Here are 2019’s most-read stories from peninsulanewsreview.com.
Topping the list was an unusual find on a local beach.
A 10-foot-long shark washed ashore at Coles Bay in North Saanich.
Francois Metcalfe saw what she thought was a shark swimming in the bay on Feb. 3 and two days later saw it had washed ashore. She called her husband and they went down to the shoreline to investigate.
“There are no signs of how it met its death,” said Peter Metcalfe. Metcalfe said the shark appeared to be 600 to 800 pounds and he was surprised that it does not have a dorsal fin on the centre of its back.
Later, a team of scientists from the University of Victoria performed a necropsy on the shark and found 70 babies inside the carcass of the bluntnose sixgill shark.
Experts thought the fact the shark was pregnant meant she died because of complications while giving birth. Mother sharks are known to come into shallower waters to give birth and have large litters of 20 to 100 pups.
An amateur North Saanich photographer caught the exact moment a meteorite slammed into January’s ‘super blood wolf’ moon, causing a small flash visible from Earth. Conan Chee, a businessman and owner of a popular Facebook photography page, filmed the eclipse using a three-foot lens, from the back of his house.
“I sat on my deck for about two hours, everything was frosty. I set up the video and once the moon had moved from one corner to the other of the screen, I would shoot a few stills and then re-set my position. I got about 10 videos total.”
During one of these videos, Chee inadvertently captured the impact flash, which University of Huelva astrophysicist Jose Maria Madiedo believes was the first ever seen during a lunar eclipse.
The next story is one still going through the court system.
In May a violent attack in a Brentwood Bay home left one person dead and two others in serious condition.
Josh Haymes, who lives in the 7200-block of Meadowlark Lane, told Black Press Media he was pulling into his driveway as the altercation was happening.
Haymes said that as he ran toward the house while calling 911, a man ran out and jumped into a white car and “almost ran him over” as the guy drove away.
Sylven said it is believed the incident was not random.
Alan Charles Chapman was later charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Emily Caruana and two counts of aggravated assault.
At the time of publication, Chapman remained in custody.
A $16-million investment from the federal government paved the way for a ‘flyover’ overpass from the Pat Bay Highway to Keating Cross Road in Central Saanich.
“This project has a 40-year-history. Its time is now,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “We have done the work as a community, and so have the provincial and the federal government. This project needs to go forward. I’m confident it will go forward.”
This flyover — which may include other elements — means that northbound drivers turning left onto Keating will no longer have to turn across southbound traffic. The project will also include a realigned southbound on-ramp to Victoria.
Construction is scheduled to start as early as 2021 and the entire project is estimated to cost $44 million.
Rounding out the top Saanich Peninsula stories of the year was one that could have had a much different ending.
Sisters, known as the “two chicks by the sea,” faced a dangerous and isolated time during the snowstorms earlier this year, before they were assisted by three of North Saanich’s finest.
Juanita Harris, 78, has limited mobility and uses an electric mobility scooter to move around the house. She and her sister, 75-year-old Carol Harris, are fiercely independent despite both suffering from some serious health ailments. The pair found themselves snowed in with drifts blocking their driveway and road so caregivers couldn’t visit. When the power went out, the sisters prepared to cope as best they could.
However, their caregiver Patricia Hirsch, recognized the severity of the predicament and called the North Saanich Fire Department for assistance.
Despite being busy with call-outs and medical checks, the department – consisting mostly of volunteers – was able to send Lt. Spencer Barkley, firefighter Jordan Kelly and recruit Rob Howland to assist.
“There was a knock at the door and three handsome gentlemen in uniform were there,” Juanita said. With a laugh, she continued, “the first thing I said was ‘but we don’t have a fire.’”
The firefighters explained they were there to help. They put the kettle on for the ladies, opened some canned food, checked the fridge was well-stocked and cleared the driveway for them.
While not a Saanich Peninsula resident, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain would have turned 52 years old in February. Before the band hit the big time, pre-Nevermind, they played a show right here in Victoria at what was once the Forge, now called Distrikt. Andrew Murray, an assistant teaching professor for the department of English at the University of Victoria, was at the show on March 8, 1991, and recalls it well.
“I remember they played quite a lot of songs off their first album Bleach. I remember they played a Velvet Underground cover called Here She Comes Now, which I had never heard them play before,” said Murray.