The Olympics, the election and community-changing developments commanded our attention in summer of 2021.

Between the worst of the heat dome and the resurgence of COVID-19, we also spent a few laps alongside a nurse who kept running and running and running.

We also found out that, at least in some cases, being asked to wear a mask is not a human rights violation.

A look back at 2021, part 4

A look back at 2021, part 2

A look back at 2021, part 1

JULY

Coquitlam paid out $2.9M in post-pandemic relief

Between pop-up parks, support for volunteers, free parking and other expenses, Coquitlam put $2.9 million toward the city’s COVID-19 Community Support and Recovery Plan.

Coquitlam pops open digital data portal

Where exactly is the property line? Does that guy down the block have a current business licence? What did my neighbourhood look like 30 years ago?

If you’re a Coquitlam resident, much of that information can be found here.

The geographic information systems portal is designed to help residents get info while helping the city become more efficient.

Ray Stonehouse, owner of Great Canadian Sportcard Co., dies at 76

A key figure in B.C. junior hockey and the lynchpin of Port Moody’s hockey card scene, Ray Stonehouse has died at the age of 76.

Enthusiastic and defiantly old school, Stonehouse was inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020.

“I am totally honoured and flattered beyond belief,” he said at the time.

Port Moody approves 2,000-unit Woodland Park development in midnight meeting

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A five-neighbourhood megaproject passed a major hurdle in the wee hours of Wednesday morning as Port Moody council voted 5-1 in favour of advancing the Woodland Park development.

Click here to read the full story.

Burquitlam affordable housing project gets $109M loan from feds

photo Jeremy Shepherd

It was old money, a new loan and fresh concrete at 551 Emerson Street.

Located a short hop from the Burquitlam SkyTrain station, the 31-storey, 308-unit rental project is the beneficiary of a $109-million loan via a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation program.

The project, located next door to the forthcoming YMCA Community Centre, includes 100 units that will be a boon for seniors, newcomers to Canada and adults with disabilities, said Claire MacLean, CEO of 43 Housing Society.

Click here to read the full story.

New childcare space coming to Port Coquitlam

The lack of childcare options in the Tri-Cities just got slightly less acute.

A purpose-built childcare facility for as many as 25 children can now be constructed at 3240 Oxford St., following a unanimous vote from Port Coquitlam council.

Album returned decades past due date

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After being checked out for approximately 30 years, a 1976 Sly and the Family Stone LP came back to the Coquitlam library.

The album’s title? Heard Ya Missed Me, Well I’m Back.

A day at the track: Port Moody nurse runs 24 hours for Eagle Ridge Hospital

Spencer Lee is running.

The Eagle Ridge Hospital nurse is running when I talk to him, when I take his photo, when I head back home and now, as I type these words, Spencer Lee is running.

His goal, excluding brief stops for food and drink, is to run for 24 straight hours on the track at Heritage Woods Secondary.

Click here to read the story.

Coquitlam approves two projects totalling 459 units

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With two votes, Coquitlam council approved a concrete condo skyscraper and a six-storey rental building.

“It achieves everything we’ve been pushing hard to achieve,” said Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart of the rental project.

Spanning five lots at Clarke Road, Como Lake Avenue and Elmwood, the 38-storey condo project is set to include 333 condos perched over a commercial podium and three floors of office space.

Located at the 600-block of Smith and the 700-block of Dogwood, the rental building is slated to replace four homes and a duplex with 126 rental units including 37 below-market units.

Click here to read the story.

Salling strikes bronze

Softball wasn’t at the last Olympics. It probably won’t be at the next Olympics. So, for Jenn Salling and her fellow athletes, Tokyo was the only chance to achieve a lifelong dream and to make history.

They made it.

For the first time in the history of Olympic softball, Canada was on the podium following the squad’s 3-2 win against Mexico in the bronze medal game.

Coquitlam track coach’s words featured in Olympic TV ad

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If you’ve been watching CBC coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, you’ve seen these words — and Tara Self, and the stadium with her father’s name on it, and the rain-shrouded hills around Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park — in one of a series of television commercials for Petro-Canada.

“The words of great coaches fuel great athletes” is the theme of the ad campaign and in Self’s case, the words are: “We’re building champions.”

Read the article

AUGUST

Hundreds of fish dead following Stoney Creek spill

photo supplied

Approximately 300 salmon fry and trout were found dead in Stoney Creek on Friday morning, many floating in what streamkeepers described as a milky grey cloud discolouring the water.

The spill was confined to an area northwest of North Road and Como Lake Avenue, noted Luka’s father, streamkeeper George Kovacic.

“Upstream, everything was alive. Downstream, everything was dead.”

Read the story

Contractor gets $500 fine following spill

Coquitlam staff leveled a $500 fine on a contractor following an investigation into the recent Stoney Creek spill that resulted in hundreds of dead salmon fry and trout.

After father-and-son streamkeepers George and Luka Kovacic spotted a milky discharge in the creek northwest of North Road and Como Lake Avenue, Coquitlam staffers collected turbid water samples from two catch basins that lead to the waterway.

Staff from the city’s Public Works and Environment department ultimately tracked the turbid water to a contractor doing geotechnical work in the area.


“I can’t confirm whether the turbid water was responsible for the fish kill at this time,” explained Coquitlam environment manager Caresse Selk.

Further analysis of the water sample is ongoing.

Police watchdog investigate Coquitlam man’s death

A man fell to his death from an upper floor of a residential building on the 1100-block of Heffley Crescent shortly after Coquitlam RCMP arrived.

Police arrived at the building near Lincoln SkyTrain station at approximately 3:20 a.m. When officers arrived a man pushed the door toward them before running to the patio, according to an RCMP release.

The officers walked into the house but reportedly did not see the man until they looked over the railing and spotted him on the ground, according to the RCMP. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coquitlam SAR team rescues washed-out campers

A Coquitlam Search and Rescue team drove and rode into Widgeon Falls to aid four: “wet tired, hungry and cold” hikers after their camp was washed out Friday.

A father and two teenagers were camped near Widgeon Lake north of Coquitlam Mountain when a rainstorm blew through and forced them to abandon their gear and hike out.

After getting the distress call, Coquitlam SAR deployed their 4 x 4, side-by-side off-highway vehicle, and e-bikes, meeting the three weary travellers in the early afternoon, according SAR manager Jim Mancell.

The SAR team had met up with the man’s wife before reaching the campers.

“We handed the husband and two lads off to her,” he said. “They were soaking wet. I don’t think they slept much during the night.”

Eagle Ridge Hospital’s new emergency department buoyed by $100K donation

Eagle Ridge Hospital’s expanded emergency department got a boost from some wheel estate moguls.

Meridian RV owners Tom and Sherry Ramsay put $100,000 toward the project after seeing the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals.

“We realized that the hospital and foundations are suffering as well, not being able to do their events and many of their usual fundraising activities. This was a year that we knew they could use more help,” Tom stated.

Lacrosse. Hope. Nostalgia. Twitter.

photos supplied

A man hits 50 and he presses pause, looks back over his life. Friends, family and colleagues. Kids, jobs and vacations. Loves and losses.

Stories.

Sometimes, the stories he tells himself are altered by time, by the inexact nature of memory. Often, the moments he reconstructs most precisely — Man, I remember it like it was yesterday — are, when compared to the record, if such a thing exists, not quite . . . true.

But which of us has such a record of our every utterance and accomplishment against which to compare our recollections? Who has the receipts for that legendary zinger in a staff meeting or that long, wet, warm kiss on a cooling summer night — sitting on a log in damp shorts, toes curled in cold sand — that went on — I kid you not, it was 15 minutes before we came up for air — forever?

Who’s to say what’s true?

Greig Bethel has the records and even he’s not sure of the truth.

Click here to read the full story at Tri-City Dispatch.

Homelessness organizations may add outreach, mental health workers

Organizations that deal with homelessness in the Tri-Cities may be adding a mental health worker and new outreach workers following Thursday’s funding announcement from the province.

As part of a $76-million program spread between 48 communities, Coquitlam is set to receive $306,081 from senior levels of government to help support the Hope For Freedom Society and the Phoenix Society.

The Fab Four, er, The Fabric 400

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Since beginning a fabric tote bag project in March, Jennie Davie, 86, has sewed 400 bags – and she’s still going.

Using a sewing machine, serger and embroidery machine, Davie transforms donated fabric, textile discards and linens and clothing into totes donated to Coquitlam schools and the SHARE society food bank.

“The world truly needs more women like her to bring about positive change,” wrote fellow sewing group volunteer Joanne Morneau.

Feds and province jump into Spani pool project

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The waiting period is over – the wading period is yet to begin.

The federal and provincial governments are set to chip in a combined $4.42 million to help the city of Coquitlam get started on the $12-million Spani pool renewal project.

Coquitlam previously earmarked $8 million for the project, which is set to add a leisure pool, splash area, lazy river, and a shallow entry point for young children.

‘Phone of the Wind’ offers a chance for grief, one last call

photo supplied

There’s a phone in the woods not connected to anything but maybe the person you miss, the one most need to connect to.

West of Ioco Road in Pioneer Memorial Park, the Labyrinth Healing Garden began as a place of peace and a place to mourn. Last spring, Brittany Borean glimpsed something new: the Phone of the Wind. Part art installation and part grief counsellor, it offered a tangible entry point into the intangible.

Click here to read the full article at Tri-City Dispatch

Coquitlam SAR and rescues aids injured trail builder after saw mishap

photo supplied

Search and rescue crews were gearing up for an evening training session on Burke Mountain Tuesday night when they got word of an injured trail builder on Eagle Mountain.

A man in his 40s had been doing maintenance work near Massage Therapy Trail when he slipped and his saw cut into his leg.

“He tried walking out a little bit,” explained Coquitlam Search and Rescue manager Wendi Harder. “Because it was right on the knee, walking wasn’t a real option for him.”

After getting calls from cyclists who passed him, SAR sent in their e-bike team to find the man. He was stable despite blood loss, Harder noted.

“We tried for a helicopter longline rescue but we ran out of light,” Harder said.

With the trail builder secured on a stretcher, the crew walked him to meet an all-terrain vehicle that transported the man to a waiting ambulance.

Port Moody bylaw officers to increase enforcement on green bins

Port Moody bylaw department plans to increase enforcement on Kitchen & Yard Waste green carts.

Residents need to get their bins curbside strictly between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. or face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 fine, according to the city.

Robbery, public drunkenness mar Rocky Point party

One young person was pepper sprayed and robbed while another climbed atop a police cruiser amid a raucous Monday night gathering at Rocky Point Park, according to police.

An officer’s offer of medical treatment was rebuffed by the pepper-sprayed youth, who also refused to cooperate with the investigation. Police didn’t find a robbery suspect.

Police arrested the youth who clambered atop the police cruiser. However, charges were not recommended, according to a release from Port Moody Police Department media relations officer Const. Sam Zacharias.

Refusal to serve maskless man not a human rights violation, tribunal decides

A man who alleged his human rights were violated after being told he needed to get a mask to get into a Coquitlam X-ray clinic had his complaint dismissed by a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal chair last week.

On July 24, 2020, Ian Christiansen arrived at MedRay Imaging to get an X-ray on his broken foot.

There were signs outside the clinic and a notice on MedRay’s website noting its mandatory mask policy. However, in dealing with the clinic’s screener and its chief operations officer, Christiansen refused to wear a mask.

He didn’t say he was unable to wear a mask nor that he was unable to cover the short distance to a neighbouring pharmacy to get a mask without pain. However, Christiansen contended: “any reasonable person would conclude there was something wrong with him by virtue of his being there for an X‐ray in the first place,” wrote tribunal chair Emily Ohler in her decision.

He also said he wasn’t offered a mask.

Ultimately, Christiansen was denied entry and didn’t get the X-ray.

While the “threshold to move the complaint forward to a hearing is low,” Ohler noted that complaints that don’t warrant the time and expense of a hearing can be dismissed.

Ohler concluded there was “no reasonable prospect” of Christiansen establishing a breach of B.C.’s human rights code.

Coquitlam Halloween House set to sell all Halloween supplies and close door permanently

Coquitlam’s Halloween House is closing its door for good and selling all supplies from September 18 and 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The family-friendly Halloween Haunted House yard sale at 443 Draycott Street has a nostalgic value attached to it.

The attraction has been an important part of Halloween celebrations for Coquitlam residents since 2001 but was closed last year due to the public health orders and the prohibition on public gatherings.

The organizer, Vickie Ayers has donated all proceeds from the attraction to Variety Children’s Charity to honour her brother, David, who has autism.

Car 67, where are you? Combined mental health/police unit not coming to Tri-Cities

Despite advocacy from local mayors and the RCMP, a mobile unit operated by a police officer and a psychiatric nurse isn’t coming to the Tri-Cities any time soon, according to Coquitlam RCMP Supt. Keith Bramhill.

Discussing the need for de-escalation and mental health supports with Port Coquitlam council Tuesday afternoon, Bramhill said his talks with Fraser Health regarding the nurse-officer unit have been largely fruitless.

“It’s just not reasonable that other communities can have this level of service,” Bramhill said, referring to the Car 67 program in Surrey. “Their only answer to us is, ‘Well, if we give it to you, we have to give it to Burnaby.’”

The news is a “profound disappointment,” said Mayor Brad West, describing Fraser Health’s “shortsightedness.”

In 2019, Coquitlam RCMP responded to 1,108 mental health calls, approximately three per day.

10 percent of those calls involved a weapon, most often a knife.

In cases that involved apprehension, police officers spent an average of 110 minutes at the hospital.

Simon Fraser University professor Rylan Simpson, who presented the figures, suggested they likely underestimated the number of total calls related to mental health.

Coquitlam Crunch parking lot doubled

Bad news for exercise procrastinators: you’re now twice as likely to find a parking spot by the Coquitlam Crunch.

The Lansdowne parking lot has gone from 25 to 60 stalls amid a host of improvements including a new digital sign set to provide real-time stall counts. Two of the spots are accessible.

The upgrades are meant to reduce the number of Crunch runners parking on side streets and idling in the parking lot.

Patio season may become permanent in Port Coquitlam

Sidewalks and parking lots in Port Coquitlam can be used as patios through 2022 and beyond, following council’s decision to continue waiving fees on public land encroachments.

Five businesses have formal agreements with the city to use public rights-of-way.

The loosened rules around outdoor spaces has been “a lifeline” for businesses during the pandemic, according to Mayor Brad West.

NDP’s Zarrillo wins Port Moody-Coquitlam; Liberal McKinnon re-elected in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam

After suffering a down-to-the-wire, 153-vote defeat to Conservative Nelly Shin in 2019, Coquitlam city councillor Bonita Zarrillo rebounded with a decisive victory.

Zarrill took issue with both parties’ handling of climate change.

“Conservatives, a portion of them, are saying that the climate crisis isn’t even real – and the Liberals are acting like it,” she said during a debate.

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam

Despite a strong challenge from Conservative Katerina Anastasiadis and Port Coquitlam city councillor and NDP candidate Laura Dupont, Liberal Ron McKinnon was re-elected.

On the campaign trail, McKinnon discussed the value of $10-a-day childcare and defended his party’s governance during the pandemic.

McKinnon charged that a Conservative government: “. . . would’ve left you to fend for yourself and left the economy reeling from massive mortgage defaults and bankruptcies and business failures.”

Speaking to the Tri-City News, McKinnon discussed the nature of elections.

“It’s a vote, not a punishment or reward. It’s a decision by the voter about where they want the government to go.”