“A step in the right direction: Umbrellas were as welcome as walking shoes Sunday when about 65 Little Leaguers marched 10 miles to raise money for baseball equipment for the Cowichan Lake areas. Boys, girls, and some adults encountered heavy rain during walkathon, but Little League presidents Barry Wilson declared the fund-raising endeavour a success.” (Lake News, May 27, 1981)

“A step in the right direction: Umbrellas were as welcome as walking shoes Sunday when about 65 Little Leaguers marched 10 miles to raise money for baseball equipment for the Cowichan Lake areas. Boys, girls, and some adults encountered heavy rain during walkathon, but Little League presidents Barry Wilson declared the fund-raising endeavour a success.” (Lake News, May 27, 1981)

Flashback: No water, rocks thrown at RCMP, giant flagpole, water sport season

A look back into Lake Cowichan’s history

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:

There was no water for Lake residents this time a decade ago after a “hairline fracture leaves much of the town without water access” according to the June 1, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette’s front page.

“Water service was down for many Town of Lake Cowichan residents, the afternoon of Saturday, May 28. Residents’ lack of water lasted for a few hours, and was a result of a water break off of one of the town’s main lines, on River Road, near North Shore Road,” wrote editor Tyler Clarke in the front-page story. “Specifically, a hairline fracture on a brass fitting underground sparked the water break.

“We bypassed the system,” the town’s superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk said, shortly after water service was restored around 7 p.m. “Good thing the system allowed us to do the bypass.”

“Although the problem had been bypassed at that point, with water service restored to residents, it doesn’t mean it’s been fixed, Rizk said at the time.

“As he spoke, shortly before 8 p.m., water continued to shoot upwards out of the hairline fracture, with a team of Public Works employees waiting for the line to drain so they could repair it.

“We can’t [repair it] when the pressure’s so high,” Rizk said. Public Works crews continued to work on the problem into the night.

“The water break is part of the age-old problem of an aging infrastructure, Rizk said; perhaps a result of the dated street, which resonates more on pipes than newer streets do.”

While public works crews were getting wet with that wild waterline break, local RCMP said those getting wet and wild at the lake for the first long weekend of the season, were careful.

The Cowichan Lake area coasted through its first tourist-filled long weekend of the year relatively unscathed, thanks to a combination of cool weather and local RCMP efforts. “People were respectful,” Lake Cowichan RCMP Cpl. Krista Hobday said, of the weekend’s visitors. “We’ve made it a point of being out the Friday night to set the tone,” Hobday said, adding that RCMP go on to maintain a presence throughout the weekend. “We’re more the chaperones at a school dance. We’re there to make sure everyone has a good time and is respectful.”

Let’s hope this year is a repeat of a decade ago.

25 years ago

Mischief was afoot 25 years ago according to the Lake News of May 29, 1996. Do you know where your teenagers were?

“A noisy party turned ugly and dangerous for Constable Mike Cain after local youth pelted rocks at his cruiser, causing $300 damage to the car. One rock narrowly missed hitting Const. Cain in the head which, Sgt. Merchant said, could have easily killed him.

“Police are actively seeking those youth responsible and Sgt. Ron Merchant of the local RCMP is putting the blame on parents.”

The officer noted it’s easy to be “very critical of the youth and their lack of responsibility in this incident” he believed much of the responsibility laid with their parents.

It was also 25 years ago that the old locomotive was put in its resting place at the Kaatza Station Museum with a little help from a giant crane from Crane Force Ltd.

40 years ago

You’d need to be around the lake at least 45 years or so to remember the departure of “Canada’s Biggest Flagpole” from Caycuse on its way to Calgary for the Stampede.

“The 200 foot tree, when erected on the Stampede grounds will be the tallest flagpole in Canada, according to Bob Macmillian, manager at the B.C. Forest Products Caycuse division. BCFP is donating the pole to the Stampede. The tree was moved to Youbou where it was loaded on four rail cars Monday, in preparation for shipment to a barge Thursday or Friday.

“The tallest flag pole in Canada is currently the one at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto which is 184 feet high. Macmillan quipped that the Caycuse camp got the job of finding and shipping the pole because ‘they always call on Cayuse when they need a tough job done.’”

How’s that for a neat story?

In other news, the edition of the Lake News declared it would be the “Biggest, bestest summer season” as “thousands expected here as water sport takes over.”

“Lake Cowichan will be the objective of province-wide attention as media, athletes, tourists and local people take part in one of the most action-packed summers ever.

“The activity starts traditionally with Cowichan Lake Days June 12, 13, and 14 and will be sustained virtually throughout the whole summer with events arranged by the Lake Cowichan Waterski Club. Thousands of waterski enthusiasts will visit the Cowichan Lake area as scheduled top-notch competition unfolds. Television cameras will focus on Lake Cowichan, competitors and organizers will be interviewed and local businesses will benefit from an injection of tourist dollars as a result of the action-filled schedule arranged by the waterski club.”

First up was the B.C. Summer Games followed by provincials and a barefoot and jumping tournament.

As former reporter and proud Laker would say, “hoo boy!”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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