Cub Jacob Woodford and Scout Ryan MacDonald pose after laying a wreath at the 1992 Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Lake Cowichan Cenotaph.

Lake Flashback: Empty food bank shelves, a possible mobile home park, and a high voter turnout in mid November troll through the archives

Mid-November may not be everyone’s favourite time of year but there was lots going on.

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas has been combing through oldnewspaperswiththeassistance 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 weekaround Cowichan Lake in years gone by.

This week around the Cowichan Lake area…

10 years ago:

“Lake food bank shelves are getting bare” said the Lake Cowichan Gazette headline of Nov. 21, 2007.

“The food bank, which is located in the basement of the Lake Cowichan Christian Fellowship Church, is hosting an auction in the lower Centennial hall on Dec. 1 that organizers hope will become an annual event.

“We’re very desperate,” said Barb Chojnacki, president of the Lake Cowichan Food Bank Society. “In the last few months we’ve been giving out more than we’ve been receiving.”

Chojnacki admits the auction isn’t being held at an ideal time, what with Cowichan Lake Community Services starting its annual Christmas Hamper Fund, but that conflict will only be for this year.

“At the last meeting, I suggested an auction and we started working on it. It wasn’t until we had everything set up that we realized it could conflict with the Christmas Hamper Fund. Next year, we’ll probably look at another time to hold the auction.”

25 years ago:

On Nov. 18, 1992, The Lake News told residents, “Concern rises over proposed mobile home park planned for the entrance to the village.”

It’s a case of the headline telling most of the story but in this case not quite all. The property in question has become Lake Park Estates.

“A proposal to install more than 80 mobile home pads at the entrance to the village drew doubts and criticisms at a public hearing last week…The developers were represented by R. Wayne Allen, of the Sutton Group – Resource Realty. The developers’ company is MJR Realty and the principals, Ralph Cleasby, John Klughart, and Matt Thornley.

“The park would lie south of Highway 18 with its entrance off Old Lake Cowichan Road.

“Will the park generate too much traffic? Opinions differed, some saying it will put 100 to 110 more cars on Old Lake Cowichan Road. Others said the road is not busy and could handle the traffic.

“Would the sewage system be overtaxed by the park? Ray Miller, village works superintendent, said, No. The system was designed to serve 4,000 people and has only 2,200 on it at present.”

40 years ago:

“Village voter turnout 50 per cent” says The Lake News of Nov. 23, 1977.

“About two thirds of the village’s eligible voters cast ballots in Saturday’s civic election making the turnout one of the highest in recent years…In total, 821 people cast ballots in the village to elect two aldermen and one school trustee.”

(Councils and boards used to be elected that way so there was always a holdover of officials who knew what was going on.)

“An exceptionally large number of spoiled ballots, 41, were recorded in the village school board election. Returning officer Bill Chappell called the large number of spoiled ballots “disgusting”.

“He said most of the spoiled ballots had two votes cast for school trustee while only one seat was available [suspecting] many people were likely confused because they were allowed two votes in the aldermanic election.

“Meanwhile, overall voter turnout in the rural areas was down with 21 per cent of the voters casting ballots in the school board election compared with 26 per cent last year.”

Since that time, the Cowichan Lake area has become widely noted for its strong turnouts on election days, with all-candidate sessions drawing big crowds beforehand.

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