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
The Scouts were making a comeback in Lake Cowichan, according to the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Oct. 20, 2010.
“After a brief hiatus of Scouting activity in the Cowichan Lake area, a few Cowichan Valley Scout bigwigs have pledged to kick some life into the local branch of their organization this year.”
“There are so many other activities available that people went other ways,” deputy council commissioner Bill Thow said, which is unfortunate. “It creates a network of friendships that last for a lifetime. It develops skills that are useful not just for camping, but are life skills.”
“The Cowichan Lake area’s rich history in Scouting makes it all the more surprising that the organization has fallen by the wayside. The area represents a 60 year history of scouting, with four active groups at its peak, including groups in Lake Cowichan, Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, and Mesachie Lake. Although the Scouts fell by the wayside, the similarly orientated local Guides have persisted. This left a gap for local boys interested in outdoors, survival skills, and camping, with Guides being an all girls group, whereas Scouts are co-ed.”
Also in the same paper, there was a “Suspected arson in Lake Cowichan”.
“A Lake Cowichan man could face life in prison following a Friday, Oct. 8, evening blaze set to an occupied fourplex unit in Lake Cowichan. Lake Cowichan Cpl. Krista Hobday said police arrested a 54-year-old man, well known to police, following a suspected arson attack on a fourplex on Lake Cowichan’s Stanley Road.
“It wasn’t a random act; it was targeted. People in general don’t need to worry there’s an arsonist running around Lake Cowichan,” Hobday said. Witnesses tipped police off after someone used a lighter to start the inferno, Hobday said.
“Witnesses saw (a man) enter the unit and saw him come out and within minutes the unit was in flames,” she said.
25 years ago
“Elks annual fish derby pays off big” was the headline on the front page of the Oct. 18, 1995 Lake News.
“Well maybe not big if you’re used to winning Lotto 649, but big for fisherman accustomed to sitting in a boat in the rain to catch a 1 lb trout. Mike Paton went home with $300 first prize for his 5 lbs. 13 oz. fish and runner up Jerry Melissa took away $150. John Liske, in charge of organizing the event reported that it had earned $2,59 for fish enhancement in the lake and its watershed. Some 200 fisherman took part and more than 50 fish over 1 pound were weighed. In addition to the cash prizes, there were donations by merchants valued at approximately $2,000. In a draw for ticket sales the winner was Joyce McDonald.”
In the same edition, Mayor Earl Darling had a plan.
“Village-SD66 may work together” was the headline and the story went like this:
“Mayor Earle Darling presented a major new initiative to council last week: a partial melding of the work of the Village and the School District. He has already met with school board trustees and Brian Hoole, the superintendent, he said. He came prepared with the precedent to prove the idea is workable. Councillors watched a film made by Richmond, B.C., where the City and School District 38 have combined on many projects.”
The goal was to save funds wherever possible.
”Coun. Gary Gunderson, who is also a school trustee, noted that the idea of cooperation isn’t new, but it just never got going in this district. In the past self-interest and empire-building may have got in the way.”
40 years ago
Turnover was imminent in local politics this time four decades ago, according to the Lake News of Oct. 15, 1980.
“There will be at least one new face on the village council after the election Nov. 6. Ernie Burns, a councillor with six years experience, has decided not to seek nomination for a fourth term as alderman. ‘No I am not running this year,’ he said Monday. ‘I’ll take a breather and let someone else do it. I’ve got enough to do around home.’
“The other alderman whose two-year term expires this year is Hazel Beech and she indicated Tuesday that she will be filing nomination papers for another try at a council seat. Beech has been splitting her time between her councillor duties and her work as a regional representative for the district south and east of Cowichan Lake — Area F — and she has not decided whether she will try for a second term as regional director. Her current stint at the Cowichan Valley Regional District is also finished this year.”
Also sharing the front page of the Oct. 15, 1980 Lake News was the announcement that the H.B. mill was shutting down for two weeks.
“Western Forest Industries Honeymoon Bay mill will shut down for a two week period ending Nov. 3, a management spokesman said Tuesday. Manager Don Hammond said the usual October shutdown was in anticipation of a later, winter closure because of an oversupply of timber to WFI’s major customers — Japan. He said that 183 hourly workers will be laid off. The company decided to close early so that it would not have to keep the mill heated during an expected closure in the winter.”