FRIDAY APRIL 6, 2012
BARE-ING ALL ON STAGE
VIRTUOSO ON THE VIOLIN
Parksville actor Rob Atkinson ready for The Fully Monty
Nikki Chooi is the featured performer at April 16 Victoria Symphony concert
Council dangles tax cut in front of ratepayers; ask staff to ﬁnd savings STEVEN HEYWOOD firstname.lastname@example.org
Say farewell to a 2.5 per cent tax increase this year in Qualicum Beach. Or ... maybe not. That’s going to be up to the local politicians. Town council on Monday night asked staff to go through the 2012 operating budget to ﬁnd ways to reduce this year’s planned 1.5 per cent tax increase down to zero. An additional one per Read the full story ONLINE at cent increase will remain, www.pqbnews.com as it helps pay for ongoing pavement resurfacing and is part of the town’s ﬁve-year ﬁnancial plan. Staff have been directed to come with scenarios that reduce that 1.5 per cent tax burden through operating efﬁciencies — or cutbacks. John Marsh, the town’s ﬁnancial administrator says that amounts to a reduction of around $160,000 this year and next. See OPTIONS GALORE, page A4
Regional hospital eyes a multi-million plan Hospital redevelopment could top $100 million NEIL HORNER email@example.com
Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is familiar to most people in District 69, but it could look very different in a few years’ time. Speaking as a delegation to the Regional Hospital Board meeting in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) representative Chris Sullivan made that point Add your COMMENTS at abundantly clear as he presented www.pqbnews.com an overview of the NRGH master site plan. Sullivan said signiﬁcant changes are being planned to the hospital in order to meet future needs. However, he noted a recent scope and service review showed that NRGH is providing an appropriate range of services for the communities it covers. See SERIES OF, page A6
BRENDA GOUGH PHOTO
CUTE AS A BUNNY: Eva Dutton, 7, from Qualicum Beach snuggles an Easter bunny at Tiger Lily Farm in Errington. The barnyard will be open April 6 to 9 for a wide range of Easter activities including a hay maze. For more Easter events, see page B1.
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Friday, April 6, 2012 The Parksville Qualicum Beach News
The Parksville Qualicum Beach News Friday, April 6, 2012
THE PQB NEWS TEAM: Steven, Brenda, Auren and Neil Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 250-248-4341
STARTING POINT ECHO Ticket Winners Congratulations to Charlene King and Lonnie Smith, winners of tickets each to ECHO Players’ Dancing at Lughnasa. They won THE NEWS’ ticket giveaway in our print edition. Joan Lane also won a pair of tickets — she correctly named the Irish county in which the play takes place on THE NEWS’ Facebook page. — NEWS Staff
BRENDA GOUGH PHOTO
ECHO Players’ Dancing at Lughnasa is now open.
Ticket Contest: Victoria Symphony
THE NEWS is giving away more tickets, this time to the Mon., April 16 Victoria Symphony concert in Qualicum Beach, featuring young violin virtuoso Nikki Chooi. Turn to page B1 for the story on the upcoming event — and ticket giveaway details. — NEWS Staff
Eagle release this weekend
On Saturday, April 7, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre will be releasing a recuperated eagle from its care. It’s part of the annual Brant Festival, and THE NEWS will be there to capture the eagle (on camera). Check us out online for the photos. — NEWS Staff
INSIDE Arts & Entertainment ................ B1 Classiﬁeds.............................. A23 Community Calendar................B2 Contacts ..................................A11 Faith.........................................A20
Horner’s Corner .......................A13 Letters .....................................A11 Opinion .................................. A10 Sports.................................... A28 Spotlight on Business ...............B8
CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
WHAT’S ONLINE? www.pqbnews.com Get the full story. Watch for these icons in our regular articles, then go to www.pqbnews.com for extended content. Read the full story ONLINE at www.pqbnews.com
BRENDA GOUGH PHOTO
Peggie Jones and Catherine McDermott of the Parksville Qualicum Beach Branch of the Canadian Cancer Society preparing for the annual daffodil campaign set for April 14.
Join the cancer battle BRENDA GOUGH
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Volunteers at the Parksville Qualicum Beach Canadian Cancer Society branch want to remind people that April is the month to join the ﬁght against cancer. Peggie Jones and Catherine McDermott are asking everyone to wear a daffodil and show their support for Canadians living with cancer and let them know that no one has to face cancer alone. On Saturday, April 14 there will be volunteers out in the community selling daffodil pins. Money raised from the sale of the pins is used for prevention education, research and support. Jones said Vancouver Island was the ﬁrst area to launch the daffodil campaign and now it is used across the entire country as a way for
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people to contribute in some way to the battle against the disease and to this day bright yellow daffodils continue to symbolize strength and courage in the ﬁght against cancer. For many people a cancer diagnosis means facing overwhelming stress, difﬁcult decisions and a barrage of ﬁnancial, emotional and physical challenges. To help cancer patients navigate the challenges they face, the Canadian Cancer Society connects cancer patients in need with ﬁnancial support and more. McDermott said their ofﬁce has a large breast cancer support group, prostate cancer support group, an extensive library with incredible resources which are free to the public and many other services run by dedicated volunteers. See MAKE, page A4
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Friday, April 6, 2012 The Parksville Qualicum Beach News
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Options galore, says Marsh CONTINUED FROM PAGE A1
Of course, he added, that all de- the courage to make the changes.” pends on if council likes what it sees Westbroek did have some conand decides to follow through. cerns, noting he’s been told the “They are just going to look at it,” town’s RCMP contribution may be Marsh said, “to see a list of where going up $30,000 to cover a new ofsavings could be made.” ﬁcer, plus he doesn’t want any tax Councillor Bill Luchtmeijer said savings to come at the expense of the intent is to challenge staff to the town’s own savings. ﬁnd efﬁcient ways of doing things. “There are a lot of options out “Federal and provincial cuts there,” said Marsh, noting by exhave come down, so ample that the town why not municipal?” he could save thousands said. of dollars by scaling Coun. Dave Willie back street sweeping added council wants to from once a week to see what staff can come once every two weeks. up with and show them Marsh added staff what an operating cost are not opposed to reduction might look making the optional like. cut list for council, sayJOHN MARSH “We’ll review it, then ing this is what a counlet the public have a cil is supposed to do. look at it and have it all done before They must be careful, he added, the third reading of the municipal not to reduce taxes on one hand, budget,” Willie said. and recoup any money through Coun. Scott Tanner called the user fee hikes. exercise wishful thinking, noting “We do in the end,” he noted, the provincial and federal govern- “need to be clear with the public ments keep downloading onto on what we are going to do.” municipal governments. Council has asked town staff to Mayor Teunis Westbroek said if return with a tax savings report at a there’s any savings, then the com- future regular meeting. The town’s munity is entitled to it. ﬁnancial plan (that does not in“Costs are going up and staff are clude the proposed tax reduction) being asked to make some chang- could be voted into effect by an es,” he said, “but we have to have April 16 meeting.
Make a cancer connection CONTINUED FROM PAGE A3
Wondering how to get to your cancer treatment appointment? The local ofﬁce has volunteer drivers that will pick you up and take you to your treatment related appointments at no charge. There are eight volunteer drivers in District 69 who use their own vehicles to transport people. “These people aren’t well and our driver program has been well received in the community,” said Jones. Financial support provides assistance to people in need for transportation and accommodation expenses when traveling to and from cancer treatment. Through the Cancer Society people can obtain discounts at hotels for medically related appointments. A cancer connection is also available to any adult with cancer and will match them with a trained volunteer who has had a similar cancer experience.
In 2006-2007, the Canadian Cancer Society funded more than $47 million in leading-edge research projects across the country. Jones said with over 200 different cancers their agency is working hard to ﬁght all of them. “We have some of the best researchers in B.C. and our volunteers come from diverse backgrounds,” said Jones. “We all bring a different set of skills and knowledge and our door is always open to new volunteers,” said McDermott. Jones and McDermott are inviting the public to come out to their open house from 11 am until 3 p.m. on April 24 where they will be celebrating 10 years in their ofﬁce at 172 2nd Ave. West in Qualicum Beach. Parksville Mayor Chris Burger will be dropping by at 11:30 for some cake and coffee and the public is encouraged to come out as well.
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The Parksville Qualicum Beach News Friday, April 6, 2012
Feature LOST TREASURES
Prison postcards reveal optimism Qualicum Beachâ€™s Joan McLeod learns of fatherâ€™s time in a Japanese POW camp in the 1940s NEIL HORNER
f you had to eat what I had to eat, you wouldnâ€™t be complaining about this.â€? That was one of the few things Joan McLeod ever heard her father, Don McLeod, say about his time as a prisoner of war in Hong Kong during the Second World War. He didnâ€™t talk about it much. The memories of that time, said the Qualicum Beach resident, were too painful for him to discuss and he stayed pretty much silent about what happened to him until his death in 1989. A window onto that time opened a crack recently however, when McLeod received a phone call from a cousin in a small town near Ottawa. â€œOut of the blue I got a call from my cousin in Stittsville,â€? she said. â€œShe had just moved from Toronto and had been unpacking boxes with her husband, Roger, when they discovered an envelope in the bottom of one of the boxes.â€? Inside that worn and faded envelope, she said, were three postcards sent from her father to her aunt, Margaret Walsh. â€œIt was unbelievable,â€? McLeod said. â€œI couldnâ€™t believe they could ďŹ nd something that old. The boxes must have been her momâ€™s because when her mom died they moved a bunch of stuff from Winnipeg and when they moved again they must have used a box that had had their momâ€™s stuff in it. Itâ€™s totally amazing that they found it.â€? Dear Margaret: Just to say hello and am keeping well. Trust you and relatives and Helen are in good health. Looking forward to seeing you again. Delighted with Murielâ€™s letter. Regards to home folk and friends. Your loving brother, Don The front of the card didnâ€™t contain a scenic picture, but rather was a dull tan colour, marked as coming from Hong Kong Prisoner of War Camps â€˜Sâ€™ camp
(Sham Shui Po) on Aug. 2, 1944 and having been examined by DB. That censor made sure that everything at least appeared to be going well for the Canadian prisoner, but the reality was far more grim. â€œIt was very painful for him to talk about,â€? McLeod said. â€œHe always tried to present things in as good a light as he could, but it was a tough time for him.â€? Tough indeed. McLeod, a riďŹ‚eman of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, was part of a last-minute 1,975-member expeditionary force sent from Canada on the troop ship Awatea to reinforce the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps in October of 1941. The mission was doomed from the start. Hong Kongâ€™s defences were minimal, with virtually no air force or naval presence at all. The two battalions, which included Quebecâ€™s Royal RiďŹ‚es of Canada, were not battle ready and all their vehicles had been sent to help reinforce the Philippines. On December 8, 1941, barely eight hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the Japanese 21st, 23rd and 38th Regiment â€” 52,000 men, attacked the Allied contingent of 14,000 at Hong Kong. The ďŹ ghting, lasted just 18 days, with the Japanese forces forcing the Allies out of ďŹ rst the New Territories, then Kowloon NEIL HORNER PHOTO and, by Dec. 13, onto the island of Hong Kong itself. There, they quickly took the Joan McLeod shows off the post cards and newspaper clipping discovered at the bottom only reservoir and steadily pushed the of an old box in Ontario. Inset: Don McLeod in uniform prior to going overseas. outgunned and outnumbered Allied forces back until, on Christmas Day, the sult of their treatment. McLeod was one affection to Helen and the home folk with Allies surrendered. extras for my lovely sister. Chins up and â€œHe was hardly there for any time at of the lucky ones. â€œMy dad was 69 when he died,â€? cheerio. Lovingly, Don McLeod.â€? all before they were overrun and he was McLeod said. â€œHe had lots of health probpitched in jail,â€? McLeod said. â€œHe was cheerful most of the time lems, based on what happened to him Dear Sister: Keeping well and antici- in the camp, the starvation and so on. It and he would sit down and talk to anypate happy reunion. Hope all at home are wrecked his health. He was always very body. He always had something to say,â€? well. Fondest love to relatives and Helen. frail and he would catch things all the McLeod said. â€œHe must have been an optimist when he started because othertime.â€? Keep that smile. What it didnâ€™t wreck though, was his wise I donâ€™t see how he could have surLovingly, Donald vived it.â€? optimism. He did survive though, to see the day, He wasnâ€™t well of course. Nobody was. Dearest sister: Your delightful letter three years and eight months later in Besides being tormented by guards and forced to work as slave labour, McLeod came as a blessing to me. Thank you for all 1945, when Japan surrendered. The envelope held one other thing beand his fellow prisoners were fed a star- your interest and love. Please donâ€™t worry vation diet of 500 to 700 calories a day, about me, as I have the reputation of being sides the postcards. It was a news clipping essentially a little rice and a few greens. well able to take care of myself and I look showing McLeod and his family looking Within a year, that meagre ration was forward to meeting you all again. What at a cheque for $1,343 in compensation down to 250 calories, made up of a couple a reunion and wonâ€™t we have a house for his nearly four-year ordeal. McLeod plans to donate the post cards of spoonfuls of rice and whatever mag- warming. Tell auntie to expect one of my old squeezes. Glad you are happy in your to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, gots and other vermin were infesting it. In all, 267 Canadians perished as a re- work and know you will do well. Deepest after making copies for family members.
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Friday, April 6, 2012 The Parksville Qualicum Beach News
Parksville health centre meets most needs, says Burns AUREN RUVINSKY firstname.lastname@example.org
Doctor Bob Burns, executive medical director for population and family health for the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), says the Oceanside Health Centre taking shape in Parksville will serve all but four patients — those four, on average each night, who travel to emergency rooms. Burns explained to Parksville city council this week that VIHA is excited about the project, not because of the building, but because of the vision and new form of
health care it will help provide. gle person co-ordinating service on the He said it will be a hub or nexus for spot, helping make appointments and health care in the region and “slightly tracking progress. tweak the model of health care,” with the Powell then asked for a deﬁnition of single location providing a single point “urgent care,” which proponents boast of entry and access the facility will adAdd your COMMENTS at to integrated care dress, with limited www.pqbnews.com teams. emergency care. Councilor Sue Powell asked for more “It really is a hard concept to grasp,” details on the integrated teams. Burns said, explaining it is when they “reBurns said that unlike the current quire something to be done now, but not model, where health care professionals requiring all the hospital services.” work in isolation, a team of professionals He said they are still working out the will be focused on the patient, with a sin- details with BC Ambulance, but by the
time it opens paramedics will be clear on when to stop in Parksville or go directly to the nearest full hospital. During question period, local New Democratic Party candidate Barry Avis asked from the audience what people should do with speciﬁc health complaints, like chest pain. “The sooner they can get deﬁnitive care the better,” Burns said, explaining that with more serious issues you want to be in the biggest hospital as fast as possible to have all the services available. See ONLY FOUR, page A7
Series of hospital improvements would take place over the years CONTINUED FROM PAGE A1
“There are areas for development in some sub-specialties, but basically it is providing good service,” he said, noting however the 35,550 square metre facility will need to enlarge its capacity to meet future needs. The changes, he said, are being planned in several steps, the ﬁrst of which will be a new emergency department and psychiatric intensive care building on the north side of the hospital. Construction, he said, is slated to begin in September. The $36.9-million project is needed, as the emergency de-
partment was originally built in 1963 to accommodate 6,000 visits per year and later expanded in 1991 to receive 15,000 visits annually. However, it is currently receiving a whopping 52,000 visits per year, or 246 per cent over its intended capacity. Phase two involves an expansion to the energy plant. Phase three involves a new inpatient tower, while phase four will involve an intensive care unit (ICU) and surgery expansion. Phase ﬁve would see a new ambulatory care building and would require the demolition of
the current building, which was built in 1973 and which, Sullivan said, no longer meets VIHA standards. Finally, the sixth phase would see a new cancer centre located at the site, although Sullivan stressed this is just a conceptual plan at this point, in case such a centre is deemed necessary at a future date. “The next steps will be consultation,” Sullivan said. “All projects are in the major project priority list but are subject to approvals from the province. They compare ours with other health
authority projects. North Island is number one priority and number two is the Cowichan District Hospital replacement.” He added that he isn’t sure whether phases two to four will be approved, while phases ﬁve and six are still in the conceptual stage at this point. “We can’t plan projects until we know how the funding turns out,” he said. The cost of each project hasn’t been entirely looked into yet, noting however it’s likely in the $20 million range for phases two to four. Of this, he said, the
province will pay 60 per cent, with VIHA paying the other 40 per cent. This didn’t sit entirely well with Qualicum Beach director Dave Willie, who said he had seen a ﬁgure of $27 million for the energy plant alone and suggested the patient tower would be equal to that amount. When Sullivan said it would be in the neighbourhood of $350 per square foot, Willie did some quick math. “We’re looking at a $100 million hit for the tower alone,” Willie said.
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The Parksville Qualicum Beach News Friday, April 6, 2012
Police dog nabs Parksville man PARKSVILLE — An RCMP dog team was called in overnight on April 4 to track down a Parksville man wanted on theft charges. At around 9 p.m., a police ofﬁcer saw the 27-year-old man near Foster Park on Pym Street. According to the RCMP, the man ﬂed to avoid arrest on an outstanding warrant for a theft charge. A police service dog was called in and commenced a track of the suspect, stated the police in a media release Thursday morning. The suspect was found shortly thereafter, hiding in the shed of a nearby residence. The male was arrested without incident and transported to Nanaimo where he will appear in court on April 12. “Police service dogs are an amazing resource available to the Oceanside RCMP,” said Cpl. Jesse Foreman. “The RCMP handlers and their best friends dedicate countless hours of training to be ready at a moment’s notice. The dogs are called in for all types of searches, including missing people and suspects on the run.” — NEWS Staff
NEIL HORNER PHOTO
Both drivers involved in a two-car collision were rushed to hospital with non-life threatening injuries after they collided at the entrance to Wembley Mall at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The cause of the crash remains under police investigation.
Only four people a night travel to emergency from District 69 CONTINUED FROM PAGE A6
“What if you had a very bad cut?” Avis continued. “That’s a hard one,” Burns admitted, suggesting if it was bad enough you might want to stop to have it stabilized, but then you’d probably be sent to Nanaimo, adding, “I hope there’ll be enough community education going on,” for people to make those choices.
Burns added since a lot of people go to emergency who don’t need to, the Parksville facility will help keep people out of the hospital and closer to home. He said VIHA studies show an average of just four people a night from Oceanside go to emergency rooms in neighboring hospitals during the time the new facility will be closed, so the
facility will be able to help most people. VIHA general manager of special projects Rudi van den Broek explained that they will be coming back to council in the coming months to apply to close a roadway dedication through the property and combining two properties to create a single “campus of care,” along with the
neighbouring Trillium Lodge. Councillor Marc Lefebvre, who referred more than once to “the controversy around the project,” asked if there was any plan to share beds, speciﬁcally for palliative care, with Trillium. Burns said VIHA is working on a plan to improve palliative care but its still in progress. Asked if there will be enough
physicians to staff the facility Burns said “we’ve been relatively successful in recruiting to this part of the Island so we don’t expect to have any trouble.” There is a dedicated VIHA webpage with information and updates about the project including ﬂoor plans at www.viha. ca/about_viha/building_for_ health/oceanside.htm.
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Friday, April 6, 2012 The Parksville Qualicum Beach News
TOWN OF QUALICUM BEACH MARGO HOFFMAN
Couple stage tax revolt over council hi-jinx STEVEN HEYWOOD email@example.com
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES 250-248-2545 ext. 215
David and Yvette Freeman have had it with Qualicum Beach town council, so they’re staging a mini tax revolt. David Freeman told THE NEWS he will not be paying this
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year’s property taxes because of his frustration with the council’s position on issues like the new health centre and ofﬁcial community plan. “We’re upset with how things are going,” he said, calling some of the council’s recent actions, undemocratic. The couple are upset enough to appear as a delegation to council Monday night.
“The town pays regional hospital taxes, but council has voted away from ensuring the residents get the services they need,” he said in regards to council’s ongoing support of the new health centre in Parksville. An opponent of the project, Freeman said he and many other people wanted very different health services there — not the least of which being overnight and emer-
gency care. “We wanted emergency care — no, not a hospital — but emergency care here is needed.” The town, he continued, has not done its job to bring better health care to the area. Freeman also told council he is withholding his taxes due to their “three-ring circus” antics over the ofﬁcial community pan (OCP). A once pub-
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• Council wants staff to give them more options for making the former school bus garage site into a full-time parking lot, until such time as a plan is developed for the future of the site. Coun. Davie Willie says he wants the town’s money’s worth for the site (it cost the town $1.5 million to buy from School District 69 last year) — even if that means it’s a parking lot for now. Staff are to have a list of options at the April 16 meeting.
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have an impact on this council.” Town ﬁnancial administrator John Marsh said if the Freemans don’t pay their property taxes by the ﬁrst business day in July, they face a ﬁve per cent penalty. Another ﬁve per cent would be tacked on in October. It would take three years of nonpayment, he added, before any property would face the prospect of a tax sale.
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lic process, he said, is now being pulled apart — with little information making its way to the residents. Freeman said he’s aware he may face a monetary penalty from the town if he doesn’t pay his property tax — yet he’s standing by his decision. “If there were one thousand residents who were prepared to do that, and do it properly, it would
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• The town’s chief administrative
ofﬁcer, Mark Brown, was selected to represent B.C. on a Local Government Management Association junket to New Zealand in September, paid for by the LGMA. • The council has eliminated the following committees of council: Parks and Recreation Commission, Select Committee on the Airport, Select Committee on the Environment. • The town is working on a plan to replace the ﬁre hall. • The town is applying for grants to fund planned Memorial Avenue upgrades. • Qualicum Beach will make Highway 19A one-way between Memorial Avenue and Crescent Road West on May 26 to accommodate Quality Foods’ Festival of Lights ﬁreworks on the beach.
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