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
“Town employees cleared, again” was the header on page 2 of the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Dec. 29, 2010.
In it, then-editor Tyler Clarke wrote about how two town employees accused of a potential hate crime in Lake Cowichan were cleared, for a second time. Local man Bill Hanson had accused the two of spray-painting a homophobic slur on his fence, on March 2 of that year.
“The home-owner had videotaped the two men in front of his fence, spray-paint in tow, marking on the ground where the town’s water shutoffs were located. Hanson accused the two of spray-painting a homophobic slur on his fence while they were at it; an accusation now deemed by RCMP to be false.”
“The samples from the fence were compared by the National Centre for Forensic Services Lab to the remaining samples, as well as the contents of several spray paint cans used by the town employees for marking water meters,” the RCMP said. “Results of the tests completed have now been received, and indicate that the paint from the fence did not originate from the same source as the remaining samples.”
“The Island District General Investigation Section and the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment also investigated Hanson’s videotape footage. This same footage was also released by Hanson to the media, complete with accusations against the two town employees.”
“The evidence shows that they could not have done it at that time,” Lake Cowichan RCMP Cpl. Krista Hobday said. “We have every reason to believe that the two suspects were clear of any wrongdoing. This information exonerates them even further.”
25 years ago
The Lake Cowichan Volunteer Fire Department’s new Jaws of Life were used for the first time to rescue a trapped man on Highway 18 on Dec. 23, 1995 according to the Lake News of Dec. 27, 1995.
“Peter and Charlotte Sinclair were travelling eastbound in a 1980 Chevrolet Caprice Classic on Highway 19 when the vehicle lost control, went into the oncoming lane, spun around and landed in the ditch in the opposite direction in which it was travelling.
“According to Duncan police at the scene, Charlotte was the driver and did not suffer any serious injuries but her husband, Peter, a passenger, was trapped inside the vehicle.”
“We simply ripped the door off to free him, it took us about two minutes with the new Jaws of Life,” Cowichan Lake Fire Chief Dick Newman said.
“Peter Sinclair was transported to Cowichan District Hospital but is not believed to have suffered serious injuries.”
In other auto news of two and a half decades ago, the “Lake Service Garage closes.”
“Lake Cowichan’s historic Lake Service Garage has closed down — probably forever. Proprietor Don Fern told the Lake News that the province’s Environment Branch ordered a major environmental cleanup.”
“I can’t afford to do it,” he said simply.
“The Garage has served Cowichan Lake area for 70 years. In the distant past, there were few rules about contamination and it was inevitable that over 70 years some contamination would occur, he said.”
“It’s like bringing in lower speed laws and charging everyone with an offence who travelled faster before the laws came in,” he said.”
40 years ago
The Dec. 22, 1980 Lake News featured “Payment sought” as one of its top stories of the week.
“Pacific Logging will be asked by a group of Youbou homeowners to pay the bill for a clean water system at Coon Creek. The families on the water system complained this fall that logging activities by the company were ruining their water. At a meeting Dec. 9, the users of the water system decided that they would send an itemized bill to Pacific Logging in Victoria.
“Pioneer spokesman Jeff Abbott said Saturday, Dec. 20 that the clean out had taken eight men about three hours.”
“The wing dam was plumb full of gravel and there was three feet of silt in the holding tank,” he said. “The company has said that there should be no more problems this winter because they are not logging the area now.”
Also in the same edition, School District 66 was left looking for cash.
“Widely differing statements from two government officials have left the School district 66 board of trustees with the spectre of trying to find an extra $40,000-$50,000 in a tight budget year.
“The trustees decided at their meeting Dec. 16 to try and solve a problem of conflicting statements from education ministry officials by getting all the people concerned in a room at the same time and pinning them down. The problem is centered around financial aid from the provincial government to help pay for a locally hired school superintendent.”