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Lake Flashback: Smart students, Scouts take over Camp Andy, strike vote

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area

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

Unlike last week’s story saying half of the Lake’s kids are entering school unprepared, this week we have a good news story from a decade ago about Lake Cowichan students.

“Lake Cowichan School achieves 100% pass rate in provincial exams” was the headline.

“Lake Cowichan School recently achieved a 100 per cent exam pass rate in its provincial examinations. The stat is a first time thing for the school and proud principal Nicole Boucher deemed it a particularly exciting feat.

“’All students who wrote the provincial exams passed,’ said Boucher. ‘Our students wrote provincial exams for Science 10, English 10, Social Studies 11 and English 12, and that was the first semester students. I don’t recall that happening before so it’s very exciting for the students, the teachers and for me.’

“Boucher predicted a total of ‘70 to 80’ students had passed the provincial exams held in Lake Cowichan.

“The news comes after a recent presentation from Island Health stalwart Dr. Paul Hasselback who determined that children just entering school in the town ‘aren’t as well prepared to start’ as they have been in the past.”

In less happy news, “Wilderness search continues for missing Lake Cowichan man” was a second front-page headline.

“Search and Rescue efforts are still ongoing for a Lake Cowichan man missing since Thursday, confirmed a family friend. Saldana Bauman Skramstad confirmed search crews were scouring the woods near Lake Cowichan in an attempt to locate Rodney MacKinnon, a 35-year-old area resident. Search efforts have been concentrated in an area where family found MacKinnon’s pickup truck Sunday, after becoming concerned for his whereabouts.

“Bauman Skramstad, the wife of the missing man’s cousin Tim Skramstad, said MacKinnon was an experienced outdoorsman and often likes to camp. The situation does concern them as he’s never left for more than a couple days, and his jacket and shoes were also left in the truck.”

25 years ago

The front page of the May 12, 1999 Lake News was all about the Scouts. Well, mostly about the scouts.

The first story was “Scouts hit Camp Andy for annual Scout Camporee” and the second was all about the logger sports at said “Camporee”.

“Camp Andy will be a busy spot this weekend, with close to 120 scouts and 40 leaders who will spend the weekend there, holding the Cowichan Valley Scout Camporee. The camporee is a competition camp where scout youth, aged 11-years-old to 15-years-old, from different troops display their skills and spirit. Attendance is open to any troop in the Islands region (from Malahat to Port Hardy).

“This year’s camporee has attracted one of the largest assembly of scouts in recent memory. The 120 scouts and 40 leaders will be coming from as far as Courtenay and Shawnigan Lake. This year’s theme is Logger Sports and will feature many fun and challenging activities. Among activities scouts will enjoy are: Whip saw challenge, jousting, pole climbing, hatchet throw, archery, log burling, canoeing.”

Scouts aside, another headline stated that “Community Policing needs a home”.

“Lake Cowichan RCMP Detachment are asking for someone to donate the use of accommodations for Community Crime Prevention. The RCMP in Lake Cowichan have been so successful at recruiting volunteers for Community Policing Programs that they are not able to house the programs. Further programs will not be instituted until a location can be acquired. At present there are approximately 50 volunteers involved in these programs. Each program requires planning, records, storage for equipment, and a base for operations.”

40 years ago

There was more strike news for the Lake Cowichan community this time four decades ago as “Village workers vote 4-1 to strike amid deadlock” as per the May 9, 1984 Lake News.

“Lake Cowichan village outside workers, armed with a strike vote, will now approach village council to ask for further talks on their contract. The next step for the workers is to set up another meeting with the village negotiating committee — made up of Mayor Ted Forrest and Ald. Earle Darling, McEwan said. The workers have asked for increases similar to those granted in the forest industry IWA contract, but Village negotiators have countered by saying that they have no money available in the budget.”

And finally, “It’s a green light for Meade Creek industrial park” was another front page story.

“The Meade Creek industrial park project is now free to go ahead as long-awaited government approval of the idea came through last Thursday. Gerry Giles, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District board of directors, announced Friday morning that the regional district had received approval on its application to operate the park. The CVRD had asked for supplementary letters patent that would allow an industrial park function for Area “I,” Area “F” and the Village of Lake Cowichan.

“Order in council #8.34, which included the application from the CVRD, was passed by the provincial cabinet Thursday, according to Earle Darling, who, as a village alderman and regional director, has been working on the project recently. Darling said that the application originally had been turned down but was resurrected after Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Ritchie took a second look at it.”