From tent city and the royal visit, to the waste water treatment facility and the arrival of hundreds of Syrian refugees, 2016 was packed with big news stories in Victoria and Esquimalt. This issue of the Victoria News is a look back at what made the headlines in 2016 from May to August. Stay tuned for tomorrow for a wrap of the rest of the year
• Christ Church Cathedral says tent city is no loner working after finding drug paraphernalia and people shooting up drugs in the parking lot while children were being dismissed from school.
• The Re/Max Spring market trends report says the average residential price of homes in Greater Victoria jumps from $495,137 a year to $543,564, a trend upwards for Victoria’s hot housing market.
• The province applies for a second injunction to evict campers at Victoria’s tent city, after a fire inspection deemed the site unsafe.
• A rare woolly mammoth named Lyuba, that is one of the most well preserved specimens in the world, from Russia is put on display at the Royal B.C. Museum as part of the Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age exhibit that was on until the end of the year.
• The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. clears a Victoria police officer in the 2014 fatal shooing of 20-year-old James Bay resident Rhett Mutch. Mutch was shot after he broke into his mother’s home and threatened to harm himself with a knife.
• A world-class motorsport circuit opens on Vancouver Island. Carved onto 50 acres of hillside on Highway 18 to Lake Cowichan, the course was marketed to potential clients around the world as something they won’t be able to find anywhere else.
• Victoria city council votes 6-3 in favour of submitting a controversial second expression of interest to participate in phase two of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s process to bring another casino to the region.
• Transport Canada announces the completion of the remediation of the Rock Bay site at the corner of Pembroke and Shore streets after 13 years. The site was once the location of a former coal gasification plant, which resulted in contamination to the site’s soil, groundwater and harbour sediments. The site has been purchased by the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.
• Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson orders tent city to be shut down in August, following an inspection of the site that deemed it unsafe for both residents of the camp and nearby neighbours and businesses.
• Island Health looks for new ways to increase the security of its database, after firing staff for the second time in less than a month for breaching patient privacy. In the incident, a health authority employee browsed the confidential records of nearly three dozen Vancouver Island residents.
• The City of Victoria axes a pilot project to erect a fence along Dallas Road to separate pedestrians from dogs, after much public outcry from dog owners and pedestrians in the community.
• Vancouver Island athletes dominate at the B.C. Sumer Games, bringing home the most medals from any other zone in the province. In total, Vancouver Island-Central Coast (zone 6) won 171 medals — 65 gold, 48 silver and 58 bronze.
• Local realtor Tony Joe warns the province’s 15 per cent tax imposed on foreign buyers in Vancouver could potentially push more foreign investors to Vancouver Island. Earlier in the month, the provincial government introduced the tax to get control of skyrocketing housing prices.
• James Bay swimmer Susan Simmons paddles into the history books as the first athlete to swim 50 kilometres within the Great Bear Sea from Ocean Falls to Bella Bella.
• The MS Society announces its downsizing its Victoria branch in the North Park neighbourhood and moving the clinic to a smaller location.
• A lack of salmon off Victoria’s waters this summer causes the Esquimalt Anglers Association to cancel its annual derby, which typically attracts between 50 to 60 boats or roughly 120 fishermen.
• The HarbourCats set a new West Coast League record for wins in a season with a record of 40-14. The win also cinched the team a playoff berth.
• Residents from tent city move into a new housing facility at the old Central Care Home building on Johnson Street.
• Fairfield’s beloved book store, the Fairfield Book Shop, closes its doors. The shop was turned into a spa.
• The Chabad Centre for Jewish life and Learning opens its door. The last time a synagogue was built on the Island was more than 150 years ago.
• A snake, which became stuck in a pipe at Quadra Street and Balmoral Road, is finally removed from the pipe after nearly a week of being stuck.