‘Grandma rolls over 30,000 pennies. Gloria Carnell, grandmother of Nicole Stock and member of Nicole’s penny crew, rolls pennies collected from Palsson Elementary school during the school’s first annual penny drive.’ (Rick Diakiw/Lake News, Jan. 31, 1996)

‘Grandma rolls over 30,000 pennies. Gloria Carnell, grandmother of Nicole Stock and member of Nicole’s penny crew, rolls pennies collected from Palsson Elementary school during the school’s first annual penny drive.’ (Rick Diakiw/Lake News, Jan. 31, 1996)

Flashback: Sawmill, bus stops, safe houses and garbage

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

Here’s a story for you: The front page of the Jan. 26, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette talked about the closure of the Youbou Sawmill 10 years prior. So, here I am looking back on a look back on a story. Still with me?

“As of today, it’s been 10 years since a log rolled through the Youbou Sawmill,” said the story. That makes it 20 years now, if you’re counting. “After a decade, the common consensus of Cowichan Lake area residents is that the mill’s closure should have never happened. ‘The mill should still be running today,’ Youbou resident John Waddington said. ‘This community would be a lot better off if the sawmill was still running.’ Waddington, whose property overlooks the old Youbou Sawmill site, was one of many residents who protested the mill’s closure, 10 years ago. After Waddington and a few of his cohorts blocked scab workers from driving down the road to the Youbou Sawmill, they were all arrested. Although Waddington never worked at the mill, the long-time Youbou resident saw an injustice in the mill’s closure. ‘I was just a community neighbour who thought they got a raw deal,’ he said.”

Also in the Jan. 26, 2011 Gazette: more bus shelters.

“The Cowichan Lake area will see six bus shelters constructed in the next couple months. These six shelters are part of a larger Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) project, which will see 26 shelters constructed before the end of March. ‘Each community gets a proportionate number of shelters depending on their contribution to transit,’ CVRD Transit manager Jim Wakeham said. As such, the Youbou/Meade Creek area (CVRD area I), Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls area (CVRD area F), and Town of Lake Cowichan, will each receive two bus shelters.”

25 years ago

In a sobering story on the front of the Jan. 31, 1996 edition of the Lake News, the community learned “No safe house here but lots of violence, council is told”.

“Efforts are to be made to open a safe house for abused women in Lake Cowichan. Amanda Riley, who counsels abused women for Community Services says a sub-committee of her group has already received $500 from the local Child and Youth Committee. There is lots of violence against women in the Lake district, said Riley, and it is increasing.”

This next part is disturbing.

“I don’t know why, but in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a 50 per cent increase,” she said. She said that abused women are sometimes reduced to sleeping out of doors. Carol Blatchford, of Community Services, told council that the RCMP have reported receiving as many as seven complaints from women in one weekend.”

Those numbers are staggering.

40 years ago

The Jan. 28, 1981 edition of the Lake News reported no movement in the strike by arena workers.

“A strike by arena workers remained unsettled today as the private garbage collector planned to avoid striking picketers at the Meade Creek incinerator by using a secret temporary garbage dump.”

Wait. What? There’s a secret temporary garbage dump in Lake Cowichan somewhere? After the strike did they have to pick it all up and move it to Meade Creek? Who paid for that? Who completed that task? Or is there still a secret dump out there waiting for another strike? So many questions.

“The five IWA workers who had failed to come to an agreement with their employer, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, tried to add more pressure to negotiations by picketing CVRD installations in the Cowichan Valley.

“Both the union and the CVRD have said they will not budge, so negotiations are at an impasse. Meanwhile, Kal Fox, whose company, Fox’s Disposal, has the contract to pick up garbage in the Cowichan Lake area, is caught in the middle and has been unable to get his work done.”

He’d told his drivers not to cross the picket line and he also had no place to dump his garbage, though he did manage to line up a temporary holding place for the trash…


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