“Representing the school district, legion, and Kaatza Station Museum left to right are Georgie Clark of the museum, Wilma Rowbottom of School District #66 and Ernie Spencer, representing the Legion. The museum and Legion, along with the Village will each take a piece of the old wood shop.” (The Lake News)

“Representing the school district, legion, and Kaatza Station Museum left to right are Georgie Clark of the museum, Wilma Rowbottom of School District #66 and Ernie Spencer, representing the Legion. The museum and Legion, along with the Village will each take a piece of the old wood shop.” (The Lake News)

Lake Flashback: Soapboxes, woodshop split, taxes down

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan?

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

Well here’s a wholesome story I dug up in the April 13, 2011 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette. Is there anything more wholesome than soapbox racers?

“With snowy images of the not-so-distant past still fresh in Cowichan Lake area residents’ minds, a youth group was on-hand last weekend to remind people of the excitement associated with racing down Stone Avenue in hand-built soap box racers,” wrote then-editor Tyler Clarke. “Introduced during last year’s Lake Days event, soap box racing has quickly become a popular annual event, with key organizer Joseph Bott reporting 20 additional soap box kits sold so far, this year. ‘We’re anticipating it’s going to be big,’ he said. ‘We have people returning, and new people participating.’”

In other news in the same edition, “Campaigns begin at Cowichan Lake” with area politicians taking to the mics with their platforms.

“Cowichan Lake was a hotbed for federal politics, Thursday, April 7, with the area’s leading politicians — NDP Jean Crowder and Conservative John Koury — making their attempts to push the local undecided voters toward their side.”

Koury said that there are no ifs, ands or buts about it; the election in Cowichan-Nanaimo riding is between the NDP and the Conservatives.

25 years ago

The big news of the day back on April 10, 1996, according to the Lake News was that School District #66 was splitting its old wood shop into three.

“The LCSS wood shop, which was once the historical Mesachie Lake School, is to be divided up between the Village of Lake Cowichan, the Kaatza Historical Society and Royal Canadian Legion Branch #210.

The three sections would have very different uses, according to the front page article.

“The Legion…plans to use the lumber to build a wheelchair ramp making the Legion building handicap accessible.

“The Village’s section will be moved to the Public Works Yard where it will be used as a staff lunch room facility.

“The Kaatza Historical Society will be using their section for display purposes as well as a workshop.”

The pending amalgamation of the school district with other districts hastened the shop’s dismantling.

“The removal or dismantling of the wood shop became imperative when the school board approved building a new wood shop.”

Also way back 25 years ago, there were nine candidates in the running for the 1996 Lady of the Lake crown. Nicole Clarkson, Shelby Sanders, Celina White, Marylee Castley, Deanna Chance… and I’d love to tell you the rest but that story turned to the next page and I only have the first page! If you know who ran for 1996 Lady of the Lake let us know!

40 years ago

Not sure if there’s ever been a better headline than “Big debt payoff provides savings to area taxpayers”.

It’s not a headline you’d see nowadays, that much is true.

But, on the top of the April 8, 1981 Lake News the tax news shone like a bright light.

“Taxpayers will pay less to operate the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena in 1989 than they did in 1980,” said the story. “This situation, rare in these inflation-ridden days, is the result of a huge reduction in the debt the arena owes. Because the arena has paid off one mortgage, the amount that has to be paid out annually on loans has dropped from $85,985 to $23,870. This drop of $62,115 has allowed the arena commission to bring in a smaller budget than last year in spite of the wage settlement won by the arena’s union employees that adds $32,786 in salaries and $8,880 in salary benefits to the expenditures.”

Meanwhile, Lexi Bainas reported that “Lake Cowichan’s long suffering motorists, who have had to duck flying stones as they watched the condition of Highway 18 go from bad to worse were given new hope this week with the announcement that the highway will be repaved with a scheduled May start.”

That, no doubt, would have been just as welcome news those days as the tax savings!


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