A retaining wall collapse at Oak Bay Avenue near Fort Street has traffic stopped eastbound into Oak Bay. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

December 2017: Community heartbroken as police investigate double homicide

Good news earlier in the month as Oak Bay High athletes dominate Gary Taylor Classic

The prevailing tragic story of the month, and year, came at the end of December.

Chloe Berry, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4, were found dead inside the ground-floor apartment at 1400 Beach Dr. around 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. Police officers found the bodies in the apartment of their father, Andrew Berry. While no cause of death for the girls has been released, the Vancouver Island Major Crimes Unit calls it a double homicide.

“A man remains in hospital and is being treated for his injuries. He is not in police custody at this time,” stated a releaseV IMCU issued Dec. 27. “Although we can appreciate the public’s interest in this matter, the Federal Privacy Act prevents us from releasing names of those involved unless charges have been laid or the public’s assistance is required to further an investigation.”

Earlier in the month, residents were evacuated after a retaining wall collapsed at the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Fort Street.

A fence, trees and what looked like electric wires jutted from the dirt in front of the building, which spread across the south side of Oak Bay Avenue. Evacuated residents were allowed to return home the same day as debris clearing began.

Ricky de Souza called the police to report the incident after his vehicle was struck by material as he drove east on Oak Bay Avenue just after 8 a.m.

“I heard kind of a boom and a loud noise,” he said. “Whether it was an explosion or a boom or an accident, who knows. I couldn’t see. It was all of a sudden just dirt and rocks, and something striking my car.”

Third time’s a charm for Oak Bay High. In the best-of-three over the past few years of Gary Taylor Classic, the local boys take the title.

The Bays won 83-50 over Sir Winston Churchill in the final at Oak Bay High. The junior boys team finished second, falling 65-34 to Vancouver College.

The annual tournament celebrated a decade this year, raising about $110 by donation at the door for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

It’s still early in the season but the Bays are a leading contender in the B.C. boys basketball 4A division, ranked No. 1 by Varsityletters.ca after beating St. Thomas More 86-68 in the final of the Tsumura Basketball Invitational in Langley on Dec. 9.

The Bays then made it two-straight tournament wins having walked through their own Gary Taylor Classic in the new Oak Bay High gymnasium this past weekend. On Thursday the Bays beat Cowichan 106-54, then defeated St. Thomas More 76-31 on Friday and Sir Winston Churchill (Calgary) 83-50 in the final on Saturday.

A motion brought forward at the Union of BC Municipalities conference by Coun. Kevin Murdoch got approval. Andrew Weaver, provincial Green Party leader and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, spoke in support of Murdoch’s motion. The first day it was introduced the motion failed; however, with the help of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, it was brought back for reconsideration and passed with a majority.

Murdoch credits Minister Selena Robinson for stepping up and making it a top priority and getting the staff to draft the legislation.

The legislation also puts a cap of $1,200 on individual donations, while allowing self-funded campaigns to double that to $2,400.

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Oak Bay’s Valdi Alarie-Hill drives to the hoop during the first game of the Gary Taylor Classic in Oak Bay on Friday. Keri Coles/Black Press

Major Crime Unit confirms that the victims of Oak Bay’s double homicide on Christmas Day were two young children, aged four and six. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

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