Lions Club stalwart Eileen Pilkington’s decorated home was a real showplace in 2008. Located opposite the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena and Centennial Hall, it was seen by many visitors to the area as well as locals.

Lake Flashback:Seniors housing, coho salmon, and arena promotions: what they have in common is ‘Lake Cowichan’

Early Decembers have been up and down over the years in the Cowichan Lake area

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas has been combing through oldnewspaperswiththeassistance 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 weekaround Cowichan Lake in years gone by.

This week around the Cowichan Lake area…

10 years ago:

The Lake Cowichan Gazette of Dec. 10, 2008 told readers that “A Cowichan Valley Regional District reorganization of divisions has Cowichan Lake’s Recreation manager moving to Duncan. John Elzinga will become the manager of the Island Savings Centre in Duncan, effective Feb. 1.”

The paper said that Elzinga’s hard work at Lake Cowichan had earned him the new position.

He will be replaced by Linda Backlund, currently the assistant recreation manager at the Lake.

“There will be a transition period,” said Elzinga, who has been the recreation manager at Cowichan Lake for 10 years. “It was a hard decision, to be honest with you. We won’t be moving from Lake Cowichan.” He said he will take his new job one day at a time.

For Backlund, it’s a big step up and one she’s ready to take.

“It’s going to be an awesome challenge,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m honoured and tickled pink to be chosen for this job and I’ll do my best.”

“Backlund was the manager of Youbou Recreation starting in September of 1997 before becoming the assistant manager of Cowichan Lake Recreation after amalgamation a few years ago. A replacement has not been chosen yet, but she said her excellent staff will be around to continue providing programs in Youbou.

25 years ago:

“Will the coho salmon return to Lake Cowichan?” asked The Lake News of Dec. 8, 1993.

Salmonid Enhancement Society members are beginning to count coho salmon returning to the Cowichan River. Up to Monday, only 41 had been noted at Joginder’s Creek and others at the mouth of Beaver Creek, but Art Watson, president, says the run is just beginning and it is too early to say what the totals will be.

Ted Burns, biologist, is walking the shores counting the coho, Watson said. Last year, the coho run was so small it was alarming and fears were expressed about the future of the coho.

“We have our hopes for 1995,” said Watson. “We put 137,000 coho, either eyed eggs or small fish, into the system. They seemed to do very well, so we are hoping they will return in 1995.”

The coho eggs were obtained from fish in Inner Joginder’s Creek, which the Society began stocking years ago, he said.

The Society, in its new hatchery on Oak Lane, is now planning expanded activities, he said.

“Up until this point, as far as the hatchery is concerned, only coho eggs have been under incubation.”

This fall, it was decided that chum salmon eggs would also be incubated at the hatchery.

“Thanks to the generosity of Bob Brouwer and the people at the Nitinat Hatchery, we now have the capacity to nurture approximately one million eggs at a time, provided that the necessary brood is available.”

40 years ago:

In the Dec. 6, 1978 version of The Lake News, we learn that “Senior Housing Hits Snag”.

The story continues: “A change in federal regulations concerning the financing of senior citizens housing projects has delayed efforts to build a complex in Lake Cowichan.”

George Webster, president of the Kiwanis Club of Lake Cowichan, said plans to build a 14-unit, $400,000 senior complex in the village were put in limbo recently when the federal government announced it is turning over the financing and handling of such projects to the provinces Jan. 1.

Webster said the federal government set guidelines for public housing applications in the past and financing for such projects were handled through Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. The provinces previously took a secondary role in processing applications for senior housing complexes.

Now, Webster said, the provinces will handle the applications. The problem is that new regulations have not been set and the Kiwanis Club does not know what steps will have to be taken to get the project off the ground or how much of the complex will be paid for by the senior governments. Regulations for such applications were the same for 30 years, Webster said. They were cut and dried.

“If you followed the path you could get things done. It couldn’t have been worse timing. If we had been six months earlier we might have squeezed in (under the old regulations),” he said.

In order for the project to go ahead, the local service club must be assured it will get 100 per cent financing for the complex from Ottawa and Victoria. In the past, the province gave a one-third grant for senior housing developments and the federal government loaned money at low interest over 40 yers.

Now that there has been a complete and fundamental change and the support from the senior government is not known.

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