Flashback: Fanghorn Forest, Kenyon dies, and careless chimney owners

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area

Sheila Kenyon

Sheila Kenyon

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

“Forest near Cowichan Lake creating buzz,” wrote Dorian Geiger in the Dec. 14, 2011 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette. “Mossy Maple Forest and its exhilarating scenery are quickly becoming recognized as the mossiest rainforest in Canada.”

The story went as follows:

“Environmentalists with the Ancient Forest Alliance on Vancouver Island have recently discovered what is being dubbed as ‘Canada’s mossiest rainforest.’ And it’s extremely close to Lake Cowichan.

“Located near Honeymoon Bay, roughly a 40-minute drive from Lake Cowichan, Mossy Maple Rainforest supports two different growth sites. These stand close together and are surrounded by second-growth maples, red alders and conifers. One section is located on private land and the other is found on Crown land, both in unceded territories of the Hul’qumi’num’.

“Nicknamed Fangorn Forest, in reference to the deciduous forest featured in the second Lord of the Rings film, Mossy Maple Rainforest truly is a magical place. Moss covers nearly everything here. Growing all the way up to the top of most trees, the moss provides a thick fuzzy green layer up these twisted giants. Getting so thick, collections of gigantic moss clumps have fallen and now carpet the ground of Mossy Maple Rainforest. Upon inspection, some of these masses weigh several pounds.”

Also a decade ago, local leaders were sworn in to begin new terms as elected officials.

“Lake Cowichan’s Town Council, Cowichan Valley Regional District directors, Pat Weaver and Ian Morrison, as well as School District 79 Board trustee, Duncan Brown were sworn in last week to begin three-year terms. Town Council’s ceremony happened at Town Hall on Dec. 6 in Lake Cowichan, while Weaver, Morrison and Brown were sworn in on Dec. 8 in Duncan.”

25 years ago

It was a sad time around the Lake News office this week 25 years ago as the paper’s former publisher had died.

“Sheila Elizabeth Kenyon, former co-publisher and owner of the Lake News, died Sunday, Dec. 15 peacefully at home with family members present.

“Sheila had battled cancer since 1987 and continued to fight the disease to the very end.”

Despite her chronic illness, which forced her to retired in 1995, Kenyon wrote her column each week, never missing a week, right up until a few days before her death.

40 years ago

“Village to plead for WFI lands” was the top headline on the front page of the Dec. 16, 1981 Lake News.

“Lake Cowichan village council has called for support in its bid to pry some concessions from Western Forest Industries. The provincial government, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Economic Development Commission will attend a meeting…which would give council a chance to ask Jim Buttar, president of Western Forest Products, about the company’s plans for this area.

“Lake Cowichan mayor Ken Douglas said…that the meeting was needed because ‘WFI owns a fair chunk of property in the village, particularly the foreshore.’ If the company has plans for the land, the village should know what those plans are, since council is in the midst of setting up a community plan, he said. The village has asked for ‘provincial assistance in getting hold of some of that land for future development’, Douglas said.”

In other front-page news, “Careless owners ‘will pay’” warned a headline and it sounds from the story like the firefighters were serious.

“Lake Cowichan homeowners who have more than one chimney fire and don’t have their chimney cleaned will be billed for the services of the Lake Cowichan volunteer fire department.

“At its Dec. 7 meeting, Lake Cowichan village council agree with a recommendation on that subject from Fire Chief Jim Sidhu. Council had been concerned, at a previous meeting, that the fire department had been called out twice recently for chimney fires at the same house.”

The fire chief was asked to inspect the chimney so he called the homeowners and asked if they’d cleaned their chimney. They said no.

He told them not to use their stove again until their chimney had been cleaned but they didn’t heed the warnings, based on the smoke coming out of the chimney, Sidhu witnessed.

“Since then, I have noticed smoke still coming out, so I suggest if we get called again, bill them for it.”

historyLake Cowichan

 

“One shepherd appears to be contemplating the Christmas story, while others concentrate on getting their lines right at the J. H. Boyd School annual Christmas concert Thursday, Dec. 10 afternoon presentation, which took place before a packed house.” (Lake News, Dec. 16, 1981)

“One shepherd appears to be contemplating the Christmas story, while others concentrate on getting their lines right at the J. H. Boyd School annual Christmas concert Thursday, Dec. 10 afternoon presentation, which took place before a packed house.” (Lake News, Dec. 16, 1981)