arts as a way to give them “value”. However, arts and culture should also be valued as an integral part of our lives. Art and culture makes life worth living and helps to illuminate the beauty, mystery, sadness and irony of every day life.”
Organizers are focused on a single day event for 2012 but there are no shortage of activities planned for this one day cultural experiment. A quick scan of their websites connects you to opportunities to be part of all kind of creative undertakings! There are opportunities for visual artists, musicians, dancers, street performers, crafters and artisans, kids activity coordinators, photographers, videographers, social media crew, volunteers or sponsors.
Activities scheduled so far range from art and photography exhibits, concerts, an ‘underground craft fair’, roof top performances, participatory art projects in downtown alleys, screen printing demos, culinary arts activities, a healing arts fair, an iphone photo show, a mini writers festival, an “Elevate Film Festival and so much more.
“Our focus over the next few weeks is all about engaging the creative spirits of our community and communicating about all the ways to be involved.” says media coordinator Meg Cursons. “We encourage everyone to check out the website, complete one of the “calls for entry” or message the team directly about sponsorship or programming partnerships.”
Just a few of the community partners to date include the Comox Valley Community Arts Council, Comox Valley Art Gallery, Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association, City of Courtenay and Sure Copies. Check the website for the full list of businesses and organizations who are getting ready to ‘elevate’ the local arts scene.
To find out more about this exciting cultural collaboration or to get involved check out www.elevatethearts.com today!
Comox Valley Art Gallery invites you to join us for an afternoon Art Talk at 2pm-3pm on Saturday March 24 in the main exhibition space. Exhibiting artists Clive Powsey (Cumberland), Tony Martin (Courtenay) and Gordon Greenhough (Comox) will give a talk and slideshow concerning their process, materials and subject matter.
The three artists are currently showing their distinct style of watercolour paintings in the CVAG Community Gallery. Opening to a packed crowd a few weeks ago, this exhibition displays Powsey’s ethereal mountain landscapes, Martin’s colourful photo-realistic urban scenes and Greenhough’s light and shadow filled depictions of natural locales.
Gordon Greenhough is a graduate of the University of Calgary where he pursued his career in Education and Fine Arts. For twenty seven years, he taught Fine Arts to secondary students in Calgary.
Tony Martin was educated at St. Martin’s School of Art (now Central St. Martin’s) and Alberta College of Art (Post Grad Painting), and recently retired as Director / Curator of Comox Valley Art Gallery, Courtenay, BC after 19 years.
Clive Powsey studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 1980 and has exhibited his work regularly since 1981 in group and solo exhibitions. He has also worked in animated film and television with screen credits as an art director and background artist/stylist.)
Admission is free or by donation. CVAG is located in downtown Courtenay at 580 Duncan Ave.
The inaugural Denman Audio Arts Collective Music Mini-Festival, Harmonica Spring 2012, is set to kick off on March 23rd 2012.
The Denman Audio Arts Collective, a local society dedicated to providing opportunities for community musical artists to perform and improve their skills, initially produced Musical Chairs in 2006, an eclectic CD of local musical and spoken word artists. For the past four years, the Collective has primarily sponsored a once a month Open Mike where local musicians and poets of all ages have strutted their entertaining stuff.
The first of Harmonica Spring’s three elements will occur on Friday, March 23rd, when Harmonica Virtuoso Keith Bennett engages grades 4-7 students from Denman Community School in a fun, hands-on afternoon colloquy of the “Harmonikatz.”
On Saturday, March 24th, in the Denman Island Community Hall, the second element will have Guitar Master David Sinclair leading a three hour guitar workshop in the morning and Keith Bennett conducting a three hour Harmonica seminar that afternoon. This will be a unique opportunity for registered participants to learn from two of Canada’s top players.
To learn more about these two consummate musicians go to http://www.keith-bennett.com/ or http://www.davidsinclairmusic.com/
The fee for each Saturday workshop will be $30.
The festival will wind up Saturday evening with the final element, a one-time only Community Hall concert featuring Keith and David and the incomparable Hornby Thatch Band. Admission will be $15 at the door.
For more information, check out the Audio Arts Collective website at http://www.denmanaudioarts.com/gigs . To register for either workshop, call 1-250-335-9188 or e-mail: email@example.com
The Comox Valley RCMP are requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing 55-year-old man.
Gordon Rasmussen was last seen at 2 p.m. Saturday in the area of Pidcock Avenue in Courtenay.
Rasmussen is mentally challenged. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket with fur around the hood, a brown toque, glasses, a reflective vest, a gray bicycle helmet and was riding a blue Mongoose bicycle with a big basket on the rear.
The RCMP are asking anyone who has seen Rasmussen or knows of his whereabouts to contact them at 250-338-1321.
Members of the Comox Valley RCMP Detachment, with the assistance of a Forensic
Identification Specialist from Headquarters, conducted a search December 6th and 7th of a rural property in Royston.
The search was prompted by a tip from the public that was received after the September 2011 press conference held in regards to the 1993 disappearance of 14-year- old Lindsey Nicholls.
The search was conducted with the cooperation of the current property owner. There is absolutely no link between the current owner and the owner of the property in the early 1990’s. The cooperation provided by the current owner was tremendously helpful in enabling the search to be conducted.
No additional information was obtained as a result of the extensive search of the property.
Judy Peterson, Lindsey’s mother was aware that the RCMP was conducting the search and provided the following comments about the most recent information involving the investigation:
“This has been a very difficult week, but it means so much to our family that so much effort went into following up on this tip. We would like to thank the team Paul West put together. They worked so hard on this search, and I know it wouldn’t be easy - emotionally or physically.
“We are so very grateful to the person who had the courage to come forward with this
information. I only hope that anyone who can add anything about Lindsey’s disappearance would do the same.”
“The dedicated members of my team will continue to take the lead on this missing persons case and would like to point out that the Comox Valley RCMP remain committed to this investigation. Eighteen years has passed since Lindsey’s disappearance, and we will continue to pursue information that is brought to our attention,.” said Sgt. Paul West.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Lindsey Nicholls is asked to contact Sgt. Paul West of the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-242-TIPS or 1-800-242-8477.
Comox Valley RCMP are warning the public that a high-risk sexual offender is being released Friday into the community.
Adrian Julian Wilson will be released from a federal corrections institution on Friday, December 9th and will be living in the Comox Valley.
Wilson is an Aboriginal male, 168 cm (5 ft 6 in) tall and weighs 77 kgs (170 lbs). He has brown hair and brown eyes.
He has a criminal record that includes robbery and sex related offences. Wilson’s
criminal history includes offences against both adult males and females.
Wilson is bound by a Recognizance of Bail. He is being supervised by the Courtenay
Probation Office and being monitored by the Comox Valley RCMP. Wilson must abide by various court ordered conditions on his release including the following:
• To keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
• You shall have no contact, direct or indirect, with any of the victims of offences for which you have been convicted or any known members of their immediate families
• You shall not attend within a 300 meters of any known residence, place of employment or educational facility of any of the victims of offences for which you have been convicted or any known members of their immediate families.
• You shall immediately advise the bail supervisor of any sexual, intimate, familiar or
familial relationship with a male or female person, and refrain from continuing with that
relationship until that male or female person has been advised of your criminal record in
the presence of the bail supervisor.
• You shall not possess any knives except for the immediate preparation and
consumption of food.
• You shall not possess, own or carry any weapon, including but not limited to any
firearm, crossbow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device,
ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, and any related
authorizations, licenses and registration certificates. Nor are you to possess any
imitation firearm or imitation of those other items listed in this condition.
• You shall not consume or possess alcohol or any controlled substances as listed in the
Controlled Drug and Substances Act excluding prescription medication prescribed to
you by a licensed physician or dentist and you can only consume prescribed medication
in the dosage prescribed by the doctor or dentist.
• You shall not enter any liquor store, beer and/or wine store, or business whose primary
purpose is the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages.
• You shall provide the make, model, colour, and license number of any vehicle to which you have access to your supervising bail supervisor.
If anyone observes Wilson in violation on any of the above noted conditions, please do
not approach him. Immediately contact the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321.
November home sales in the Comox Valley plunged to the lowest total for the month seen in 10 years.
New figures from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board show 37 single-family homes changed hands in the Valley last month.
That was a 23 per cent drop from the 48 sold in the same month of 2010 – and less than half the number sold during November 2003, the top-selling November of the last decade.
But the average price paid locally for such properties last month was $349,000, which represented a 3 per cent ($12,000) increase on the average price paid for similar properties 12 months earlier.
The steep fall in local sales was the biggest of any region on Vancouver Island north of the Malahat. Sales were down in most areas, with the exception of Campbell River where there was a sharp increase.
Curves Comox is celebrating a major milestone in the local fitness center’s history, thanks to the hard work and dedication of not only its staff, but also, its members.
Curves Comox has recently won the “Strongest Membership, Canada” award at the Curves Annual Convention in Las Vegas. This award was presented for overall performance of the staff and for the strong involvement of individual members to worthwhile causes throughout 2011. Curves International’s CEO, Gary Heavin and his wife, Diane, founder of Curves, presented a plaque to recognize the 2011 efforts of all Curves Comox staff and members. Circuit coaches Raelene, Sally and Sandra shared with Janice in providing ongoing support and strong commitment to Curves and our members. Their training skills and motivation keep the members in this club inspired to work out regularly and to participate in the many events that were sponsored by Curves Comox. Everyone involved in Curves Comox are highly trained and have received new certifications in nutrition, exercise and motivation during 2011, building on earlier certifications that they held.
Curves Comox would like to thank our members for continuing to help us build this women’s fitness center into the lively, fun place that it is. A large part of the “Strongest Membership, Canada” award reflects the active participation of members. Their support of fund raising efforts was highly noted by Curves International. The members and staff held a successful Food Drive which raised nearly 2000 pounds of goods for the Comox Valley Food Bank. In the summer, they participated in the Heart and Stroke Big Bike Ride, raising $2000 and in June, they attended the Relay for Life,donating nearly $8,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Member participation in internal promotions such as Not For Sissies Day and the Comox Nautical Days parade were also award evaluation factors as was the very high weekly member workout rate. The members at Curves Comox are aware that regular exercise and a healthy meal plan can improve their overall health and prevent a miriad of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and arthritis. With members showing a strong commitment to exercise, improved health and community involvement to their family and friends, the word is spreading that exercise can be fun. Curves Comox staff and members work together to show that we can change the lives of women all over the Comox Valley.
“This is a major accomplishment for us, and we’re celebrating in style,” said Janice Smith, owner of Curves Comox.
Curves Comox is rewarding members this month with the 30 To Give promotion which allows them to give a free 30 day gym membership to friends and family. In addition, the December Challenge is formally recognizing those dedicated members who are working out three or more times a week. January will see the formal launch of the exciting new Curves Complete diet and exercise program. This is available now at Curves Comox for interested women.
“We think that this proves that no matter what your goal is — whether it’s losing 10 or 100 pounds, or if it’s helping 1,000 members realize their fitness goals — everything can be accomplished with small, reasonable goals and perseverance,” said Janice.
The Curves program incorporates an aerobic and strength-training workout in 30 minutes. The facility uses easy-to-learn hydraulic resistance machines that have no weight stacks to change or manage and are specifically designed for women.
For more information, contact Curves Comox at (250) 339-6643.
A shell, almost 100 years-old, was safely destroyed by members of 19 Explosives Disposal Flight (19 EDF) November 23, after it was discovered and reported by a local resident clearing out a house in Lazo, British Columbia.
The resident immediately called CFB Comox Military Police when she spotted what she believed to be military ordnance. Upon arrival at the residence, members of 19 EDF identified a 37mm High Explosive round from circa World War I. The shell was still live at the time of discovery.
“Military ordnance can be extremely dangerous, particularly if it is old,” said Lieutenant Jorge Parra-Martinez, 19 EDF Commander. “It’s very important that if people see something that looks like ammunition, be it sitting on a shelf, or in a basement that is being cleared out, they contact local police or the military to ensure its safe disposal.”
To encourage reporting, an amnesty program protects those who find and report ammunition. No names or addresses are reported publicly. Ammunition safety is paramount and even if residents are unsure about items resembling ammunition or explosives, they are encouraged to call in order to let experts confirm the identity of the object and determine if it poses a danger.
Members of 19 EDF are specially trained to identify and dispose of a wide range of ammunition and explosives. Regionally, members of 19 EDF are the first responders to deal with any military explosives and are regularly called upon to dispose of hazards such as unearthed or souvenir munitions and Marine Locator Markers washing up on the beach. To report findings, please contact local law enforcement or the 19 Wing Operations centre at 1-866-488-0889.
The City of Courtenay anticipates that flooding in low-lying areas may begin on Saturday, November 26 for several days, at least until Wednesday, November 30, 2011.
With the weather forecast calling for heavy precipitation, rising freezing levels and subsequent snow melt, combined with high tides and winds, residents and businesses near the Courtenay River and Puntledge River should be on alert and prepare to evacuate if necessary.
The City is distributing notices to residents and businesses in the Puntledge Road and Tsolum Road areas, as well as residents in or near the Maple Pool Campground. The City is also distributing sandbags beginning today. If your business requires sandbags to help mitigate potential flood damage, please call the City of Courtenay at 250-338-1525, or after hours 250-334-2947 to arrange for delivery.
Should flooding occur, the City may be required to close area roads at the following intersections at a minimum:
· Dove Creek Road between Headquarters and Piercy Roads
· Old Island Highway at Comox Road (at Lewis Park)
· Ryan Road at Highway 19A
· Old Island Highway and Highway 19A at Headquarters Road
· Highway 19A at 17th Street northbound
For more information and updates, visit www.courtenay.ca, or call City of Courtenay Public Works at 250-338-1525, or City Hall at 250-334-4441.
BC Hydro is issuing a public safety advisory for the Puntledge River system on Saturday and Sunday.
Since the middle of October, the weather has been dry and when it has rained, due to the cool weather, it has fallen as snow above the Comox Lake Reservoir. This has resulted in water inflows into the reservoir that have not been significant, and in fact, the reservoir had been trending downward. It has slightly increased this week, and while it is currently below normal for the time of year, this will change on the weekend.
BC Hydro is forecasting a one-day “mini-Pineapple Express” to hit the watershed on Friday night through Saturday. Temperatures will be around 4 degrees on Friday, spike to up to 15 degrees on Saturday, and then go back to 7 degrees on Sunday. Hydro’s forecasting is showing up to 100 mm of rain falling over the 24 hour period along with a freezing level that may increase to 2100 m and set off increased snow melt. At the Eric Creek gauge, in the upper watershed, approximately 100 mm of precipitation fell within a 24-hour period last Monday/Tuesday. Most of that precipitation fell as snow.
The Comox Lake Reservoir is currently 132.7 m and slowly rising. It free spills over the dam at 135.3 m. BC Hydro’s hydroelectric system is in good shape to absorb this large and fortunately short-term storm event. The Browns River, Tsolum River, and high seasonal ocean tides are beyond our control. Should the Browns and Tsolum systems hit high flow levels near the high ocean tides, BC Hydro will reduce its discharge from Comox Lake Reservoir for flood risk management.
Beginning tonight, BC Hydro will modestly increase the water release below Comox Dam. BC Hydro preliminary forecasting is showing the Comox Lake Reservoir increasing by nearly 1.5 m between today and Monday. Beyond the weekend, there may be a small storm on Monday evening and then a dry period. Weather forecasts, including this weekend, are subject to change.
BC Hydro does not see any risk of downstream flooding as a result of its operations. BC Hydro will modify and operate the Puntledge River Hydroelectric Facility as needed based on actual water inflows into the reservoir. If inflows are higher then forecast, BC Hydro will need to increase its water discharge below Comox Dam during low tides to control reservoir levels. As a precaution, the public should stay away from the river systems this weekend.
Larry Jangula celebrates on Saturday night with his sons Todd (left) and Craig (right).
By Philip Round
Larry Jangula has ousted incumbent Greg Phelps as Mayor of Courtenay in a dramatic end to this year’s civic elections.
Jangula polled 2,543 votes – just 77 more than Phelps, who won 2,466, with third-placed contestant Bill Bate garnering just 257.
In the council elections, all four incumbents were re-elected – Manno Theos, Jon Ambler, Ronna-Rae Leonard and Doug Hillian.
They were joined by newcomer Bill Anglin and former mayor Starr Winchester.
Jangula told the Echo he was “amazed and overwhelmed” by the result of the mayoral vote.
“It’s been a very tough fight and I sensed it was going to be close, but we made it,” he said.
He thanked all who had voted and worked for him, and also those who did not because all votes helped strengthen the democratic process.
His two sons, Todd and Craig, were with him at the results declaration at the Florence Filberg Centre, and he praised them and his wife Jeanette for their active support, along with his four-times campaign manager Len Aylward and a team of volunteers.
Phelps said having just turned 57 years of age, defeat gave him a chance to assess what his next steps in life would be.
“I’m at a fork in the road, and I’ll see what my next adventure is going to be. I’ve been at forks before and things have worked out.”
He said he had an idea the result would be close, and “if it had been a good old-fashioned fight between two candidates, I think I could have made it.”
But in a sideswipe at the Comox Valley Common Sense Group, he said it had proved challenging to campaign against a group of anonymous people who, he said, had spent an incredible amount of money” to get its chosen people elected.
“There were a couple of former federal Conservative organizers and prominent B.C. Liberals and they decided I was a bit of a Leftie for some reason, and I that had to be taken out.
“But I respect the view of the voters; it’s their right to choose and they have chosen a new Mayor and Council and I congratulate all the winners.”
Newcomer Bill Bate said he was pleased to have given people an alternative, and thanked those who had supported him by voting against the “same old, same old” approach to running City Hall.
In the votes for a new City Council, the top six were elected.
Manno Theos topped the poll with 3,156 votes followed by Jon Ambler with 2,707. Starr Winchester came third with 2,583, Ronna-Rae Leonard fourth on 2,410, Doug Hillian fifth with 2,142 and Bill Anglin sixth garnering 1,923.
Not elected in descending order of votes cast were: Marcus Felgenhauer 1,557; Mark Middleton 1,515; Dave Smith 1,404; Jean Rowe 1,357; Erik Eriksson 1,264; Norm Reynolds 1,248; John van Egmond 1,192; Doug Kerr 1,027; George Knox 652; and Stuart MacInnis 588.
All results are provisional until final checks are made or any challenges launched, but are not expected to change.
In total, more than 5,200 people in the City took part in the election - similar to last time round in 2008 - with less than a third of potential electors casting a vote
Four of six incumbent councillors re-elected; two new faces to sit at council table
By Spencer Anderson
Comox Mayor Paul Ives will return to the head of the council table for another three-year term, after narrowly defeating challenger Bernie Poole by just 54 votes.
Ives racked up 2,163 votes, while Poole snapped at his heels with 2,109.
Meanwhile, the majority of incumbent councillors will retain their seats, while two of six challengers will join them.
Preliminary results show Tom Grant re-elected with 2,381 votes, followed closely by Ken Grant with 2,366.
Patti Fletcher garnered 2,320, while Hugh MacKinnon was re-elected with 2,082 votes, just one year after winning a by-election to replace former councillor Ray Crossley, who died two-thirds through his term.
Meanwhile, political newcomer Maureen Swift wins a seat with a strong showing of 2,164, and past councillor and Area B representative Barbara Price will return to Comox Council with 2,040 votes.
Incumbent councillors Marcia Turner and Russ Arnott will not return to council, earning 1,524 and 1,985 votes, respectively.
Challenger Dan Jackson received a strong show of support with 2,009 votes, but fell short of sixth place by 73 ballot marks.
Ives said his re-election campaign left nothing to chance.
We knocked on all the doors that we could get to in four weeks, and you know, it certainly was close, and it seems like there was a solid turnout, and I’m looking forward to working with the new council was we get sworn in,” he said.
He called the new council “an interesting mix” of newcomers and incumbents, and said one of the biggest factors of the election was the Comox Valley Common Sense group, which endorsed Poole for mayor.
He said the group’s involvement and impact was a message to councils to keep moving forward with an eye on the bottom line – especially higher-level government spending programs become more scarce.
It’s not going to be an easy three years ahead, but I think we’ve got some pretty solid people … that know how to crunch the bottom line and how to make things happen, so it’s going to be a very, very interesting few years ahead,” he said.
Poole said he knew the election would be close, and while disappointed by the results, he said he was pleased with the number of votes he received. However, he ruled out running for mayor in the future.
When asked about the impact of the Common Sense group on the election, Poole replied: “No, I don’t think it was a factor at all.”
In total, 4,342 electors cast a ballot, a 41.2 per cent turnout.
The complete preliminary results are below:
Paul Ives – 2,163 – elected
Bernie Poole – 2,109
Tom Grant – 2,381 – elected
Ken Grant – 2,366 – elected
Patti Fletcher – 2,320 – elected
Maureen Swift – 2,164 – elected
Barbara Price – 2,040 – elected
Hugh MacKinnon – 2,082 – elected
Dan Jackson – 2,009
Russ Arnott – 1,985
Marcia Turner – 1,524
Don Davis – 1,301
Dave Procter – 1,277
Terry Chester – 1,164
Starting November 7, 2011, the main gate at 19 Wing Comox will be under construction and closed for approximately 8 weeks. This closure is expected to generate traffic delays on Military Row and Ryan Road.
19 Wing personnel and visitors to the base will be required to use a temporary gate, across from the 19 Wing Fitness and Community Centre, off Military Row. Although flag personnel will be in the area to direct traffic, delays are to be expected, particularly during the mornings and afternoons. Visitors requiring security passes will be directed to the Military Police building via an alternate route. Emergency vehicles will continue to have access to the main gate.
It is recommended that members of the public avoid using Military Row during peak hours. Anderton Road and Knight Road are suggested as alternate means of access to the Comox Valley Airport during the next 8 weeks.
19 Wing Comox thanks members of the public for their understanding and cooperation during this construction period as we continue to improve facilities at the Wing.
The cases of five teenagers who committed suicide in the Comox
Valley since 2009 share few similarities, an analysis by the BC Coroners
Service has found.
Matt Brown, regional coroner for Vancouver Island, reviewed the files of
the five deaths and consulted with the investigating coroners in a search
for common factors that might potentially have caused these teenagers to
take their own lives.
However, Brown found that few links could be established, other than the
obvious one of geography and shared schools. Four of the teens attended
Highlands Secondary school and one attended G.P. Vanier secondary.
“Despite that, there is no indication any of them were anything but the
most casual of acquaintances,” said Brown. “None were close friends. None
moved in the same social groups.”
The five were all aged between 14 and 17. Three were male, and two were
In none of the cases had the youths given any indication they were planning
to commit suicide, either to family members, other adults in their lives,
or their friends of the same age.
None had a lengthy history of mental health problems or substance abuse,
and no evidence of bullying has been identified in any of the cases.
The Coroners Service is continuing to work closely with service providers
in the Comox Valley, including the school district, youth mental health
services, public health, and the RCMP (including RCMP school liaison
officers), to provide assistance in determining a comprehensive and co-
ordinated response to these deaths.
By Philip Round
A big contract for street paving in Courtenay is being renewed for another three years without the opportunity for other companies to bid for the work.
The agreement with Tayco Paving was first signed nine years ago, and since then the company has provided the City with good service at a fair price, said the municipality’s director of operational services, Kevin Lagan.
The cost to the City fluctuates with the amount of work done – but over the nine years several million dollars have been paid to Tayco by City Hall for asphalt and paving services.
The City’s director of financial services, Tillie Manthey, told the Echo that in the most recent three years, the contract had been worth $980,000 (2009), $706,000 (2010), and $174,000 to date in 2011.
At their latest meeting, some city councillors questioned the idea that any contract of this size could be renewed several times without going out to competitive tender.
Coun. Larry Jangula said the deal involved an “awful lot of money” over three years, and he was not sure taxpayers were being guaranteed best value for their money without seeking alternative bids.
“It’s just common sense to open this to bids,” he said.
And Coun. Murray Presley said while he did not doubt Tayco provided a good service, he believed they had Vancouver Island “locked up.”
It was worth considering whether there were any viable competitors that should be at least given a chance to pitch for the contract, he added.
Lagan said Tayco was a local company that relied on doing good business on the North Island and provided ongoing local employment.
For the scale of the contract, they were the only company in the Comox Valley capable of delivering to the City’s specifications, and the only company on the Island that had expressed interest in doing the work.
The contract, he added, had never been open-ended, but carefully constructed to ensure the City got fair value. Clauses in it provided for appropriate price changes up and down over the period.
Further, the existing arrangements had provided certainty to the City for paving services, and the working relationship with the company had led to improvements both in efficiency and costs over the years, he added.
He had no hesitation in recommending the City’s best interests would be served by extending the contract with Tayco until 31 December 2014.
With the exception of Jangula, who voted against, the council agreed to the extension.
Mid Island Gifts owner Diane Weir (left), with employee Surindra Gill (right).
Comox Valley Airport is saying ‘happy birthday’ to one of its longstanding business residents.
Mid Island Gifts is celebrating 10 years at YQQ, and owner Diane Weir recalls the business’ more humble beginnings.
It started out as a kiosk at YQQ with limited stock, and then expanded to its current location when the new terminal building was constructed in 2004, thanks to help from the Community Futures Network, a federal government program.
“Moving into the new terminal was a period of huge growth for us, Weir said. “As more flights and destinations were added at YQQ, I had to rely more and more on my dedicated staff. I owe much of my success to these wonderful people; I simply couldn’t have managed without them.”
Since opening, the store has sold items provided by over 200 local artists and other local producers, such as jewelry, wood ornaments and bowls, local books, prints and originals of local scenes, and local food products.
“For the last decade, Mid Island Gifts has provided our passengers with unique giftware that is locally produced,” said CEO Shirley de Silva. “This one of a kind shop has contributed greatly to our passenger experience and has been a generous supporter of artists in our community.”
To thank the community for its support over the last 10 years, Mid Island Gifts will host a sale from Oct. 10 through Oct. 16, with many items reduced from 20 to 50 per cent.
The shop is also inviting passengers and customers to enter their name for a free chance to win 10 gift certificates valued up to $100.00 to be drawn on Oct. 17.
The Courtenay and District Museum lecture series is pleased to present author Dan Savard with his illustrated talk “Images from the Likeness House” at 7:30 pm, Wednesday, October 19th.
Savard will explore the relationship between First Peoples in British Columbia, Alaska and Washington, and the native and non-native photographers who made “likenesses” of them from the late 1850s to the 1920s.
The lecture will touch on the photographic process as well as images as a visual statement about perception (and misperception), cultural change and survival.
“Images from the Likeness House” will appeal to ethnographers, photographers, history buffs and anyone who appreciates a well-taken image.Dan Savard recently retired from the Royal BC Museum, having worked more than 35 years in the Anthropology Audio Visual Collection. He has authored several academic papers and has given many illustrated presentations on topics related to photography and First Peoples.
Savard’s book Images from the Likeness House was the winner of the 2011 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize awarded to the book “that most contributes to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia”.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing after the lecture. Images from the Likeness House is published by the Royal BC Museum and retails for $39.95 (plus tax).
Admission to the evening is $5 per Historical Society member; $6 non-members (plus tax). Advance tickets are recommended.
The Courtenay and District Museum is located at 207 Fourth Street in downtown Courtenay. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. FMI: 250-334-0686.
Attention all booklovers - Courtenay Rotary Club’s “Books for the Cure” fundraiser is being held at Comox Centre Mall. 2010 was a record year with over $27,000 raised in helping the fight against Cancer. Rotary hopes to improve on that amount this year with your help. Be sure to mark your calendar for Nov 9-12 and attend this event to raise funds for cancer research and treatment on Vancouver Island, as well as care in the Comox Valley.
Donations of books, sheet music, CDs, DVDs, Videos, puzzles & games can be dropped off at Comox Centre Mall, various business locations throughout the Valley displaying a “Books for the Cure” poster or call 338-5428 for pickup or information.
Locals Restaurant is bursting their buttons about recent accolades
Locals Restaurant in Courtenay was awarded the highest rating for dining in the renowned Frommer’s Travel Guide Book 2011. Of the Comox Valley restaurants listed, only Locals achieved three stars. Last summer the food reviewer disclosed her identity only after finishing her meal. She told owners Ronald and Tricia St. Pierre that she was “not supposed to provide any feedback”, but was excited to share that she was very impressed with her dining experience. She stated that the Frommer’s Guide is regarded to be particularly credible, as “you cannot buy your way into the guide, nor can you buy your way out”.
As well, in October’s Chatelaine Magazine, Locals Restaurant is recommended in an article: Hot Travel Trends; Tasty Road Trips. This feature describes road trips for dedicated foodies, featuring four regions across Canada. The Comox Valley was recognized as a culinary destination; “Forget the 100-mile-diet, Comox delivers taste-bud-tickling eats in a fraction of that distance”. Other great Comox Valley finds listed were Fanny Bay Oysters, The Farmers’ Market, Coastal Black Winery and Prontissima Pasta.
Such recognition is appreciated as Locals is on the receiving end of a mistake with SHAW Communications. Shaw provided Telus with incorrect information leading to errors in this year’s phone book. The misinformation also resulted in Locals being absent in the listings for Information 411 and 411.ca. on line. Although the phone number cannot be corrected until next year’s phone book is published, the correct number is now available on line and on Information 411; 250-338-6493.
Locals, Food from the Heart of the Island is a restaurant that celebrates the quality food production of the Comox Valley. Chef St. Pierre is a Certified Chef de Cuisine, having earned the highest professional culinary recognition and accreditation available in Canada. His team provides a memorable dining experience that marries the bounty of the region with culinary artistry, offered in a casually elegant setting, with heartfelt service. Chef St. Pierre’s ever changing seasonal menus and market sheets set the prevailing standard for the renowned Comox Valley food culture. The wine list has been developed to compliment the diverse menu, offering select wines: Local, BC, New World and Old World. Locals is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner at 364 8th Street. Reservations recommended; 250-338-6493, www.localscomoxvalley.com.
Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness is excited to announce an exhibit and sale of fabric art at the former Pearl Ellis Gallery in Comox. From Oct. 11th through Oct. 15th, over two dozen highly original quilt panels, created by the North Island Quilters for Community Awareness, will be on display.
This “Making It Home” exhibit marks the launch of the second in a series of four raffles, a major fundraiser for Dawn to Dawn. The public is invited to drop by to view the display, buy a raffle ticket, or better yet purchase their very own work of art. The group is also encouraging members of the business community to help support the homeless in our community by buying a special piece to hang in their office or boardroom.
All are welcome to drop by between 10:00 and 4:00 during any day of the exhibit and support this worthwhile project. The former Pearl Ellis Gallery is located downstairs at 1729 Comox Avenue. Dawn to Dawn would like to thank the Town of Comox for its generosity in allowing the use of this space.
Dawn to Dawn was registered as a non-profit society in 2007 with the mandate to provide housing and support services to individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. FMI email firstname.lastname@example.org., or visit us at the showing.
Someday by June Boyle
Making it Home Before Dark by Maria Box
ExtraLife is an annual fundraising event that aims to raise funds and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. To date the event has raised more than $440,000 to help kids live long and happy lives by providing hospitals with much needed funding for equipment and programs. 100% of the money raised stays where it is raised, in the gamers’ local Children Miracle Network Hospital. The Comox Valley team is raising funds for The BC Children’s Hospital.
ExtraLife participants are extraordinary people of all ages that pledge 24 hours of their life to make a great difference in someone else’s. Participants of ExtraLife pledge to play video games for 24 hours in exchange for the generous donations. These hours can be split up if during the event you feel the need to stop, just do what you can and make up the game time later on. ExtraLife takes place on the third Saturday of every October. This year’s event falls on October 15th 2011.
The Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. Countless individuals, organizations and media partners unite with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to help sick and injured kids in local communities. Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that saves and improves the lives of 17 million children every year.
To donate to the local Comox Valley fund raising team, visit the ValleyLinks office at 532 5th Street, Games and Grounds at 4-239 Puntledge Road, or online at extralife.valleylinks.net.
Mike Bell, Co-Chair of the Sierra Club Comox Valley, announced today the release of a new video entitled “Toxic Gas on the Courtenay River Estuary.” Narrated by Bell, the video makes the case for a boycott of all gas stations on the Courtenay River Estuary and the Dyke Road.
In the video a number of prominent, well-known Comox Valley environmentalists spell out the dangers that any gas station on the Dyke Road presents to the estuary’s variety of species and its sensitive ecosystem. According to Bell in the film, “This is the worst possible location in British Columbia for a gas station and perhaps the worst location in the whole of Canada.”
Sierra Club is requesting that everyone who views the film share it with their friends and networks, and ask them to share it with their friends and networks—thus enabling the video to “go viral.” “If we are really concerned about keeping this beautiful estuary safe and healthy,” says Bell “we have to stop the sale of gasoline on the Dyke Road.”
Produced by Sierra Club CV, the video was photographed, edited and directed by Tyler Voigt, owner of Fuzzy Filmz in Courtenay, British Columbia.
The film is available on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrD9iRHUrlU
Volunteers with the Comox Valley RCMP detachment’s, Victim Services department section use cocooning to help local residents.
Cocooning is the process which is used to disseminate and gather information in an area where perhaps there has been an increased number of people victimized by crime. An increase in vandalism, theft from automobiles or break and enters are examples of crimes where cocooning
may be considered a useful crime reduction tool.
The Comox Valley RCMP’s crime analyst provides a map which identifies the area which has been affected. A team of two to four volunteers, wearing Victim’s Services identification distribute information on Crime Prevention tips, along with a letter from the detachment’s Officer in Charge, Inspector Tom Gray. This may not be hand delivered to every home in a neighborhood, it is hoped that people will spread the word amongst the neighborhood. This also lends itself to creating a sense of community.
As our volunteers distribute information, they are gathering it as well. This face to face contact is sometimes what people need to feel comfortable coming forward and speaking of their concerns or suspicious activity that they would have otherwise not reported.
Our volunteers have received wonderful support in the community and report a feeling of satisfaction knowing that they are playing an important role in our Community’s crime reduction.
Volunteer “Cathy” with a local resident in the community taking part in a cocooning project.
Osteoporosis is a complex condition, says Phyllis Edwards, long-time bone density technologist and registered nutritional consultant. ”We have come a long way in the past decade to raise awareness about osteoporosis, but still there are puzzling questions about the underlying mechanisms that affect bone health.” Edwards has been conducting osteoporosis education and screening clinics throughout western Canada for over 13 years.
Edwards will be the guest speaker at an upcoming presentation at the Comox Mall where she will guide participants through a calculation of their nutritional needs for maintaining good bone health. “With this presentation we will focus on reviewing our daily nutrient needs, identifying foods that are high in bone-building minerals and vitamins, and deciphering confusing food labels. It will be a fun and educational experience”, says Edwards.
In addition to the October 12th presentation, Edwards will be offering ultrasound bone density testing and personal consultations in association with Comox Rexall. Nurse Laurance Stratton at Comox Rexall will be registering people for the individualized appointments. “This test helps people to understand what is happening to their bones so we can better explain how they can reduce their risk of fracture,” says Stratton. “Phyllis has been doing this testing for many years. Her information is accurate and her suggestions are very practical.”
To book a seat for the October 12th presentation contact Edwards direct by email at email@example.com or call 1-877-263-2482. To reserve an appointment time for the screening test and personal fracture risk assessment, contact Nurse Laurance Stratton at the Comox Rexall 250-339-2235. Pre-registration is required.
B.C. Hydro plans to let out more water from his Comox Lake reservoir, for a longer time, this weekend.
The water inflows into Comox Lake Reservoir were higher than forecast. On Monday, late in the day, the peak hourly inflow into the reservoir was 266 m3/s. The reservoir his risen by nearly two metres since Friday and is currently at 134.55 m.
Hydro’s operational records, from mid-September to mid-October, show that the last time they released this much water within this time period was 1997, and the occasions before that were 1991 and 1984.
BC Hydro is continuing with its plan to increase the river flow by nearly four-fold on Friday evening, but will now extend the spill event through Tuesday evening to reach a better reservoir level for flood risk management. River flows will increase from about 30 m3/s to 110 m3/s. BC Hydro advises the public to stay away from the Puntledge River over the weekend and through Tuesday.
BC Hydro anticipates the reservoir to be down around 133.5 m range by Tuesday. Water inflows into the reservoir will continue to decline over the week.
The Campbell River RCMP are seeking public assistance in locating a missing local man.
On the afternoon of September 25th 71 year old Willard Charlebois departed from his Campbell River residence in a 1981 Chev Motorhome with B.C. Licence 317GXF, his destination and whereabouts are unknown. Mr. Charlebois is on a number of medications that he did not take with him thus causing concern for his well being. Campbell River RCMP are asking the public to report any sightings of Mr Charlebois or his motorhome, anyone with information is asked to contact the Detachment at (250)286-6221
By Spencer Anderson
The Comox Valley Food Bank is looking for a new home after a prospective location was turned down by the City of Courtenay planning department.
The Food Bank, currently located on 13th Street, is in the process of looking for a new location at the request of its landlord, the Vancouver Island North chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which also shares the building.
Food Bank president Jeff Hampton said the organization began looking for a new location in June of this year. By July, they had found a space at 2267 Cousins Ave., which falls under light industrial zoning.
But as the Food Bank was preparing to sign a lease for the new location, city staff stepped in and stopped the move, citing a lack of parking and possible street congestion as a concern.
Hampton said additional efforts were made to increase parking for the facility, but the city remained opposed to the location.
“Still the city says [the location] isn’t suitable, and we don’t have enough room, and that all the clients would have to park on the street, and they say that’s not acceptable,” said Hampton. “And yet where we are right now [13th Street], it is.”
Hampton said he had been in talks with city staff – as well as other agencies like VIHA and the fire department – about the location approximately two months prior, and no red flags were raised.
“We had two lawyers involved, we had leases ready to go, and then all of a sudden, City Hall phones and says, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t go there.’”
Hampton also said he was told the city had received about a dozen complaints about the Food Bank moving to the Cousins Avenue building, which is mixed use and includes a residential component.
He said he suspects those complaints prompted city staff to change their position on the issue.
But Gina MacKay, senior planner, said the city planning department never received all the necessary information from the Food Bank including proposed use of the building, hours of operation, and site layout.
She also said the zoning for the nixed location currently does not allow for the Food Bank.
“I can’t speak to what other businesses want or don’t want, I can just say it doesn’t fit in the zoning, and it doesn’t meet the parking requirements,” said MacKay.
“They’re currently in a commercial zone and this is an industrial zone,” she said. “So that’s the bottom line right there. Their use is more suited to a commercial zone.”
At least nine off-street parking spaces would be needed, she said, in an already-busy area with a lack of parking and plenty of traffic, prompting safety and logistical concerns.
“We’ve been trying to work with the [Food Bank] in finding an amicable solution to their situation of where to house themselves,” MacKay added.
“We would love to find a spot for them that works for everybody, and I think that’s the key here.”
Meanwhile, the Food Bank will continue to search for a new location, but has not been served an eviction notice – meaning that until a new facility is found, they can remain in their current location.
Habitat for Humanity executive director Deb Roth called the shared space arrangement with the Food Bank a positive partnership, but said both organizations could use extra space to grow.
Wayne Gladstone, a member of Canadian Blood Services’ Board of Directors, presents Comox’s Sarah Fox with an Honouring our Lifeblood volunteer award for the B.C. & Yukon Region.
Canadian Blood Services honoured Comox resident Sarah Fox for her contributions to Canada’s blood system at a national ceremony held in Ottawa this week.
The annual Honouring our Lifeblood ceremony held on Sept. 19 at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum recognized Fox along with other donors, volunteers, partners and sponsors from across the country who provide a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of Canadians who need blood, stem cells, or organs and tissues.
Fox, 31, is the recipient of the 2011 Honouring our Lifeblood volunteer award for the B.C. & Yukon Region. Fox is responsible for recruiting, training and scheduling all volunteers who work at the Comox mobile blood donor clinic, ensuring proper support is available for donors giving blood.
While Fox has been volunteering with the blood agency for the past two years, her first experience with donated blood actually came as a newborn baby. Born two months premature, Fox’s liver was underdeveloped and unable to properly detoxify her blood. One life-saving blood transfusion helped clear her system and sustain her necessary organ development.
“Blood is kind of like water – you don’t think about it being there until it’s not there,” Fox remarks. “I’d like people to think about it before it’s not there for someone in need and consider donating blood or volunteering with Canadian Blood Services.”
An aspiring doctor, Fox is currently studying sciences at North Island College.
“It is significant that we celebrate individuals and organizations who are the heart of Canada’s blood system in order to inspire others to follow their lead and join the movement,” says Dr. Graham Sher, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Blood Services. “Giving blood, blood products and stem cells, and supporting the efforts of those who do, can be very fulfilling ways by which Canadians can share their vitality and have a direct impact on the lives of others in need.”
Each year, hundreds of thousands of blood donors and volunteers, as well as more than numerous community groups, sponsors and partners, work together to help ensure that those needing blood receive it. Without their time and generosity, Canadian Blood Services would not be able to provide the life-saving blood, stem cells, and organ and tissues required by patients from coast to coast.
To consider donating blood, visit www.blood.ca/eligibility or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283)
The Comox Valley RCMP’s drug section has been keeping busy taking drugs off of our streets with search warrants over the last two weeks.
In the early morning hours of September 11th the Comox Valley RCMP surprised a suspected local drug dealer as he slept, when they executed a search warrant on his residence in the 4600 block of Headquarters Road in Courtenay. The 44 year-old Courtenay male was found in possession of a quantity of cocaine, cash and bear spray. This male was arrested as a result and later released on a Promise to Appear. Police are recommending charges of Possession of Cocaine for the purpose of Trafficking.
On September 14th the Comox Valley RCMP’s drug section executed a search warrant at a residence located above a business, on 5th Street in Courtenay. This search resulted in one of the largest ecstacy seizures in the Comox Valley. Over 900 pills suspected to be ecstacy were seized along with other synthetic drugs, marihuana and a substantial amount of cash. The resident, a 28 year-old Courtenay male was arrested and later released on a Promise to Appear. Police are seeking charges of Possession of ecstacy and marihuana for the purpose of trafficking.
Twenty-three year-old Michael Austin Schmidt was arrested in Comox after a search warrant was executed in the 2100 block of McKenzie Avenue on September 18th. A quantity of cocaine and heroin along with a loaded 9mm handgun were seized as a result. Schmidt is charged with Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Heroin for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of a Restricted Firearm and Possession of Ammunition for a Restricted Firearm.
By Philip Round
The military has shot down the proposed site of the new Comox Valley hospital at Ryan Road in Courtenay.
The Department of National Defence has vetoed the plan because it considers the proposed four-storey building to be too high within its controlled airspace.
But to have a building with fewer floors spread over a bigger area would not be cost effective or efficient in operational terms, so the chosen location is being abandoned.
Now Vancouver Island Health Authority is urgently seeking a new site to relocate the hospital, which is expected to cost at least $350 million.