Members of the local slo-pitch team the 1/2 Cutz celebrate their third of four consecutive wins, during the qualifying rounds to the annual Appollos Tournament. The team went on to place third, overall. (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette/Sept. 8, 2010)

Flashback: A couple of rescues and a lack of power

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake

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

The Caycuse Volunteer Fire Department got praised and hopefully some help in the coffers following a successful rescue of a part-time resident this time a decade ago.

“Richard Irwin would prefer to not think about what would have happened, if not for the quick action of the Caycuse Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD). ‘They are fantastic,’ Irwin said. Irwin credits the volunteers with having saved his wife, Linda Silverthorn’s, life, July 28. The incident happened, Irwin recalls, when his wife slipped down a rock embarkment on their property – an island about a mile from Caycuse. ‘I was able to bring her some blankets down, and managed to get cell reception,’ he said. ‘The sirens went off a few minutes after the phone call.’ Within 15 minutes, four members of the CVFD arrived on site, along with four others from the community.

“After between a half hour and an hour of stabilizing her and getting her onto a board, the CVFD managed to get Silverthorn onto a boat. ‘By the time they got her to shore, the ambulance was there, waiting for her,’ Irwin said, adding that she was then quickly taken to the hospital. Suffering a concussion, a broken nose, and a battered body, Silverthorn is well on the road to recovery, Irwin said, thanks to quick action by the CVFD.”

Irwin said he was frustrated with the lack of funding for the department and hoped to see it able to struggle a little less financially.

Page two of the same edition, which was the Sept. 8, 2010 Lake Cowichan Gazette featured a plethora of RCMP briefs. From “‘Crazy’ drivers clocked going 153 km/h” to “Stolen boat taken on joyride” to “Stop ’N Shop robbed”, it wasn’t a good look for Lake Cowichan 10 years ago this time.

25 years ago

The plan for a ball diamond and theatre garnered a mostly favourable response according to the front page of the Sept. 13, 1995 Lake News. If you remember from previous Flashbacks, the Village was going to hold an open house to show the public about the new Portelance plan.

“Apparently, though, there was only limited interest shown by the public,” according to the front page story.

“Some were residents near the proposed development who wanted to know how their properties might be affected. The plan would make Village lands between the Museum and Centennial Hall available for special projects. Coun. Leon Portelance, whose public works committee conceived the plan, was backed by mayor Earle Darling and Coun. Jack Peake.

“The plan envisions a new ball diamond, tennis courts, a theatre and a habitat park by the lake shore, with walking trails.”

On the same front page was a story about residents past the Youbou mill still not having power.

“Archie Benson’s house on the logging road past the Youbou mill still has no electricity. The owners of about 100 other houses on the same road are still waiting for B.C. Hydro to serve them. So far as they are aware there are no plans to do so.

“Meantime, not only are the houses without power in a so-called modern country, point out residents, but they can’t install burglar alarms either. A large number get broken into.”

Lois Gage, CVRD director for Area I at the time, pointed out “that there are hydro poles installed and ready to be wired to serve the subdivision but ‘Hydro won’t even answer out questions. The people are tired of being treated like second class citizens. I’m going to keep after them. I’m not going to let the matter rest.’”

40 years ago

The Lake News of Sept. 10, 1980 had some interesting stories on the front page. “Windshield smashed by flag man” was one.

“RCMP are investigating an incident between a highways ministry flagman and a local motorist in which a windshield was smashed last week. Sergeant Don Douglass said that charges are being considered. A complaint was made to police by Glen Davis, who accused the flagman of smashing the windshield of his dune buggy when, he said, the brakes failed and the small vehicle was unable to stop when signalled to do so.

“In another incident last Tuesday, Andrew Ferris complained to police that a flagman swung his sign at Ferris’ sports car, forcing him to serve towards the ditch to avoid the blow. Douglas said that no charges would be laid in that complaint. The sergeant said that the flagman told police that he only waved the sign when the car ‘didn’t slow down sufficiently’.”

A happy ending for a hunter also made the front page.

“A deer hunter who was trapped by darkness was forced to spend a night in the bush in the Gordon River area Saturday.

“Wayne Zaccarelli, 28, of Victoria had been hunting in the bush with his father on Truck Road Two Saturday night, Sept. 6. He lost his direction as fog descended, and he decided to stay where he was rather than try to come out. Darkness fell soon after.”

Search and Rescue went looking the following morning.

“After they had searched for about an hour, Zaccarelli walked out of the bush towards them.”

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