West Shore News Through the Decades, week of Dec. 9

Coin toss determines CRD board chair, “old books” come to Western Communities libaries and car fire at Esquimalt Lagoon made past headlines


Time is running out on a proposal for a new high school that could save taxpayers $14 million, says Langford Mayor Stew Young. He is trying to fast-track the building of a new high school at Hull’s Field that would have a connection to the municipality’s new dryfloor arena and other recreational facilities under construction. The deal would involve the current Belmont school being sold for a $15 million commercial development.

Also making news the week of Dec. 9, 2005:

MLA John Horgan says talk of three possible bridge crossings and a potential new ferry route across Finlayson Arm is likely to do more harm than good to ongoing discussions of what to do with the Malahat Highway. The potential infrastructure is part of a Ministry of Transportation study on ways to improve transportation between the Cowichan Valley and Greater Victoria.

And, a coin toss decides the new chair of the Capital Regional District board. Two separate votes at the inaugural board meeting see Victoria mayor Alan Lowe and Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell tied at 11-11. Lowe wins the flip of a coin to become the new chair of the 22-member board.


With Colwood, Langford and Metchosin in negotiations to join the Greater Victoria Public Library system, Colwood mayor John Bergbusch calls “unacceptable” an offer by the Vancouver Island Regional Library to give those communities assets that VIRL values at more than $600,000. Bergbusch says the offer includes old books, old magazines and old shelves from the Colwood Branch, adding the proposal would see VIRL retain all of the assets from the current Langford library outlet.

Also making news the week of Dec. 9, 1995:

Family concerns win out over political aspirations, when Moe Sihota announces he won’t seek to replace premier Mike Harcourt as at February’s B.C. NDP leadership convention. The Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA doesn’t rule out a future bid for the party’s top job.

And, Highlands loses the burn battle against the CRD’s waste management plan, which calls for a Millstream Road property to be the site of the only major industrial incinerator in the region. Highlands mayor Bob McMinn says he hasn’t yet given up hope of changing the plan.


Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace and joy, but booze often interferes says the local RCMP. At Christmas there is an increase in domestic disputes, when excessive drinking often leads to agreements and assaults in the home. Christmas also sees an increase in break-and-enters. A police spokesperson recalls that last year, officers responded to a call on Dec. 24 at 4 a.m. about a possible trespasser entering Ruth King School. They found a 16-year-old boy there walking around the corridors. He had been drinking and said there was “nothing else to do.”

Also making news the week of Dec. 9, 1985:

The community is mourning, after what Sooke Fire Chief Lorne Fisk calls “the worst accident” he has ever seen. Christopher Clements, 19, dies after losing control of his Toyota four-by-four truck and striking a power pole.

And, what starts as a relaxing Sunday drive to watch the birds ends with Helen Burns’ car in flames at Esquimalt Lagoon. Steam coming from under the hood of her 1973 Pinto eventually becomes smoke. Colwood fire chief Dick Proudfoot says the fire started in the engine and extended into the wiring harness.

– Compiled by Arnold Lim

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