Lake Flashback: Weir, Lake Olympian Clarke, footbridge trouble

Some subjects keep coming back year after year and in January 2007, it was the Lake Cowichan weir.

Tanya Clarke

Tanya Clarke

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…




Some subjects keep coming back year after year and in January 2007, it was the Lake Cowichan weir.

The Jan. 31 edition of the Gazette featured a story with the headline, “Raising weir hits nerve with many”.

A proposal to raise the weir level by 30 centimetres (one foot) was the crux of the matter.

Lifelong Lake Cowichan resident Pat Weaver said, “I used to be able to look out on the lake and see fish. Now I can’t. That weir went in in 1957. Our house was first flooded in 1961. That says enough,” she said.

Roger Wiles, a Marble Bay resident, said, “forest practices and land clearing for development is seriously compromising the natural cycle of water release to recharge the lower basin.”

Lorne Scheffer was concerned about how things were being pushed along.

“This has been too slick for me,” he said.



New sports were finding their way into the Winter Olympics in 1992 and Tanya Clarke of Youbou was riding that wave all the way to Albertville, France.

A world-cup competitor in freestyle skiing, she was preparing to be at the Olympics on Feb. 9 but The Lake News caught up with her for its Jan. 29 edition.

“I didn’t really realize how stressed out I was until I found out I had made the Olympics,” she said in an interview from Colorado.

She shared that she had been working hard to hold on to her national team position.

“Actually in the competition which decided who went to the Olympics, one girl I was competing against came in only one point behind me,” Clarke said.

What made her task more difficult was that she competed that season with a broken thumb.

“With freestyle skiing, I’m changing my grip on the poles all the time so it offered me a real challenge,” she said.



On Feb. 1, 1977, the front page of The Lake News announced that Ted Forrest had been chosen Citizen of the Year.

Then it got straight to the bad news, saying an engineering report prepared for the Highways Ministry about the Cowichan River footbridge urged that “some precautionary measures be taken by the village…The main problem seems to stem from the fact the old pile bents were used to reconstruct the bridge after it collapsed instead of driving new ones.”

Of course, it must be remembered that this old footbridge ran alongside an active rail line from Youbou to Cowichan Bay at that time.

The engineering report recommended that the bridge “remain open to traffic but should be closed in time of flood ‘as this is the time the pile bents will fail, if any.’”

Compiled by Lexi Bainas, Gazette