Heat records were broken in Cowichan in 2021. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

Heat records were broken in Cowichan in 2021. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

Editorial: From heat waves to COVID, 2021 definitely wasn’t boring in Cowichan

Here’s to an easier 2022!

At the Cowichan Valley Citizen it is our tradition at the turning of the year to look back on the prior 365 days.

What a year it has been! There was no shortage of news in the Cowichan Valley in 2021.

Undoubtedly one of our top stories was the weather. In June Cowichan baked under an unprecedented heat dome that broke temperature records throughout the province and Cowichan was no exception. Thermometers soared to more than 40 C. And that was just the first heat wave. Several more came after as people stripped air conditioners from store shelves and headed to the water to cool off.

It’s no surprise then, that the summer of 2021 also brought another critical drought to the area. Months passed with no rainfall, and lake and river levels dipped to dangerous levels.

Then, on the heels of a summer without rain, came a fall with too much. Record amounts of rainfall were measured in October, and then in November an atmospheric river (a term we all became intimately familiar with) struck Cowichan, flooding homes, businesses and streets. While some areas such as Cowichan Lake suffered more minor damage, other areas saw hundreds evacuated and roads closed. Allenby Road in Duncan remains impassible after a landslide buried it.

As everywhere in Canada, our First Nations were in the news as graves of students were found at former residential schools, causing a surge in consciousness of the history of these institutions. It was amidst this atmosphere that we marked the very first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, which saw thousands take to the streets in Duncan to remember and promote awareness.

In political news in 2021 a federal election saw a return to the status quo after a frantic campaign plagued by COVID. In Cowichan, NDP MP Alistair MacGregor was re-elected. The balance of power in the House of Commons also remained virtually unchanged, with a minority Liberal government.

Speaking of COVID-19, the pandemic dragged on through a second full year, and is spiking again as we enter 2022. If we have one wish for the coming year it is that we finally start to see this plague wane. COVID remained one of our biggest newsmakers in 2021, with vaccines rolled out throughout the year, the advent of the delta, then omicron variants to nip our hopes of a return to normal in the bud, as well as personal stories of loss and hope.

In other news, a slew of fires kept our volunteer fire departments hopping, and tragically claimed the lives of too many in 2021. Also in the news was the death of former Duncan mayor Mike Coleman, who served in that office for more than two decades, and was a pillar of the community both as a lawyer and as an indefatigable supporter of too many charities and non-profits to list here.

Here’s to an easier 2022!