News

2012 Year End: January - March

Flanked by grandmother Jan Gallic, new mother Kelly Foxcroft Porier brought Port Alberni
Flanked by grandmother Jan Gallic, new mother Kelly Foxcroft Porier brought Port Alberni's New Year's Baby into the world.
— image credit: WAWMEESH G. HAMILTON/Alberni Valley News

January:

River Leigh Poirier was Port Alberni’s New Year’s baby, arriving a week before her due date on Jan. 5.

On Jan. 3, fire ripped through the Southside Community Church on Ninth Avenue at Neill Street and before it was over the building was gutted.

“The Lord’s church is the people, the building isn’t the church,” pastor Cal Barber said. “This is not going to set us back.”

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The community was also mourning the loss of Terry Whyte, who died of a brain hemorrhage while driving to the airport in Victoria.

Meanwhile across town, construction was underway at the new high school on Roger Street.

On January 13, the News reported that city council tabled a motion approving a development permit extension for the Beaufort Hotel to give building owner Paul Sorroya one month to deal with his burned building across the street.

As well, A delay in getting special bags to store contaminated waste held up the demolition of the Downtown Manor, which was gutted by fire in 2011.

Port Alberni recorded its first murder of the year with the death of Marvin Hankins, 75. The crime remains unsolved.

The Port Alberni fire department pointed to human error as the cause of a fire that destroyed the rear of the Tidebrook Hotel.

It wasn’t to be the last fire there.

On Jan. 27, Sportsfishing BC TV host Mark Pendlington ordered a 17-foot fibreglass boat made by Alberni Fiber Pro Boats owner Mike Bouchard.

Tenants at the Rusty Anchor Inn avoided eviction after being given three-days notice. Owner Chris Ashby said the rooms sorely needed to be renovated.

A suspect broke into the home of 84-year-old Ed Schutte and held a knife to his throat before robbing him. .Schutte was the third senior to be attacked in January.

In sports news, the Armada senior girls and senior boys basketball team was gearing up to host the last Totem ever at the old gym on Burde Street.

At Totem, Danielle Lessard led the Armada senior girls team to a second title in the girls division of Totem. The Armada boys were game but went 0-3 in the big show.

On Jan 20, Nicolette Morris introduced Zumba to News readers.

February:

On Feb. 3, Port Alberni City Coun. Jack McLeman railed about smart meters being installed in the city.

Catalyst Paper Corp. announced that it  filed for creditor protection in B.C. Supreme Court.

In business news, Port Alberni mortgage broker Sharie Marie Francoeur celebrated her BE Award win for Real Estate Company of the Year.

On Feb. 10, Salvation Army Major Bruce MacKenzie said he wanted fresh vegetables in the food hampers provided by the Community Food Bank.

The city and Port Alberni Port Authority announced that foundation issues prompted them to consider tearing down the main building at Clutesi Haven Marina.

PAPA also announced that they were donating $10,000 towards the publishing of a “then and now” commemorative centennial book.

Alberni wrestlers combined to take the overall club championship, as well 12 gold, eight silver and six bronze medals at the two-day Alberni Invitational Wrestling  meet.

At city council, engineer Guy Cicon noted how grit washed through drain pipes along Third Avenue prompted their immediate replacement.

The city initially announced that RCMP Inspector Jim Martin from Alta. would replace the retired Gord Wellar. Martin never came and no explanation was ever given.

Port Alberni city council re-affirmed its support a proposed shelter on Eighth Avenue. The previous city council supported it as well. “I’ve already heard from neighbours on the project and they have some fast PR work to do,” Coun. Cindy Solda said.

In Port Alberni Provincial Court, Judge Allan Gould sentenced Christopher Mathias Sam, 22, to 13 years in prison for killing Ray Samuel Junior, 45, in May 2011.

On Feb. 24, the News reported that a new clinic with five doctors, a pharmacy and LifeLabs was opening on Maple Way.

Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser railed against the BC Liberal budget.

The breakfast program at ADSS was responsible for improved graduation rates and improved attendance levels, officials said.

City council budget deliberations were underway. The economic development department saw a modest increase in budget.

The RCMP went hat in hand to the city to ask for more officers even though they consistently record a budget surplus.

Port Alberni city council re-affirmed its support a proposed shelter on Eighth Avenue. The previous city council supported it as well. “I’ve already heard from neighbours on the project and they have some fast PR work to do,” Coun. Cindy Solda said.

In Port Alberni Provincial Court, Judge Allan Gould sentenced Christopher Mathias Sam, 22, to 13 years in prison for killing Ray Samuel Junior, 45, in May 2011.

On Feb. 24, the News reported that a new clinic with five doctors, a pharmacy and LifeLabs was opening on Maple Way. Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser railed against the BC Liberal budget.

The breakfast program at ADSS was responsible for improved graduation rates and improved attendance levels, officials said.

City budget talks were underway. The economic development department saw a modest increase in budget.

The RCMP went hat in hand to the city to ask for more officers even though they consistently record a budget surplus.

March:

The Alberni Valley Enhancement Association’s Salmon Hatchery unveiled the Dave Chitty Resource Centre, named after longtime Alberni Valley Enhancement Association member Dave Chitty, just weeks before he passed away from a longtime illness.

The Valley’s 300 teachers prepared to strike after the BC Teachers Federation announced that their members voted 87 per cent in favour of escalating job action.

VanIsle Ford’s plan to move to Sterling Field moved ahead after a re-zoning application passed two readings by city council.

The Bulldogs were out of the playoffs by March 2 but were still playing for pride.

The Armada senior girls hoops squad were finished for the season after going 1-2 at the AAA Island Basketball Championships in Victoria.

At the BC Junior All Native, the Ahousaht Mystic Sunz claimed the girls division title with a 53-47 victory over the Gingolx Storm 53-47.

Haida Gwaii’s Skidegate Saints took their division with a narrow 66-62 victory over Heiltsuk Nation.

.On March 9, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission announced that it was coming to Port Alberni to hear testimony from residential school survivors and their families.

Port Alberni teachers were back in classes after job action. Some 60-80 ADSS students walked out of school one hour early to show of solidarity with striking School District 70 teachers.

Mort’s Video closed its doors for the final time since it first opened its video outlet in 1978. Mort’s was the longest single-owner video store on Vancouver Island.

The Alberni Airborne Volleyball Club had a strong showing at the a 13-team play day at AW Neill Middle School and the Alberni Athletic Hall.

Alberni resident Meloney Edghill chronicled her experience with a breakthrough treatment for metastatic melanoma in the March 16 edition of the News.

Japanese Consul General Hideki Ito commended  Port Alberni’s Roxy Manson, who forwent birthday presents and instead donated her birthday money to the Japanese rebuilding effort.

Valley rescue personnel found four Alberni residents safe after they spent a cold night out. The group got lost after 4x4ing in the area west of Sproat Lake.

The Bulldogs ended their season after a game against the Cowichan Valley Captials.

Local aboriginal officials were preparing to host more than 50 teams who were coming to participate in the BC Junior All Native Basketball Tournament.

On March 23, the News examined the options available to the city to repair the McLean Mill dam and fish ladder.

Valley resident Brendan Hamilton prepared to travel to Uganda where he would spend the next four months doing humanitarian work with an NGO.

Port Alberni city council released a report which noted that Port Alberni had some of the highest rates of serious infant health issues and autoimmune diseases in the province.

A  ceremonial club given to explorer Captain James Cook by Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples was donated to the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology by the Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Next: April-May

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