“Jeff Abbott sinks in a mass of mud where a tributary to Coon Creek earlier ran. The creek supplies 60 families in Youbou with drinking water.” (Lake News, Nov. 19, 1980)

“Jeff Abbott sinks in a mass of mud where a tributary to Coon Creek earlier ran. The creek supplies 60 families in Youbou with drinking water.” (Lake News, Nov. 19, 1980)

Flashback: Winter tires, winter weather, watershed watch

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan

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

The Town of Lake Cowichan was soliciting feedback from residents this time a decade ago, according to the Nov. 17, 2010 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“For those who’d like to vent, comment, suggest, or complain about things to the Town of Lake Cowichan’s elected officials, a chance has been awarded on Monday, Nov. 22. In advance of the Town of Lake Cowichan’s public meeting, the town’s elected officials have been preparing a list of items they’d like public input on.”

“We don’t want to direct the meeting,” councillor Frank Hornbrook clarified, during the town’s Tuesday, Nov. 9 meetings. Instead, the topics listed below will serve as speaking points. For those who prefer to not speak in public, sheets of papers will line the walls of Centennial Hall (where the public meeting will commence at 7 p.m.).

“Some people are quite shy and don’t like to speak publicly, so that is an important avenue to add,” councillor Jayne Ingram said.

Also in the Nov. 17, 2010 Gazette was a warning about the winter tire requirement on Highway 18.

“Put on winter tires! That’s the message local RCMP hope to get across to people. Even though the snow hasn’t started falling yet, and there are still sporadic warm sunny days, the local RCMP are warning people that winter tires or the carrying of chains has been required for over a month, on Highway 18,” said the Tyler Clarke story. “The results of not putting on winter tires, in addition to an increased chance of an MVI, can be quite frustrating. In the event of a snow storm, RCMP can turn drivers back the way they came from, on Highway 18 or on the Malahat; and they’ve done so in the past.”

That should serve as a warning this year as well.

25 years ago

A storm stranded hundreds in Lake Cowichan this week 25 years ago. So says the Nov. 22, 1995 Lake News.

“Raging gusts of wind lashed the Douglas firs, rain shut down visibility, electricity failed and the telephones went out at the CLEC Centre Thursday evening. The pot-holed road leading to the Centre was too dangerous to use because of the risk of trees falling across it. Luckily Dalton Smith, the manager was on the job. He had a cellular telephone. It proved the only link with the world.”

Wow! What a stark contrast to what it would have been like in this day and age. Everyone would have whipped out their phones if that was to happen today.

But back then, it was a good thing Smith was ahead of the curve.

“It was important because 150 people were staying at the Centre, attending the Cowichan Tribes Fifth Annual Youth Conference.”

The school district amalgamation issue was back on the front page of the Nov. 22, 1995 Lake News. This time it was with a bit of a different angle.

“Faced with imminent amalgamation with School District 65 (Duncan), the board of School District 66 has proposed a merger plan with the municipality. A public meeting to talk about the proposal is planned for this week though at press time the date hadn’t been set.

“Ohtaki, Japan, Lake Cowichan’s twin village, has a system in which education and municipal affairs are operated from one office, sharing facilities. A delegation from School District 66 met with council last week. The proposal included moving the municipal office to the School District on Oak Lane and sharing facilities, such as reception, finance, and maintenance. The result would be a big saving in costs.”

A novel plan, but clearly, it didn’t come to fruition.

40 years ago

The Nov. 18, 1980 front page of the Lake News featured a strong accusation: “Logging ‘ruins Youbou water supply’” and the story that followed was just as harshly worded.

“A group of Youbou water users is demanding that Pacific Logging Ltd. stop clear-cutting on the hill above the town because “they’re raping our watershed.”

“Jeff Abbott, chairman of the Pioneer Water System users group, which taps Coon Creek for its domestic water supply, said Saturday that Pacific Logging is destroying the watershed which feeds the creek.”

Yikes!

“Pacific Logging spokesman Tuesday played down the effect on the creek by logging activity in the watershed.

“Adam Kral, vice president logging, said that Pacific Logging was ‘terribly concerned that this did happen’ when he learned that the water supply was recently muddied by heavy rains. But he said that the long-term benefits of logging the watershed offset the short-term effects. ‘The best thing is to get it logged and replanted,’ thereby assuring that the watershed would not be tampered with ‘the next 40 years’.

Whose side are you on?

“They’re raping our watershed,” Abbott charged Saturday. “They’re a private company and they have no respect for the people. They have a total disregard for the natural resource of the land. They’re just like land barons and they treat us like peons.”

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