Lake Cowichan Fire Department volunteers and ambulance personnel help an injured Edmonton man from the Cowichan Lake Marina dock, Sunday, Sept. 18. (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette/Sept. 21, 2011)

Lake Cowichan Fire Department volunteers and ambulance personnel help an injured Edmonton man from the Cowichan Lake Marina dock, Sunday, Sept. 18. (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette/Sept. 21, 2011)

Flashback: Weir safety, forestry funds and bus service

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

“Cowichan Lake weir fenced off due to safety concerns” was the top headline, after photos of the Great Lake Walk in the Sept. 21, 2011 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“The rapid waters next to the Cowichan Lake weir have been a known danger for years. June 15 of this year, local 26-year-old Cowichan Motors’ mechanic Tyler Neal wasn’t so lucky. Operating a remote control toy boat alone in the water around the weir, Neal is believed to have gone into the water after it, getting overcome by the currents and drowning. It’s been classified as an accidental drowning death. Following the death, Neal’s mourning family petitioned Catalyst, which operates the weir, and the Town of Lake Cowichan to do something to prevent another such tragedy from happening to anyone else. In response, Catalyst initiated a safety review, and has recently installed a barbed wire chain-link fence barricading people from entering the dangerous spot of the Cowichan River, next to the weir.”

Also a decade ago, “a young Edmonton man was injured after the jet ski he was driving collided with another jet ski on Cowichan Lake, Sunday, Sept. 18, at around 5 p.m. Quite the terrible way of starting a vacation, the man had only recently started a camping vacation with a group of friends at Lakeview Park Campground. The man was responsive to emergency personnel while he was lifted and carried up the dock’s ramp to the ambulance.”

25 years ago

The allocation of Forest Renewal Funds were a topic of debate on the front page of the Sept. 18, 1996 Lake News.

“Cowichan/Ladysmith MLA Jan Pullinger is defending her government’s action in allocating surplus Forest Renewal B.C. funds to general revenue. While Pullinger insists that this action will in no way affect forest workers, Tom Walker, Reform candidate in the last election who ran against Pullinger, says her government’s action ‘makes him sick’.

“Forest Renewal Funds were set up in 1994 and have been growing ever since. The total currently is $900 million which is to be used to assist displaced forest workers in finding their way back into the work force.

“Last Thursday, the FRBC board announced that a surplus will be allocated into general revenue fund. This move has elicited accusations this government is using displaced forestry worker funds to pay off the deficit.”

“There is absolutely no way I would support anything that would have a negative impact on forest workers…” she said.

40 years ago

Anyone wanna ride the bus? According to the Lake News of Sept. 16, 1981 Lake Cowichan town council hoped to get a service started but was receiving no help from those higher up in government.

“Cost of gas spurs village council to seek bus service to Duncan” was a headline.

“Lake Cowichan Village council will approach the Cowichan Valley Regional District to try to get some sort of bus service running between Duncan and the Lake area. A letter had been sent by the village to Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Vander Zalm, along with a petition, asking him for advice and assistance, but his reply slammed the door on council’s request.

“Lake Cowichan Mayor Ken Douglas said at the Sept. 8 council meeting, ‘it’s patently obvious, given what’s happening to gas prices that a (bus) service is becoming necessary.’

“Ald. Ted Forrest said it had reached the stage where, to go to the hospital in Duncan, ‘old folks end up bumming rides.’ Douglas said that the village ‘can’t proceed alone because one of the areas travelled through is outside the village,’ and any bus service would have to be a combined effort between the village and the district.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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It’s all part of the big plan to plant 1996 daffodils at the entrance to the Village. It is the Lake Bloomers’ way of beautifying the entrance to the Village. And everyone is getting in on it. Donations to help the club are starting, Michaela Davidson has donated a painting and Barb Watson, left, is donating this winter scene done in oils. The paintings are part of the prizes anyone can win by buying a ticket. Right is Rinda Munslow, prize co-ordinator for the Lake Bloomers. (Lake News/Sept. 18, 1996)

It’s all part of the big plan to plant 1996 daffodils at the entrance to the Village. It is the Lake Bloomers’ way of beautifying the entrance to the Village. And everyone is getting in on it. Donations to help the club are starting, Michaela Davidson has donated a painting and Barb Watson, left, is donating this winter scene done in oils. The paintings are part of the prizes anyone can win by buying a ticket. Right is Rinda Munslow, prize co-ordinator for the Lake Bloomers. (Lake News/Sept. 18, 1996)