From left: Bill McGillis

New committee looks to past for inspiration

Appreciation Barbecue being organized to say thanks to local volunteer firefighters, RCMP and emergency responders.

This month saw the formation of a new citizen committee in Lake Cowichan, the Old Lake Cowichan Committee. The group of five residents wants to steer the town towards a different future through organizing events, and they’re looking to the past for inspiration.

Committee president Shelley Davies Coburn is fond of recalling “the good old days” in Lake Cowichan, when the town was home to many family events like picnics, logging competitions and holiday celebrations like Halloween haunted houses and Christmas banquets.

“Everyone looks forward to Lake Days, and I just want to see more things like that,” says Davies Coburn. “When I was a kid, there was always something going on, it was awesome. Why shouldn’t the kids today have that too?”

While the Old Lake Cowichan Committee has broad ideas for the future, the first order of business for the group will be putting together an appreciation barbecue for members of all the local fire departments, RCMP, emergency responders and their families. Davies Coburn, who served with the Mesachie Lake Volunteer Fire Department for seven years, along with her parents, says that the public response to the idea has been very strong, with donations “coming in like crazy” since the event was announced last Tuesday (July 21). Davies Coburn says that seven volunteers have come forward to lend a hand with the barbecue, though the committee is still looking for more.

“I was with the [Mesachie Lake] Fire Department, and people don’t often say ‘thank you’ for all of their hard work,” says Davies Coburn. “I’m hoping that the barbecue will boost morale and encourage [firefighters] to do something for fire prevention week in October.”

Though Davies Coburn admits that the decline of the forest industry, along with the economic consequences it has had on Lake Cowichan, have played a role in the lack of events and community spirit in the town, she’s confident that embracing “the good old days” will have a worthwhile impact on Lake Cowichan’s reputation and encourage more families to settle here, much like her own family did during the 1980s.

Davies Coburn says that the next step for the committee will be to host family days within the town, which are planned to feature picnics, games and family time.

“We have lots of ideas for what we can put together, because there was so much going on in the old days,” says Davies Coburn. “I want to see Lake Cowichan grow again.”

To get involved with the Old Lake Cowichan Committee, or to volunteer for the upcoming Appreciation Barbecue, contact Shelley Davies Coburn through the Old Lake Cowichan Committee Facebook group.