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News in review – part two

Year in review
File photo

In June, more than 200 Coast residents rallied in protest at the Sechelt constituency office of member of Parliament John Weston against budget bill C-38.


• One-third of elementary age children are turning up hungry at school each day on the Sunshine Coast. Translated into hard numbers that means approximately 554 kids are arriving to learn on an empty stomach. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

For 13 years the Breakfast For Kids (BFK) program, run out of the Sechelt Community School, has been addressing this problem. But Gordon was sounding the alarm that there will be no food in the larder and no funding to access more.

• Despite demonstrated opposition to rezoning a property in East Porpoise Bay to allow for a concrete batch plant, Sechelt council gave the zoning amendment second and third reading in a three to two vote. The plan by Stockwell Enterprises to build a new concrete batch plant at their gravel extraction site off Allen Road in East Porpoise Bay was debated at a public hearing where about 150 people came out to voice their opinions at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt.

• Administrative changes in School District No. 46 (SD46) were met with anger at the May 8 school board meeting where Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) Chief Garry Feschuk pushed the board to rethink the changes and talk to the SIB.

He said the recently announced decision to move Aboriginal principal Kerry Mahlman to a principal position at Maderia Park Elementary School this August breaks a strong Aboriginal education partnership that has been formed between SD46 and the Sechelt Nation.

• Parents, students and administrators stepped up to ensure graduation ceremonies happen on the Coast, but grads were upset their favourite teachers won’t be part of the pivotal moment.

• Reactions among restaurant owners on the Coast were mixed after the government of British Columbia announced that the hard to swallow HST would meet its demise April 1, 2013.

• Sunshine Coast RCMP issued a reminder to residents of nearby islands to be extra vigilant in protecting their property after a Nelson Island home was reportedly burglarized by two men on a zodiac.

• The Labour Relations Board (LRB) set a tentative start date for a hearing about whether or not the B.C. teachers’ withdrawal of extracurricular activities is legal.

The teachers’ employer, the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), filed a complaint with the LRB on May 9 alleging teachers are engaging in an illegal strike by withdrawing extracurricular activities that occur outside of instructional hours.

• After confirming the closure of the Coast Guard communication centre in Comox, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) did not speculate on what that could mean for Coast mariners.

• The Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) went on the offensive, saying a step up of litigation against the provincial and federal governments will proceed as their only recourse against their territory’s “death by a thousand cuts.”

• Grieg Seafood was expecting lab results within days after a discovery of the IHN virus at a coho salmon farm in Jervis Inlet, as were concerned officials.


• School District No. 46 (SD46) was changing the way it distributes Community LINK funding in the 2012/13 school year, leaving community school co-ordinators unsure of the future of some programs. The Community LINK (Learning Includes Nutrition and Knowledge) funding is meant to support vulnerable students who may be at risk in terms of academic achievement and social functioning.

• A proposed gravel mine on McNab Creek was met with boisterous opposition from approximately 150 residents who crammed into a yoga studio at Eagleridge Community Centre on Horseshoe Bay to hear details about the project.

If approved, the mine would include a pit and a processing plant located on 87 of the 320 hectares purchased by Burnco Rock Products in 2008. The mine would produce approximately one million tonnes of gravel a year for the next 20 years according to company representatives.

• The lab results came back negative for Grieg Seafood, after the presence of infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) was discovered at their Ahlstrom Point salmon farm during routine testing.

• Investigators believed a piece of safety equipment failed to operate when a Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) craft capsized in the Skookumchuck Narrows, killing two Coasters who became the first ever casualties in the volunteer service's B.C. history. After the 733 Zodiac Hurricane carrying 43-year-old Angela Nemeth and 51-year-old Beatrice Sorensen flipped in the turbulent waters, trapping them underneath, an emergency mechanism designed to flip the craft failed to operate, said Raymond Mathew, a managing investigator with the Transportation Safety Board.

• More than 200 Coast residents rallied in protest at the Sechelt constituency office of member of Parliament John Weston against budget bill C-38. The Sunshine Coast Senior Citizens (COSCO-BC) in conjunction with Leadnow.ca organized the rally, one of 75 similar actions held across the country at Conservative MP offices.

• A day before June's second protest in front of his Sechelt constituency office, Weston said his party could have done a better job of selling budget implementation Bill C-38 to Canadians.

“Let me join in the criticism of our own government to say the communication of many parts of this has been poor. That relates to the, I think, the ambitious nature of the bill,” he said in an interview June 12.

• The St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation announced receipt of a donation worth more than $1 million during a small ceremony held before their annual general meeting. The gift came from the estate of Donald Webster.

• More than 1,000 people, including 500-plus emergency responders from on and off-Coast paid their respects to Beatrice Sorensen and Angie Nemeth in a Celebration of Life at Chatelech Secondary School in Sechelt.

• It was a day focused on understanding and relationship building at the Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) hall as nearly 80 community members, politicians and business people came to Band’s first business networking forum.

The daylong event took participants through an oral telling of the Sechelt Nation’s history, a Power Point of their governance structure and offered an open floor networking session for those wishing to do business with the Band.

• After months of negotiations and job actions that affected report cards and extra-curricular activities, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the provincial government reached a tentative one-year deal.

• A Douglas fir tree found by two residents during a hike through the Roberts Creek back roads could be the oldest on the Sunshine Coast.

Ross Muirhead and Rick O’Neil said they discovered the giant fir tree while investigating a gravel pit operation in the area. Their measurements showed the tree to have a circumference of approximately eight metres.


• An endangered African penguin was given the name Sechelt after a young Lower Mainland couple's cartoon tribute to the District captured the affections of staff at the Vancouver Aquarium.

• The St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation signed a one-year lease on a three-bedroom home in West Sechelt that will provide temporary housing for physicians and other health care professionals who come to serve the Coast.

• A new project was launched to improve the economic wellbeing of women on the Sunshine Coast thanks to a nearly $294,000 grant from Status of Women Canada.

The Status of Women Canada grant will be distributed during a three-year period and it calls for much research between now and next March. There will be many focus groups and small committees set up to explore economic issues as they relate to women during that time.

• A protected area in the Chapman Creek watershed was identified by AJB Investments as a potential location for a water storage project, a Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) staff report indicated.

• There was a buzz of excitement at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden where two new hives housed around 5,000 bees for educational and practical purposes. The bees will help the garden grow and the hives will be used for public demonstrations and educational talks highlighting the honeybee’s importance in the ecosystem.

• The lowering of a 2,800-pound, 16.76-metre bridge over Chapman Creek by helicopter signalled the end of a two-year trail project that now allows users to travel between Selma Park and the Wilson Creek airport off-road.

• Nicholas Sean Forster, 19, of Sechelt was charged July 14 with dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop at an accident causing death in relation to Friday’s collision that killed 22-year-old Shelby Rowland.

• A veteran Sunshine Coast RCMP officer was charged with assault following an investigation by the B.C. RCMP's Professional Standards Unit into the officer's actions during an arrest in June 2011. Cpl. Murray McNeil was charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm in connection to an alleged on-duty incident.

• If Sechelt Golf & Country Club Ltd. (SG&CC) met a handful of conditions by Sept. 15, it would resume operations of the Sechelt golf course, which was taken over by the District in January of this year.

On July 24, Justice Patrice Abrioux granted SG&CC relief from forfeiture on conditions that included getting out of a commitment with CC Real Estate Mortgage and paying $125,000 into an interest-bearing account to be released at the order of the court or the consent of both parties.

• A group of Coasters took to the street in front of the expanding St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt to lament a federal healthcare policy they saw as a move toward privatization. Donning fake injuries and red umbrellas, a group that included Sechelt Coun. Alice Lutes and Coun. Dan Bouman of Gibsons, sought to draw attention to discussions related to a new federal funding plan for healthcare.


• The Sechelt Nation was fighting to save an ancient chieftain burial site found at the mouth of Salmon Inlet, described as one of the most important archeological discoveries in the province.

• A photo of an illegal dumpsite discovered by a resident of the Sunshine Coast went viral on Facebook. Becky Wayte’s photo was shared more than 600 times and had received some 8,000 comments. The comments sparked outrage over the incident and once again called into the questionable practices of some people dumping their garbage in the woods.

• Former Sunshine Coast RCMP detachment commander Kevin Picard was suing the force for allegedly damaging his reputation, causing mental suffering and unfairly dismissing him while on medical leave.

• Gibsons Recycling Depot and the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) agreed to an 18-month deal valued at $297,000, meaning the recovery centre will continue to handle a portion of the SCRD regional recycling function.

• Emanuel Machado will be moving from his manager of sustainability and special projects role in Sechelt to take on the chief administrative officer (CAO) position in Gibsons starting Sept. 15.

• They’re known for making the fastest deal ever in the Dragons’ Den and their business is now worth millions, but Brian and Corin Mullins, makers of Holy Crap cereal, hope their social responsibility will earn them a different Dragons’ Den award.

• The Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) launched a class action lawsuit against the government of Canada in an attempt to gain compensation for day scholars who attended residential schools.

• An unusual coyote attack at Carola’s Quilt Shop in Gibsons had conservation officers concerned.

Alaina Russell left her family’s quilt shop to scare off a coyote in the parking lot only to turn around and see a second coyote running from the back door of the store with her pet poodle Nicky in its mouth. Her father Greg ran after the animal that dashed across Highway 101 and disappeared into the woods.

• Blake and Jonni Gray of Roberts Creek were headed to Portland with plans to meet with their lawyer and begin stirring the pot to get Oregon’s traffic laws “out of the dark ages.” Their son, 22-year-old Connor Jordon, was killed after being struck by a driver at the intersection of Mission Street S.E. and Hawthorn Avenue S.E. in the City of Salem. The driver, James Sinks, a spokesman for the Oregon State Treasury, was issued two traffic citations and a fine. No criminal charges were filed.

• A residents’ group was forming to make sure their views are known about a possible big box development off Field Road in Wilson Creek.

The Field Road Future Group is being spearheaded by Wilson Creek resident Barbara Robertson who helped create the neighbourhood plan for the area. Under that plan the Eco Village was approved many years ago, but the village never fully developed and now the District of Sechelt is talking with a new developer who wants to market the area to big box retailers.

• Nurses on the Coast were concerned that a mandatory flu shot policy handed down by the province had sidestepped the real issue. On Aug. 23 provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall announced the new plan to make flu-shots mandatory for all health care workers at publicly funded facilities, in an effort to curb influenza outbreaks and the complications that arise.

• A Vancouver teen received a stern lesson from Sunshine Coast RCMP Tuesday afternoon after he was arrested for carrying a replica hand gun. He was later released by police with no charge. RCMP were tipped off by a member of the public who saw the youth playing with the gun before boarding a transit bus in Roberts Creek. RCMP arrested the youth after he left the bus along Marine Drive in Gibsons.



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