”Homecoming party-goers get into the spirit of things at wine and cheese party Friday which launches three days of reminisce and recollection of days they spent as students at Lake Cowichan High School during fifties and early sixties. This crowd at the arena did not represent all of 800 people who came to reunion; about two-thirds of total are in photo.” (Lake News, July 1, 1981)

”Homecoming party-goers get into the spirit of things at wine and cheese party Friday which launches three days of reminisce and recollection of days they spent as students at Lake Cowichan High School during fifties and early sixties. This crowd at the arena did not represent all of 800 people who came to reunion; about two-thirds of total are in photo.” (Lake News, July 1, 1981)

Lake Flashback: Lake levels, mill worries, class reunions and a swim blitz

A look into Lake Cowichan’s history books

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

It was welcome news a decade ago as the page 2 headline of the July 6, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette read: “Lake level looks decent enough to maintain summer river flow”.

“At this point, it appears as though the Cowichan River’s summer flow won’t dip to below seven cubic meters/second. This, Catalyst Paper Crofton Division environmental manager Brian Houle said, is thanks to there being more snow pack this year than last. Catalyst operates the Cowichan Lake weir, which controls how much water flow goes into the Cowichan River, in order to maintain at least seven cubic meters/second flow throughout the dry summer. Those looking at the Cowichan River in recent weeks may have noticed a few tell-tale signs, such as visible rocks, that river flows have been decreasing.

“As of this moment, we’re below full storage,” Houle explained. “The river level has definitely been ramping down.”

“To blame is the raising of the weir; a necessary step in ensuring the lake hits its full storage level by operators’ goal of Saturday, July 9. The Cowichan Lake is comparable to a bath tub, with the weir its plug. Should the lake reach full storage level by this time, Houle said that there should be enough water available to drain into the Cowichan River to ensure the seven cubic meters per second flow, until heavy rains start up again in the fall.”

Also in the same edition: “Town council backs anti-Smart Meter stance.”

“BC Hydro did not do an adequate job of educating the public as to the Smart Meters they are currently installing. That is the message mayor and council had to share, following an impassioned anti-Smart Meter presentation by Mesachie Lake resident Mary Lowther.

“I’m a little concerned that BC Hydro is dumping this on us without educating us,” mayor Ross Forrest said. “I think they should have started this off by sitting down with each municipality,” councillor Tim McGonigle said, in agreement. “I think it’s prudent to investigate all angles, both good and bad.”

25 years ago

More mill closure news graced the front page of the July 3, 1996 Lake News.

“Pullinger calls mill closures ‘unacceptable’ and asks her government for help” was the headline on the front of the paper.

Susan Lowe reported: “Cowichan/Ladysmith MLA Jan Pullinger is calling the closure of two local mills in the area ‘unacceptable’ and is requesting that government give the mill owners short extensions and some long term answers.

“In last week’s issue of the Lake News, we carried a story explaining that Confederate Shake and Shingle Mill along with Quenco Cedar Industries both located in Cowichan Lake, would be forced to close down July 1, 1996 by the Provincial Government’s ban on beehive burners. This closure will force 14 employees out of jobs.

“The problem faced by the two mill owners is that while beehive burners have been banned in a step towards banning all open burning, the alternatives are too costly for the mills which are small businesses.”

“Pullinger wrote to Minister of Environment, Lands, and Parks, Paul Ramsey June 24, 1996, one week prior to the July 1 cut off asking for a short term extension and that a long term solution be found.”

Also making headlines this time back in 1996, the 399 and 400th Youbou bus passengers were R. Rturseuelzle and Hanna Shougal.

“Both passengers broke the record [for] the largest numbers of passengers riding the Youbou exchange in one month. Honeymoon Bay also broke its record transporting 200 passengers in one month.”

40 years ago

Here’s something that doesn’t happen often: the entire newspaper took a holiday!

In a big orange box on the front of the July 1, 1981 newspaper it read: “On vacation.”

“The Lake News will be closed for one week and will not publish a newspaper on Wednesday, July 8.”

Also on the front of the same edition: “Malaspina slashes staff”.

“Malaspina College, hit by budgetary cutbacks from the province, has begun tightening its belt by slashing personnel. Outgoing president Gerry Sylvester promised however that the college will still offer a ‘full range’ or courses and programs.

“In one of his last reports to the college board before announcing his resignation, Sylvester said, the college had been forced to make cuts in administration, faculty and staff positions as well as other areas.”

And finally, the “Kinsmen swimming blitz yields bonanza” story shared some good news with Lakers.

“The Kinsmen Swim blitz has raised $1,340 from Lake Cowichan residents this year, according to organizer Jim Crawford. He said that this total is up from last year. He said that about 12 Kinsmen canvass the area, in a two-night campaign, but still didn’t manage to cover all the houses.

“The club will use the money, together with a grant of $3,600 to hire three local students for its summer swim program.”

Left over funds were going to be used to spruce up the Duck Pond with some playground gear.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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