Just to remind us that snow in March is not odd in Lake Cowichan, here’s a photo from the March 9, 2009 Lake Cowichan Gazette showing Suki Johel of Cowichan Motors with a car he towed in after a collision on Hwy. 18. According to the paper, Johel said the road was very slippery and vehicles were in the ditch everywhere. ‘I’m not going out again until the road is fully plowed and sanded,’ he said. About four inches of snow fell that morning.

This week, we’ve got the Trans Canada Trail, furious loggers, and a well-known councillor leaves office

On top of everything else, there’s a great picture from 2009 that proves snow in March not uncommon

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 area…

10 years ago:

“Trans Canada Trail work in town this summer: CVRD will widen CP Rail route, install signs” was a major story in the March 11, 2009 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

Let’s check it out.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s parks department will be working closely with Lake Cowichan this spring to enhance the Cowichan Valley Trail (Trans Canada Trail). The work, which is part of a $600K upgrade of 25.5 kilometres from Lake Cowichan to Duncan, includes brushing and widening to 10 feet, mostly along the north loop of the trail off of Greendale Road, putting up signs at key locations, including at Pine Street in Lake Cowichan, and deterring motorized use of the trail. Culverts in some areas of the trail will also be installed.

Ryan Dias, parks superintendent for the CVRD, told town council’s parks and recreation committee the work will likely be done from June to the end of September.

“Our intention is to make it more accessible to the public,” said Dias. “We’d like to work with the town to add some new signs at Pine Street. We want to put signs in places where they will be best utilized,” [he continued], while noting there’s been a problem with vandalism in some areas.

He acknowledged the town’s concerns about dirt bikes and ATVs on the trail and said it’s a problem along the entire route.

“We’ve tried to use volunteer monitoring. It’s about public education. Are there going to be vandalized signs? Yes. Is there going to be motorized use? Yes. But we have to keep going.”

The town will be using the second installment of federal-provincial tourism money, $25,725, for some trail upgrades of its own, including S-gates to help keep dirt bikes and ATVs off the trail.

25 years ago:

“Loggers will take their objections to C.O.R.E. report to Victoria” said the headline on the front page of The Lake News of March 9, 1994.

This report on the province’s forest industry, compiled by Stephen Owen, had been circulated some time before.

What was in it had stirred the anthill obviously as the story continues, “A crowd estimated at between 1,800 to 2,000 people, one of the largest gatherings in the history of Cowichan Lake, turned out Wednesday night [to the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena], nearly all of them to show their objections to the C.O.R.E. report.”

These objections will result in action March 21 when Bill Routley, president of IWA-180, called for loggers to descend on Victoria. He urged millworkers and loggers to close down mills and logging camps that day.

Around the arena were signs which clearly stated the communities’ objections: “12 not 21”. In other words, those attending the meeting from various parts of the Cowichan Valley are adamantly against the suggestion in the report that logging should be cut back to 13 per cent, with another eight per cent designated as regionally signficant.

In a side story, CVRD chair Joe Allan was quoted as being furious with the report’s suggestion that the Youbou mill was “marginal” saying, “I can assure Mr. Owen that the residents in this area do not consider the Youbou sawmill marginal in any way. The taxes to local services the mill pays are not marginal.”

He then pointed out that a mill closure would see the average homeowner in Youbou looking at a $200 a year increase in taxes to cover only recreation and the new fire department.

“That, Mr. Owen, is not marginal,” he said.

40 years ago:

On the front page of The Lake News of March 14, 1979, we learn that “Resignation forces village election”.

This was actually a big deal.

A village byelection will be held to fill the term vacated by Ald. Ken Irving, who has resigned after being transferred by his company. Irving, 42, who was born in Youbou and completed high school in Lake Cowichan, will be moving to Vancouver after being appointed safety and fire protection administrator by Rayonier of Canada.

Irving had been assistant personnel supervisor at Honeymoon Bay for Western Forest Industries, a subsidiary of the American-owned Rayonier. [He] started out as a warehouseman at WFI and had been supervisor for 10 years during which time he was being groomed for promotion…In his new positiion, Irving will be responsible for safety and fire protection at the company’s seven logging camps, two pulp mills, and four sawmills in B.C.

A village alderman from January 1970 to the time of his resignation in March 1979, Irving was actively involved in community affairs, especially in helping get Lake Cowichan Sports Arena and the incinerator constructed, he said here in an interview.

Irving said he also was proud of the community plan, in which he had a hand.

“It took a pile of work to get people to know what we were talking about,” he said.

Irving expressed optimism for the future of Lake Cowichan, acknowledging its intimate relationship with the forest industry, and saying that sustained yield production “will keep Lake Cowichan going”.

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