A look back at 2011 – July to December

The Chronicle looks back at some of the top stories of the last half of 2011.

The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock's visit was one of many highlights in the Ladysmith area during the last half of 2011.

The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock's visit was one of many highlights in the Ladysmith area during the last half of 2011.

July

It was barely into the summer break, and already administration at Ladysmith Secondary started sounding the alarm bell on enrolment in the school and suggesting the community could hold the answer by using the facility more for events.

A group of brave travellers began their journey from Ladysmith to Washington State for the annual Tribal Journey.

In the July 12 paper, we reported that the Ladysmith Resources Centre was looking for dedicated youth to help plan a business geared for, and run by, youth. The call would also go out for businesspeople in town to help  mentor the enthusiastic group.

Enthusiasm in Saltair was not as high, as it was discovered a cell tower was being planned for the area.

Young golfers in Ladysmith got a break as the Ladysmith Golf Club started giving free lessons to kids.

And while on the subject of birdies, the local Purple Martin program, which helped revive this species from the brink of extinction, was celebrated at the Ladysmith Maritime Society.

Local leadfoots got a new warning as SpeedWatch was given a larger screen to show drivers just how fast they are going on local roads.

The Town of Ladysmith held a town hall meeting where it was clear that what will be done with the waterfront was on the mind of many Ladysmith residents.

The meeting also raised some issues such as the town’s sewage treatment plan, an RV park and cat licensing.

And towards the end of the month, it was revealed that a production company was looking at downtown Ladysmith to film part of a Hallmark movie.

August

Local singer-songwriter Evan Miller was hitting the right chords as he took home the top prize from the Island Folk Fest for his tune Song for Pistol.

A new company was looking at connecting Ladysmith with Nanaimo and Duncan with a private transit system.

Despite moving the day on which it was held, Ladysmith Days was a huge success as people packed Ladysmith from Coronation Mall to Aggie Field and Transfer Beach to take in a plethora of family activities.

Among the highlights, the Ladysmith Maritime Society was named the Citizen of the Year.

Local residents were put on alert as a rash of thefts from vehicles was reported to the Ladysmith RCMP.

And in a blast from the past, the Ladysmith Historical Society announced it — along with the Ladysmith Credit Union — was looking at a temporary museum for First Avenue.

The auxiliary coast guard was asking local boaters to be prepared; the team was called out twice in as many nights to assist nautical adventurers, including a boat crash that claimed the life of David Ryan Pringle, 33, who was killed when the 15-foot recreational powerboat he was driving hit a log boom while returning from Tent Island.

Filming of The Note — Heart Healer finished in Ladysmith, with some business owners upset about the impact on stores during the filming.

A local Ladysmith man received a new, bionic leg that is able to read the ground and adjust accordingly.

Reaction started spilling out as news broke that the provincial government was forced to axe the much-maligned HST after a referendum on the levy.

September

Job action loomed as students in School District 68 prepared themselves for the first day of school in September. It was announced that during the first phase, teachers would not be performing administrative tasks such as filling forms and writing report cards.

A local dog owner had quite the scare when her 14-year-old deaf and half-blind pooch was found on a stranger’s porch several neighbourhoods away with injuries from an attack.

A whale of a tale was told about Canuck, a humpback whale being sought by conservation officials after it was spotted entangled in fishing gear. Black Press photographer Chris Bush’s story was also told as the 53-year-old prepared to embark on the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, a 1,000-kilometre journey across Vancouver Island on two wheels to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

The Town of Ladysmith began to mull over its town logo and sent out a proposed new logo, refreshed with new heritage buildings, for review.

New council hopefuls began to throw their name in the ring for political office, starting with search and rescue member Bill Drysdale and Bill Brown, while incumbents such as Duck Paterson announced their intentions to run again in the November election.

In the Sept. 20 edition of the Chronicle, the youth-led business initiative fostered by the Ladysmith Resources Centre announced it had chosen a community movie theatre, also dubbed ‘Project Reel Life,’ for a proposal for funding from the Community Action Initiative.

Ladysmith’s future was also discussed during a sustainability meeting at Aggie Hall. Led by Mark Holland, the session identified priorities within a set number of topics.

Some of those priorities included better funding for arts programs, relationship building with the Stz’uminus First Nation, exploring eco-tourism, expansion of Holland Creek, and partnerships with the Island Corridor Foundation to better develop the rail line.

Seniors were in the spotlight when a special seniors’ advisory council was named, and several sporty seniors were featured after returning from the B.C. Seniors’ Games.

In September, secondary suites officially became legal in Ladysmith and in the arts, the Yellow Point Drama Group was preparing for a trip back in time with its production of 1949.

October

October began on a roll as the 2011 Tour De Rock team cycled through town and local team member Chris Bush had his locks removed to raise further funds for the cause.

A wave of approval washed over the Town of Ladysmith’s watershed resolution at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention, while Chemainiacs held both their noses and their picket signs protesting a stench coming from the Chemainus Industrial Park.

Creek work was completed at Holland Creek after taking a little longer than planned, and a dedicated group of Ladysmith residents worked tirelessly to raise $23,000 to sponsor a Syrian family to come to Canada and have a second chance at a healthier life.

Council began the month by voting in a phased pay raise to catch up to other similar-sized communities in the province. The raise was voted in as a staggered increase over a three-year period.

Filming wrapped up on the new superman movie Man of Steel, also known by its code name Autumn Frost, at the Cassidy Inn, while the Town of Ladysmith was honoured for being one of the six most small-business-friendly communities in B.C.

The Chronicle saluted the community’s firefighters with a full supplement and editorial, and a casting call went out for the Ladysmith Little Theatre’s upcoming production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

The Ladysmith Arts Council jury also selected the best of its multimedia show, with best in show going to Anne Jones for her acrylic canvas ‘64 minute memories of the outside passage.’

The official election race kicked off Oct. 14, with incumbents Rob Hutchins, Jill Dashwood, Bruce Whittington, Duck Paterson and Steve Arnett vying to keep their seats, while newcomers Gord Horth, Glenda Paterson, David Brown, Bill Drysdale and Regan Grill re-introduced themselves to the community as political contenders. The waterfront, downtown and sustainable growth were hot issues during the campaign.

The Festival of Lights committee began looking for volunteers, and appreciators of fine fashion gathered at Cedar Hall to take in 100 years of style.

October ended on a spooktacular note, with Chemainus Secondary School dressing up for the Halloween season while raising donations for the Harvest House Food Bank.

At Ladysmith Secondary School, Japanese students visiting from Yokohama left behind a lesson in culture after spending 10 days learning and playing together.

The Cedar Farmer’s Market held its last shindig of the year Oct. 30 after a year of growing and selling local food and products.

On Oct. 26, Chronicle editor Matthew Peterson completed his last day with the paper after almost a year at the helm.

November

While politics dominated the greater half of November, the bustling comings and goings in Ladysmith provided a number of feel good stories for everyone.

Frank Taylor, 28, was awarded a Governor General’s medal of bravery for saving an 86-year-old Saltair man from his home after it had caught fire back in 2008.

Chronicle readers were introduced to this year’s Ladysmith Ambassadors and learned about the Ladysmith Secondary School improv team with its astounding 70 members.

During the month of November, political candidates shared their views on local hot button issues and faced the scrutiny of the public.

But on Nov. 19, voters made it clear who they wanted in the top spot on Ladysmith’s council. Incumbent Rob Hutchins returned to his seat with 1,303 votes, and incumbents Duck Paterson, Steve Arnett and Jillian Dashwood were also re-elected. New faces Glenda Patterson, Bill Drysdale and Gord Horth emerged in the top six as the poll dust settled.

A little November rain didn’t put the damper on the town’s biggest celebration of the year, Light Up, which was attended by approximately 13,000 people. Some of those people were fortunate enough to witness Mike Morgan propose to his girlfriend of six years, Avegale Walker, on the Festival of Lights stage.

December

December rang in on a high note as Project Reel Life, a community theatre project initiated by a group of local youths, received a $200,000 grant.

Community members were encouraged to bring in their coins for the Pennies for Presents drive, while the Celebration of Light drew in a sold-out crowd and raised money and donations for the food bank.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the local coverage of community events in Ladysmith throughout 2011, and we wish you a safe and prosperous new year as we prepare to tell the stories of 2012.