Oceanside News
Our reporters hand picked their favourite stories since staring Oceanside News in September.
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Having autonomy from Oceanside News’ publisher and advertisers gives our editorial staff freedom to pursue stories they feel passionate about. On top of providing daily news coverage, our reporters enjoy researching original stories. Here are the stories they are most proud of since beginning publishing in September. 

‘Fear of the barbed wire fence’: remembering Nanaimo’s WW1 internment camp

by Kevin Forsyth

Imprisoned behind a 14 foot wall, not because of anything they had done but because of who they were, Ukrainian immigrants in Nanaimo’s WW1 internment camp had no idea when they would be released.

When war broke out, the federal government began rounding up people it deemed enemy aliens — immigrants from enemy countries. Canada was at war with Austria-Hungary, which ruled large parts of Ukraine. Thousands were put in internment camps and forced into hard labour, such as clearing forests and building roads. 

“British Columbia was especially malicious for going after potential enemy aliens. They were actually faster at rounding people up than the federal government,” said Borys Sydoruk, chair of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation.

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“It’s important for me to be able to dig into a topic I think matters to my community and deserves more attention. I have a passion for wildlife and history and it was rewarding to be able to share some of my interests with people.”

Kevin Forsyth

Nanaimo man handing out ‘hope stoves’ to keep homeless warm this winter

Mike Hay builds ‘hope stoves’ in his spare time and hands them out to Nanaimo’s homeless population. || Photo by Kevin Forsyth

By Kevin Forsyth

A man decided to use his winter camping invention to help homeless people stay a bit more comfortable in the winter months. He started making the stoves in November and said the biggest challenge is gathering all the supplies. A local paint store gives him a two for one deal on the paint cans, but Hay said wax is more difficult to get his hands on.

“How much help and how much good I can do is really going to be based on how many people can throw some candles our way,” he said.

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‘I lost a brother and a sister in that school in Port Alberni’ — Nanoose elder shares stories from residential school

Elder Jim Bob from Nanoose First Nation recalls being asked to speak at the end of a court case. “I looked that lawyer right in the eye and I said, ‘this is the most racist part our country, here in B.C.’ It was the first time anybody heard that, but I told the truth because it’s not right how we are treated as people,” he says. || Photo by Tyler Hay.

By Tyler Hay

Sitting in the Parksville Museum courtyard in front of a small crowd, he recalled memories of waking to the sound of a beating drum and his elders singing outside the longhouse. With a soft, slow voice, he remembered being connected to his culture and to his family. 

“Oh, that was the most joyous time of my life, when they were building that longhouse,” said Elder Jim Bob from Nanoose First Nations. 

His tone darkened and became more serious. “That stayed with me when I went to residential school. That saved me — my culture saved me.”

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“I love telling stories other people are not paying attention to, whether it is about a local artist or an overlooked issue. My passion has always been in immersive and visual storytelling — though the pandemic has made this a challenge, I have found opportunities to report the way I love.”

Tyler Hay

‘Doctor switched up the meds, psychotic; my Father’s dead from alcohol and narcotics’ — Qualicum rapper shares story behind new single

Qualicum Beach rapper Chris Riss recorded his new single, Psychotic Narcotics on Oct. 29. the single will feature Canadian rapper, Madchild. || Photo by Tyler Hay

By Tyler Hay

With a microphone from a dollar store capturing beats bumping out of his computer speakers, he began to vent and record his anger in the form of rap. A broken leg kept Christopher Rissanen (Chris Riss) from expressing his anger the way he wanted — with violence. His first song, a message to his middle school sweetheart who broke his heart, was captured on Windows Sound Recorder and sent out through MSN Messenger.

“The rap music started to fuel my anger. It started to allow me to let out my aggression and I started to love it — I started to develop,” Riss said. He described himself as a demonic, morbid kid when he first got into rap music.

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Wildfire smoke just the latest threat to Vancouver Island birds

A purple martin sings on a post near Parksville beach on Aug. 6, 2020. || Photo by Kevin Forsyth

By Kevin Forsyth

Wildfire smoke drifting in from the U.S. disrupted Vancouver Island songbird migration because they rely on sight to find their way, according to a local expert. 

Local birdwatchers observed an abrupt pause in normal bird activity, such as singing and feeding in the open during the smoky period, according to Guy Monty, a biologist, wildlife consultant and avid birdwatcher.

“We saw a severe drop in temperature, which limits insect reproduction — that’s their main food when they migrate. They have to conserve energy because it takes more energy when it’s colder and it was unseasonably cold during the height of the smoke,” said Monty.

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Blockades remain in effort to stop old-growth logging on Vancouver Island

“River Camp” blocks logging roads into the Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew. || Photo by Tyler Hay

By Tyler Hay

Provincial government plans to defer old-grow logging in nine areas across British Columbia are not enough to protect ancient forests, according to activist blockaders near Port Renfrew.

“It’s all a two year deferral so they have lands on there where there were no plans at all to actually log in the next two years, but that’s protected now,” said Steve Fischer, sitting on a creek bed, shaded by towering old-growth cedars a short walk from what has been come to be known as River Camp. “It just makes them look good that there is more land protected.”

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