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Flashback: Dusty Youbou, protesting physicians and Caycuse school closure

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area
”Students wait for a bus on the side of Youbou Road as a logging truck passes by them in February of this year. Residents say the logging truck traffic c kicks up clouds of heavy dust that makes it hard to breathe when out walking and going as far to say that mud — from the roadway — has washed down driveways and into the basement of a home.” (Lake Cowichan Gazette/March 13, 2013)

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

The Lake Cowichan Gazette of March 13, 2013 gave us a glimpse back into life a decade ago and the top story was all about the dust problem in Youbou. Is that still a problem?

“Environmental issues added to list in Youbou dust problem,” was the headline written atop the Elodie Adams story.

“The Youbou dust saga has been ongoing for years. On any given day during the week at the TimberWest property — located on the lake just two miles west of the small community — logging trucks load up and make their journey through the town, spewing dust or mud or both as they drive through. One resident has taken it upon herself to speak for the other residents, who feel that the only solution is to have a truck wash station installed so that once the trucks are loaded up, they could be washed down before they head out onto the road.

“’The road is treacherous for walkers right now,’ said Trish Waddington who lives just 30 feet from Youbou Road. Not to mention the health issues for those residents who must breathe in the dust caused by the heavy traffic, especially during the drier summer months. TimberWest have estimated a cost figure of about $100,000 to put in a truck wash. In the meantime, TimberWest is doing what they can to quell the problem with a sweeper truck, road grader, water truck passing along the road.”

From dust to water, another Gazette story was “Water storage changes subject of meeting”.

“The Cowichan Valley Regional District is proposing a new water management regime known as a rule band. The proposed rule band would allow Cowichan Lake water levels to be held 20 cm above the current June and July lake levels — the top of the weir — until July 9, the latest day to begin a draw-down of the lake.

“A second option would see the water level managed within the current lake level regime, but could see the beginning of the draw-down delayed until as late as July 31. Both options would improve the chances of achieving the water licence requirement for a minimum seven cubic centimetres per second base flow released into the Cowichan River during the July to November period.”

25 years ago

“LCSS students view concept plan for skateboard park” was some cool news on page 2 of the March 11, 1998 Lake News.

“A representative from the CVRD Parks Department attended Lake Cowichan Secondary School theatre last week where concept plans and drawings were provided to students of the proposed Skateboard Park in Lake Cowichan. Rebecca Goodall and Jim Marsh of the CVRD collected and put the drawings together and students were to use the drawings to give an indication as to what they want in their skateboard park here.

“Principal Claude Ruggieri told the Lake News that Lake Cowichan must still raise about $20,000 in kind for a $100,000 skateboard park. As long as there is $30,000 raised locally, $70,000 will be funded by the CVRD. Already there is $7,000 raised.”

Also in the news of the day, “Local doctors close offices in protest.”

This doesn’t sound good.

“Local doctors offices were closed Friday, the first closure of three planned throughout the province.

“Local doctors would not reply for comment regarding the planned closures but they are following the action of other doctors protesting budget cuts by the government.

“Health Minister Penny Priddy said B.C.’s doctors would stop scaring patients and stay at work.

“While doctor offices were closed, emergency wards were open.”

40 years ago

Students and their parents weren’t thrilled with the news on the front page of the March 9, 1983 edition of the Lake News.

“Caycuse loses half school, Grades 4-6 face daily busing,” was the headline.

Lexi Bainas reports: “School District 66 trustees bucked strong opposition Monday by announcing they were closing half of Caycuse School, forcing Grades 4, 5, and 6 to be bused daily to other schools. This means that Caycuse will keep its school — but only on a limited basis.

“Trustees, led by Wilma Rowbottom, told the parents that the school board is not ‘picking on’ Caycuse School, but has to consider the wider school district. She said that the whole school district would benefit educationally from the $43,000 saved by closing one room at Caycuse.

“Parents said they felt the amount of money saved could be taken from other parts of the school district budget — most notably administration costs — while leaving the community of Caycuse with its only school intact.”

Also in the same newspaper, “CP makes abandon bid here” was a headline.

“Canadian Pacific has applied for permission to abandon its Lake Cowichan rail line. A notice was posted at the Cowichan Lake rail yard March 1 announcing the application and saying that any persons who wished to make presentations against it must do so by March 30, 1983.”

At a council meeting Alderman Don Gordon said council should oppose abandonment.

“‘We should be opposed to it,’ he said. ‘It’s just another opportunity lost [if the application is approved]’.”

”Palsson Prize — Winning Choristers: All together now… Young choristers from Palsson School put the finishing touches on what proved to be a prizewinning presentation at the Cowichan Music Festival in Duncan March 8. The School choir made up of 36 children from all classes, picked up 164 of a possible 200 points to carry off first prize in its category. The youngsters were given two “dry runs” in front of their classmates and this photo was taken at one.” (Lake News/March 9, 1983)