‘Highway traffic rumbles across temporary bridge as vehicles to and from Youbou are forced to make a detour after main bridge had support swept away by flooding Meade Creek. Bridges and roads throughout Cowichan Lake area were under repair after Christmas when high water ran amok in region.’ (Lake News, Jan. 14, 1981.

‘Highway traffic rumbles across temporary bridge as vehicles to and from Youbou are forced to make a detour after main bridge had support swept away by flooding Meade Creek. Bridges and roads throughout Cowichan Lake area were under repair after Christmas when high water ran amok in region.’ (Lake News, Jan. 14, 1981.

Flashback: Lakefront property woes, mudslides, and one great big stink

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan?

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

“Lakefront properties are being investigated” was the headline on the top of the Jan. 12, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette. What was it all about? Let’s have a look.

“Lakefront forestry-zoned land around Cowichan Lake is being turned into recreational property,” wrote then-editor Tyler Clarke in the story. “This is despite Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) bylaws that prohibit such use.

“This is pretty common,” CVRD manager of community and regional planning Mike Tippett said. “I don’t think the timber companies have many waterfront lots left over.”

“People have been purchasing large acreages of waterfront land, previously owned by forestry companies, and then turning it over to a group of shareholders, who each purchase a share of the land. This is a way of getting around a CVRD zoning bylaw that specifies the land cannot be subdivided into sections smaller than 80 hectares, which is roughly 200 acres. These pieces of land are CVRD Forest Resource 1 Zones (F-1), though Tippett said that none of the current land owners seem to want anything to do with forestry.”

25 years ago

The best story of the year two weeks into 1996 and I’m not sure if Lexi Bainas wrote this one for the Jan. 10, 1996 Lake News but I wouldn’t be surprised: “Something smelly at the EDC?”

“If you suspected there was something fishy about the Economic Development Office, give yourself a pat on the back. You were dead right.

“Sally McCutcheon, who works at the EDC, began complaining that every time anyone opened the toilet door — the one on the left, not the one on the right — a dreadful smell emerged. Economic Development Officer, Ron Smith, appealed to the Village Works department for help.”

You won’t believe what comes next.

“They removed the wall and found, of all things, a fish, a large bullhead, wedged between the studs. They figured it had been there about two weeks, long enough to make its presence apparent. The best guess is that some unknown animal caught the fish and took it up into the eaves to eat it, dropped it inside the wall and couldn’t recover it. But, as they say, you never know what will turn up at the EDC.”

While that was the best story, another big story was also on the front page of that same edition.

“We may become a town” was the headline atop a story written by Sheila Kenyon and Susan Lowe.

“The ‘Village’ of Lake Cowichan should be the ‘Town’ of Lake Cowichan in time for a celebration of the event during Heritage Days in May,” said the story. The move would give the Village the right to pass its own bylaws without having them approved in Victoria.

We all know how that turned out.

40 years ago

“Huge mudslide would bury Youbou, resident cautions following Xmas deluge, damage”. How’s that for a comprehensive headline on the front of the Jan. 14, 1981 Lake News?

It almost tells us all we need to know. It was bad.

“A mudslide from the hills above Youbou could cause a disaster similar to the one that buried Port Alice on northern Vancouver Island a few years ago, according to one worried homeowner. Jeff Abbott, one of the Youbou residents on the Pioneer water system whose houses are served by water from the Coon Creek watershed said Monday that ‘it could easily happen here, once that stuff got moving’.”

Logging in the Coon Creek watershed by Pacific Logging Company was blamed for a pile-up of silt in the water last fall. A work party cleaned up the damage “and residents on the water system were told that no more trouble would be expected this winter, when the Christmas deluge hit the Youbou area. ‘I pretty near fried when I went up there,’ Abbott said. There was silt in the big tank to a depth of three feet, and higher up the mud and gravel in the other tanks was about five feet deep,’ he said.” The residents were going to bill the logging company for the cleanup.

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