2012 Year End: April-May

Former Port Alberni mayor Ken McRae, left, and former city councillor Kenn Whiteman were named Freemen of the City in May. - SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News
Former Port Alberni mayor Ken McRae, left, and former city councillor Kenn Whiteman were named Freemen of the City in May.
— image credit: SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News


The Valley kicked off its Centennial celebration with a special event attended by more than 800 people at the ADSS auditorium.

“The Twin Cities that began really with some rivalry is a good story to reflect on. Because learning from our history makes a better future,” said Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser.

VIHA’s Integrated Health Network partnered with the Port Alberni Salvation Army to introduce a pilot program that provided fresh fruits and vegetables to IHN clients.

The Supreme Court of Canada said that it wouldn’t review a B.C. court ruling recognizing the right of five First Nations’ to catch and sell fish caught in their traditional territories. “This just puts Nuu-chah-nulth back into the fishery in an economic way that they’ve been excluded from for decades by government policies,” NTC biologist Don Hall said.

Port Alberni’s  Kennedy Lavertu earned a silver medal at the STARSkate provincial championships. The placing established her in fourth place overall in B.C. in her category.

April 13 marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Victoria resident Frank Grant recounted the incident in his diary, which his great grandson David Hooper shared  with the News.

The ACRD office was the site of a historical event as representatives of the Huu-ay-aht and Ucluelet First Nations were sworn in regional district directors.

The federal government announced that it was ponying up $7.5 million for railway improvements. The funds matched $7.5 kicked on by the province in 2011.

Catalyst retirees were on edge about the pending sale of Catalyst Paper Corp., former employee Peter Finch said. Finch was part of a group that were classified as defined benefits and stood to lose the most depending on how the sale went.

.The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce gave Bob Wagenvoort and Manfred Baron a special recognition award for their work at Literacy Alberni. The men refurbish old computers and donate them to low income families.

The Port Alberni Chamber of Commerce named Tseshaht tribe member Irene Robinson its citizen of the year.

Port Alberni RCMP charged Channon Paul Coulter, 41, with one count of break and enter, possession of break and enter tools, several counts of possession of stolen property. One of Coulter’s victims was a senior, and police said he was a person of interest in a rash of similar incidents. No arrests were made in those occurrences.

The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society kicked off its bid to buy the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The community group needed to raise $500,000 by June 1.

Tseshaht member Bobby Rupert alerted BC Conservation authorities about a bear cub carcass he found in the river with its head and paws cut off.

BC Transit officials proposed a new transit system in Alberni with a central transit exchange at 12th Avenue and Redford Street.


The Alberni Valley News announced that it in response to feedback from advertisers and readers it was moving its paper delivery days from Fridays to Thursdays.

More than 1,000 people attended the Old School Celebration at the old ADSS. The visitors included a group from the school’s first graduating class who have been friends for life.

Gayle’s Fashions owner Gayle Stephen-Player stepped up to champion the beleaguered uptown  area. “We can go and put up some pretty flowers and put up some pretty lights and pipe in some music, but until we get the social issue part rolling we can’t really move too quickly on anything else,” Stephen-Player said.

Pending cuts to the federal Community Access Program funding didn’t affect public Internet access at Port Alberni’s library, Vancouver Island Regional Library manager Michael deLeur said. The government announced the program was being cut at the end of March.

The plucky Alberni Airborne Volleyball was preparing to compete with 55 other teams in the volleyball provincial championships in Abbotsford. “When they master confidence they’ll rise in the rankings,” coach Julie Anderson said.

The News raked in some hardware from the Canadian Community Newspaper Association annual awards. We earned silver awards for our arts coverage and editorial pages, a bronze for our sports coverage, and a blue ribbon for general excellence.

.Beer and Port Alberni are a good mix as the Vancouver Island Brewery released its Flying Tanker White IPA (India Pale Ale). “This beer isn’t just for emergencies,” promo material said.

City council recognized former mayor Ken McRae and former councillor Kenn Whiteman as Freemen of the city  at an official ceremony.

In police news, the visitor centre was left riddled with bullets after someone went on a shooting spree on the Alberni Highway.

Construction of the new high school on Roger Street hit a wrinkle when Pye Construction owner Wayne Pye confirmed he took out a $350,000 out a lien against the title of the school property for non-payment of work from Yellowridge Construction.

In business news, Westcoast Home Hardware announced it was moving into the old Alberni Mall in Northport next November. The store increased in size and needed 20 more new employees, owner Jan Lavertu said.

A 26-year-old Nanaimo man died in a kayaking mishap on the Cameron River outside of Port Alberni.

An electrical fire was sparked during a smart meter swap-out at a Valley residence.

Tseshaht Spring. Members of the Tseshaht First Nation elected a nearly new council including eventual chief councillor Hugh Braker.

Police recommended charges against two Valley men for beating Bert McCarthy and breaking his leg in an incident that received widespread attention.

As part of a cost cutting measure, Canada Coast Guard announced that it was closing its Canada Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Centre in Ucluelet in 2015.

City Coun. Jack McLeman called on council to be more transparent in its dealings with city land. The matter regarding Van Isle Ford’s move to Stirling Field, went by the book but still troubled McLeman because it stayed in camera for so long, he said.

New Tseshaht Chief Councillor Hugh Braker told the News that he almost became a diplomat in Canada’s foreign service. But his tribe’s elders told him to get an education and help his people instead. He ultimately earned a law degree from UBC and went on to quarterback some of the most significant aboriginal rights co.urt cases in B.C. history.

In sports news, former Alberni resident Paul Cyr who played hockey in the NHL died of heart failure brought on by complications related to diabetes at his home in Naksup.

A car drove through the window of Flandangles on Third Avenue. No injuries were reported.

The PAJHS raised more than $150,000 to purchase majority ownership in the team. The clock was ticking on the June date to raise $500,000.

The Bulldogs announced that they signed Dylan Haugen, who grew up playing in Alberni Valley Minor Hockey.

The Armada girls’ rugby team won the provincial Tier 2 championship with a 15-10 overtime win against Island rival Shawnigan Lake.

Part two: June-December in next week's News

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