Flashback: Christmas dinners, stream protection, the metric system arrives

“Jack Peake played carols for the Chamber of Commerce’s Auction.” (Lake News, Dec. 24, 1996)

“Jack Peake played carols for the Chamber of Commerce’s Auction.” (Lake News, Dec. 24, 1996)

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

Eric Olson and his family were about to get super busy after inviting the whole community to a free Christmas dinner on Dec. 25, according to the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Dec. 21, 2011. It’s a sweet story:

“For the third year running…Olson and his family are hosting the event in the Centennial Hall from 5-7 p.m. on Christmas Day. There will be food for between 30-50 people. Last year roughly 35 people attended. ‘It’s for fun. Our family has done well and we thought it was time to give something back,’ he said.

“Olson decided to pioneer the supper after realizing a great deal of Lake Cowichan citizens spend Christmas on their own. The supper is designed to get those out who may not have a family to celebrate the holiday with.

“’It’s for anybody, especially anyone who is on their own or for elderly couples who might find it too much work to make dinner for themselves,’ he added. Olson noted they won’t have to outsource catering since him and he family have done it as a business. ‘It’s something we can do easily’ said Olson.

“Out of all of Olson’s admirers for throwing the party, he said his six-year-old granddaughter enjoys the free Christmas dinner the most. ‘It makes me feel great. It makes my granddaughter feel great. She thinks it’s very special’.”

Speaking of dinner, “Cowichan Valley Regional District Area F Director, Ian Morrison extended a big thank you to his legion of volunteers that have helped out with the CVRD in the past year by throwing a complimentary volunteer appreciation dinner at Cowichan Lake Rocks Curling Club on Dec. 17,” Geiger reported on page 2. “It was a special occasion, as Morrison invited Member of Parliament Jean Crowder and Member of the Legislative Assembly Bill Routley to the appreciation dinner for CVRD volunteers.”

25 years ago

It was Dec. 24, 1996 when the Lake News was published for the week and the top story wasn’t about Santa’s pending arrival but about stream protection.

“The need to protect streams and other waterbodies within the boundaries of the Town of Lake Cowichan is growing increasingly important as the town develops, town council and interested parties were told Dec. 19.

“The group was taken on a tour of the area’s small streams by biologist Ted Burns and Al Grass of the Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society, who have both expressed concern about the impact of development on our local environment.

“In the introduction to the tour, Burns said ‘the town of Lake Cowichan is unique in that it not only has a world class trout and salmon stream and large, productive lake at its feet, it also has 10 smaller streams and two small lakes within its boundaries. While Cowichan River and lake are healthy and have only been lightly impacted by the town, some of the smaller waterbodies have not been as fortunate.’ He added that, as a community ‘we have sometimes taken them for granted, and have not been as aware as we should have of their productivity and sensitivity.’”

I suppose we could say the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In other news, it was “A good news search story”.

“The RCMP, conservation office, along with TimberWest combine their energies to find two who set out to walk to a Walbran cabin, in the snow. The two were found safe.”

Apparently TimberWest used their helicopter and spotted the pair who turned out to be OK.

“’This was an example of community resources working together for the benefit of the public,’ Const. Mike Cain of the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment said.”

40 years ago

There would be no big expenditure for a school bus garage, the Lake News of Dec. 22, 1981 reported on the front page.

“The school board has decided not to spend $352,500 to construct a new maintenance shop and bus garage complex and to convert the existing bus garage into a band room. The decision was made at the Dec. 15 meeting of the School District 66 board of school trustees, on the urging of buildings and grounds committee chairman Bill Routley.

“As part of the list of proposed capital expenditures which is sent to the education ministry for approval, the school district was asking for $208,000 to construct a new maintenance shop and bus garage and another $144,500 to convert the existing bus garage into a band room.

“Routley said that although it was clear that something had to be done in both cases, ‘it doesn’t make sense for the school board to be funding something as astronomical as this.’”

Also, a “New year’s gift: Metric by March for all of island” was the headline.”Cowichan Lake area merchants who sell food are preparing to ‘bite the bullet’ and take the final plunge into the metric system. The federal government has decided that all Vancouver Island stores must change over to metric scales in March 1982.”

“Over the past few years, metric size packages have been steadily creeping onto the shelves of local stores and now all loose food products like fruit and vegetables and meat will have to be sold in metric measures.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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“Service with a smile, and more! Meals on Wheels recipient Jennie Johnson gets a big kiss from Santa as he delivers a hot lunch to her suite at Olson Manor on Dec. 17. Big hearted but bashful Santa refused to be identified.” (Lake News, Dec. 22, 1981)

“Service with a smile, and more! Meals on Wheels recipient Jennie Johnson gets a big kiss from Santa as he delivers a hot lunch to her suite at Olson Manor on Dec. 17. Big hearted but bashful Santa refused to be identified.” (Lake News, Dec. 22, 1981)