Charlie Stroulger, left, receives the citizen of the year award from Lake Cowichan Mayor Bert Brown at the annual chamber of commerce banquet in January 1979.

Lake Flashback: Seniors’ housing, righting an election mistake, and Stroulger citizen of the year

Stroulger’s name was one of those put forward just last year as a moniker for the new baseball park

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas 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:

In the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Jan. 28, 2009, we learn that interest in seniors’ supportive housing was sufficient for five folks to step forward to form a society to forward the idea. They still are, but let’s see what was going on back then.

“It only took an hour Monday night to get enough interest in seniors’ supportive housing in Lake Cowichan to get five directors for a new non-profit society.”

After Don Beldessi explained his hopes for a complex of 68 to 70 suites and some of the 30 people gathered in the Lions Den asked some questions, five people agreed to sit with him on a society board.

“I’m very pleased with the response,” said Beldessi. “I think this meeting shows there’s a lot of interest.”

The next step, he said, is to get meetings with Lake Cowichan town council and the CVRD board, with representatives of the B.C- Yukon Legion Housing Society present to provide information and support.

“The Legion Housing Society has helped build several seniors’ facilities, including Legion Manor in Saanich, which Don and Sam Beldessi and Ed Whittick visited recently and were impressed with.

“I think a partner like that would be extremely important,” said Beldessi. “If we want a facility, we’re going to have to do it ourselves and they can be a great help to us.”

At the same [time], Beldessi will get things started with his fellow directors — Rod Peters, Sam Beldessi, Whittick and Kathy Jenks — to get ready for another public meeting. They will be looking for people to join the society as general members.

Once the society is officially established it would be hoping for letters of support from council, the CVRD and local service clubs and organizations.

Although a supportive housing facility would cost $8 million or more to build, Beldessi cautioned the people at the meeting not to be scared by that amount.

“Don’t let the money scare you,” he said, noting that there are many subsidies and grants available that would help, including with rent for residents. There is also $10,000 in seed money available to help get a business plan drafted and it’s forgivable.

Beldessi suggested several webpages people can access to get more information on what subsidies and grants are available.

25 years ago:

The big story in The Lake News of Jan. 26, 1994 was “Youbou fumes: Allan, Raimondo meet Minister on Ward’s behalf”.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s board chair, Joe Allan, and its administrator, Frank Raimondo, met with B.C. Municipal Affairs Minister Darlene Marzari that day trying to reverse John Ward’s disqualification as CVRD director of Area I under regulations passed only last September.

By what many took to be an oversight on the part of the CVRD, Ward was not sworn in within the 40 days required under the legislation. A complaint was laid and Ward was out. Under the legislation, he cannot stand in the new election that must take place unless the government over rules its own legislation and lets Ward take his seat.

Ward, who has been the popular Area I director for some 11 years, is believed to have been the victim of people opposed to the building of the Bamberton subdivision near Mill Bay. They are believed to be the people who complained. Ward had voted in favour of Bamberton. Ward, a school teacher who is studying for his MA, told The Lake News, “I had a course the night they were sworn in. My alternate, Jim Broughton, was sworn in.”

Many feel strongly that the staff of the CVRD should have made sure that Ward not only knew about the legislation but that he was sworn in on time…In Youbou, a petition [in support of Ward] is being signed by a large number of voters.

40 years ago:

“Stroulger is citizen of the year” trumpeted The Lake News on Jan. 31, 1979 above its leading story for the week.

Charlie Stroulger, active in sports all his life and especially known locally for his contribution to minor baseball, has been named the Cowichan Lake district’s citizen of the year.

[He] was honoured at the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce annual banquet Saturday. The citizen of the year award is presented each year to the person judged to have contributed most to the community. Nominations for the award are received from the community at large.

Born and raised in Duncan, Stroulger played on the town’s senior men’s team at the age of 15. Later he played semi-pro baseball for a Crown Zellerbach team in Courtenay. He went on to play in a professional league for the Oakland Acorns of California.

Mayor Bert Brown recalled how the management of the old Hillcrest Mill would shut down the operation so employees could watch Stroulger and his team play ball.

Brown said that while Stroulger had “given his best” while playing on championship softball and baseball teams, “his best has been his devotion to the sport itself and especially to the interest he had with the young players he has coached, instructed, managed, and traveled with.”

Brown commended Stroulger for the many hours he volunteered to care for the grounds at the Lake Cowichan baseball park. He said it was through Stroulger’s efforts that Lake Cowichan had managed to stage many provincial baseball championships.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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