Ladysmith Ambassadors

The Year in Review – Part 1

The Chronicle looks back at some of the front-page headlines from the first five months of 2013.

January

At the beginning of January, we reported the exciting news that the Ladysmith Players had signed an agreement with School District 68 for the society to purchase the former Diamond Elementary School building on Christie Road that houses the Ladysmith Little Theatre.

The year also started off with a report from a local demonstration supporting the Idle No More movement. Tim Harris, Stephanie Harris and Gina-Mae Harris organized a demonstration just outside Ladysmith at the Husky Gas Station on Dec. 31, and about 300 people took part.

Parishioners of Ladysmith First United Church were robbed of more than their holiday spirit when they discovered shortly after Christmas that someone had stolen $40,000 from the church’s coffers.

February

At the beginning of February, we found out that the B.C. and Yukon division of the Canadian Cancer Society had decided to close its Ladysmith office effective March 31, leaving the office’s volunteer staff scratching their heads as to how logical a decision that might be.

Questions were raised about what services are available for homeless people in our community after the body of David James Alton was discovered in a dugout at Aggie Field on the afternoon of Jan. 14. Ladysmith RCMP Staff Sgt. Larry Chomyn said there was nothing suspicious about Alton’s death, but the exact cause of his death had not yet been determined. Alton’s cousin, Cindy Cox, said Alton found himself homeless in early January after he was evicted from his apartment because he had not paid rent for three months.

March

Many Ladysmith residents were honoured with Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals in 2013, and in March, we reported that Ladysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins and his brother Andrew Hutchins were two of 75 British Columbians recognized by B.C. Premier Christy Clark at a ceremony in Victoria.

If you saw a mock military transport train on the railway crossing at Oyster Sto’Lo Road and Highway 1, you were actually witnessing the filming of Godzilla. Film crews from Legendary Pictures shot a total of six days’ worth of footage in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Shawnigan Lake. The movie is expected to hit theatres May 16, 2014.

April

In mid-April, a report presented to the School District 68 school board recommended some significant changes over the next 10 years, including the controversial reconfiguration of schools in Ladysmith. Dr. Doug Player worked as a consultant to assist senior management with the definition of the key elements of a draft 10-year facilities enhancement plan, and his recommendations were presented to the board April 11.

Near the end of the month, Kristy DeClark was named Ladysmith’s Ambassador for 2013-14. Following the ceremony, DeClark — a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Ladysmith Secondary School and president of the LSS student council — admitted the win took her by surprise. Kira Mauriks and Sydney Jordan were named Vice-Ambassadors.

May

In early May, residents in Ladysmith and Chemainus had a chance to hear from the six candidates vying to represent Nanaimo-North Cowichan in the provincial Legislature during all-candidates forums. Doug Routley (BC NDP), Amanda Jacobson (BC Liberal Party), John Sherry (BC Conservative Party), Murray McNab (Independent), P. Anna Paddon (Independent) and Mayo McDonough (Green Party of BC) addressed issues such as health care, smart meters, raw log exports and education during the forums.

Ongoing negotiations between Couverdon (TimberWest’s real estate business) and the Town of Ladysmith over the incorporation of 700-plus acres of forested Cowichan Valley Regional District land had residents of North Oyster and the Diamond in a huff.