In brief: Cowichan’s 2014 top stories

A huge windstorm in November knocked out power and downed trees throughout the Cowichan Valley. It was days before power was fully restored to all customers, and one home was crushed by a falling tree.

2014 saw another chapter opened in the case of the shooting of William Gillespie by RCMP officer Const. David Pompeo.

Pompeo was convicted of aggravated assault in the case in February of 2013.

For shooting the unarmed Gillespie in 2009, he was sentenced to two years probation and 240 hours of community service. He was also allowed to keep his firearm.

But in August a new trial was ordered after Pompeo successfully appealed the conviction.

The appeal, heard by Justice Harvey M. Groberman, Chief Justice Robert James Bauman and Justice Nicole J. Garson, concluded that Judge Wood erred in excluding the evidence of an expert witness who said the use of lethal force was in accordance with police protocols and training and so the shooting was necessary.

The appeal court also found that Judge Wood "went beyond his proper role when he made requests that evidence be tendered and when he engaged in lengthy questioning of witnesses."

Cowichan Valley residents headed to the polls in November to elect local governments for the next four years in municipal elections.

The results delivered a lot of change for many areas of the Valley.

While Jon Lefebure was returned to the mayor’s chair in the Municipality of North Cowichan after a hard-fought race against former councillor John Koury, council itself saw a significant number of new faces, with Rob Douglas, Maeve Maguire, and Joyce Behnsen all taking seats for the first time, and former mayor Tom Walker coming back to council after a term away.

In the City of Duncan, Mayor Phil Kent returned to office, winning the mayoral race handily. There were two new faces elected to council however: Roger Bruce and John Horgan.

In the Cowichan Valley Regional District there was a big turnover of directors, with Kerry Davis, Sonia Furstenau, Alison Nicholson, and Matteus Clement winning seats in the region’s south end – all newcomers to regional politics.

In Lake Cowichan Carolyn Austin and Lorna Vomacka ensured that half of the four-person council would be new going forward.

There were plenty of eyes on the school board race, as the number of seats dropped from nine to seven, and many candidates divided into teams during the election.

There was particular interest in who would be elected because the last board had been fired by the provincial government for failing to file a balanced budget, leading to two-and-a-half years of rule by a single provincially-appointed trustee.

The team of candidates calling themselves Students First came out on top, taking five of the seven seats. Rob Hutchins, Candace Spilsbury, Joe Thorne, Cathy Schmidt and Barb de Groot were all successful in their bids for office.

Independents Randy Doman and Elizabeth Croft rounded out those elected.

Federal Conservatives in the Cowichan Valley were thrilled by a January visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, while those of other political stripes met Canada’s leader at the gates of Brentwood College with protest signs.

It was the first time a prime minister had visited the Valley in 60 years.

The Chemainus Theatre did a huge renovation of its dining room – the first time in 20 years.

Theatre goers were treated to new sophisticated décor that brought an additional touch of class to this popular Valley spot.

The Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre held its grand opening in February.

Less than one year after shovels broke ground, the stunning $1.15-million facility quietly opened its doors in January and has seen nothing but success thus far. The project finished on time and on budget.

Just Posted

Conner Gilkin, 5, shows of some of his newfound loot to buddy Jax Dul, 7, during the Lake Cowichan treasure hunt on Saturday, June 5. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Weekly hunt has Lake Cowichan digging for treasure

Gold? Silver? Candy? Andrew Braye has stashed away a range of prizes for eager treasure hunters

A new laundromat is opening in the Peters Centre in Lake Cowichan. (file photo)
Peters Centre getting all cleaned up

Laundromat being developed at the Neva Road site

Robert's column
Robert Barron column: Skyrocketing house prices a tragedy

North Cowichan councillor Rosalie Sawrie brought an interesting perspective to a discussion… Continue reading

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read