Lake Flashback: Forestry layoffs, hang-gliding and a land dispute

Layoffs are hitting the forests around the Cowichan Lake this week, with only senior staff on the job

Sandy Kell

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter James Goldie has been combing through old newspapers with the assistance of the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives so we can jog your memory, give you that nostalgic feeling, or just a chuckle, as we take a look at what was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by.

This week around the Cowichan Lake…

Because the Lake News traditionally did not produce a paper the last week of December due to Christmas holidays, this week’s Lake Flashback is slightly different — we’ve gone back into the Kaatza Museum’s archives and picked three dates at random to see what was going on at the Lake. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

 

Sept. 12, 2001:

 

Layoffs are hitting the forests around the Cowichan Lake this week, with only senior staff on the job at TimberWest’s Honeymoon Bay Operations.

The Gazette reported that “the fall-out from the U.S. tariff on B.C. lumber has filtered down to this district and lay-offs have hit the logging operation there hard.”

Don Gill of TimberWest said the company’s “public land” logging operations are being affected.

The Honeymoon Bay dryland sort and Koksilah sort were both closed, which has a ripple effect, impacting every part of the operation. Loggers and truckers have been laid off to the point that even workers with 25 years seniority may find themselves at home.

Gill said the company is trying to be as positive as it can, and will reassess the situation Friday to see if inventories have been reduced enough to call some workers back.

 

Sept. 9, 1987:

 

Hang-gliding is growing in popularity and one of the best locations for it is in our very backyard. That’s according to Kevin Ferguson of Victoria, who set a hang-gliding record in Youbou last month when he reached an altitude of more than 3,400 metres.

Youbou resident, and friend of Ferguson, Henry Weremi agrees.

“I used to think I was the only on the Island who enjoyed hang-gliding but since I’ve found a club in Victoria, there are quite a few people doing it and they seem to like Youbou,” he told the Lake News. He predicted that in a few years, Youbou could be hosting competitions.

Weremi said the location offers “good lift” and his personal record for longest time in the air is two hours and 10 minutes. Weremi takes off from a hill in front of the fire hall and lands on the chip pile behind the sawmill.

He said that’s the biggest problem facing him and his fellow gliders from Victoria: they don’t yet have an ideal landing spot.

“A suitable hang-gliding landing area would be just larger than the Lake Cowichan Secondary School field.”

He did attempt a water landing once, something he’s not likely to try again.

“I had someone in a boat watching me just in case anything went wrong,” he said. “When I landed in the water, I got tangled up and could have drowned.”

 

Feb. 1, 1995:

 

The CVRD is locking horns with the Town of Lake Cowichan over the town’s plan to expand into Area I, specifically the west half of Lot 6 on the north side of Youbou Road.

A subdivision is scheduled for development there whose owners want it to be part of Lake Cowichan.

Mayor Earle Darling said the proposal for development of Lot 6 has been around since 1991.

He said all the proper legal steps to permit approval have been taken and the plan was advertised to allow residents an opportunity to object.

The number of negative responses needed to provoke a referendum was not reached.

The CVRD has said repeatedly that any town expansion into any large tracts of open land in areas I or F must wait until there is a Joint Planning Commission.

A motion to halt the town’s plan passed at last Wednesday’s meeting and will be sent to the minister of Municipal Affairs, who ultimately makes the final decision.

Compiled by James Goldie, Gazette