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The Year in Review: Part three

Year in News
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File photo

The new wing at St. Mary’s Hospital was officially opened during a ceremony in October.

September

• The District of Sechelt didn’t have all the funding, partnerships or approvals in place to finish building its $25 million sewage treatment plant, so council extended the build contract by two months.

Wastewater treatment plant project coordinator Paul Nash told council the construction contract with Maple Reinders needed to be extended in order to meet certain conditions set out in the contract.

• A lightning strike on Gambier Island burned down the dining hall at Camp Fircom, but the damage could have been much worse, said a spokesman for the United Church of Canada camp. The fire occurred during a major lightning storm that hit the region. The camp had wrapped up for the summer season and no children were on the site.

• If the opening of Persephone Brewing Com-pany in Gibsons was any indication, the Sunshine Coast was ready to support a locally grown brand of suds. Located at 1053 Stewart Road, at the intersection of North Road, the self-described beer farm was marketing two products — Goddess Golden Ale and Rum Runner Red Ale.

• SCRD directors agreed to approve a budget request to the province for expanded bus service, but they stopped short of endorsing the draft 25-year plan that was presented by transit officials.

• This year’s PNE Prize Home winner was Gibsons’ Dean Cockerill who shared the $1.3 million luxury home with his common-law wife Dianna Barton.

• Premier Christy Clark and the new minister responsible for BC Ferries received an earful at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention.

Hoping to ward off expected cuts to the coastal ferry service, a delegation of chairs and mayors from ferry-dependent communities met with the premier and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone during the convention.

• BC Timber Sales (BCTS) delayed the logging of 68 hectares of old-growth forest in Dakota Bowl on Mount Elphinstone, after flagging one of the five cutblocks for its “unique ecological/cultural attributes.”

• A strike of K-12 school support workers was avoided with the development of a new provincial framework agreement; however, union members still had to ratify it and local school boards will have to pay for its promised salary increases.

The deal announced called for a 3.5 per cent wage increase for support staff over two years.

• Participants from the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation and the Sunshine Coast joined tens of thousands of Canadians for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s national gathering in Vancouver.

The week-long event focused on the painful legacy of the residential school system with traditional healing ceremonies, cultural demonstrations, testimonies from survivors and a four-km Walk for Reconciliation that drew an estimated 70,000 people to downtown Vancouver.

• A group of Coasters who want to ban trapping in the District of Sechelt left a committee of the whole meeting visibly upset after a bylaw to prohibit the use of body-gripping traps was tabled by council for more discussion with trappers.

• Sunshine Coast RCMP constables Ben Stewart and Darcy Dumais were proud to pedal through Coast communities, raising more than $42,000 for pediatric cancer research with Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast.

October

• The community was feeling the impact after an early-morning fire tore through the Pender Harbour Hotel and Grasshopper Pub.

The fire, which destroyed more than half of the building in the 12600 block of Highway 101 at Madeira Park, started between 6 and 7 a.m., officials said. No injuries were reported.

• Changes to Burnco Rock Products’ proposal for a gravel mine operation at McNab Creek are steps in the right direction, but did not satisfy the concerns of opponents, the spokesman for the Future of Howe Sound Society (FHSS) said after an open house meeting was held in Gibsons.

• A kite boarder in distress off Davis Bay beach was rescued by two quick-thinking locals while emergency responders waited on shore to help transport him to hospital. The unidentified man was out kite boarding at around 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 when stormy seas and strong winds got the better of him.

• The SCRD was suing the builders of the Sechelt and Area Aquatic Centre for a litany of alleged structural defects — including “dangerous defects” that “pose a real and substantial danger” to public health and safety.

The civil claim was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court against Vic Davies Architect Ltd. of Victoria and 15 contractors involved in the construction project between 2006 and 2008.

• The District of Sechelt was looking at ways to raise $4.5 million for airport expansion without funding from the province or increases in property tax.

• The Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) received a Clean Energy Award for their role in the Sechelt Creek run-of-river hydro project, developed in partnership with Regional Power. The honour from Clean Energy BC is for environmental stewardship and community improvement.

• A baby bear left orphaned during Thanks-giving long weekend was transported to Critter Care in Vancouver. The animal was doing well, and will likely be released back on the Coast next spring.

• Sechelt would soon be home to the only year-round mountain bike gravity park in the Pacific Northwest, able to offer a unique coastal experience.

Some of the park was secretly built during 2013 by local mountain bike celebrities from the Coastal Crew: Dylan Dunkerton, Curtis Robinson and Kyle Norberton.

The crew also enlisted help from rider Linden Feniak, local contractor Darren Hemstreet and machine operator Kane Boyce. Coastal Crew is a sponsored group of downhill riders who have been building trails and filming their riding exploits around the world since 2008.

November

• The B.C. government pledged $500,000 toward the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation’s equity investment in Renewable Power Corporation’s Narrows Inlet hydro project.

• Sechelt Innovations Ltd. (SIL) officially launched with much fanfare, champagne and caviar. More than 200 interested business people, government representatives and community members packed the Seaside Centre to celebrate the launch, meet the new board and hear the announcement of new business promised by Sechelt Mayor John Henderson.

• Sechelt council announced that funding, approvals and partnerships are now in place for the $25 million wastewater treatment plant being built in Sechelt.

• There were many smiles and a few tears on the face of veteran Larry Boyd as he watched student volunteers from Elphinstone Secondary School tend to the forgotten graves of veterans buried in Seaview Cemetery.

• Traffic conflicts outside Gibsons Elementary School were deemed “a recipe for disaster,” according to the coordinator for Sunshine Coast Speed Watch. Reporting to the committee as a concerned citizen, Jon Hird said the five years he’s spent on Speed Watch duty outside the school have given him a harrowing inside view of the problem.

• The redesigned George Hotel plan was unveiled in Gibsons, drawing more than 200 people to the proponents’ open house at Cedars Inn. The new design would split the project into two separate buildings, with a view corridor and public plaza set between the hotel complex and condominium block. This was followed up by a presentation at the Gibsons committee of the whole where more than 100 people came out to hear the presentation.

• Sunshine Coast RCMP presented David Gibsons of Sechelt with the Detachment Commander’s commendation for coming to the aid of police and assisting with the arrest of a violent offender.

• The province planned to chop the BC Ferries seniors’ discount in half and cut eight per cent of overall sailings starting next April, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone announced.

• An arbitrator upheld the Town of Gibsons’ rental formula for the Gibsons Marina, the Town announced. The decision meant the rent paid by Gibsons Marina Hotel Inc. would continue to be based on the current formula of 15 per cent of gross revenue, plus one third of the Town’s water lot lease payment, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012.

• Low cost-recovery numbers for the Gibsons and District Aquatic Centre suggested it’s time to start planning for a new facility.

• The SCRD board added its voice to the growing chorus of opposition against plans for a 20-fold increase in coal shipments to and from Texada Island. Concerned about the potential health and environmental impacts of coal dust from increased barge traffic, directors called for a full environmental assessment “to allow for comprehensive public input from people along the entire route.”

• Residents gave a firm thumbs down to the proposed Rogers telecommunications tower during an information meeting on the proposal. A week later, council rejected the proposal as well but not without citing their disappointment with the community, which brought them to their decision.

Council voted four to one to reject with only Coun. Gerry Tretick voting in favour.

• Metro Vancouver was considering a proposal to build a $500-million garbage incinerator on Squamish First Nation lands at Port Mellon. The short-listed proposal, from Aquilina Renewable Energy, is one of four announced by Metro Vancouver, along with proposals from other companies for sites in Nanaimo, Delta and South Vancouver near the Oak Street Bridge.

• Seniors, commuters, business and local government leaders blasted the province’s planned cuts to BC Ferries during a sometimes-raucous pubic engagement session in Gibsons that drew about 300 people.

December

• SCRD directors urged the province to ban hunting and shooting near residential areas within the SCRD. The move followed complaints from Daniel Point residents of “people walking around with a bow and probably a rifle,” Pender Harbour/Egmont director Frank Mauro said.

• After the Sunshine Coast Elves Club was about $25,000 short of its goal this year, the community rallied, filling the depot coffers with food, toys and cash, meaning Christmas would be a lot brighter for Coast families in need.

• Plans for a Coast-wide protest against ferry cuts were gaining steam as more Coastal communities expressed an interest in joining in the protest, which was set for Jan. 18.

• The old yacht club in Gibsons will soon be the site of a public market after the necessary funds were secured. The Gibsons Public Market Team announced that they had successfully raised $275,000 in donations for the purchase of the property.


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