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
“Rivers Day a first for Cowichan Valley” was the headline on the front of the Oct. 3, 2012 Lake Cowichan Gazette.
“B.C. Rivers Day is an event celebrated across the province each year on the last Sunday in September. But this year, for the first time, the Cowichan Valley took part in the event with a two day celebration on both Saturday and Sunday. On Sept. 30, celebrations took place at Stoltz Pool with activities that included nature walks, fly tying demos, children’s activities, and fishing lessons. Kai Reitzel, from the Cowichan Land Trust and the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre was in charge of children’s activities. She had kids making fish prints using real fish that the kids decorated with paint and pressed onto paper.
“CLRSS president, Gerald Thom, said he was pleased with the event overall, and though the need for rain is foremost on his mind these days, he was glad the sun was shining on Saturday. ‘As far as getting people out it’s nice to have the sunshine. It makes it a little more pleasant for all of us.’ He says Rivers Day in the Cowichan Valley will become an annual event and he looks forward to more people checking it out as it becomes more well known in years to come.”
Unlike this year, a decade ago, the river was still quite low.
“If you are a Cowichan Lake area resident, you have probably noticed that the Cowichan River has dropped below regular seasonal levels this year. This drop has local conservation groups and governments worried. ‘We are a few days away from setting an all time record for drought conditions in the Cowichan Watershed and the lake and river are perilously low and dropping with almost no water coming in from any of the feeder creeks. There is only 30 centimetres of stored water at the lake and the level is dropping at over 1 cm per day,’” said Parker Jefferson of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society.”
25 years ago
Susan Lowe’s headline of “Poor outlook for forestry employees” donned the front page of the Lake News of Oct. 8, 1997.
“IWA local 1-80 is preparing for bad times and had already set up a meeting with the Premier’s office to see if there is any way to off-set the soft market for lumber which may effect thousands of workers this winter.
“TimberWest who employs at least 300 workers in Lake Cowichan between their saw mill and logging operations, had not yet laid any workers off in the Lake Cowichan area but others were down including Beaver Cove and parts of the Johnson Strait operations which are running temporarily.
“‘It’s very difficult to know what will happen with current markets — the increase in stumpage fees has made it very difficult. I can’t predict anything long term (for Lake Cowichan) but can say that we are operating today,’ Steve Lorimer, Land Use Forester for TimberWest said.
“Bill Routley, President of the IWA-Local 1-80, explained that part of what had happened in the forest industry is that their major lumber customer — Japan — is not buying.”
Also a decade ago, it wasn’t great news for the local arena as “New arena floor to cost much more than expected.”
“If the arena doesn’t get an infusion of $1 million it will have to close down. That isn’t likely because, as arena Commission members pointed out at a meeting, the arena is the most popular facility in the area.
“Any way you look at it, raising the money is likely to cause an increase in taxes for the Village and Areas F and I — though the increase may not be as much as some think.”
40 years ago
The Lake News of Oct. 6, 1982 featured a story called “Tiny voter turnout squelches village expansion hopes” and I think that’s the story all wrapped up into one headline.
Also 40 years ago in the same edition, “Credit Union strike looms here” was another pretty informative headline but I’ll recap a little of the story anyway.
“Representatives of the Office and Technical Employees Union — Local 15 — sat down with a mediator today (Wednesday) to try and iron out their differences with the management of seven different credit unions, including Lake Cowichan’s, in an effort to avert a strike. The union took a strike vote by mail and when it was counted… 87.5 per cent of the 150 members had voted in favour of a walkout. Talks between both sides have been stalled since Aug. 17.”
And finally “Park acquisition one step closer” talked about Lakeview Park.
“The Village of Lake Cowichan moved one step further to acquiring Lakeview Park when it made a resolution to request the ministry of lands, parks, and housing for a conditional free crown grant for the park. The move was one of those necessary legal steps towards bringing the park under village jurisdiction. Mayor Ken Douglas whimsically said that he found the juxtaposition of the words ‘free’ and ‘conditional’ to be a trifle contradictory.”
Oh! Under that story was an interesting note. It reads: “Need a rubber stamp for your home or office? Come to the Lake News and we will order you one.”
How about that! A newspaper AND a rubber stamp business all in one!