SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar, MLA Mitzi Dean and Colwood Mayor Rob Martin make the announcement of a new school at Royal Bay Secondary, masked and distanced. (Courtesy City of Colwood)

SD62 Board Chair Ravi Parmar, MLA Mitzi Dean and Colwood Mayor Rob Martin make the announcement of a new school at Royal Bay Secondary, masked and distanced. (Courtesy City of Colwood)

Looking back at the top West Shore stories of 2020

Five stories that captured the interest of Goldstream Gazette readers over the past year

While COVID-19 dominated the headlines around the world in 2020, that wasn’t the only story to pique the interest of Goldstream Gazette readers. Here are some of our favourite articles that appeared in the Goldstream Gazette this year.

View Royal teen inspired by pandemic creates thermal camera from scratch

Fourteen-year-old Zorawar Singh was stuck at home after lockdown for a couple weeks in March when he had the brilliant idea to build a thermal camera from scratch.

Singh was inspired to use it in his school to test if someone had a fever, a common COVID-19 symptom. The teenager figured out how to build the camera using YouTube tutorials on Raspberry Pi 4, a single small-board computer, and Python, a programming language. After over 100 failed attempts, he finally had a breakthrough.

“It was a lot of research,” said the View Royal teenager. “I spent two hours every day [for four months]. We didn’t want to give up after getting no response. We kept going until it finally worked. It felt great.”

As he heads into Grade 9, the 14-year-old dreams of becoming a programmer one day.

2020 brings big plans for Royal Bay area

There is a lot of excitement over future plans for the Royal Bay area with two big projects announced in September.

With land in hand, plans are underway to build an elementary school in the Royal Bay neighbourhood. The province granted $8.3 million to purchase property between Latoria Boulevard and Metchosin Road while the Sooke School District provided the additional $1.2 million.

“It’s important for the growing number of families in Royal Bay and will relieve pressure in our other elementary schools which are bursting at the seams. School District 62 is doing a fantastic job of understanding the pace of new development in combination with enrolment, to be proactive in planning to meet the needs of students and families here in Colwood and throughout the West Shore,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin.

The Ministry of Education will work with the Sooke School District to develop a plan for building a new elementary school on the site.

And a new branch of the Royal BC Museum is set to rise in Colwood. The new building will house the museum’s archives and be used as a research centre. The 3.2-hectare (eight-acre) parcel of land, purchased for $14 million and located at the Royal Bay development in Colwood, will include a 14,000 square-metre facility that meets CleanBC energy-efficient standards. Using mass timber construction, 950 jobs will be generated – with 644 construction jobs and 320 indirect jobs.

The new building will house the Royal BC Museum’s archives, collections – including birds and mammals, botany, fish, entomology, history, paleontology and modern history collections – and research department, with additional research labs and dedicated learning spaces.

READ MORE: Best of 2020

Langford pizza restaurant makes a difference one pie at a time

For Jim Hayden, owning a business is more about making a difference through the people you help than your profit margins or bottom line.

While assisting people with mental health issues has been at the forefront of his efforts, Hayden, the owner of MOD Pizza in Langford, also supports the Goldstream Food Bank and other initiatives in the community. Those efforts, however, were tested severely following the suicide of his younger brother, William, in January 2010.

“I went through a deep depression. I don’t think people realize the scope of mental health issues and suicide until it hits close to home … It was really tough, a complete blur. Mental health isn’t something a bandage can fix. It takes time, patience and resources.”

Since that time, Hayden has raised more than $50,000 for the Vancouver Island branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association through a variety of fundraisers.

Hayden’s goal is to build more restaurants so he can use them as a platform to help others. “I want them to be gathering places where people struggling with mental health and addiction issues can find support.”

Rare spider sneaks out of hiding in Langford

With eight eyes staring up at her, a spider stretched out on the sidewalk stopped Krysten Leigh in her tracks. Leigh was walking her dog in Langford on April 24 when she noticed the eight-legged critter out of the corner of her eye.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she said. “I thought it had to be fake ‘cause I’d never seen something that big.”

Leigh was staring at a Pacific folding door spider, also known as Antrodiaetus pacificus. It wasn’t moving, but had its legs outstretched on the pavement outside Langford’s fire hall on Peatt Road.

“This was quite an unusual find,” said Royal BC Museum entomology collections manager Claudia Copley, who knew exactly what it was. “These spiders are rare to see because even though they’re native to Vancouver Island, they usually stay in their burrows underneath lawns and in old-growth forests most of their lives.”

They’re called folding door spiders because they use a door made from silk and dirt to surprise prey. They usually grow to about five centimetres or just about two inches. They’re related to tarantulas and some females can live up to 20 years.

Friends and family mourn West Shore mother killed in Langford shooting

The West Shore community is in mourning after a woman was shot outside a home in Langford.

Emergency crews were called to an address in the 800-block of Arncote Avenue – just off Peatt Road – around 9:30 p.m. on March 6 following reports of a shooting.

The following morning, West Shore RCMP Const. Nancy Saggar said police arrived on scene to find a 40-year-old woman was shot and “later succumbed to her injuries.”

Friends of the woman identified her as Angela Dalman.

“She was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Kirsten Marita, a neighbour who set up a memorial outside the Langford home. She was one of the first people on the scene before officials arrived.

“All I want to state is that everybody that showed up did an amazing job trying to help as best as we can … She knew in her last moments that she wasn’t alone.”

Anthony Singh Dheensaw, 35, was charged with second-degree murder and also faces an attempted murder charge resulting from the same incident. He is scheduled to appear in court for these charges in February 2021.


 

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A Langford woman spotted a spider while walking around Langford’s fire hall on Peatt Road. The Royal BC Museum identified it as a Pacific folding door spider, a non-venomous species that is native to Vancouver Island. (Courtesy of Krysten Leigh)

A Langford woman spotted a spider while walking around Langford’s fire hall on Peatt Road. The Royal BC Museum identified it as a Pacific folding door spider, a non-venomous species that is native to Vancouver Island. (Courtesy of Krysten Leigh)

Angela Dalman was killed in a Langford shooting on March 6. (Facebook/Angela Suzanne)

Angela Dalman was killed in a Langford shooting on March 6. (Facebook/Angela Suzanne)

Zorawar Singh shows off the thermographic camera he built, which can be used to test for the fever, a common COVID-19 symptom. (Black Press Media file photo)

Zorawar Singh shows off the thermographic camera he built, which can be used to test for the fever, a common COVID-19 symptom. (Black Press Media file photo)

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (Black Press Media file photo)

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (Black Press Media file photo)