Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson 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 area…
10 years ago
It was a good week for the Bantam Lakers a decade ago this week as they took home the gold in their own hockey tournament.
Elodie Adams reported for the Lake Cowichan Gazette:
“They worked hard for it, and in the end they got it. After three days of blades on the ice at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, the BRI Security Bantam Lakers skated away with the gold medals in the second annual Lake Cowichan Bantam Invitational, Jan. 11, 12 and 13.
“The Lakers opened the tournament Friday evening with a win in their first game against the Comox Valley Rangers, 6-2. This set up the Lakers’ winning streak which would continue throughout the weekend. ‘The team played very well overall,’ said coach Calvin Convery. ‘They played as a team – the boys dug down deep and had fun’.”
In the same paper, “Young couple thankful for community support” was about a young family whose home burned down before Christmas, starting anew.
“On Dec. 16, just over one week before Christmas, Heather Page, partner Darren McDonald, and their son Noah came home to an apartment full of smoke and ash residue. The couple lost almost all of their belongings in the unexplained fire that seems to have started in the kitchen area of their Lake Cowichan apartment. Now, one month later and thanks to help from friends, family and the community, they have a new place to live and a new year in view.
“’The community has been absolutely amazing,’ Page said without hesitation. ‘If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where we’d be right now.’ All the family managed to salvage from their apartment was their TV, coffee table, and the Christmas presents they had bought for Noah. ‘We’ve got pretty much everything now,’ she added. ‘People have been so generous.’“
25 years ago
“Bus drivers, custodians and maintenance staff of School District #79 reject new contract,” Susan Lowe reported on the front of the Jan. 21, 1998 Lake News.
“Nearly all 140 school district #79 employees represented by the IWA union have rejected the terms of a new contract and the school district had threatened to force the issue by taking them to the labour board, Bill Routley, President of the IWA Local I-80 said.
“Lake Cowichan IWA union members have been working with a contract since June of 1996. Cowichan employees’ contract came up Dec. of 1997. With both contracts expired, the school district wants to see the contracts between the two groups consolidated.
“Routley said there are two issues of contention that the union representatives and the school district have not yet been able to negotiate. The main issue is one of consolidation. Routley said in Lake Cowichan (under School District #66 contract) the employees represented by the IWA, are much better off than those in Duncan; Lake Cowichan employees are about $1 ahead than the contract negotiated with employees under School District #65.”
The other issue was a clause that said if other employees not represented by the IWA got raises, they wanted one too.
“Watch out for the Sydney flu” warned a headline in the same edition.
This in the pre-pandemic times!
“Look out for Sydney flu. It may getcha. United States authorities are reporting outbreaks of the flu, which they say snuck in from Australia and had shown up in 10 states.
“In Australia, the flu has been devastating large areas. Even Prime Minister John Howard wound up in hospital, with flu complicated by bronchitis and pneumonia. Unfortunately this flu was not included in flu shots that many people received this past autumn, so they won’t be immune to it.”
40 years ago
The Jan. 19, 1983 edition of the Lake News had three different stories on the front page, along with a photo of a heavy machine clearing out the weir area.
The first story was “Food bank for unemployed opens doors in village.”
“Food at low cost will be available to families in need at Lake Cowichan’s first food bank, scheduled to start operation Thursday, Jan. 20. The food bank will be run by members of the group formed to help the area’s unemployed. According to Frank Walker, who has been chosen chairman of the group, food has been either donated or made available cheaply by various business and individuals. He stressed that to be eligible for the cheaper food, people must be registered with the committee because the members want to be sure that it goes only to the needy.”
The second story was called “Power grab charged.” It was a council story wherin “a Lake Cowichan alderman has charged that village councillors are being ignored and that the village is being run from the municipal office.”
“Ted Forrest, who was elected by acclamation for his second two-year term in November, said at the Jan. 11 council meeting that he felt the village parks and recreation committee, made up of himself and Ald. Roger Hamilton was being left out of decisions. He said that any suggestions he made over the past year haven’t been acted upon, and that works crews have been told to do other work. Forrest said he was not happy with the way the crews were utilized.”
And finally, the last story titled “Work projects total more than tax take” can be found on the bottom of the page.
“The Village of Lake Cowichan had garnered $151,170 worth of projects that have given work to 54 unemployed people during 1982 and will help even more in 1983, according to village clerk Pat Akerley.”
That’s good news! The village was able to tackle projects without extra taxpayer dollars.
“The work projects are carried out in connection with the ‘Canada community development’ and ‘community recovery’ programs, joint efforts by the federal and provincial government.”