Retired Lake Cowichan Secondary School French teacher Harry Evans with his wife, Helen Evans, during his 90th birthday celebration, April 25, 2010 at the Youbou Fire Hall. (Tyler Clarke/Gazette)

Lake Flashback: A big birthday, a big anniversary, and money woes

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

Tax increase talk was on the menu in the April 28, 2010 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette as Area I director Klaus Kuhn tried to quell peoples’ worries over big increases.

A large increase in property taxes created the most heated part of CVRD Area I’s public meeting, April 19 at the Youbou Community Hall.

“When it’s over a $50 increase, that’s quite an increase,” the meeting’s host and Area I director Klaus Kuhn said, of properties assessed at $100,000. Providing the crowd with a list of changes to this year’s tax compared to last year’s, it was revealed that the changes in many areas are quite small or non-existent.

The main increase came from Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Sports Arena project.

“When the vote came up ‘should we do the arena?’ we didn’t think too far to budget time,” Kuhn said, adding that the project was pushed forward despite the recent economic downfall. “It’s a big increase.”

Although CVRD’s Area I and F didn’t vote for the arena as a favourable endeavour, Lake Cowichan residents’ vote managed to push the project forward.

In other news this week 10 years ago, retired French teacher Harry Evans celebrated a milestone birthday.

“Balloons dotted the drive through Youbou, April 25, in celebration of Harry Evans’ 90th birthday. A party was held at the Youbou Fire Hall, with what seemed like the whole community coming in and out to have a drink and to celebrate Evans’ life thus far. Harry’s 90th birthday party included a Scottish theme, a tribute to his proud Scottish upbringing, with bagpiper Frank Nichol from Duncan performing.”

25 years ago

The May 3, 1995 edition of the Lake News paid tribute to two service groups celebrating a milestone in the community.

“The Elks club and Royal Purple threw a party Saturday night to mark their 50th anniversary in Lake Cowichan. Lucy Elliott, Honoured Royal Lady, the Royal Purple and Bob Berrow, Exulted Ruler, Elks Club, cut the ceremonial cake.

“From schools to seniors to shut-ins through meals on wheels, all have benefited from either the Elks or Royal Purple, sometimes both. And never forget the fun events they have sponsored or supported like the support they have given entertainment for the kids at Halloween. Their Lake Days float has been an overall winner in the Lake Days parade and the Elks Trout derby has been a major event for years. And, they’ve helped remind the world that Lake Cowichan is here as the time they sent a clown troop to the Grey Cup parade in Vancouver.”

Also making the front page this week in 1995 were the schedules for the upcoming Lake Days events. This year it won’t look the same but community spirit still abounds.

40 years ago

It was a happy day for the Lake Cowichan Volunteer Fire Department’s chief according to the front page of the April 30, 1980 edition of the Lake News.

“The Fire Chief is a happy man today. Tom Gordon, the gruff and ready leader of the Lake Cowichan volunteer fire department, had his most earnest wish answered last Tuesday when the village council decided to buy a new fire truck. Gordon had been pestering council for many months in an effort to get his fire department more mobility. Council decided to place an order for the new truck which will cost $65,000 with tax.”

That’s about $200,000 in today’s dollars. The new truck replaced a 1951 model.

While that was the happy news story of the day back in 1980, the top headline was that Island Shake was fighting off receivership.

“Island Shake & Shingle Ltd. is struggling to avoid receivership after the Royal Bank called its loan in April. The company and its affiliates have been given notice by the bank that unless there is ‘improvement in their [the bank’s] security position and repayment’ of some $300,000 in loans, a receiver-manager could be appointed.

“The other companies affected are Rainforest Logging Ltd., Roanoke Forest Products Ltd., and Rodenbush & Rooke Corporation. The company has for the past 10 days been seeking assurances from its creditors that they would not insist upon payment of accounts for a six-month period. This would give Island Shake some breathing space and, according to company official Tom Rodenbush, forestall Royal Bank intervention.”

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