A CPR train leaves the tracks between Lake Cowichan and Duncan: not a sight you’d ever see now.

Lake Flashback: J.H. Boyd, Youbou mill, and train derailment: all aspects of Lake life that are no more

We were still fighting over old school, sawmill, and watching for trains in past years

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:

“J.H. Boyd buyer grilled on his housing plans” says the headline from the Nov. 14 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

Newer residents of the Lake area may not even recognize the name J. H. Boyd, but the site of a former elementary school and board office was a battle cry 10 years ago.

“The man planning to develop the 11.8 acre J.H. Boyd property, which he has a contract to purchase from School District 79, says there’s not much he can do about public sentiment that the land should remain in public hands.

“John Kelly’s plan…called Chinook River Estates, [is] to build 56 single family homes on 9.8 acres and another 15 duplexes on two acres.”

The huge sticking point with the public was that the land had been given to School District 66 by BC Forest Products in the early 1960s “for public education needs.”

Leading the charge were such town stalwarts as Hazel Beech, who told Kelly, “With the volume of opposition, you’re going to have a hell of a time getting this through.”

25 years ago:

“Won’t sell Youbou mill” says a front page headline from The Lake News of Nov. 11, 1992.

“The Youbou mill will not be sold, despite an article in the Globe and Mail, which reported Ian Donald, chief financial officer of Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd. as saying that sawmills would be sold.

The executive officers of the company spoke had spoken at a meeting held in Toronto. Hugh Fletcher, chief executive officer of Fletcher Challenge Ltd. of New Zealand said the company should be profitable in the fiscal year ending June 1993.

“Donald said the company plans to reduce its cashflow to debt ratio to 50 per cent by December 1993, by a program of new acquisition, divestment of assets and reduction of capital spending.”

It took almost 10 years and ownership changes before the sawmill at Youbou finally closed in 2001, the last of the Cowichan Lake sawmills, and the end of an era at the Lake.

40 years ago:

Something you’d never see anywhere in the Cowichan Valley today, the headline of the Nov. 16, 1977 issue of The Lake News cries out, “CPR train derails”.

Back in 1977, trains were common on the two tracks serving the Cowichan Lake area.

“A Canadian Pacific Railways freight train was derailed about 14 kilometres east of Lake Cowichan last Monday morning (Nov. 7). The westbound train, consisting of two locomotives and a number of empty log cars, left the track shortly before 9 a.m., damaging about 800 feet of track,” says the story.

Log cars? Yes, indeed. A lot of logs were hauled by rail even in the 1970s, and two decades earlier, most of the logs transported around the Valley were sent by rail.

“One locomotive and 11 cars slid off the railway grade and into the ditch along the track, according to a spokesman. Information on estimated damage and the cause of the mishap was not available at press time. The train is used to haul logs from Crown Zellerbach’s log loadout at Lake Cowichan to the firm’s Ladysmith mill. The track was back in operation by Friday,” the story concluded.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan man at large after massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Bob Day making another run for mayor of Lake Cowichan

Day has served 10 years as town councillor

Ross Forrest eyes the mayor’s chair in Lake Cowichan again

Forrest served 10 years as mayor before losing the last election

Prescribed burn for the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve

Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 9, if and when site and weather conditions become favourable.

Business notes: Cowichan Valley Wine Festival deemed a success this year

Here are some of the notable things happening in Cowichan’s business community

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

Lumber hitting record high prices due to low supply and high demand

B.C.’s forest industry hasn’t been able to keep pace with the COVID-19 building boom

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

B.C.-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

Rock stars, jet planes, scooter tricks and the creation of a new platform ready for launch

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Most Read