West Shore News Through the Decades: week of Dec. 4

Low salmon returns, post-secondary educational partnerships and a close call at Pearson College made headlines in past Gazettes


Fish returns at Georgia Basin salmon spawning streams have been abysmal and fish traps in View Royal that once netted 250 to 300 fish have netted just two coho and one chum this year. A volunteer with the Goldstream Hatchery says if the rate continues for two or three years in a row, the run will essentially be gone – and if it wasn’t for the efforts of the hatchery it would already be gone.

Also making news the week of Dec. 4, 2005:

It may not be the prettiest stretch of pavement in the West Shore, but Colwood residents may soon find themselves slowing down to take a better look at the gravel pit on Metchosin Road. Colwood council votes in favour of reducing the speed limit there from 60 km/h to 50 km/hour.

And, Royal Roads University is going to great lengths in long distance learning with a new agreement with China. The Colwood-based university signs an agreement with two overseas schools, a deal that will see undergraduate students from China complete the first two years of their program there and attend RRU for the final two years. It marks the first time a western university has embarked on such a venture, says Royal Roads president Rick Skinner.


A student at Pearson College receives a rude awakening early one morning when a tree crashed into the side of her dorm building. Angus Matthews, the college’s director of development, said it ripped away the emergency exit which was built into the structure, ripping boards out that were approximately a metre from the student’s head. No one was hurt, but the fallen trees cause $10,000 in damage.

Also making news the week of Dec. 4, 1995:

Figures released by the Education Ministry show students will suffer if school districts are amalgamated, Sooke superintendent Leo Chaland says at a board meeting. “Most people think it’s unloading the big boys like me,” he says. “In fact, it’s taking money from things like special education.”

And, new computers will cost the City of Colwood upwards of $100,000. City hall, the fire department and the public works yard will have their IT systems overhauled, to the tune of $115,853. The city will get 21 new computers, all linked through a network used by city staffers.


Rick and Ann Smith and their two-year-old son Wesley can do nothing but stand and watch as their home on Sooke Road burns to the ground in less than 15 minutes. Rick had been using a blow torch in an attempt to unfreeze water pipes in the basement when the flames caught the plumbing and raced between the walls.

Also making news the week of Dec. 4, 1985:

The on-again, off-again compensation issue for an East Sooke woman who lost 11 prize sheep to a pack of dogs might now be headed to court. In a vote that Capital Regional District board chairman Howard Sturrock calls undemocratic, four electoral area directors reverse their own committee decision and opt to pay Marilyn Young only $978 in compensation rather than the $4,600 they previously agreed on.

– Compiled by Arnold Lim