April 24, 2024

News Impacting Central and North Vancouver Island


The big house, or Gukwdzi, of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations is almost ready to be opened after more than 60 years. Decisions, titles, songs and names happen in the big house, which also serves as the seat of their government.

The Kwa’lilas Hotel in Port Hardy played host to the sold-out Kwakwak’wakw Fashion Show on April 12, organized by Aurellia Nelson, hamalakane’ga Kwakwani. Four Indigenous designers—Corinne Hunt, Rebecca Baker-Grenier, Aurellia Nelson and Tina Henderson—showcased their designs at the event.

The District of Port Hardy contracted Q.N.P.C Construction Ltd. to  make some new bridges on the Quatse River Trail. The total cost is $75,000 taken from the Capital Project budget for Bridge Replacement.



Liron Gertsman

A fund of $2,000 that was jointly contributed by Campbell River Whale Watching and photographer Liron Gertsman will be allocated to aid local wildlife rescue initiatives.

Ripple Rock Elementary in Campbell River received $1 million for construction and the purchase of furniture and appliances through the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund, through a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Campbell River School District.

The Comfort Inn & Suites in Campbell River was a recipient of a gold award in the Midscale Brands – Suburban category at the Choice Hotels Canada’s annual 2024 Guest Satisfaction Awards.

A network planning grant of $50,000 was awarded to Electoral Area C of the Strathcona Regional District by the provincial Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program. This funding will be utilized for project planning, data collection, and site evaluations.

The Campbell River Women’s Centre recently held an open house and social event to celebrate the grand opening of its new location at the Eagle Harbour building in downtown Campbell River.

The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) will keep investing in equitable economic development, diversification, and innovation in partnership with communities along the B.C. coast with a $10 million investment from the Province of British Columbia.



Kevin Penny

Kevin Penny is starting a new position as Manager of Recreation Programs and Services at Comox Valley Regional District.

Direct flights between Kelowna and Comox will be offered by Pacific Coastal Airlines beginning June 25.

The Student Housing development at North Island College was awarded the Carbon Leadership Forum BC Embodied Carbon Award for Large Buildings.

The grand opening of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce downtown Courtenay location is on May 9th at #103 – 576 England Avenue.

As part of the Investment Readiness Program, the Island Coastal Economic Trust has partnered with the Town of Comox to invest $10,000 toward the development of Comox’s fibre optic network. This initiative will have a beneficial, innovation-and technology-focused impact.

The upcoming Comox Air Show is happening on May 18, 2024. The show celebrates the 100th year of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The action takes place at 19 Wing Comox from 9am to 4pm and features the Snowbirds, the CF 18 Demo Team and so much more!


Students at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre in Port Alberni are breathing clean air, thanks to a new $360,000 ventilation system. The federal government included the refit as part of a March 2024 announcement that $4.2 million in federal and provincial funding has been spent on ventilation upgrades in eight schools across B.C. However, School District 70 (Pacific Rim) director of operations Greg Roe said the work was completed four months ago.

The strategic plan to operate the Alberni Pacific Railway to Mclean Mill is being supported by an investment of $20,000 from the Island Coastal Economic Trust and the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society as part of the Investment Readiness Program.

Good/Kind consignment clothing shop has opened at the Harbour Quay.

The Port Alberni Maritime Discovery Centre is seeking a Facilities Coordinator.

The Grove Art Gallery, operated by the Community Arts Council, is offering new children’s art classes.

Port Alberni’s 100+ Women Who Care have donated$10,000 to the Maritime Discovery Centre.

INEO Employment Services celebrated 35 years in operation.

Hiking trail signs for Port Alberni are being made at the Alberni Valley Makerspace.

The Alberni Valley Food Security Society’s Gleaning Program is set to launch for its 12th season on April 24th.

Healthy Habits held its 20th anniversary.

North Island College’s students have been engaged in a certification program in Building Deconstruction and Salvage, taking place at the Somass Lands.

Portal Players Dramatic Society is hosting Theatre BC’s North Island Zone Drama Festival at the Capitol Theatre, May 20th – 25th.

Construction continues on the Connect the Quay’s public pathway connecting Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay to Victoria Quay.



Wickanninish Beach, Pacific Rim National Park, will host the first Vancouver Island Longboard Surf Contest from May 31st to June 2nd, 2024.

The Food Bank on the Edge Society held a celebration at the location of the food bank’s prospective residence, Ucluelet, on March 26, following the district’s unanimous approval of the land.

Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, CR Lawyers, R. Anderson & Associates Inc. and Coastal Community Credit Union are collaborating to host Connections—A Chamber Mixer—on May 8 at 1566 Peninsula Rd, in Ucluelet.



The Bayside Resort in Parksville was a recipient of a gold award in the Ascend Hotel Collection category at the Choice Hotels Canada’s annual 2024 Guest Satisfaction Awards.

A grant of nearly $60,000 was recently awarded to Emergency Management Oceanside (EMO) from the Emergency Operations Centres Equipment and Training stream of the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund. This fund is managed by the Union of BC Municipalities.

The Town of Qualicum Beach has been awarded a grant of $1.374 million by the federal and provincial governments as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. This funding will be used to replace two corrugated steel culverts on Crescent Road East.



Tanya Rochefort

Tanya Rochefort has been hired as Community Health Manager at Just Like Family Home Care Nanaimo.

A $289 million cancer centre is set to open in Nanaimo in 2028, with construction set to begin next year following the approval of a business plan.

The PacBio Revio long-read HiFi sequencer has been bought by the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer in Canada. They are now ready to take samples for HiFi sequencing.

Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation (NDHF) is urging Central and North Islanders to fund critical cancer diagnosis equipment for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in their current Cancer care fundraising campaign. The campaign goal is to raise $159,956.18. That is the specific number to fund the Mopec 400. A “grossing” instrument, that allows more local examinations that will arm NRGH Pathologists in early detection and treatment of cancers here locally instead of travelling for care. The Mopec 400 is essential to the process of looking at tissue biopsies, 70% of which are in the lab to be assessed for suspected cases of cancer., a prominent supplier of rooftop tents and overlanding gear, owned by Chris Cathers, is witnessing remarkable expansion amidst Canada’s booming housing market. At, you’ll find a wide selection of top-notch rooftop tents designed to meet the demands of outdoor enthusiasts and individuals looking for convenient living options on the go.



Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, Left to Right: Millie Stirling, Tammy Leslie, Martin Sanderson, Cheri Mactier, Bailey Dill, Marina Sacht, Kara Olson, Dave Devana.
Missing from photo, John Manuel. Photo Credit: Bob Vanderford Photography

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce announced the appointment of its 2024 Board of Directors. Chamber President: Cheri Mactier, Realtor, EXP Realty; Vice President: Martin Sanderson, Lawyer, Robson O’Connor Law Offices; Treasurer: Tammy Leslie, Partner, Palmer Leslie Chartered Accountants; Secretary: Bailey Dill, Owner, Juniper & Sage Décor; Director: Dave Devana, President, CEO Nanaimo Airport; Director: John Manuel, John Manuel Financial Services Advisor PCA; Director: Marina Sacht, Editor/Publisher, Take 5 Print & Digital Media; Director: Millie Stirling, Commercial Accounts Executive, Ladysmith Insurance Agencies and Director: Kara Olson, Marketing Specialist, Ladysmith / Chemainus Chronicle, Black Press.

F3 Networks Canada Inc. (F3) is introducing a fibre optic network in Ladysmith. TELUS has agreed with F3 to offer its Purefibre services over the F3 network. F3 Networks Canada Inc. is a Canadian company registered with the CRTC as a telecommunications carrier. F3 Networks Canada Inc. has a commercial agreement with TELUS to bring the Purefibre services to Ladysmith neighbourhoods.

Radiance Mechanical Services Ltd., which offers heating, ventilating and air conditioning service on Vancouver Island, has recently opened at 12430 Pictou Rd, Ladysmith, BC.

Ladysmith Council authorized a contract award to MKM Projects Ltd. for the construction management of Phase 2 of the “Heart of the Hub” Machine Shop project, which is grant-funded. MKM has worked on numerous projects in the area, including the Childcare Expansion at 220 High Street, and has demonstrated the ability to effectively manage grant-funded projects.

The next Ladysmith Chamber Business After Business event is set to take place on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Ladysmith Yacht Club, located at A Dock, 901 Gladden Rd., Ladysmith.



The Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program of the British Columbia government is providing the Cowichan Green Community with nearly $500,000 for the completion of the Cowichan Farm and Food Hub Kitchen, also known as The Food Hub.

The new organics-waste transfer building at Bings Creek Recycling Centre is set to be operational in 2025, with construction expected to start later this year.

As per the annual report on investment trends in British Columbia (BC Check-Up: Invest) published by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), 2,410 housing units were started to be built in the Vancouver Island and Coast region (excluding Greater Victoria).

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