THROUGH THE DECADES: For the week of Jan. 6

Here’s some of the stories that were making headlines in the Gazette 10, 20 and 30 years ago this week.


A drug smuggling case falls apart as Phil Stirling, a former Metchosin man, is among those who walks after charges are stayed in a massive marijuana bust.

Stirling and his accomplices were nabbed with 1,630 kilograms of pot on a fishing boat. The charges are stayed due to inadmissible evidence.

Also making the news the week of Jan. 6, 2007:

A court upholds charges against Beau Stirling, who was previously convicted of dangerous driving causing the death of two popular West Shore youth.

Stirling, the son of Phil (previous item) was sentenced to three years in jail on two counts of dangerous driving causing death and 18 months for dangerous driving causing harm in September 2005 for a 2003 crash on Island Highway in View Royal.

And, a Langford motorcycle shop employee launches a cross-Canada trip in the dead of Canadian winter, leaving for the Swartz Bay ferry terminal on Jan. 1. Paul Mondor has made the trip 19 times before, but never in the winter.


The Gazette misses its press deadline for the first time in its 20-year history following the blizzard of ‘96.

Deep snow prevents press room staff from getting to the plant to print the Jan. 1 edition. The paper is eventually printed a day late and is delivered on Jan. 3.

Also making news the week of Jan. 6, 1997:

Old Man Winter has just begun to settle in, says Victoria weather forecaster Jamie MacDuff. While a repeat of the blizzard that struck late last year is unlikely, MacDuff says that it shouldn’t be ruled out, either.

December 1996 exceeded the historical average snowfall by more than 800 per cent, with 124.5 centimetres falling in the month.


After a little over a year in receivership, it’s announced that Courts West will shut down, leaving 17 locals residents out of work and 335 members with no local racquetball facility.

The Courts West members, 300 of which are West Shore residents, are offered refunds on their memberships or transfers to the Quadra Courthouse in Victoria.

The entity has reportedly been operating at a loss over the past two years of $50,000. The next week it is announced that Courts West will gain a six-month reprieve after members pledge to raise $45,000 by Jan. 23.

– compiled by Joel Tansey