What is in Club News?
Club News Posts are like a blog or FaceBook posts and cover the history for the last two years of the Glacier Probus Club.
COVID-19 UPDATE Sept 16, 2021
The club is following the current BC Government standards for COVID 19.
All in-person Glacier Probus Club meetings and activities (indoors and outdoors) require all participants to be double vaccinated against COVID-19.
Let's all stay safe.
Alan Brown, President
PLEASE REMEMBER ALL GLACIER PROBUS CLUB ACTIVITIES ARE SCENT FREE INCLUDING PERFUMES, ESSENTAL OILS, CIGARETTE, AND CANNABIS SMOKE
General Meeting March 2, 2023
30 Glacier PROBUS club members and our guest speaker Caila Holbrook met for our March General Meeting at Comox United Church.
President Alan Brown welcomed everyone. He asked if our contact information, specifically phone numbers, have changed to please let the MC team know.
PRISMA is going ahead on Saturday, June 28 and includes the return cruise, lunch, and concert. There are 50 tickets available but depending on other PROBUS clubs in the valley we may be able to get more.
VIce President Lorne Meyer introduced our guest speaker, Caila Holbrook who has been with the Project Watershed Project since November 2008. Caila has a Masters in International Nature Conservation and a BSc in Environmental Science. Caila is currently managing Project Watershed’s education and outreach activities.
Project Watershed (PW) is a local environmental group established in 1993. Their mission is “to promote community stewardship of Comox Valley Watersheds through education, information, and action.” One of their local projects was the Courtenay Airpark breech with a tunnel built under the pathway and the lagoon now able to cycle water bringing more fish and birds.
In 2008 PW held a public meeting where the idea of purchasing and restoring the old sawmill site to its natural habitat was voiced and supported by many. In 2011 PW supported a study that listed the restoration of the K'omoks Estuary as a priority to increase the health and productivity of salmonids. In honour of an ancient village on the opposite side of the river and with the permission of the K'omoks First Nation, the site was named Kus-kus-sum (meaning very, very slippery). In September 2017, the plan to purchase and restore Kus-kus-sum began with the support of the K'omoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay. The Kus-kus-sum is PW’s biggest project with a budget of $8M.
The Kus-kus-sum Estuary is one of the best on the BC coast. Estuaries are highly productive ecosystems providing habitat for waterbirds and wildlife as well as providing water filtration, detritus breakdown, and nutrient recycling. The K'omoks Estuary is a mega carbon sink sucking up ocean blue carbon which continues to be studied for its long term effectiveness to remove CO2.
In the late 1800s to 1918 the site was initially a First Nations Village. In 1946 it was a forested site. Then in the 1950s, Field’s Sawmill bought the site. The sawmill was very productive until the mid 1970s. In 2004 Interferon shut down the site. In 2006 they tested over 300 soil test holes for contamination and removed toxic soils from the site earning the highest standard of reclamation from the province. From 2004-2017 PW ran a fundraising campaign to unpave Kus-kus-sum and put up paradise. Their vision was to have trees by the road and grasses by the shore with a deep pool at one end, hoping that in 20-30 years the site will look like Hollywood Flats, a salt marsh with upland native Sitka spruce trees.
TIMELINE FOR PROJECT
2017 Launch Funding 2022 Phase II
2020 Purchase site 2023 Phase III
2021 Initial Phase
PHASE I - UNPAVING
All concrete, metal, and asphalt were removed (34 bins were recycled and 750 truckloads were taken away) and as much as possible recycled. It was soon discovered that there were 3 concrete layers as well as a concrete wall behind the metal wall.
Concrete was recycled for aggregate or sold to developers. There was constant archeology monitoring for possible mortuary trees or bones. There was also water quality monitoring above, at, and below the water level.
PHASE II - CONTOURING
The site is handled section by section with earth being moved so as to make varying elevations. In April and October 2022, 5000 plants were planted. 10,000 plants remain to be planted. The plants all require compost and mulch. Willow will be planted on the slopes to hold the banks and wooden debris will make the habitat more complex.
PHASE III - REMOVING THE METAL WALL
As the wall is buried approximately 20 feet into the ground, it will be removed by vibrating the panels out. A barge will come up the river when the timing is right (high tide with no fish running). It was hoped that the wall would be removed this fall but it is more likely to happen next year. The company removing the metal wall is doing it pro bono.
Caila ended by noting that 84% of the total cost has been raised with 75% going to restoration. Three ways to raise money are:
For more information check out:
Caila reported that PW has some fun activities planned for Earth Day, April 22, 2023 such as shoreline clean-ups and watershed walks.
Check out their volunteer page on their website: projectwatershed.ca
Vice President Lorne Meyer thanked Caila for her talk and noted that Caila asked that her honorarium be donated to PW.
President Alan Brown also thanked Caila for clarifying what exactly was going on at Kus-kus-sum as we all wonder when we drive by it.
Winners of The Mill Coffee gift certificates were: Gil Moore, Alan Brown, Sandy Dreger, and David Pendlebury who generously gave his certificate to Caila.
Photos of VP Lorne, guest speaker Caila, and winners Gil and David with President Alan Brown picking a ticket were taken by Ian Thompson.
Next General Meeting will be April 6, 2023.
General Meeting, February 2, 2023
President Alan Brown welcomed 50 Glacier PROBUS Club members and our guest speaker to our meeting.
Alan noted that our club is a popular group in the valley with 42 people on the waitlist. In September there is usually only a 10% turnover, so with that in mind, the waitlist will be cut off at 40.
Past President John McGinn reminded members that we have two openings on the Board and asked members to give it some serious thought. Special Events Coordinator Michele Morton is a font of information and he suggested members talk with her. John stated that the current Vice President, Lorne Meyer, would be serving his three year commitment of vice-president, president, and past president.
Vice President Lorne Meyer introduced our guest speaker, Willem Semmelink, the patriarch of Lentelus Farms. Willem grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and studied environmentalism and social activism in three continents.
Behind the mountains in northern SA where the indigenous Khoisan lived and the hills were covered in endemic cedar and the rivers flowed, there were many abandoned farmsteads.
In 1947, Martin Versfeld, Dave’s grandfather, bought a farm in Bo Kouga, SA with the name of “Depths of Despair” and changed the name to Lentelus, which means, “Joy For Spring”. This farm became a refuge from the security police, and a place of rest. And this is where Dave, Willem’s son, grew to love his grandparents' farm. There was an orchard, pigs, sheep, and bees.
Willem grew up in the 60’s in the United States. Willem avoided the draft by studying at University where he was drawn to agriculture and environmental concerns. He was interested in sustainable, organic agriculture and growing food in a more sensible way.
Dave, started Lentelus Farms in the Comox Valley, in 2015 after deciding to try his hand at farming rather than travelling to plant trees forever. Dave has leased 40 acres from Ducks Unlimited and another block also from Ducks Unlimited off the Dyke Road. Regenerative farming is the underlying philosophy of Lentelus Farms and the belief that the soil, plants, and animals work with our gut microbiome. They question: “What did your food eat?” The animals at Lentelus Farms are allowed to roam and graze freely. They are 100% free of antibiotics, hormones, or steroids, and GMOs. Willem is the baker in the family and you can ask Steve Ray about the yummy bread from Lentelus Farms.
Check out their roadside Farm Stand at 1300 Comox Road, north of the 17th Street Bridge. Winter hours are: Thursday 1:00 to 4:00 and Saturdays 10:00 to 3:00.
Lorne Meyer asked about the Lentelus Farm affiliation with North Island College. Willem stated that he and Dave have been working on the curriculum for a farming certificate for the past four years. North Island College hosted 8-12 students introducing them to farming, market gardening, livestock, and orchard development at Lentelus Farms.
Alan Brown noted the large number of geese and trumpeter swans on the open land. Willem reported that Ducks Unlimited has liens on the land and that no posts or perimeter fencing are allowed so that the wildfowl can graze freely. Cover crops must be planted at all times according to regenerative farming policy. There is duck hunting in November to December on the land.
Monica McKinley noted that last September there was an open house for North Island College. Willem stated that due to insurance costs no other visitors are allowed on the farm. There is hope that the Kus-kus-sum Project Watershed may provide a walkway through the farm and wetlands in the future.
Jill Almond asked about their work in Kelowna. Willem stated that they have purchased a land butchery and abattoir.
Monica McKinley, who lives behind the farm pasture, also noted that she had not seen the pigs outside recently. Willem stated it is too wet for them to be outside in the winter so they are either inside or at the abattoir (Gunther’s).
Lorne thanked Willem for telling us about Lentelus Farms.
The winners of the Hot Chocolates gift certificates were: Dawn Moore, Dave Adshead, Stuart Lane, and Teresa Cosco.
Photos of our guest speaker, Willem Semmelink and Vice President Lorne Meyer and President Alan Brown and GC winners taken by Ian Thompson.
GENERAL MEETING JANUARY 5, 2023
President Alan Brown welcomed 53 club members to our January GM with a joke and a Happy New Year. He welcomed Christine Dickinson, our guest speaker. Christine was born and educated in New Zealand but lived and worked as an educator for 34 years in northern BC moving to the Comox Valley in 2007. Her passion is for the regional history of the province, and she has co-authored Atlin: The Story of British Columbia's Last Gold Rush and Watershed Moments: A pictorial History of Courtenay and District. Christine is a contributing author to Step into Wilderness: A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in the Comox Valley.
Christine's talk concentrated on the Beginnings of Tourism in the Comox Valley. Tourism didn't start in the valley until quite a while after the first settlers who fished and hunted out of necessity. These activities were otherwise only available to the leisure or wealthy classes of Victoria who went to Duncan for these activities. The Royal Navy trainees enjoyed fished and hunting for rest and recuperation and tourism in Campbell River grew.
But this all changed when Clinton Wood, a teacher, bookkeeper, and sawmill engineer, moved to Courtenay in 1910. He worked for Comox Logging and Rail and built houses at Headquarters. He worked for the Power & Light Company from 1910-12 and travelled around by bicycle wiring houses even in Cumberland.
In 1922 he became Courtenay City Clerk charged with developing a water system from Brown River following the big fire of 1916. No one knew the headwaters of Brown River, except the local First Nations. Cecil Smith (known as Cougar Smith) believed it had multiple sources, McKenzie Lake being one. Exploring with Cecil, Clinton was overwhelmed with the beautiful meadows, rolling hills dotted with lakes, lush trees, and spectacular scenery. Clinton saw economic prospects with this back country hidden gem. He brought members of Courtenay City Council and Board of Trade up the almost fourteen miles to a meeting in the wilderness to see his vision.
On July 6, 1926 Clinton and Cougar set off with two saddle horses on their first trip to Mount Albert Edward from the trail at Bevan and up to Mount Becher and on to the Forbidden plateau. The following year he returned with the president of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. This resulted in a joint Alpine Club and Courtenay-Comox Mountaineering Cub (CDMC) camp in the summer of 1928 on the plateau. The rustic Mt. Becher cabin was built and was filled with groups of people most weekends summer and winter for fun and games. Over the years the cabin improved with bunks and a wood stove that Sid Williams carried on his back up to the cabin. The cabin became a labour of love. Previously skiing was not known in the West and in the 1920s the group began to ski making their own primitive skis (and developing the Becher Squat). In the late 1920s they even had a Ski Meet which was won by the Scandinavians. By spring there would be 15-20 feet of snow and one had to dig down to get in the door. But great fellowship and good humour was enjoyed by the likes of Ruth Masters and Marjorie Briscoe.
Clinton realized that an easier trail through Bevan to the plateau was needed. With some government money but mostly volunteer money from the local CDMC, the Dove Creek Trail was built. It started at the end of Dove Creek Road to Anderson Lake Road to Paradise Meadows to Battleship and Croteau Lake. The Trail was officially opened by Lieutenant-Governor the Honorable Randolph Bruce and a number of local dignitaries including Courtenay Mayor Theed Pearse and his wife, Elma, Clinton Wood, now President of the CCMC, George McNaughton a GP from Cumberland, and Miss Helen McKenzie , a niece of Randolph Bruce. Clinton stated that, "the Trail would bring within a half days travel, a new Switzerland, allowing people to go up into higher altitudes".
In the 1890s, Eugene Croteau came to BC from Quebec. He was involved with sawmills, mining, and real estate. In 1917 he worked for the Comox Logging Company as a log scaler and time keeper. He purchased a five acre property on Croteau Beach and was a neighbour of Mack Laing. Croteau was a restless fellow and in 1930 built a log cabin at the foot of Mt. Elna. He began a business guiding celebrity guests such as film stars and a Russian prince to his camp. After the almost fourteen mile walk or horse ride, the guests were accommodated in tents with proper beds. Breakfast in bed was provided with real maple syrup from Quebec. The cabin on site was the cookhouse where clam chowder, chicken mulligan, and huckleberry pie were whipped up by cooks such as Ruth Masters who was the cook in 1939. While the adventurous men climbed the local mountains, the women rambled or sketched and painted the scenery. In the evenings Eugene was a great raconteur singing and telling stories.
Then WW2 broke out and there were no longer any available packers or guides. By 1942, Croteau, now 81, having done twelve trips by himself in one year, retired and that was the end of Croteau's Camp.
Clinton Wood still wanted to invest in this magnificent playground and in 1934 built the Forbidden Plateau Lodge as a guest lodge which they operated for eleven years before retiring. His son, Stuart, was an integral part of this development and helped in the building of a railway, a telephone line, and a power plant for the lodge. The Wood men operated a packhorse team for mountaineers and tourists. They built a road with at least seven switchbacks by dragging a V-shaped contraption behind the horses. Stuart went to UBC for guiding and in 1941 joined the RCAA. His plane went missing over Cologne devastating Clinton who withdrew and sold the business. Finally the Lodge was acquired and designated a Class A Provincial Park in 1962.
The development of tourism in Comox is a totally different story. The settlers included Sidney D'Esterre, "Dusty" who was a rich Anglo-Irish man making his money from diamonds in South Africa. He served in the British Navy in the 20s and 30s. In 1862 James Robbb and his son attempted to start their own town with land from Anderton Road to the Stewart waterfront to Noel Avenue. However, they were charging so much for the lots that nobody wanted to buy. James Dunsmuir who was developing coal in Cumberland had a barge crossing to Comox but he even said Robb wanted too much. In the 1920s, there were still only a handful of lots sold.
Dusty D'Esterre bought the property up and build the Elk Inn. The timing was fortuitous occurring at the end of prohibition. Making a profit, the large plot of land was re-surveyed into larger lots and the first early homes in Comox were built from 1920-1928.
But Dusty had bigger plans putting in electric lights, a wide carpeted staircase and stairways in the Elk Inn where tourists could lounge and talk about their fishing adventures. The menu was locally sourced meat, fish, dairy, strawberries, etc. Dusty took people tie fishing and started up the tie fishing club, named the Comox King Salmon Club. His competitions to catch the biggest salmon with a rod and 9 strand line drew celebrities such as Bing Crosby and Ginger Rogers. He also put up bathing boxes at Kye Bay and Goose Spit and developed the Comox Golf Course and tennis courts.
The Port Augusta Hotel was developed as a family hotel where one did one's own cooking and cleaning.
Eventually the waters became overfished and tie fishing ended. During the 1950s motels became popular with Laing's Beach Resort offering comfortable bungalows which developed into today's Kingfisher Resort. That was the end of "the beginning" of tourism in the Comox Valley.
Question Period: A member asked how the time frame of the start of tourism in the valley coincided with the development of Banff. Christine stated that Strathcona Park was the first Provincial Park in BC coming in on the coattails of the development of Banff.
Alan Brown thanked Christine for her informative talk noting it was interesting to hear about the people behind the local street names.
Winners of the Big Foot Gift Certificates were: Christine Dickinson David Pendlebury, Deb Haines, and myself, Jill Almond
Pictures compliments of Ian Thompson.
Christmas 2022 Dinner and Dance, December 3O
aOver 80 members and guests ate and danced the night away to the great sounds of Easy Street at d'Esterre Senior Centre in Comox. After an initial mingle with participants trying to find their matching Christmas card friend, the d'Esterre team served up a bountiful buffet of ham and turkey and all the trimmings and fixings. Then the Presidents past and current, opened the evening with jokes. Next followed a hilarious 12 Days of Christmas rendition with the tables of guests singing and acting out their gifts. The eight maids a-milking stole the show! (see picture eight below). One number under a seat at each table won a door prize and the person sitting across from the winner won the gorgeous decorative centerpiece basket. A great time was had by all and the dance floor was never empty.
Photos by Ian Thompson.
General Meeting November 3, 2022
President Alan Brown welcomed 67 members to our November General Meeting.
New club members Barrie Russell, Joanne Endacott, and Diana Guinn were mentioned. President Brown reminded us there will be no GM in December. Instead the club will celebrate with a Dinner and Dance on December 3. There are 8 tickets left and they are available from Michele Morton today. President Brown announced to raucous applause that Michele would be staying on as Special Events Coordinator until June 2023. The club is looking for an assistant to work with Michele and eventually become the Special Events Coordinator. If anyone is interested contact Michele, Jim Belair, or John McGinn.
President Brown thanked Vice President Lorne Meyer who stood in for him in his absence last month. President Brown stated he was happy to be back and handed the mic over to Vice President Lorne.
Lorne introduced our guest speaker, Dave Weaver, who worked in Forestry in BC for 37 years from Vancouver Island to Smithers. He was a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) since 1981. Dave’s last 12 years were spent working for the Provincial Government in Silviculture Policy and Legislation in Smithers and Victoria. Retired now, Dave is the Vice President of the Beaufort Watershed Stewards (BWS) primarily involved in administration and water sampling.
Have our local watersheds been logged too much or not hydrologically?
What would be the implications?
Dave stated he will try to answer these questions by presenting his findings from the Beaufort Watershed Stewards’ 2021 Hydrological Health Report Card on four local watersheds on the east side of the Beaufort Mountains. The Mud Bay, Waterloo Creek, Wilfred, and Cowie Creek ranging in size from 363 hectares to 2057 broken down by percentage of public and private ownership. Dave is neither a hydrologist nor against logging but sees a better way and would like all values to be considered from the start of tree harvesting.
The Mission of the BWS is to promote the health and resilience of local watersheds in the Beaufort Range and to ensure the quality and quantity of fresh water for the future. Dave drew up the report card with graphs and findings to promote the next steps and the change necessary if we value our drinking water. The BWS is a small group of 35 members working out of Fanny Bay. Their major activity is sampling streams.
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear or CARE?
That depends on how many, where, and how.
Why should we care? In 2022, the Forest Practices Board (FPB), which is an independent watchdog that audits the government on forestry performance practices and water, reported that current practices already have a negative impact on drinking water, fish habitat, and infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Younes Alila, a Forest Hydrologist and Professor at UBC, states it would take years, sixty to eighty for watersheds to recover. Three out of five watersheds in BC had sediment from forest harvesting roads that increases risk to fish. The FPB recommends that the Equivalent Clearcut Area (ECA) percentage be reviewed as the first step in assessing watershed health.
What are the potential effects of Harvest Activity?
Three aspects need to be considered:
The BWS Study examined 7 of the 9 primary factors:
The BWS Study found the Cowie Creek Watershed to be of concern today earning a D grade and being the most unhealthy.
Vice President Meyer thanked Dave for his fascinating presentation and expertise and dedication.
President Brown asked those present whether they preferred regular or decaf coffee and as there was not a definitive answer the club will continue to serve both.
He again reminded us there is no General Meeting in December.
The winners of Mudshark gift certificates were: Deb Haynes and John McGinn. The winners of Benino gift certificates were: Al Sabey and Anne Champagne.
President Alan again thanked everyone for coming.
NEXT GENERAL MEETING JANUARY 5, 2023.
Pictures of meeting and guest speaker Dave Weaver, winners Anne Champagne and Al Sabey and Dorothy picking husband John's name as winner! Photos compliments of Ian Thompson.
GLACIER PROBUS CLUB MEET AND GREET OCTOBER 25,2022 was held from 3:30-5:30 at Murrelet Place Club House for all new members having joined since June, 2022. It was a wine and appies gathering with veggie, fruit, and sweet snack trays.
33 new members were invited and 22 attended along with 8 Management Committee members.
President Alan Brown welcomed all and shared what we do at Probus. After speaking about a number of activity groups, Alan invited Jim Belair, Activity Groups Coordinator to speak more about our Activity Groups.
Everyone had a great time.
Thank you to Brenda Latta for organizing this successful event. Brenda noted it was great to put faces to the names of folks she had been dealing with via email.
Thank you to all the helping hands.
Thank you to Mary Ann Tait who secured the Club House for this event.
Pictures by Ian Thompson. Thank you Ian.
Vice-President Lorne Meyer welcomed 57 club members to the General Meeting opening with a few one-line zingers. He welcomed new members: Bob and Kathy Ell, Lori Gavas, Ann and Brad Champagne, and Judy Schieder as well as guests Alan Pattison and Tom Collins.
Vice-President Lorne reminded us that Glacier PROBUS Club is looking for new coordinators for both the Random Readers Group and the Wine and Appies Group.
Special Events Coordinator, Michele Morton, reported that tickets for the Christmas Dinner and Dance on Dec. 3 were available today. She also has one ticket available for the opera Carmen in Victoria on October 16. Michele also reminded us to keep in mind plans for a bus trip to Vancouver in the spring to see the play Come From Away.
Vice-President Lorne Meyer welcomed our guest speaker, Rick James. Mr. James was born and raised in Victoria and is a West Coast Maritime historian. He is currently doing relief standin as a lighthouse keeper up the coast. Mr.James has written 3 books and his talk was based on extensive research along with newspaper coverage plus the first hand accounts of old time rum-runners for his latest book, Don’t Never Tell NOBODY NOTHIN’ NO HOW: The Real Story of West Coast Rum Running.
Liquor prohibition in BC lasted from 1917 to 1921 but In January of 1920 The National Prohibition Act of the United States (US) prohibited any person from drinking, making, selling, importing, or transporting alcohol. James recounts the stories of BC’s rum-running mariners and businessmen that provided roughly one million cases of alcohol to thirsty US citizens over the course of the next 13 years from 1920-1933.
Offering other means to make a living, in the beginning the boats used for smuggling were small vessels such as old fishing boats that filled their holds with liquor and sold it along the coast of Oregon, California and the Juan De Fuca Strait known as Rum Row.
As the demand for more alcohol grew, custom built rum running boats involved “floating mother ships”, such as the Malahat, an old lumber schooner and other steamers that parked off the San Francisco Bay or the mouth of the Columbia River. These ships were floating warehouses of liquor where smaller, faster vessels (the mosquito fleet) picked up the liquor and distributed the orders to shore. These faster vessels were outfitted with fast sub-chaser engines and often painted black so as to avoid detection under the cover of darkness into American waters right up onto the beach. These rum runners, mariners and ordinary businessmen were breaking no law as these “mother ships'' were either anchored in International or Canadian waters. The rum runners often made 5 or 6 trips a month earning $1000 the equivalent of $14, 000 today ($1 then equal to $14 today).
In April 1924 the Victoria Daily Colonist reported that Southern Vancouver Island and properties on roughly twenty Islands including Smuggler’s Cove and Discovery Island provided “a Scotch oasis in a desert of salt water.”
Annoyed with the 5 million gallons of liquor coming from Canada to the US, the American government put pressure on the Canadian government. However, the Canadian government said it wasn’t the responsibility of their government to stop American citizens from drinking liquor. The ships were doing everything legally with custom and clearance papers filled out. So Washington, DC raised their liquor export licence from $3000 to $10000. The rum runners formed the Consolidated Exporters on August 25, 1922 housed on Hamilton Street in Vancouver, for the import and export of wines and alcoholic beverages. Captain Charles Hudson, superintendent of Consolidated Exporters, stated “they were doing everything legally and considered themselves philanthropists, supplying good liquor to poor, thirsty Americans,...and [this] brought back prosperity to the Harbour of Vancouver”. Hudson was a highly decorated WW1 Royal Navy veteran who stated Consolidated Exporters “ran like a clock” and “by my code” with 2 Vancouver distilleries on board and thirty to forty boats. The Malahat reportedly played the most prominent role and was the flagship of Rum Row, known as the Queen of Malahat. She could hold 100,000 cases of liquor while anchored and 60,000 cases sailing. The Malahat made 2 or 3 voyages a year full of scotch, rye, and brandy. The rum running business was “God’s gift to Vancouver” and “kept a lot of seamen and shipyards busy when the economy was truly bust”. The Dominion Bureau of Statistics reported that in 1929 liquor sales increased from $19M to $48M.
Vice-President Lorne Meyer thanked Rick James for his informative talk and requested that if people had questions to ask Rick at the table where he had books for sale.
Winners of the gift cards for Milanos and Mud Sharks were: Tina Kelly (who will be volunteering at the Registration desk next month), Brenda Latta, Lorne Meyer, and Dave Adshead.
Next month’s meeting will be November 3,2022.
President Alan Brown welcomed 57 club members to the first meeting of the year and hoped everyone had a great summer. He reminded us that all future General Meetings will be on the first Thursday of the month. The next one being October 6.
He welcomed new club members: Marianne Nies, Cindy Blackmore, Coleen Zimmer, David Miller, Karen Hodgson, Christine and Rod Smith.
President Brown also noted that the Wine and Appies Group is looking for a new coordinator and that if you are interested to email Jim Belair, Debbie Haynes, Jeanne Hall or himself.
Vicki Matthews is hosting a new Games Night Group. It will consist of informal board and/or parlour games at her house where she is able to host 25-30 people. September 23 will be combined with the Wine and Appies group. Future Games Night dates will be October 21, and November 13. Vicki is looking for someone to carry on for the months of January-March while she is away. If interested contact: vmatthew@ shaw.ca
Michele Morton, our Special Events Coordinator, is stepping down effective December 31, 2022. Anyone interested contact John McGinn.
Vice-President Lorne Meyer introduced our guest speaker, Paul Berry. Paul is a 25 year member of Comox VAlley Search and Rescue (CVSAR). He is a recently retired Director of Instruction with the Comox Valley School District, and now devotes his time to Emergency preparedness and response and SAR in the province and across Canada. He is currently only one of a handful of Level 2 Senior Search managers for the province and is currently the lead instructor for Search Command with the Justice Institute of BC. In addition, he teaches Incident Command, Emergency Operations Centre Operations, and Lost Person Behaviour courses across the province. He is also involved in 3 large National level SAR projects for Public Safety Canada and the SAR Volunteers of Canada.
SEARCH AND RESCUE: HOW TO AVOID NEVER NEEDING TO CALL
Paul Berry said it was a pleasure to be with us. There are distinct, different types of rescue in Canada:
Air-the Department of National Defence from the US to the North Pole mostly looking for downed aircraft but also supports the Coast Guard.
Marine-Canadian Coast Guard patrol the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans.
Ground and Inland Water-Police led coast to coast and primarily searching for missing persons, the investigation is formal and follows strict protocols.
WHO ARE WE?
The Comox Valley Search and Rescue (CVSAR): 48 unpaid professionals from many backgrounds putting in over 20,000 person hours to train weekly, sometimes more, in first aid, navigation, search tactics and tracking. We are a team and a family often putting in 12 hours a day for 8-9 days until an operation is suspended. We are a Public Safety Communication Lifeline and an Emergency Services Organization that is committed to saving lives 24/7 365 days a year. We are the only backcountry first responders. We bring resolution and support to families in their darkest moments.
SERVICES PROVIDED (Specialty Teams)
Wilderness, Rural, and Urban SAR
Electronic tracking of Alzheimer and Dementia subjects
Support to local authorities
WHAT DO WE DO?
We only respond when called out by the BC Emergency Management Centre in Saanich, BC through the RCMP, Coroner Services, BC Ambulance Services, Coast Guard, Department of National Defence or an Independent Investigations Office.
Lost Person’s Behaviour teaching across North America.
Terrain analysis and investigation tools.
There are other smaller, Technical Rescue Teams:
Swift Water Rescue.
High Angle Rope Rescue to lower rescuers down crevices.
Avalanche Response Team-cannot send out teams if we are at risk.
Helicopter Hoist Rescue-one of two teams on Vancouver Island involving high mountain rescue.
An annual certification is required on entering a helicopter when flying.
K-9 search-currently 2 teams.
Man Tracking-Sign cutting is an essential tool as it shows signs of passage.
Medical Evacuation and First Aid which is a minimum 8 hour course but 40-80 hours for advanced wilderness first aid.
The Support Team Program keeps tools readily accessible and running (i.e. boats).
The Adventure Smart Programs is our Branch About Prevention. The Hug A Tree program is for kindergarten to Grade One and teaches lost children to stay put. Teenagers and adults are taught how to survive outside as well as snow safety and the winter environment.
3 STEPS TO SAFETY OUTSIDE
1. Plan Your Trip- leave a detailed trip plan with a responsible person. Run or hike with a buddy.
3. The Ten Essentials:
1. Communication- cell phone, the Garmin InReach or SPOT which all have tracking features, a help button, and SOS.
2. Whistle-travels long distances and saves your voice.
3. Head Lamp
4. Check the Weather- check previous conditions on the ground and what is forecasted for the local area of your planned trip.
5. More Water than you need.
6. Follow Trail Safety Guidelines-bring some calories, if using headphones use only one.
For a full list check out: cvgsar.com
OUR BIGGEST PROJECT-A ROOF FOR RESCUERS
CVSAR has been in existence for 40 years but has no home. The plan is to fundraise (which detracts from training), seek major sponsors and apply for Provincial funding to raise $1.5M to either build or buy a suitable property.
Bill Boham asked at what wind velocity would Paul call off a hike? Paul responded that it would depend on the hike and the direction. But he suggested with winds of 30-40km/h that a walk around the AirPark would be the best choice.
Someone asked about his experience with InReach or SPOT. Paul responded that one must be patient using these devices as there is a delay and in narrow terrain they can be challenging.
Another questioned Aerial Search Support: Paul stated that first deployed is the RCMP aerial team, followed by civilian SAR then commercial teams are hired and finally the Coast Guard is requested (using their infrared technology).
Drones are used by the RCMP but they are difficult to use in mountain terrain. A small drone is able to fly down into a gulley or crevice or even into water.
CONTACT: PAUL BERRY, PRESIDENT, SEARCH MANAGER II of Comox Valley SAR
Donations are tax deductible.
The winners of Milano gift certificates were David Pendlebury and Ian Thompson (What again!) and Benino gift certificates were Marie Morck and Steve Latta.
Photos of President Alan Brown, Vice-President Lorne Meyer, and guest speaker Paul Berry from CVSAR. Thank you Ian Thompson.
SUMMER BBQ, JULY 21, 2022
78 hungry Glacier PROBUS members showed up at Kitty Coleman Park on the perfect summer BBQ day. Good food and good company was enjoyed by all. Thanks to Steve and Marilyn for organizing this. Steve and Lorne for the actual BBQing - with only one burner :(. Thank you for all the extras brought by club members. And a special thank you to the set-up and clean-up crew of Tina and Gary, Brian and Carla, Marilyn, and Jill and other helping hands.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, JUNE 2, 2022
Vice President Alan Brown introduced Blythe Reimer, our guest speaker and the first Canadian female pilot to fly the Sea King CH-124 helicopter. At that time (the 90s) only 2% of pilots in the world were women but today 10% of pilots are women.
Blythe said that this was not planned nor something that she pursued, however, after graduating from University, she asked, “What am I going to do now?” Blythe humbly recounted her story neither wanting to dilute nor embellish her narrative.
A ‘military brat’, her father and grandfather both pilots, the family moved every three years and she attended high school in Heidelberg, Germany. She spent 6 years in Paris at an American University and speaks English, French, German, some Spanish and Italian. Whilst at university in 1986-1988 combat training for women opened up and Blythe and a friend began their training at HMCS (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship) Naval Academy in Esquimalt where she topped her course and served as Bosun for two years. It was there she developed a love of being on a ship. As a woman she stated, “it was just something I did”.
Blythe first flew the Musketeer aircraft for 120 hours with 2 other women only one passing with the required 90%. The second ‘funnest’ part of her training was flying the CT-114 Tutor jet which the Snowbirds flew. Their motto was, “First you get good, then you get better”. That completed her fixed wing pilot training.
Next came her rotary training on the CH-139 Jet Ranger, a single engine used to help RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) helicopter trainees earn their wings. Coming second in that course, the military decided she should get her wings and she graduated in June 1990. Following graduation she was sent to Squadron 406 Maritime Operational Training Unit in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she learned to fly the CH-124 Sea King helicopter.
Blythe recounted landing the Sea King on a ship in rough water. Once the pilot has received permission to be over the ship, the landing begins. The pilot must stay level with an artificial horizon and line up between two black lines that run down the hangar doors with 5 feet of clearance. Then receiving permission from the landing officer the probe hooks onto the ‘Bear Trap’ and the helicopter lands.
In 2002, Blythe retired to Airdrie, Alberta and became a nutrition coach. Her pilot husband worked for WestJet and they moved to Comox and decided to open a restaurant, The Tidal Cafe, in Comox. Blythe loves the support she has received from family, friends, and the community.
Alan Brown thanked Blythe for her presentation.
President John McGinn brought forward two matters concerning our AGM.
The new Management Committee consists of:
Alan Brown, President
Lorne Meyer, Vice President
John McGinn, Past President
Dorothy McGinn, Treasurer
Jill Almond, Secretary
Donald Bourne, Registration Director
Brenda Latta, Membership Director
Jim Belair, Activity Group Director
Ian Thompson, Communications Director
Steve Ray, Technology Director
Susie Wilson, Facilities Director
Michele Morton, Special Events Director
Helmut Breitinger and Marie Morck, Directors at Large
President McGinn thanked the present Board for their work and appreciated everything they did. Vicki Matthews also thanked the Board for getting us through Covid.
Treasurer Dorothy McGinn noted that our bank balance of almost $9000 will soon be increased with our 250 members paying their annual dues of $35 by July 31, 2022. The only unknown expense is the rental for the church. The major expenses of 2021-2022 were the meeting room rental, Co-ordinators appreciation event, and the retiring board appreciation event. Treasurer Dorothy McGinn noted that the 2022-2023 Glacier PrOBUS Club Budget must be ratified by a show of hands, all in favour showing approval of the Budget.
Vicki Matthews moved that the 2022-2023 Glacier PROBUS Club Budget be approved as presented, with John McIsaac, seconding the motion. All in favour, motion approved.
President McGinn introduced new members Dan and Dianne Needham.
Winners of the Tidal Cafe gift certificates were: Steve Horn, Debbie Haynes, Sandra Wagner, and Phil Morck.
Winners of the Wine bottles were: Dave Adshead, Marilyn Ray, and Elaine Brown.
President John thanked us all for coming out and reminded us of the Summer BBQ and that there are still tickets for the PRISMA cruise.
THERE WILL BE NO GENERAL MEETING UNTIL SEPTEMBER, 2022
Newly elected Vice President Lorne Meyer requested that members contact him with suggestions for guest speakers.
The meeting ended at 3:00. There were 38 in person members and 9 members via the Zoom platform.
Photos compliments of Ian Thompson: in order, Steve Ray, Steve Horne, Debbie Haynes, Elaine Brown and new President Alan Brown with Past President John McGinn, partial picture of new Management Committee.
NEW MEMBER MEET AND GREET, May 26, 2022
Several 2021 new Glacier PROBUS Club members joined some of the Management Committee for a long awaited Meet and Greet. Good food, hot drinks and good company were enjoyed by all. We learned about our new members and their interests and also a bit more about our MC members. There's Joanne (hope I've spelled that correctly) who is active in a local play at the Filberg Centre, Barb who is keeping busy gardening and volunteering for Anderton Gardens and the Georgia Straight Jazz Society, Stan, a hiker (and reluctant photographer), Dale our cyclist still recovering from his accident with more cycle trips planned, Dan and Dianne (the Double Ds) who moved here just before Covid and had a few rough and isolating years but now Dan has an art show at The Artful Gallery, and Dianne is busy with gardening and writing, and Rob who is also busy cycling and volunteering with SAR. If I have missed anyone I do apologize. Welcome to you all!
The event was a success with good food, drink, and company. 19 out of 26 coordinators attended. Thanks to Alan Brown for his heartfelt words of appreciation, and Lorne Meyer's interpretation of past President Sandy Dreger with a 'flick of his long hair' as he read Sandy's note of acknowledgement of our activity coordinators. Thank you to Anne and Ray Fast for making the Murrelet Strata Clubhouse available. Photos courtesy of Steve Ray.
May 5, 2022 General Meeting
President John McGinn opened the meeting at the Comox United Church by thanking everyone who came (37) and those who preferred the comfort of their own home via Zoom (7). He mentioned the following items:
President John then introduced our guest speaker, Jane Evans, a Development Officer for BC Cancer Foundation on Vancouver Island. Jane grew up in Winnipeg and has been on the Island for 21 years spending her leisure time walking on the beaches with her standard poodle.
Jane Evans thanked us for coming out and noted how wonderful it is to meet in person once again. She said there is exciting news from BC Cancer in Victoria and the BC Cancer Foundation. The BC Cancer Foundation’s latest fundraising campaign slocan is: THIS IS PERSONAL.
Who are we
The BC Cancer Foundation is BC Cancer’s fundraising partner. The BC Cancer agency provides care and treatments, while the BC Cancer Foundation fills the gap with equipment, research, and patient support. All funds raised by the BC Cancer Foundation stay in BC and the Yukon.
A world free from cancer.
We are not
The BC Cancer Foundation is not: The Canadian Cancer Society which is a National organization with headquarters in Toronto. Those funds are distributed across the country for lodges, education, and research.
BC Cancer Foundation in Victoria, BC
Provides world-class comprehensive cancer care and treatment close to home. The building is by the Royal Jubilee in Victoria and is a light-filled, natural wood building with all chemo and radiation treatments above ground.
World-class research and treatment are available today with the latest equipment and technology.
The Foundation is just wrapping up a $5M fund-raising campaign for a PSMA PET-CT imaging unit which provides specific prostate membrane imaging that will support an earlier and more accurate detection of prostate cancer spread. Currently this is only available in Vancouver one day a week and the wait-list is 8-12 months.
The “World Is Watching” as Phase Two of the Immunotherapy Trials begin for blood cancers. These super-charged T-cells are created in Victoria at the Deeley Research Centre. It is hopeful that immunotherapy will provide a new and improved treatment for a wide spectrum of cancers.
Patient Care is focusing on a safer more culturally sensitive Indigenous environment with artwork, and healing spaces.
What excites our oncologists the most is genomics-the study of cancer at the cellular level of the tumour cells based on a patient's genetic makeup resulting in a personalized approach to care. Hence the BC Cancer Foundation slogan: THIS IS PERSONAL.
For more information check out Ian Thompson's email from Jane Evans with PDF attachments on: Breast Cancer, Immunotherapy Clinical Trials, Gynelogical Cancers, Genomics - Future of Cancer, and PSMA-PET 2.
If anyone has any further questions do not hesitate to contact Jane Evans: email@example.com
Tour de Cure
This is the biggest fundraiser and in 2021 it raised $5.5M with 3250 riders. This year it will be in Chilliwack on August 27, 2022 with rides of 50km, 100km, or 150km. Check out: www.tourdecure.ca
To be part of the day, one can ride their own 50, 100 or 150km and share throughout the day on social media. One can also track their route and share it using the Strava App. If you have any questions contact Lindsay Carswell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Advanced research and equipment is supported by monthly or annual giving, gifts of shares, and gifts in wills or estate gifts.
Jane Evans ended her informative session by thanking everyone and noting that: THE PROGRESS IS REAL.
President John thanked Jane for her presentation.
The winners of the Church Street Tap House gift certificates were: Sheila Precious, Jim Belair, Ann Fast, and Ian Thompson.
Photo of Jane Evans compliments of Ian Thompson.
April 7, 2022 General Meeting
Held in the Comox United Church with 29 people in attendance and another 9 on the Zoom platform.
President John McGinn opened with a great joke! He noted that the Annual General Meeting will be on June 2 and that some positions are opening on the Board. For more information contact past-president, Sandy Dreger. The Summer Barbecue is scheduled for July 21 at Kitty Coleman, the Christmas Dance is on December 3 at D’Esterre, and PRISMA will be held on June 25. Another Bowling date has been added for April 23. Sign-up on the Special Events page of our Website.
Vice-President Alan Brown talked about flying into Comox 25 years ago and finding a “huge air base, rolling past CF18s, and Search and Rescue (SAR) planes and wondering why an Air Force (AF) Base was in Comox". When he became vice-president, he was determined to find the answer, introducing our guest speaker, retired Colonel Jon Ambler of 19 Wing Comox.
Col. Ambler joined the Canadian Forces (CF) in 1979 and took command of 19 Wing Comox in 2004. In 2006 he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Military Merit. He served 30 years in the AF as a Long Range Patrol Navigator. He commanded at the Crew, Flight, Squadron, Peacekeeping Task Force, and Wing levels. Retiring in 2007, he has been very active volunteering for the Comox Valley Air Force Museum and researching and promoting BC’s aviation history.
Col. Ambler noted that as a historian, he usually holds public speaking engagements monthly but has done nothing but Zoom for the past two years and that it was a great pleasure to be here in person today.
The airfield at Comox was opened by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1942 to provide a base on the West Coast with the best weather for the Torpedo bombers to fly over the Pacific looking for Japanese warships. With the reduced role of the Torpedo, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) took over the base in 1943.
Wartime Role and Training:
#6 Operational Training Unit (OTU) was a Transport Establishment that flew the D-47 Dakota built in 1930, "with a design that was almost perfect, with some still flying today”. The crew was trained to support the British fighting the Japanese and flew to China, Burma, and India over the ‘Hump’ of the Himalayas. It could transport 30 crew who would parachute out the back of the plane. The Dakota also towed Gliders, also used in WW2, out of the Cassidy RCAF glider training base now the Nanaimo Airport.
Long Range Patrol:
In 1946 RCAF Station Comox was closed under the direction of the Department of Transport. In July 1952 Comox was reactivated with the first operation squadron, 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron flying the Lancaster whose primary task was in anti-submarine warfare role. They provided undersea surveillance, operations against terrorism, high seas driftnet fishing patrols, counter drug ops (with RCMP) and SAR. In alliance with NATO and NORAD they patrolled the Pacific and Western Arctic Ocean. The Neptune replaced the Lancaster and was eventually replaced by the Canadian built Argus capable of flying for 10 hours over 3000 miles.
In November of 1954, the 409 All Weather Fighter Interceptor Squadron was reactivated at Comox due to the threat of the Soviet Union Bomber Force. Over the years it was equipped with the CF-100 Canuck (nicknamed the "Clunk") which was replaced by the CF-101 Voodoo till the 1980s. These supersonic planes were built in the USA and were armoured with a nuclear unguided 'Genie' rocket warhead to fire at bombers. The acquisition of nuclear weapons resulted in both political and anti-nuclear controversy and protests. The purchase agreement actually states that the ‘Genie’ rockets were the property of the US and that Canada would only use them under the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) 1957 military alliance with the US providing aerospace warning, airspace sovereignty, and protection of North America. They were never used.
In 1984 409 Squadron ceased Voodoo operations at Comox and moved to CFB Cold Lake to fly Hornets. Today, Comox remains a NORAD Forward Operating Base (FOB).
The 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron conducts SAR operations and Cormorant training. Their designated ‘Victoria’ region of the Canadian Search and Rescue Regions (SRR) is the smallest at 1.3 million square km comprising BC and the Yukon but the busiest SRR with over 300 calls per year covering the most diverse landscape (mountains, ocean, forests, lakes, trees, and coast line including the Arctic). Col Ambler noted the helicopter is best used for the rescue part of SAR. The Albatross, which was an amphibious helicopter, was replaced by the Labrador which was notoriously underpowered with two engines and no warning other than “the earth was getting closer” when one engine shut down. The Labrador was replaced by the Cormorant and with three engines and a light that notifies when one is lost, it currently provides the best SAR capabilities at the Squadron.
The helicopter holds a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer (that manages the hoist), and two SAR Technicians with paramedic training. The Buffalo, a SAR airplane, has just been retired and replaced by the Kingfisher that carries a pilot, co-pilot, sensor operator (including radar, infra-red, lowlight, and TV) operator, and navigator. The Kingfisher is used for sensing humans which from 200 feet away are the size of a soccer ball. It can fly at night and in bad weather.
SAR Techs, the Air Force Para-Rescue Specialists, moved their school to 19 Wing Comox in 1996. The Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR) opened in Comox in 1998, training crew and maintenance personnel using simulators and aircraft. The 418 Squadron was Canada’s highest scoring squadron in WW2 in terms of day and night operations. It was re-introduced in 2019 as the 418 SAR Operational Training Squadron and began operations at the new SAR Centre of Excellence Training Center at 19 Wing Comox in 2020. Their training methods and new simulators will improve SAR skills using the latest fixed wing search and rescue aircraft, the Kingfisher.
Col. Ambler invited us all to come to the Museum for more detail. 2024 marks the Centennial for the RCAF and the Museum is hoping to raise enough funds to build a display for a 1999 Vampire.
Col. Ambler answered the following questions:
The myth of the Avro CF-100 Canuck. The Government cancelled the project of a more futuristic/triangular updated version in the 1950s as the RCAF did not want the plane as there were other planes already flying that were just as good plus if they trained squadrons for the new Canuck there would be no money for anything else.
The ‘Genie’ nuclear 1.5 tonne nuclear warheads were sent back to the US.
Planes use jet propulsion fuels based on either naphtha or kerosene with different additives.
The SAR community includes the Coast Guard, the RCAF, the RC Navy, the RCMP, local police, North Shore Rescue, and volunteers.
On behalf of Glacier PROBUS, Alan Brown gave Col. Ambler’s honorarium to the Museum at his request. Alan noted that Ms. J. Evans from BC Cancer will be our May guest speaker and will report on new cancer care on Vancouver Island.
President McGinn thanked Col. Ambler for a most informative talk and announced the winners of the Art Knapp gift certificates who were: Bev and Gerry Haist, Dave Adshead, Helmut Breitinger, and Alan Drummond.
MARCH 2022 GENERAL MEETING
The March 3, 2022, General Meeting was held at Comox United Church with 28 people attending in person and another 14 members via the Zoom platform.
President John McGinn welcomed everyone and noted how wonderful it was to see everyone. He is hopeful that in a few months we may be back to where we once were with more faces and coffee and snacks.
President McGinn welcomed Judy Murakami, the President of the Strathcona Probus Club in the Comox Valley.
He also introduced a new Club member, Bruno Antonello who has a background in radio and television.
A joke followed with President McGinn turning the microphone over to Alan who introduced our guest speaker, Ross Moxley, a gifted storyteller. Ross was a grain farmer for 5 years in Saskatchewan and in his down time studied law. He was appointed to the Provincial Court in 1969 and was known as the “Flying Judge”. Ross recounted many tales of his life in his speech to our Club.
Alan Brown thanked Ross for sharing his exciting life story.
The winners of the Laughing Oyster Book Store Gift Certificates were: Jeannie Hall, Jim Belair, Steve Ray, and Leslie Fraser.
President McGinn thanked Donna and also Ross for his enlightening speech. He ended the meeting hopeful that next time we will be back with more of our friends.
FEBRUARY 2022 GENERAL MEETING
The February 3 General Meeting was held via Zoom with 40 members attending.
President John McGinn thanked Alan and Elaine Brown for putting in the time and organizing our meeting.
Alan Brown introduced our guest speaker, Adam Taylor, Executive Director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation since 2015. Previously, Adam worked in other species recovery programs such as endangered shark-tailed snakes, bats, turtles, and slugs. Without the ground efforts of the Marmot Recovery Foundation, funded by landowners and individual donors, the wild population of the Vancouver Island Marmot would be gone.
The Vancouver Island Marmot is totally unique to Vancouver Island and is one of the largest members of the squirrel family (about the size of a large house cat). However, the VI Marmot is an “upside down” squirrel with powerful shoulder and leg muscles for digging.
VI Marmots live in south and west-facing sub-alpine and alpine meadows where avalanches and snow creep clear the bowls and chutes from trees. These tree-free open meadows are filled with grasses and flowers which this herbivore loves. These areas are also the first to be free of snow and produce early grasses when the marmots emerge from hibernation in the spring. When not eating, the VI marmot stretches out on boulders, watching for predators such as cougars, wolves, and golden eagles, announcing their arrival with a shrill whistle and a scurry into an escape burrow.
The VI Marmot lives in family groups called colonies and hibernates below the frostline for 7 months from mid-September till late April or early May. During this time their metabolic rate slows down, Adam describing them as “freeze dried”. Their breath rate slows to 1-2/minute, and their heart rate from their usual 110-200 beats per minute to 4-8 bpm and their body temperature drops to 4-6 degrees Celsius. They lose 30% of their body mass during this period. However, they do wake up every two weeks for a bathroom break and these brief, wakeful periods use up 80% of their energy. Come spring, when they emerge, they often tunnel through several meters of deep snow, and it can take two weeks for their digestive system to “wake up”. They are most vulnerable to perishing during this time from a lack of energy also making them easy prey.
The mature 3+year old female marmot is pregnant for one month giving birth to 3 or 4 pups once every two years. The pups spend their first month inside their burrows emerging in late June or July. The pups stay with the mom for two years. The marmots hibernate as a family although the father may have several different long-term relationships.
VI Marmots are great pollinators and they play an important role in turning over soil making nutrients available. Their network of burrows provides hibernacula for western toads and garter snakes.
VI Marmot colonies are small with usually 2-4 marmots made up of family members making mate selection difficult. VI Marmots live in networks of colonies called “meta-populations”. Therefore, marmots leave their home colony in search of a colony nearby or else they attract a mate coming from another colony. This movement between colonies is called dispersal. A usual dispersal range is 5-20km, but one tracked male dispersed 27km which may explain the two lost marmots-one found in a wood pile at Qualicum Beach and the other on the beach at Bamfield. Dispersal allows new colonies to be formed and replenishes declining colonies keeping the VI marmot population healthy.
DNA evidence suggests that the first VI Marmot arrived around 100,000 years ago. Marmots played an important part of First Nations history. They were hunted annually for their fur and meat, and they played a role in their spiritual life. This would suggest that the marmot population was once quite large and widespread.
In 1978 the VI Marmot was an endangered species and in the mid-1990s the population was in serious trouble. In 1998 only 70 marmots were recorded in the wild with only one small colony on Mt. Washington and the others east of the Nanaimo Lakes.
It isn’t known with certainty why marmots were disappearing, but their core habitat is small and patchy, and colonies have relied on dispersal efforts to maintain their population. However, roads and dams may have impaired their ability to disperse and their ability to rescue each other. The cottontail rabbit was introduced to Vancouver Island followed by its predator, the Golden Eagle, which now has an established population here. Predators account for 80% of the VI Marmot decline.
The Marmot Recovery Foundation was founded in 1999. The Recovery Team launched a rescue effort of captive breeding combined with the release and reintroduction of captive-born marmots to the wild. Without this program the Foundation felt that the VI Marmot would become extinct. As of 2020, they have released 550 captive bred VI Marmots. Two colonies have dispersed and created their own colonies. There are now 70-80 marmots in Mt. Washington and Strathcona Provincial Park. Each year the Foundation supports growing colonies by releasing marmots. They also rescue lost marmots or those in danger. Furthermore, they monitor the wild population with radio telemetry and provide high energy food for their emergence in the spring.
FUTURE FOR MARMOTS
The VI Marmot is one of the rarest mammals in the world.
Climate change over the past 20-30 years has produced a change in tree cover which has increased in the marmots habitat by 25%.
But thanks to the recovery efforts, the VI Marmot population has increased from less than 30 wild marmots living in a handful of colonies in 2003 to 250 (an increase of 50 from 2020-2021) living in over 20 mountains.
HOW TO SPOT THE VI MARMOT AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
The VI Marmot spends early mornings and late afternoons lounging on top of rocks looking downhill for predators. They have chocolate brown fur with which patches on their nose, chin. forehead, and chest. On Mt Washington they live right on the ski slopes (which are “artificial avalanche” areas). You may find a pile of dirt and rocks which is the front porch of their burrow. Or you may see emergence holes from their hibernacula in the spring snow. If you see one: take a photo, record the location or GPS coordinates, ear tag visibility and please let the Recovery Team/Foundation know of your find.
On behalf of Glacier Probus, Alan Brown reported a donation will be made to the Marmot Recovery Foundation. You can visit their website at: https://marmots.org
Or join The Adopt A Marmot Club!
President John thanked Adam for a most interesting presentation and reported that when he was on the chair lift at Mt Washington he saw a marmot.
The winners of Hot Chocolates Gift Certificates were: Gerry Haist, Ian Thompson, Jeannie Hall, and Robin Harrison!
President John again thanked everyone and noted it would be wonderful to meet in person in the Spring.
JANUARY MONTHLY MEETING
The January 6, 2022, Glacier PROBUS General Meeting was held on the Zoom platform with 36 members present.
President John McGinn welcomed everyone to PROBUS 2022 which is looking much like 2021. He hoped everyone had a good Christmas and New Years and he is looking forward to when we can meet in person again, but it doesn’t look like it in the near future.
Jim Belair brought us up to date on a member hoping to start a Skiing Group. However, due to low interest the member has since decided not to pursue it.
Tricia Nicol reported that the Bridge Group is once again playing virtually.
Donna Crozier said that today’s winners of $25 Cobb’s Bakery gift certificates (with a surprise included!) may use their certificates tomorrow.
Alan Brown introduced our two guest speakers, Carol Tyson and Adele Einarson, who since retiring in 2020 after 30-40 years as Registered Nurses, have become very active in the local ElderDog Canada Chapter or Pawd as they are called.
Carol is the Leader and Volunteer Coordinator and Adele is the Treasurer and Education/Outreach Coordinator of the ElderDog Comox Valley Pawd.
Adele stated ElderDog Canada is a national non-profit organization that was started by Ardra Cole, a University Professor, in Nova Scotia in 2009. Her research on caregiving and Alzheimer’s and dogs providing optimal companionship at the end of life combined with her own brother passing and leaving his dog, Mr. Brown, led to the beginning of ElderDog Canada. Mr. Brown is now the poster dog for ElderDog Canada.
The organization is founded on three principles:
1. Comfort – to senior’s lives and the connection they enjoy with their dogs.
2. Quality of life – to live together in a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship.
3. Tribute – acknowledging how deeply the affect dog’s have on seniors’ health and well-being.
In 2016 the organization became a Registered charity with no paid positions. All funds come from donations, fund raising (such as the local bottle drive in June), and the sale of dog food and Calendars. Currently the local Pawd is using funds to cover the recent Christmas Parade, and the purchase of safety vests for Volunteers and for emergency situations. Veterinary bills are paid for by National Headquarters. For donations to the local group, you can email Adele Einarson at: email@example.com.
Nationally there are 29 ElderDog Pawds with three on Vancouver Island. Carol noted the Comox Valley Pawd started in February 2021 with 45 volunteers and now has 95 volunteers serving 16 clients and 19 dogs. The volunteer ages range from their 20s to 70s. The local Pawd serves Parskville and north on the Island. Their Facebook page is: Elderdog Canada Comox Valley Pawd. The volunteer email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Head Quarter website is: www.elderdog.ca. The Head Quarter 24-hour phone number is 1 855 336-4226. Any one can call this number, and their request/concern will be forwarded to the local Pawd. The National Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/ElderDog. Check out their store: http://www.elderdogcanadastore.ca.
The Pawd provides free assistance for healthcare, exercise, and feeding with the aim to “keep love in the home.” Included services are simple hygiene such as brushing and nail trims, transportation to the Vet, temporary foster care, and finding forever homes for older dogs left without a home. The organization is also dedicated to the support, education, and research into the role that dogs play in the health and well-being of our seniors. During Covid, ElderDog has been deemed an essential service.
Typically, a Dog Support Coordinator meets with the client and dog. The client and dog are then entered into the National Database and a care plan is developed. Dog walking is the main care required with requests for up to three times a day walks, or once a week in rain, wind, or snow! For anything from puppies to elder dogs.
Not all meetings with clients result in immediate help. Clients and their families are pre-planning in the event of needing help down the road which allows the Dog Support Team to get to know both the client and their beloved dog.
All volunteers have had a criminal check and wear ID tags. The clients have a magnet on the fridge and an ID sticker on the door to notify personnel that an ElderDog lives there. The local Pawd also collaborates with a Social Worker and a Senior Care representative at the hospital. Several local veterinarians have also given their support.
Carol noted it is truly heartwarming the difference this organization can make. The local Pawd is still getting the word out there about their organization and this was their first community/public presentation.
President John McGinn thanked Carol and Adele for their informative presentation.
Treasurer Dorothy McGinn announced the winners of the gift certificates who were:
Sheila Precious, Donna Crozier, Robin Harrison, and Jill Hatfield.
President McGinn thanked Donna for arranging the gift certificates and Al for organizing the meeting and arranging the speakers. President McGinn ended the meeting once again hoping we can all get together soon and thanked everyone for showing up.
NOVEMBER MONTHLY MEETING 2021
On Thursday, November 4, 28 members in person and 12 members on Zoom joined together for our monthly meeting. Members were greeted at the door by Donna Crozier and her team who were checking Vaccine Passports and IDs.
President John McGinn thanked members for coming and said that it was good to be back in person after 19 long months. He stated that despite the struggle, we have persevered thanks to Jim Belair and the cadre of Activity Coordinators whose work is much appreciated. Following in Past President Tony’s footsteps, President McGinn finished with a funny joke.
Vice-President Alan Brown introduced our speaker, Ian Thompson.
As Remembrance Day draws near, Ian Thompson presented his power point presentation on the involvement of the Comox Valley Communities during WW1.
Many Canadians signed up to fight overseas in the first two years of the war including several men from the Comox-Atlin riding which included Hazelton in Northern BC to the Lower Mainland. This was a huge area to draw from and the men were a tough bunch of independent loggers, farmers, and fishermen. These men formed the 102nd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. They came to the Goose Spit for training where there was no electricity, no water, and the food was poor with the men living in teepee like tents. In June 1916, the 102nd Battalion boarded a steamship from the Comox pier to Victoria, then by train to the Canadian Forces Base in Valcartier, Quebec and finally to England. The 102nd Battalion fought in France and Flanders until the end of the war and were one of the divisions involved in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. One member, Lieutenant Graham Thomson Lyall was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle Du Nord. There were 3863 members; 676 died and 1715 were injured. This battered bunch were the occupation forces after the War. The 102nd Battalion disbanded in 1920.
In 1917 the federal government decided to conscript young men for overseas military service as Canada was struggling to maintain voluntary troop numbers.
Ian spoke briefly about Albert “Ginger” Goodwin who was a coal miner in Cumberland and fought for workers rights and was against military conscription. He led many strikes and was an organizer of the Socialist Party of Canada. He was killed in 1918 possibly from an accident or for his political beliefs. Ian noted the Ginger Goodwin Way sign on the Highway 19 near Cumberland commemorating this labour leader.
Ian drew attention to the Sandwick Memorial Cairn in Courtenay which honours those who gave their lives in WWI and is made from stones brought from the farms of their families. Near the Cairn is an English Oak tree that came all the way from Windsor Castle and was planted in June of 1937 to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
In conclusion, Ian stated that the operational headquarters in France recommended that returning vets receive land and a farmhouse. These discharged soldiers returned to the Island and named the area Merville after the place in France where they had their first field headquarters. These men and their families have formed the agricultural base of the Valley today.
Alan Brown thanked Ian for his presentation.
“Looking for something new to do”? Alan asked, introducing Markko Floyd who exclaimed tongue in cheek, that “we were a younger group than he’s usually talked to”. Markko is a self-proclaimed biker, skier, mountain climber, adrenaline junkie whose knee injuries forced him to look elsewhere to get outside and do something active and fun. Markko is the President of the Comox Valley Disc Golf Club (CVDGC)which has 200 tags or members. This is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote Disc Golf in the Valley. They hold clinics at schools, even to 5- and 6-year-olds. Disc Golf has been around for many years but recently the sport has experienced a real growth spurt. One gets to be outside in the woods, it is a social game, there are tournaments and DISC GOLF IS FREE! There are currently 4 Disc Golf Courses in the valley: Coal Creek in Cumberland, Lake Trail in Courtenay, Village Park in Comox, and The Park at Crown Isle.
“Steady Eddie” Headrick is considered the Father of Disc Golf having invented and patented the Frisbee in 1966 at Wham-O. He further invented and patented the Disc Golf Pole in 1975 which is the basket design used today. The Disc Golf Association (DGA) was founded in 1975 and the first $50,000 Disc Golf Tournament was held in 1979. Markko talked about several pro disc golf players, citing Paul McBeth with a 10-year contract for $10M not including shoe, hat, and other endorsements. Check out both the DGA and the Professional Golf Disc Association (PGDA)website for more information.
So how does it work? Just like ball golf but instead of a ball and clubs players throw discs into a basket. Kids and dogs are welcome, it is you against the course, you can play alone or with 4-6 others, you can play all year long in the rain, wind, and snow, and even at night with special ‘glow in the dark’ discs! There are no tee times, and you can play 9 holes in 25-40 minutes and 18 holes in 11/2 -2 hours. The discs are of different sizes and have numbers written on them. The first number represents the speed or how quickly the disc flies. The second number represents the glide or the ability of the disc to stay in the air with a higher number meaning the disc has more flight time. The third number represents the turn of the disc or the inclination of the disc to turn right in its flight with the higher number meaning it will keep going longer and turn to right later. The fourth number represents the ability of the disc to come back with the higher number meaning it is more likely to return.
A basic golf disc is a putter that costs $10-$15. A putter is not fast but is curved and domed and will fly 40-150 feet. Mid-range and distant drivers are flatter and squarer on the edge. One can also buy a starter pack which includes a putter, driver and an under stable fairway. The only downside is the use of plastic, but some companies are using recycled
Markko showed us his impressive disc golf cart and his artistic work on the discs. This hobby and Collector Discs have been a spin-off from this sport.
Markko also mentioned 3 local disc golf businesses: Circle One Disc Golf, Disc Market, and the website: letsthrow.ca. He acknowledged the support of Blue Toque since the beginning.
In conclusion, Markko demonstrated his skills at throwing a disc easily getting it through the basket plane.
Sheila Precious noted that there is a practice basket at Bean Around the World coffee shop. Markko had a box of $10 putter discs that were quickly grabbed up by the Frisbee Generation present. Markko will talk with Michelle Morton with regards to getting a group out.
Markko suggested we check out the following: The App: UDisc; the Website: CVdiscgolf.com and the many YouTube videos on Disc Golf.
The winners of the Art Knapp draw were: Sheila Precious, Dorothy McGinn, Steve Latta, and Gary Lucas.
Happy Holidays, see you in January 2022!
Pictures compliments of Ian Thompson
Luncheon for Retiring Committee Members
A lively and enjoyable lunch was held at Roy's Pub on October 14, 2021 to honour our retiring Committee Members Tony Nichol, Ray Fast, and James Kennedy. Many current CM showed support for all these hardworking members had done to make our Glacier PROBUS Club successful. President John thanked them for their service. Attached please see photos by Ian Thompson.
OCTOBER MONTHLY MEETING
On Thursday, October 7, 45 members and our special quest came together on Zoom for our monthly meeting. Several members logged in early to enjoy some socializing prior to the meeting. Alan Brown started the meeting shortly after 2:00 and welcomed us all with some gentle reminders when using the Zoom platform.
President John McGinn thanked the members for coming and welcomed everyone to the new season of Glacier Probus Club. He is hopeful that before the year is out, we will be able to meet in person. President McGinn acknowleged Steve Ray as our new Technology/AV Director and Dorothy McGinn as our new Treasurer.
President McGinn stated that the bylaws were to be reviewed every 3 years. Therefore, this past June-August, Management Committee (MC) members were working on this review. Proposed changes were sent out to all members in September for consideration prior to the scheduled vote at this October meeting.
Each of the proposed bylaw changes were voted on individually by the members present with the exception of Bylaw #7. After some discussion the proposed change to Bylaw #7 was withdrawn. All the other proposed Bylaw changes were approved. Going forward, President McGinn reported that a committee has been formed consisting of Steve Ray and Ian Thompson who will further review the Club's bylaws.
Michele Morton reported on the Club Christmas Party on December 4 in the ballroom of the d'Esterre Senior's Centre in Comox. The cost is $35/person with catering by Dei and music by Don Boliver. The 56 members who have expressed an interest in attending will eventually receive an email asking whether they are still interested. If more people show an interest they may also be accomodated.
Jim Belair noted that the success of the Glacier Probus Club has been the willingness of members to step up and lead Activity Groups. Jim introduced Sandra Wagner, a new member last year. Sandra is interested in starting a new Activity Group for anyone interested in Travel. Members could share travel, adventures, slides, photos, and travel tips. Ian Thompson will also send out an email to all members with Sandra's contact information. For now, any meetings would be on Zoom.
Alan Brown, looking very dapper in Elaine's homemade medieval vest with accompanying sword, introduced our special guest, Mrs. Catherine Ollerhead De Santis.
Mrs. Catherine Ollerhead De Santis, or Duchess Tangwystl Tudur as she is known, has been a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) for 36 years, joining in 1985. The SCA started out as a 'backyard' group in Berkley, California in the 1960s. By October 1968, there was already a handbook on how to start one's own Shires and Baronies. In 1969 there were 3 Kingdoms, consisting of The West-California, The East-Europe and eastern USA, and the Middle Kingdom consisting of the rest of the world. Today the SCA has 20 Kingdoms worldwide (including China), with 30,000 members and over 60,000 participants as one does not need to be a member to take part casually. Their aim is the study of Europoean medieval culture and history bringing it to life through armoured combat, archery, thrown weapons, equestrian tournaments, dance, medieval arts such as gunpowder, brewing, cooking, spinning, glass blowing, and theatre; plus the study and practice of Heraldry, as well as Calligraphy and Illumination with beautiful gold foil (to name but a few).
Within the Society, members create personas or characters to help understand the Medieval people and their values of honour, respect, and chivalry. There are small events such as potlucks and practices and huge Kingdom events. Duchess Tangwystl Tudur sited an event in Pennsylvania pre-Covid where 10,000 participants camped for 2 weeks. She mentioned some other interesting facts: battles are not scripted but depend on honour and chivalry and a King and Queen rule over Principalities and Shires.
When asked about the cost of joining the SCA, Mrs. Ollerhead De Santis reported that a combined international and family membership was roughly $80.00. One's individual cost above that is strictly driven by the level one wants to play at. Mrs. Ollerhead De Santis showed us her beautiful crown of gold plate with real gems.
Mrs. Ollerhead De Santis ended by saying that since 1985, the people she has met with a shared interest in the SCA have become family. She said that in the SCA there is a culture of acceptance and respect and repeatedly noted there is "no pressure" on participants. Duchess Tangwystl Tudur welcomed us to the Middle Ages on Saturday nights at 5:30 in the Pavilion at Comox Marina.
Alan Brown asked how active the club is locally. Mrs. Ollerhead De Santis replied that Tuesday evenings there is Archery practice on Fern Road. Other nights there are Thrown Weapon practices (including axes and knives) and Arts and Science nights also.
To contact the local chapter, check out their Facebook page: The Shire of Hartwood or email Mrs. Catherine Ollerhead De Santis at: email@example.com
President McGinn thanked our special guest for an incredibly interesting report on the SCA.
Dorothy McGinn announced the winners of Church Street Bakery gift cards who were: Jim Belair, Martha Nihls, Shelley Combs, and Jane Keliher.
The meeting ended at 3:20.
On Thursday, August 5 several members of the Management Committee hosted a Meet and Greet coffee party for new members to the Club. This event has been long delayed by the Covid Pandemic but with vaccination rates climbing we felt it was safe to host those new members who felt safe attending an outdoor event. President Sandy Dreger greeted our guests and welcomed them to the club. Jim Belair, Activities Director outlined the many groups that are remaining active during the pandemic. Michele Morton outlined the Special Events that are planned in the near future. It was great to get to know these new members and you will likely meet them as they participate in our Activity Groups. Be sure to make them welcome.
The regular monthly meeting of Glacier Probus was held on Thursday, June 6, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. Again we met on the Zoom platform.
President Sandy Dreger welcomed everyone who logged in on such a beautiful summer afternoon. She advised that, in light of BC's reopening plan the Management Committee will soon be meeting to develop the reopening plan for our club.
Sandy also advised that at recent management committee meetings it was decided to defer our AGM until we can (hopefully) meet in person in September.
Our Membership Year runs from June 1st to May 31st each year ~ with renewal dues set at the June AGM. For this year only membership will be extended to September 30th. Membership renewal will be for the period from October 1st to May 31st. Renewal forms will be issued after the September AGM and must be returned by September 30 if you wish to continue membership in the Glacier Probus Club.
Dorothy McGinn shared a You Tube from the Vancouver based Phoenix Chamber Choir. This video was recorded in April 2020 at the very beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown. It is a parody of Billy Joel's "Longest Time". It was a reminder of how far we have come since the pandemic was first declared and we were all sheltering in place. While the virus has wrecked havoc around the world we are fairly lucky to be on Vancouver Island where restrictions have allowed us some resemblance of normal life. Hopefully we can now see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Dorothy next introduced our guest speaker. Caitlin Pierchalski is the Executive Director of Project Watershed and she brought an update on the Kus Kus Sum shoreline restoration project on the Courtenay River. She was happy to report that the $3.3 million has been raised and the land has been acquired and is held jointly by Project Watershed, the K'òmox First Nation and the Town of Courtenay. Once the restoration is completed and conservation covenants are in place the land will be transferred to K'òmoks First Nation.
Restoration plans call for three years of work. In 2021 all the surface concrete and asphalt will be removed and regarding and countering will happen. It is hoped to repurpose as much of the material as possible. In 2022 more earth work and planting will take and in 2023 there will be continued planting and the all important reconnecting to the Courtenay River with removal of the steel piling wall. The site will look very sparse in 2023 but will be back to a state where natural growth can flourish. People should follow on the Project Watershed sight to be aware of volunteer opportunities to assist with the planting stage.
A brief Q and A followed and Caitlin provided the following additional information:
It will be a complex process to control water during this reconnection stage. Water will have to be slowly introduced to the site before the piling wall is removed.
Caitlin advised that Canada Goose exclusion fencing is part of the plan to prevent this non native invasive species from eating newly planted salt marsh and tidal marsh vegetation.
In answer to a question Caitlin advised that the APEX projection of a possible sea level rise of 1 meter has been factored into the plan. The planned berm beside Comox Road will actually act as a flood barrier.
The site was remediated in 2006 to provincial standards for soil decontamination.
The Project Watershed mandate is to restore the shoreline to its natural state. It will take involvement of the public to encourage the City of Courtenay and K'òmoks First Nation to develop pathways and trails so that there is public access to the site.
Dorothy thanked Caitlin for bringing us up to date on the very worthwhile work Project Watershed is doing in our community.
John McGinn shared a humorous story about penguins while the lucky draw was completed.
The winners of $25.00 gift cards to I-Hos gallery were: John and Dorothy McGinn, Gary Lucas, Michael and Martha Nihls and Ena Fraser.
See you in September - or hopefully before.
The regular monthly meeting of Glacier Probus was held on Thursday, May 6, 2021. We were again on the Zoom platform as Covid 19 regulations continue to prevent meeting in person.
Several members logged in at 1:45 to enjoy some small group socializing before the formal start of the meeting. When participants were again gathered in one large "room" Elaine Brown outlines Zoom protocols to all attendees - urging everyone to mute their microphones to prevent ambient noise, wave their hand if they wished to ask a question or make an announcement, make sure their screen name reflected who was using the device, etc.
President Sandy Dreger, welcomed everyone and thanked Alan and Elaine Brown for again acting as Zoom hosts and trouble-shooters. Sandy expressed the hope that members were all getting vaccinated to move us closer to a time when in person meetings will be possible. It has been a long, lonely time since we all met in person.
Michele Morton, Special Events Coordinator was unable to attend but sent details of upcoming events that are planned starting in late June (assuming they are permitted under Public Health Orders ). Our second Digital Scavenger Hunt will take place on Sunday, June 27. There are already 7 teams signed so don't waste time thinking about - sign up. You can join as a team or there are many individuals looking to form a team. 40 people have indicated interest in attending the summer picnic in August, many have signed up for Oktoberfest in October and we already have 32 people expressing interest in our December Christmas dinner dance. Expressing interest through the Special Events page on the Glacier Probus website does not commit you - it will depend on Public Health rules and each persons feeling of personal safety in attending.
Gary Lucas introduced our first guest speaker. Probus member Colleen Connolly who is on the board of Friends of Rails to Trails Vancouver Island (FORT-VI). Colleen was very active in using the converted rail trails in Ontario and was disappointed to find there was no similar use of the E and N rail bed. Colleen explained that 80% of the population of Vancouver Island live within 5 km of the E & N railway and that there are 21 communities between Courtenay and Victoria.
However, there are many issues related to this conversion and much work to be done. There is still some who hope to see rail service restored but the BC Ministry of Transportation only supports the train as far north as Shawnigan Lake with electric buses serving areas of the Island further north. It is projected that it will be 25 years before population growth on the island will make a railway viable.
It is projected that restoring train service could cost $500 million while a trail would cost approximately $50 million. FORT-VI supports starting with the Courtenay to Buckley Bay segment - allowing biking, hiking, running through Royston and Union Bay with no need to use the dangerous highway. A one way trip would be possible with existing bus service available for the return trip.
If expanded to Parksville, then south there would be tremendous economic benefit for coffee shops, restaurants, B and B's, etc. Conversations are being opened with First Nations populations to garner their support. Jim Belair thanked Colleen for her very informative presentation and thanked her for all the work FORT-VI is doing.
John McGinn introduced Sasha Hnatiuk from the Cumberland Museum and Archives who spoke to the group about the history of Cumberland with a particular focus on some of the women leaders in the community. Her presentation started in the 1820s when Hudson's Bay Company traders discovered coal. Robert Dunsmuir was granted a Free Miner's License and subsequently built the E and N railway to transport coal.
Chinese and Japanese workers were recruited to work in the coal mines and many brought their wives and established towns around the mine site. These women were often very well educated and brought teaching, midwifery and nursing skills with them. There are currently self guided tours of these town sites that are very informative about the vibrant communities that existed.
Sasha also advised that the Museum is currently closed for major renovations to the first and second floors with a summer 2021 reopening planned.
John McGinn thanked Sasha for sharing her research with us.
Dorothy McGinn announced that the speaker at our June 3meeting will Caitlin Pierzchalski who is the Executive Director of Project Watershed. She will be bringing an update on the Kus-Kus-Sum project to unpaved paradise along the Courtenay River.