Ken Spencer checks the rising water around his house this week in 2006. He lives at the corner of Pine Avenue and Cowichan Avenue

Storms strike, Ditidaht have plans, fire loss down

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

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 ago


Caycuse and Nitinat have been hardest by the storms that pounded the Cowichan Lake area this past week.

Caycuse, which has 10 full-time residents, was without power for six days. It was only restored Sunday night, and phone service is still unavailable. To make matters worse, the road to Caycuse has been barely passable since the last big storm in November.

However, this did not stop the community from holding its annual Christmas party on Saturday.

“People asked whether it was still on,” said Caycuse fire chief, Bruce Wilson. “Of course it was on. This is Caycuse, we can always put it on. We just had generators going and it was fine.”

Nitinat lost power two days ago. It was the second time this month the 320 residents were without power.

“People are pretty used to this sort of thing out here,” Ditidaht Police Service Const. Shane Rappel said.


25 years ago


Negotiations are in progress between the Ditidaht First Nation to acquire more than $9 million in land claim settlements. If made, this settlement would cover claims arising from areas which include the Carmanah.

Separate from this potential settlement, the band is planning a $1.5 million building development. Band administrator Brian Cofski said it is a project that has been in the works for some time.

“We are just waiting for one final piece of financial information,” he said.

Other building plans for next year include a convenience store, gas station and coffee shop with outdoor patio. Cofski said they hope to build a motel with eight rooms overlooking Nitinat Lake.


40 years ago


Fire loss in the Lake Cowichan Fire Protection Area dropped considerably this year, from $141,000 in 1975 to $42,000 in 1976.

Fire chief Tom Gordon told the annual fireman’s banquet and ball that the dramatic reduction in fire loss will make the insurance underwriters “smile, smile, smile.”

This year the Lake Cowichan Volunteer Fire Department responded to 28 calls compared to 44 the year before — a reduction of about 36 per cent.

Gordon highlighted some of the other work done by the department this year, including the implementation of a more intensive training and upgrading program. The result: more of his volunteers passed the qualifying exams to become fire-class firemen. He also noted a 78 per cent boost in attendance at fires and practice sessions.

“This is very good considering men are away at work on different shifts during the 24 hour period,” he said.

Compiled by James Goldie, Gazette

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