Flashback: Council news, boundary expansion and a mystery buyer…

A look back at the goings on around Cowichan Lake in years past

"Creating jobs: Dave Poje, displaced forest worker, trains as a supervisor for a youth team." (Lake Cowichan Gazette, Nov. 6, 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

Council news made up all of the stories on page 3 of the Nov. 2, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

First: “Official Community Plan adopted”. Then: “Fluoride or not: That is the question”. Finally: “South Shore Road upgrades, fire department”.

”On Tuesday, Oct. 25 Town Council adopted the new Town of Lake Cowichan – Official Community Plan. This plan has taken several years to complete with the dedication of a handful of local individuals providing guidance and input as members of the Advisory Planning Commission over the years.

“Our vision is to create a vibrant, healthy, sustainable community that exists in harmony with the natural environment, enjoys a balanced economy, supports all generations and provides the opportunities to satisfy diverse social needs,” wrote then councillor, now mayor Bob Day, in the first report.

“On the issue of whether or not to continue adding fluoride to the Town of Lake Cowichan’s drinking water, Town Council voted to take this question to the public as a referendum on Nov. 19. As a whole, council has not expressed an opinion on this topic but eagerly awaits the opinion of the public to help guide the decision of whether or not to continue.”

And finally, “Council is awaiting a preliminary design proposal for possible upgrades along South Shore Road that would take place while the road is being paved in 2012. The paving of South Shore Road is paid for by the province and Council is looking into partnering with the ministry as well as granting agencies to help fund possible improvements that would enhance the safety and beautification of our main street,” wrote Day.

“Compared to August, September was a relatively quiet month for our fire department. That being said the members still continue their weekly practices and have been practicing the process of shuttling water to areas not serviced by fire hydrants. This process requires that tanker trucks must supply a continuous supply of water to a fire scene that is five kilometers from a fire hydrant. You will be pleased to know that the department was able to meet the requirements of the insurance underwriters concerning this procedure that could positively affect the insurance rating for the Town as well as the outlying areas our fire department services.”

25 years ago

In the Nov. 6 of 1996 edition was the news that the Cowichan Lake Education Centre would be taken over by the Village.

“The Cowichan Lake Education Centre will remain under local control. The Village of Lake Cowichan has agreed to take over the Crown land lease, expecting outside funding to take care of the cost of renovations. ‘There will not be a burden placed on the taxpayers of Lake Cowichan for operating or capital costs of CLEC,’ states a news release issued last week by the School Board and Village.

“The release states an agreement has been reached, in principle, between Chairperson of School District #66, Wilma Rowbottom and Mayor Earle Darling for the transfer of the board’s ownership of the buildings at CLEC to the Village and the agreement of the Village to accept a transfer of the lease over the lands from B.C. Lands.

“Last week the Lake News reported that Village Council had turned down the school district offer due to an enormous cost predicted to upgrade the facilities on the grounds. Local building inspector, Brian Kitagawa presented Mayor Earle Darling with a cost sheet of renovations and maintenance projects totaling $383,000. Last week the Mayor announced that unless outside funding was forthcoming he would not burden the taxpayers with a ‘financial albatross’ which would hang around their necks for years to come.”

Renewed confidence that the funding would come changed their minds.

40 years ago

The front page of the Nov. 4, 1981 Lake News told worried workers in the community that “A mystery buyer has expressed an interest in purchasing all WFI holdings, a union official said Tuesday. This Lower Mainland person would provide about 60 jobs by constructing a smaller mill on the present Honeymoon Bay mill site, Frank Walker, IWA plant committee chairman at Western Forest Industries Ltd. Honeymoon Bay operation, told the Lake News.

“Meanwhile a last-ditch attempt Monday by the International Woodworkers of America to reverse a decision by Western Forest Products Ltd. to shut down the WFI operations was unsuccessful.

“The closure left 357 men without work at the mill and at the company’s sister Gordon River logging operation.”

And finally, in the same 1981 edition, “Planners urge expansion of Lake Cowichan boundaries”.

Lexi Bainas reports: “The village of Lake Cowichan may or may not extend its borders to include outlying areas, but this is the major decision facing Lake Cowichan village council as it considers the first draft of a community plan.

“In the plan councillors are told ‘the decision as to whether the village boundaries should be expanded or not is perhaps the single most important aspect of the community plan, as the future size of the municipality determines to what extent future land uses may be accommodated in the community.’

“The lands proposed for inclusion into the municipality are primarily to the east and west of the existing village boundaries.”


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