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…
Parents in Youbou are “furious” with the school board following an announcement this week that one of the teachers at Yount School is to be transferred to Palsson Elementary School’s portable.
The parents believe this is a precursor to closing the Youbou school altogether, since the loss of this faculty member would essentially make Yount a one-room school with students from kindergarten to Grade 5.
“All we’re asking for is a one-month reprieve so we can discuss this,” said Shawn Carlow, one of the parents impacted by this decision. Carlow and other parents were meeting with Candace Spilsbury, director of elementary education at the school board.
Spilsbury said senior staff, not the board, make decisions about where teachers will be located based on enrolment. Yount School’s enrolment, as of Sept. 5, was reported at 22 — well below previously projected numbers.
The teacher who is slated to be moved is Chris Rolls, who was the only teacher trained to deal with special needs students. Staff at Palsson have told parents of Yount attendees that for a limited time, space will be held at Palsson for students who want to be in Rolls’s class.
“It’s just one more way that students are being encouraged to go to another school,” said Carlow.
This week a Russian helicopter and crew are at the lake, assisting VIH Logging with its usual helicopter logging activity.
The helicopter is a Russian Ka-32, the only one in use in North America.
“It far out-performs currently available equipment in Western Canada and the Pacific area,” Bill Ross, project manager for VIH and a trained logging pilot, told the Lake News.
While the aircraft itself is based at Gordon River, the Russian and Canadian operational crew are staying at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre. The helicopter is being leased by its Russian owners and support team, which brought it to the Abbotsford Air Show the month prior.
One of the unique features of the Ka-31 — which was developed by the Russian Ministry of Aviation Industry — is its coaxial rotor; the helicopter is propelled by just two blades. It can lift up to five tonnes by cable.
The aircraft is seen as the possible forerunner of a new era in helicopter logging.
The Teleglobe Canada satellite dish located outside Lake Cowichan got an upgrade this week, enabling telephone subscribers from major Canadian urban centres like Vancouver to make direct calls to Pacific Rim countries.
A B.C. Tel spokesman predicted phone traffic to Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines will increase by as much as 80 per cent with the introduction of direct-dialing.
Currently the Lake Cowichan station — with its giant aluminum dish that is 100 feet in diameter — receives signals from countries in the Pacific Rim via another satellite in the south which picks up the weak signals and bounces them on to Lake Cowichan where B.C. Tel’s microwave transmitter distributes the signals to Canadian telephones.
Doug Titus, manager of the four-year-old station, said Lake Cowichan was chosen as the receiver location “because it lies in a natural basin and is protected from the microwave transmissions and radio interference from the east.”
Ironically, the improved telephone service will not be available to Lake Cowichan residents or any other rural areas in Canada.
According to the Lake News, B.C. Tel projections for Vancouver Island estimate it could be 20 years before service here is upgraded to the same level as the rest of the country.