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COVID-19 may have dominated headlines around the world and in Oceanside, but our reporters got out of the office every chance they had to report on events and issues important to the community. Here are some of the most prominent and impactful stories we reported on since starting publishing in September.

B.C. election 2020

B.C. voters found themselves heading to the polls in September after a snap election was called. Oceanside News created a local voter’s guide and hosted the riding’s only all candidate forum. BC NDP candidate Adam Walker eventually defeated BC Liberal incumbent Michelle Stilwell, after a long wait for all the mail-in ballots to be counted. 

COVID-19 in B.C. and Oceanside

The pandemic changed daily life in our province, changes included a provincial travel ban and a mask mandate, as well as the damage it did to the tourism industry. Active COVID-19 cases in the central island reached triple digits in late November, but have since been declining steadily. There have been multiple exposure events in Parksville and Qualicum Beach, including at a Kwalikum Secondary School and the legion. Island Health received completed its first vaccinations in December.

Qualicum Beach councillor takes medical leave citing ‘bullying and harassment’ in the workplace

Screen capture from town council’s Dec. 9 meeting.

Robert Filmer announced he would take medical leave from Qualicum Beach town council earlier this month. He said an unwelcoming workplace made him fear for his health, safety and wellbeing.

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Walking the streets of Parksville — ‘What I’ve seen really disturbs me’

RCMP escort illegal campers out of Marks Park after a fire on Nov. 26. || Photo by Kevin Forsyth 

“People with homes, please listen and heed this, the people surviving in the outdoors DO NOT want to be there, no matter how many times you’re told otherwise,” said Mark Russell in Oceanside News’ first letter to the editor.

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Major crime unit investigates after three bodies found in rural Qualicum Beach 

Police said they found a burned-out travel trailer with two deceased adults inside and a man in another trailer, who appeared to have been shot. Investigators later asked the public to help identify a person who may have given suspects a ride after the incident

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“Oh Jim, they’re waiting for you to die” — The case of a Canadian soldier tortured by his country’s military police

Jim Enright at the Hubbard Glacier on Canada Day, 2015. In 2018, he sued the federal government, his former employer, for $11 million. || Photo by Brian Wilford

In 1968, while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces in Lahr, Germany, Corporal Jim Enright was tortured by Canadian Military Police. His severe injuries crippled him for life.

Retired journalist, Brian Wilford wrote this detailed account of the horrors faced by his friend, Corporal Jim Enright. He shared it for publication on Oceanside News.

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Overdose victims are mostly not who you’d expect, says expert

Less than 15 per cent of overdose deaths in the province this year occurred outside, according to the BC Coroner’s Report. Over half of the people who died were in private residences.

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Oceanside sees increase in domestic violence calls during pandemic

Stock photo

The COVID-19 pandemic has created what Toni Wheeler, executive director at the Haven Society called a “shadow pandemic.” There has been a 20 per cent increase in domestic violence calls in Oceanside this year compared to last, according to RCMP.

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Woman denied occupancy in her Qualicum Beach home over height bylaw infraction

Illustration of Krystyna Janik’s house, showing the over height roof. || Provided by Krystyna Janik.

What was supposed to be a peaceful retirement in a quiet community turned into years of bureaucratic hurdles for a Vancouver Island woman. After building her dream home in Qualicum Beach, Krystyna Janik was told her roof is too high and it violates town zoning bylaws.

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BC Parks Foundation raises $1.7 million for West Ballenas Island — efforts are part of something bigger, says CEO

Photo courtesy of BC Parks Foundation.

A short fundraising campaign enabled the BC Parks Foundation to purchase West Ballenas Island from a private company for $1.7 million. An anonymous donor matched all donations from the public, so the foundation had to raise $850,000, according to its website.

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