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
“Traffic crackdown proves effective” claims Lake Cowichan RCMP Sgt. Dave Voller in his report in the Oct. 5, 2011 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette. “The Lake Cowichan RCMP has been strategically directing its resources toward the goal of reducing the number of traffic accidents within its jurisdiction over the past several years. The goal, identified by police and other stakeholders such as local politicians, has been persistently worked towards during the entirety of that time by employing a number of local initiatives.
“These initiatives include such things as enhancing police visibility on the roadways — especially Highway 18 — increasing overall enforcement, including the number of written warnings as well as violation tickets issued to drivers, and the targeting of impaired drivers through the use of check stops and the acquisition of more alcohol sensing devices.”
Turns out it worked.
“A recent review of our statistical data reveals that the overall number of accidents reported to our office has in fact decreased significantly over the past three years, from 94 collisions in 2008/2009, down to 72 in 2009/2010, and down again to 53 in 2010/2011.”
Ironically, the following page was headlined: “Keep and eye out for elk” and featured three photos of scenes from a collision with an elk: one of the smashed-up front end of a sedan, one of firefighters looking at the dead elk and a third of paramedics with a stretcher.
Police can only do so much when nature is involved.
“‘It’s rutting season, and the big animals are coming down from the hill,’ Voller said, adding that one should slow down and keep one’s eyes open while driving at this time of year; more so than usual.”
25 years ago
Here’s a neat story from the Oct. 9, 1996 edition of the Lake News: “$6,000 watch found in bank”.
If there’s a good place for an expensive watch, it’s the bank, right? No so much if you’ve been missing it for 14 years.
“He didn’t quite win the lottery, but a bizarre find makes Dick McQuinn $6,000 richer and gives him a sigh of relief,” the story opened. “It had been a nightmare, which began 14 years ago when McQuinn misplaced a watch… a Rolex Oyster Perpetual which had been given to Dick by his father. Because of the monetary and sentimental value of the watch, McQuinn placed the watch in what he believed to be the safest place imaginable — a safety deposit box.
“‘When I arrived to clear out the safety deposit box (14 years ago) at the Royal Bank, the watch was not there. We couldn’t figure out what happened — and the bank didn’t know what happened,’ McQuinn said.
“Last Wednesday the occupant who had taken over the McQuinn box cleared out their belongings and happened to notice a small plastic bag which had fallen in behind the shelf. It was McQuinn’s watch.
“The watch McQuinn’s father bought in 1963 for $350 is today worth $6,000. It has 22 karat gold trim around the face.
“‘I was devastated when we lost it, as it had been willed to me by my father. I couldn’t think of where it had gone,’ he said and found it even more unbelievable that the bank had called 14 years later to say the watch had been found.”
I wonder what it’s worth today?
40 years ago
“Incumbents to seek re-election” was the top story on the front page of the Oct. 7, 1981 Lake News.
“There are three positions open on Lake Cowichan village council this fall as terms expire, and the three men who currently hold those seats have given notice that they plan to run for election again. Mayor Ken Douglas finishes his first two-year term this year, but he said Monday that he thought he would run for mayor again. The main reason is that he thinks the village is starting to function the way he hoped it could.
“Four-year alderman Don Gordon said Monday that he, too, would let his name stand for election this year. Ald. Roger Hamilton, who is finishing his first term on council said he will run again.”
In the same edition, “Building value doubles in village” reports on a construction boom.
“Construction in the Cowichan Lake area is booming, despite a downturn in the economy and doom and gloom from the forest industry. Norm Shepherd, building inspector for the village of Lake Cowichan, reports that the number of permits issued for new family dwellings so far this year — 24 — is almost triple the nine issued in all of 1980.”