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Flashback: Thieves who like wheels, a new home for scouts and a provincial NDP race

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area

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

“Thieves target things with wheels” was the top headline on the front of the Feb. 12, 2014 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“Lake Cowichan RCMP is investigating a series of vehicle-related thefts and vandalisms,” the story began. “The most recent was a motorcycle theft in Lake Cowichan. ‘It was taken sometime during daylight hours into the early evening. We think someone has seen the motorcycle and picked it up in a pick-up truck,’ said Sgt. Wes Olsen of the Lake Cowichan RCMP.

Officers are also investigating an incident where an ATV was stolen off Skutz Falls Road and driven away. The ATV was started up, driven eastbound and loaded onto another vehicle before being driven away once more.”

In other news of a decade ago, “Young love puts footbridge on LOCKDOWN” was the headline, capital letters and all. The short story was that a teenage couple adapted the Paris tradition of putting a lock on the bridge to declare their love at Lake Cowichan’s Duck Pond.

“The loop from Ohtaki Park, over the footbridge, then the car bridge and back is a pleasant, popular walk. But if you’re paying attention as you cross the Duck Pond bridge, you’ll notice something special. Hanging on the chain-link that borders the bridge is one small, shiny metal lock. Behind this small token is a story that began in ancient China, reappeared a decade ago in Paris and has since spread around the world. Apparently thanks to one young couple in love, Lake Cowichan now has its own ‘love-lock’ bridge.”

The couple in question were 14-year-old Teresa Melchoir and 15-year-old Hayden Holman.

25 years ago

“There are signs of a ‘pick-up’ in forest industry” declared the Lake News of Feb. 10, 1999.

The paper was quoting Cowichan Lake MLA Jan Pullinger.

“There are signs of a ‘pick-up in the forest industry’, Jan Pullinger, Cowichan Lake’s MLA, said in a telephone interview Monday with the Lake News. ‘We are seeing more stability in the industry,’ she said. And she announced an expected economic summit to be held on Vancouver Island this year, to address problems that particularly affect development of the Island. Despite the current recession in B.C., things aren’t as bad as the recession of the ’80s when unemployment reached 18 per cent. It is only about half that now. She warned, though, that the forest industry isn’t out of the woods yet.”

In other news, the scouts were sure happy.

“Scouts representative Kathy Edwards got a hug from Mayor Jean Brown at Council. Maybe that was because Edwards said the upgrading of the former Community Services building is not expected to cost Council a penny.

Scouts Canada will almost surely be the prime tenant with a lease of $1 a year for five years. Other applicants have dropped out including Kaatza Day Care. “‘Just as well,’ said Coun. Hazel Beech. Council, as usual, is strapped for ready cash. The building inspector examined the old building and his report was made known to the Scouts. Kathy Edwards, for the Scouts, told Council that her organization could look after the needs of the building without cost to Council.”

40 years ago

Bus safety was a concern this time four decades ago according to the front of the Feb. 8, 1984 Lake News.

“Two ski trips involving Cowichan Lake district school students will go ahead as planned, despite a tragic accident that resulted in the death of two Victoria students on a similar trip in January. Grave concerns about bus safety were raised across the province following the mishap that marred a Claremont Secondary School trip and local organizers here have checked into transportation again before going to the school board again, teacher Anne Sheridan of Lake Cowichan Secondary School said Monday. Sheridan appeared before the school board at its Feb. 6 meeting to answer last minute questions about the trip which starts today (Wednesday).

“She told trustees that all the students going on the trip — about 50 from Grade 11 and 12 —would be bused to Green Mountain in a School District 66 bus and moved up the mountain in a special ‘off road’ vehicle provided by the lift company. No private vehicles would be used, she said.”

And finally, “NDP hopefuls draw full house” was a top story, written by Lexi Bainas, on the front page of the same edition.

“Cowichan Valley New Democrats cheered six of the seven ‘horses’ in the race for Dave Barrett’s job on their way Sunday but they gave no indication of which one they expect to win the contest. The Cowichan-Malahat constituency association scheduled the meeting to give residents in the Cowichan Valley area a chance to hear the hopefuls for the provincial leadership. No meeting will be held here during a speaking tour scheduled for next month. Margaret Birrell, Bill King, Graham Lea, Bob Skelly, Dave Stupich and Dave Vickers all addressed the standing-room-only crowd that packed into the Arbutus Room at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan.”