Latest News

Film Fest Sneak Preview Exposes Privacy Risks

Check out a sneak preview of the 27th World Community Film Festival at the screening of Pre-Crime on Tuesday, November 28 at 7 pm at the Stan Hagen Theatre, NIC Courtenay campus. What if tomorrow's murders could be prevented today? To predict a future crime scene and to prevent a murder seems like something from a sci-fi movie. To make this possible, powerful computers and omnipresent cameras capture data from all sources, which is then evaluated and analyzed with the help of algorithms.

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LETTERS TO/FROM THE EDITOR

Open Letter to Premier Horgan and Minister Mungall

Please stop the Site C dam project. It is morally wrong to continue with a project that supports the increase of greenhouse gases when our planet is experiencing increasing global warming. The former CEO of BC Hydro has said that, “There never was a business case for...Site C, and there is not a business case to support its continuation or postponement.” The BC Utilities Commission report confirms the project will far exceed the current budget. British Columbian taxpayers for many generations should not have to pay for something we don’t need, especially when the costs of renewable sources of energy are coming down dramatically.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Open Letter to Premier Horgan and Minister Mungall

Please stop the Site C dam project. It is morally wrong to continue with a project that supports the increase of greenhouse gases when our planet is experiencing increasing global warming. The former CEO of BC Hydro has said that, “There never was a business case for...Site C, and there is not a business case to support its continuation or postponement.” The BC Utilities Commission report confirms the project will far exceed the current budget. British Columbian taxpayers for many generations should not have to pay for something we don’t need, especially when the costs of renewable sources of energy are coming down dramatically.

COLUMNISTS

B.C. Hydro spins a yarn on infrastructure projects

There were likely more people on the floor of the legislature listening to it than watching it live on television, but there was an interesting exchange at the legislature last week. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall was being grilled by her opposition critic, B.C. Liberal MLA Tracy Redies. First off, it was civil, which in and of itself is noteworthy. Redies posed questions and Mungall – by and large – provided answers. But a few of those answers lacked – how would you put it – substance, detail.

COLUMNISTS

B.C. Hydro spins a yarn on infrastructure projects

There were likely more people on the floor of the legislature listening to it than watching it live on television, but there was an interesting exchange at the legislature last week. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall was being grilled by her opposition critic, B.C. Liberal MLA Tracy Redies. First off, it was civil, which in and of itself is noteworthy. Redies posed questions and Mungall – by and large – provided answers. But a few of those answers lacked – how would you put it – substance, detail.

Latest Video

Transitional Housing at the Comox Valley Transition Society

Our friends at the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness have been busy promoting their activities during Homelessness Awareness Week 2017. Have a look at this video, featuring Heather Ney of the Comox Valley Transition Society, talking about transitional housing.

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A Sad Farewell

Ruth Masters: The passing of a Vancouver Island icon  

Ruth Jessie Masters was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox on May 7, 1920. She passed away peacefully at the new North Island Hospital in Courtenay on November 7, 2017.  She was 97 years old.  Ruth was a war veteran, avid hiker, historian, naturalist, environmentalist, protester but maybe most importantly she was one of ours – born and raised in the Comox Valley.

Read the full obituary

Ruth lived almost her entire life in her own home, which she built on her parents’ property in Courtenay.  She served in the Canadian Air Force as a clerk in England during World War II and was promoted to Sergeant.  In Courtenay she worked as a legal secretary from 1952 until 1992.  Ruth was an avid hiker throughout most of her life.  She made her first hike up Mt. Becher with her family in 1933 when she was just 13 and five years later climbed Comox Glacier and became one of the first members of the Comox District Mountaineering Club.

Ruth was a dedicated local historian.  She never forgot her time spent oversees during the War and she never forgot the many who did not return.  She spent countless hours researching names on the local Cairn and then lobbied the provincial government to name lakes and mountains in the area for many of the soldiers who served in both the first and second world wars.  Her detailed compendium, “Lest We Forget” is on display in the Courtenay Museum. 

Ruth also compiled other local history books that are on display at the Courtenay and Cumberland Museums – ‘Courtenay’, ‘Forbidden Plateau’, and ‘Ginger Goodwin’, each one leather-bound and engraved by Ruth.  They are all probably best thought of as loving gifts from Ruth to the people of the Comox Valley.  

Ruth was an environmentalist before the word was invented.  She was passionate about the need to protect wildlife and the natural world.  She always spoke up for those without a voice and always fought to protect the natural beauty of her homeland, especially Strathcona Park and the Comox Valley.

Ruth was known to put her body between bears and trophy hunters.  She was on the beaches in Tofino in 1989 to clean up after the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill. She carved up road-kill and drove them in her little red truck to wildlife rescue centres for food in both Parksville and the Comox Valley.

She could always be counted on to help out with blockades, protests and rallies to protect the environment.  When mining threatened Strathcona Park she blew “Oh Canada” on her faithful harmonica at almost every arrest during the three-month standoff at Buttle Lake in the middle of the winter in 1988.  She was a ‘master’ sign-maker, making directional signs for alpine trails and protest signs for her numerous causes.

Working side by side with her good friend Melda Buchanan around 1990, Ruth played a key role in lobbying to add forestland to Seal Bay Park.  On a rainy, windy day in December 1994, along with Carol Neufeld and Fran Johnson, Ruth put her body in front of chainsaws to protect the trees in what we now all take for granted as MacDonald Wood Park in Comox.   She donated 18 acres of her own land in Courtenay for the Masters Greenway and Wildlife Corridor.  

Ruth ‘walked her talk’ and that is why so many remember her.  She set an example for all of us for how to live on the Earth and leave it in better shape.  Growing up ‘church-mouse poor’, as she would say, she always lived a modest life but was generous to a fault, giving to environmental organizations, wildlife protection groups, the SPCA, the NDP and many, many more.

Ruth was predeceased by her father, William Edward Masters, her mother Jessie Smith, and her only brother Bill.   She is survived by her nephew James Edward Masters, distant relatives in Victoria and Ontario, and her God-daughter Lorrainne Dixon. 

Lorrainne was tasked with making health care decisions in Ruth’s declining years and did an admirable job.  Ruth was always firm that she wanted to live out her final years in her own home.  As her health declined this was not always easy but Lorrainne held firm in respecting Ruth’s wishes and ensuring that Ruth was safe in her home.   Thank you Lorrainne.  

Although she had few living relatives, Ruth built a huge family around her in the Comox Valley and in her declining years a small inner circle of that family helped Ruth stay in her own home.  Thank you to all those volunteers and neighbours.  

Thanks must also be expressed to Ruth’s primary care giver – Yolanda Corke.  Yolanda was Ruth’s daily lifeline, checking on her early each morning and afternoon and calling on volunteers when extra help was needed.  More than anyone Yolanda provided the day-to-day care that allowed Ruth to remain in her home in her final years.  Yolanda was at Ruth’s side when she passed away in hospital.  Thank you Yolanda.   

Thanks also to Island Health Home Support Workers and Dr. Weins and Dr. Winter for their excellent care over the years and to the staff at the new hospital on 3C.  
There will be a Celebration of Life for Ruth from 1 pm to 4:30 pm on Sunday December 10 at the Florence Filberg Centre - Conference Hall in Courtenay at 411 Anderton Avenue.  Doors will open at 12:30.  

Donations may be made to the ‘Ruth Masters Hero Spoon Award’ online at
foundation.nic.bc.ca or by mail to North Island College Foundation, 2300 Ryan Road, Courtenay, BC, V9N 8N6, or to a charity of your choice.

Read the memorial article from Judy Hagen on the Comox Valley Record's website.

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