Not everyone went willingly when police and city officials broke up a homeless camp in Charles Hoey Park in 2017. (Citizen file)

Year in Review: New faces and goodbyes in 2017

War veteran 94-year-old George Brewster headed to Dieppe, France in 2017, to help mark the 75 anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

War veteran 94-year-old George Brewster headed to Dieppe, France in 2017, to help mark the 75 anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

Brewster took part in commemorative ceremonies in August.

Some of his words of wisdom: “There’s something sacred about the very air we breathe and the world we live in and that we would do well to honour that, to look after it, to nurture it, to nurture the people that inhabit it, and the creatures,” he said. “I would love it if people would live in peace with each other, with neighbours who would help each other in times of need, not just flock in when you win the lotto.”

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There were plenty of new faces this fall in the Cowichan Valley.

Sierra Acton won a byelection to replace newly minted MLA Sonia Furstenau as the director for Shawnigan Lake on the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board.

Staff Sergeant Chris Bear took over as the new Officer in Command of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.

And Ted Swabey took over as chief administrative officer for the Municipality of North Cowichan, replacing Dave Devana.

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A $1 million seismic upgrade was announced for the Silver Bridge, which spans the Cowichan River as one travels north into Duncan.

“Retrofitting the existing structures to meet current seismic standards will ensure the Trans-Canada Highway corridor is kept safe and reliable for traffic, cyclists and pedestrians,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Travena.

The west bridge was built in 1950 and east bridge was built in 1978.

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As the process continued on towards getting a new Cowichan District Hospital built, the old hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary in September.

The hospital on Gibbins Road in Duncan first opened its doors in September 1967, and the anniversary was celebrated with a barbecue lunch and speeches by invited guests which included provincial and local officials.

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A new $1.5 million Forests Forever exhibit planned for the BC Forest Discovery Centre got a huge boost from Western Forest Products, TimberWest and the Truck Loggers Association, as they donated $250,000, $150,000, and $75,000 respectively.

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The idea of merging the Shawnigan Lake and North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachments was being floated this year, angering Cowichan Valley residents.

Both in need of new buildings, the idea of joining the two detachments into one was being studied, much to the displeasure of the local population. A petition against the idea has gone to the Victoria Legislature.

Many in the Valley’s south end are very upset with the possible plans to take their RCMP detachment away,” said Mill Bay/Malahat CVRD director Kerry Davis. “They are concerned about losing the local police presence in their area.”

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Duncan’s Pioneer’s Video held its going out of business sales, in a closure that marked the end of an era.

First opened in 1991, it was the last video store in the area still in operation.

“It was a good run and we provided a good service to the community in the 27 years we have been in business,” said owner Erfan Vaezi.

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