Members of the United Church Women sell poinsettias in Lake Cowichan to brighten homes and raise money in December 1992.

Lake Flashback: Logs mentioned in every flashback story this week

From the Spirit Pole, to clear-cutting Hill 60, to fallers and their back pay: we log on to it

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:

NAIG fever was in the air in December 2007. With the North American Indigenous Games coming in the summer of 2008, excitement about the event was growing when the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Dec. 12, 2007 was published.

“Games Spirit Pole begins tour at Lake Cowichan” said the headline, before the story told readers, “The 13-week-45 community tour of B.C. leading to the start of [the Games] will begin in Lake Cowichan, followed by visits to Duncan May 2, Cowichan Bay on May 3, Ladysmith May 4 before finishing back in Cowichan Bay on July 28. The games will be held Aug. 3-10, including canoe races in Lake Cowichan Aug. 6-8 at Lakeview Park.

“The Spirit Pole tour will be the Indigenous Games’ version of the Olympic torch,” said John Elzinga of Lake Cowichan, coordinator of the Cowichan Valley’s Spirit Pole tour.

“It’s very exciting,” he said.

“Residents will get a chance to carve a piece of the 20-foot western red cedar log into a story pole that will commemorate the history of B.C.’s aboriginal people.”

25 years ago:

“No end to end clear-cutting” and “Hill 60 to be logged selectively, says CIP spokesman” were the answers in The Lake News of Dec. 9, 1992 to the question: Will Hill 60 be clear-cut?

The paper was worried, asking, “Will the mountain, as we see it now from our windows be drastically changed by logging in the future?”

Keith Rush of CIP, “the company, which recently put the logging roads in, off Highway 18, says no to both questions.”

But, “Hill 60 is now, and will remain in the future an active area where four types of logging will be carried out by CIP, says Rush. Over the next five years, CIP will be doing thinning, rehabiliation, helicopter logging, and what Rush calls small clear-cuts…Rush said the reason CIP has now taken an interest in Hill 60 as far as ‘forest management goes’ is simply because the forest has become ‘harvestable’, he said.”

He would not give any specifics as to how many trees would be taken out, but said over the next year, most of the work will simply be in the way of thinning.

40 years ago:

The Dec. 14, 1977 edition of The Lake News states that “Fallers win big backpay settlement”.

That really meant something back then, when fallers were the kings of the woods, doing a very dangerous job, making big money etc. Not like these days when most of that work in our forests is done by machines.

Let’s hear what happened.

“If a decision by the B.C. Supreme Court is upheld, fallers in the province’s coastal logging industry can expect a windfall in back pay. The fallers won a court decision against MacMillan Bloedel’s Alberni division in a test case last week.

“Roger Stanyer, president of Local 1-80, said about 300 fallers in the local could be entitled to back pay as a result of the decision by Justic Henry Hutcheon.

“‘It varies from operation to operation as to how much travel time there will be,’ he said…John Laxton, the lawyer who represented the two IWA Local 1-85 fallers who initiated the court action said fallers could be entitled to as much as $4,000 each…Justice Hutchen ruled that since fallers’ method of payment changed from piecework to hourly rates in 1972, they should be entitled to compensation for time spent travelling after the marshalling point.”

Companies were still mulling over whether or not to appeal.

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