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Flashback: Snow, rain, wind, and Christmastime

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area
“Here comes Santa Claus: The jingle bells and Santa made his entrance at the A.B. Greenwell Elementary School pancake breakfast with Santa last Friday (the last day of school before Christmas break.) Children enjoyed a breakfast served by members of the Parents’ Advisory Committee, and had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s knee to tell them all their Christmas wishes.” (Lake News/Dec. 24, 1997)

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

A decade ago, according to the Lake Cowichan Gazette, the snow was falling. “Snow makes a snarly drive home” was the headline on the Dec. 19, 2012 Gazette’s front cover.

“It was a sight to fright the local RCMP on Sunday, Dec. 16, when snow began to fall in Lake Cowichan and the area. Miraculously, said RCMP staff sergeant Dave Voller, there were no calls from owners of vehicles in the ditch or other mishaps that frequently tend to occur under those kinds of road conditions. The only call they had, Voller said, was one just out of their jurisdiction which involved a car and a large branch of a tree that had fallen on it near Paldi. It was our local towing company at the Esso station that was called out to tow the car back in, but they, too, added that it was the only call they had been asked to respond to.”

In other news, Lake Cowichan residents stepped up to the plate once again to help their community.

“Baskets-full for LCFD’s Food & Toy Drive” was the story.

“Once again, residents of Lake Cowichan and the area came out in support of the Fire Department’s Food and Toy Drive, Dec. 14 and 15 at the Country Grocer. On Friday, from 5-8 p.m., and all day Saturday, families stopped in on their way to do their grocery shopping to drop off toys, non-perishable food items or just to make cash donations while the firefighters cooked up hotdogs. All the donations will go to Cowichan Lake Community Services for their Christmas Hampers.

“Firefighter Steve Johnson, who has been organizing the event since they started four years ago, said there had been a good turn out this year. ‘Besides the toys and food contributions, we raised over $2,700 in cash donations this year,’ Johnson said. ‘That’s the largest amount we’ve ever raised’.”

25 years ago

The Lake News of Dec. 24, 1997 had some names of Honeymoon Bay School students in it who were being recognized for their academic achievements.

“The first term honor roll has been released by Honeymoon Bay School. Grade 4 Shai-Lynn Lee, Andrew Thompson. Grade 5 Bradley Floyd, Matthew Friesen, Jocelyn Lundberg, Alex Parsons, Alex Ruggieri, Karli Stroulger. Grade 6 Sara Wilson.”

The same paper also reported that police seized prohibited military rifles near Mesachie.

“Lake Cowichan RCMP have arrested a Quebec resident after receiving a complaint from a forest company that erratic shooting was taking place on Lens Mainline, south of Mesachie Lake.

“Police said what sounded like automatic weapons were being fired from the forest area and rounds were coming close to people using a nearby road.

“Police attended to an area approximately 24 kilometres from Mesachie Lake and found the suspects. Two prohibited military rifles were seized and one person subsequently arrested for being in possession of prohibited weapons. One man was charged and two others interviewed but not charged.”

On the same page as the other two stories, Susan Lowe reported that “the eight Islands sold by Pacific Forest Products to a group of investors, are going on the selling block and will now marketed for sale individually with the news the Province nor the CVRD are interested in buying them as a group.”

40 years ago

“Winds, rain pummel area as Hydro gets zapped” was the headline on the front of the Dec. 21, 1982 edition of the Lake News.

Yup, sounds like Christmastime here on Vancouver Island.

“The Cowichan Lake area was battered by a succession of storms last week which cut off power to scattered areas and dumped massive amounts of rainfall on the region. Little property damage was attributable to the storms, however.

“Hydro crews were mopping up late last week, restoring electricity to isolated pockets in the area. But they may be faced with more of the same as yet another storm is moving in from the stormy winter Pacific.”

In other news of the day, teacher pay was going to be decided in the New Year.

“Advocates for the Lake Cowichan Teachers Association and School District 66 board of trustees will state their cases before an arbitration board Wednesday, Dec. 22 in Victoria. At issue will be whether or not the district’s teachers get a pay raise next year.

“Margaret Noble, secretary-treasurer for the district, will speak for the school board and Mike Moy, a teacher at Lake Cowichan Secondary School, will speak for the LCTA. Once the arguments have been heard the board then has until Jan. 1, 1983 to bring in a decision, so arbitrators have all Christmas week to consider the statements.”

“Baby bonus for Santa: Cradled in Santa’s arms, one of many Caycuse babies receives first Christmas present from helpful elf as proud father looks on. Santa came early to Caycuse, arriving just after the school children’s annual concert. Toys, candies and oranges were distributed to all community children.” (Lake News/Dec. 21, 1982)