Canadian Armed Forces soldiers prepare to carry out an exercise at Sylvan Acres just outside Lake Cowichan in 2006.

Lake Flashback: Soldiers train, money for museum, cougar fear

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter James Goldie has been combing through old newspapers with the assistance

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter James Goldie 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…

 

10 years:

 

“Click-click! That is the intimidating sound of the C-7 assault rifles being loaded amidst shouts of put your hands in the air and get on your knees,” wrote Mathew Carlow in the Gazette. “What a great way to greet a new reporter on his first assignment.”

Carlow was referring to a military training operation held at the lake this week, which was part of pre-deployment training for soldiers before they go overseas to Afghanistan.

Over the weekend the 11 Service Battalion, 12 Service Battalion and 741 Communications Squadron took part in an exercise called Silhuwa Fury just outside Lake Cowichan on Sylvan Acres.

The purpose of the activities was to teach soldiers about convoy operations, moving personnel and supplies to/from the front lines.

Local women volunteered their time to play the part of war protesters stopping the convoys from moving and testing the reactions of the convoy security teams.

“It was all the things that you would expect to see in an action movie,” said Carlow.

 

25 years:

 

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has approved substantial grants for the Kaatza Historical Society and for the Station Museum.

The funding is to be made annually, and with a contribution from the town, it could total more than $100,000.

There were four members of the public who objected to tax money being used to the support the museum. If more than five per cent of voters had objected to the proposal, it would have caused a referendum to be called.

Area F director Joe Allan said that response to the board’s decision came as a surprise to him.

“I had been told there would be a lot of people objecting,” he said.

The CVRD approved up to $18,500 a year, or $92,500 over five years, for the society.

The Town of Lake Cowichan typically provides a grant of $6,000 each year.

“The Museum has struggled for years to obtain adequate financing to ensure itself a full-time curator,” reported the Lake News.

 

40 years:

 

Residents of the North Shore Road area close to Lake Cowichan are on edge following a series of cougar sightings in the neighbourhood that are bringing back memories of the Gold River youngster who was killed earlier this summer.

Claude Jutras first spotted the animal in the morning before heading to work and described it as a full grown cougar.

“It was a beautiful looking animal,” he told the Lake News.

Jutras reported the sighting to the wildlife office in Duncan and a “predator control officer” was dispatched from Nanaimo with a dog to look into the matter.

More sightings followed, and June Olson said a family friend spotted the cougar on her property and she doesn’t feel the officer is taking the matter seriously.

“I’m scared for the kids who go up the hill to school in the morning if it’s still around. Everyone thinks that if it’s hanging around here, there’s got to be something wrong with it,” she said.

Compiled by James Goldie, Gazette

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