The Lake Cowichan Gazette’s top headlines of 2011

Fluoride gone. Since 1958, the Town of Lake Cowichan has received fluoride in their drinking water.

  • Dec. 28, 2011 7:00 a.m.
Lake Cowichan's Mayor Ross Forrest

Lake Cowichan's Mayor Ross Forrest

Fluoride gone

Since 1958, the Town of Lake Cowichan has received fluoride in their drinking water.

However, a town referendum on Nov. 19 shattered the status quo, with Lake Cowichan putting down their foot on the fluoridation process. The issue remained a hot-button topic well after the referendum.

Largely due to health and economic concerns, an overwhelming majority of 335 voted to rid the local water systems of fluoride, while 147 voted to keep it in local water. Lake Cowichan was the final Vancouver Island community to have fluoride added to their water.

On Dec. 31 the process of fluoridation of drinking water will cease in Lake Cowichan.


Weaver defeats Kuhn by four votes

It was a thrilling finish to say the least in the November Cowichan Valley Regional District Area I Director election.

Lake Cowichan politician Pat Weaver managed to upset incumbent Klaus Kuhn by a mere four votes.

The final tally was 147 votes in favor of Weaver and 143 in favor of Kuhn. The race for Area I was so close that a recount was required.

Weaver was sworn into her new position in early December.


RCMP assault

Lake Cowichan RCMP constable Kevan Cranmer was charged with assault in June after an incident that occurred during stop-check in December, 2010.

Reportedly attempting to remove a female driver he had in custody from the back of his police cruiser after she had lit a cigarette, Cranmer used excessive force according to another Lake Cowichan RCMP officer that was on duty with Cranmer at the time. The driver did not lodge a complaint but the other RCMP officer’s testimony against Cranmer landed him a conditional discharge and an abundance of unwanted attention. Cranmer continues to serve with the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment.


Local Youbou

elk poached

Pretty Boy or less fondly known as Stinky, the Youbou elk was found poached last winter near the Youbou Fire Department Hall. The elk was somewhat of a mascot of the area and the community was devastated when Pretty Boy was found dead. The local elk was one of many elk found poached in the area throughout 2010 and 2011.


Local Child Care Centre closes its doors

After operating for the past 37 years in Lake Cowichan, the Kaatza Child Care and Early Learning Centre closed its doors for the final time on Oct. 14.

The facility held a going away celebration on Oct. 15.

“Thank you for loving and teaching our children and keeping them safe over the last 37 years. It was sad day for our community,” said Town Councillor Jayne Ingram on the closure of the Kaatza Child Care and Early Learning Centre.


Foodbank now a charity

It was announced in early December that the Lake Cowichan Food Bank has made the official transition to a charitable organization.

The Food Bank is hoping they will receive more donations now that they can provide donators with tax receipts for their contributions.


Blake Sprague

named Citizen of the Year

Blake Sprague was named Lake Cowichan’s Citizen of the Year last February after saving a man’s life months earlier.

Sprague was the first to respond to the scene after Chris LeBoulch nearly fatally shot himself through the heart with a nail gun.

LeBoulch reportedly had to undergo heart surgery to repair the damage he sustained in the freak accident.

Lake Cowichan Chamber of Commerce treasurer, Terry Hale said that, “Blake has been described as a hero.”


Local man drowns in  the Cowichan River weir

The body of 26-year-old Cowichan Lake man, Tyler Neal was pulled from the Cowichan River near the Catalyst weir, Wednesday, June 15.

The popular Cowichan Motors mechanic was well-liked in the community for his positive and friendly demeanor.

“Tyler was a fabulous guy. He worked for me for five years — he was a good kid,” Suki Johel, his boss at Cowichan Motors, said.


LCSS gets their recycle on

Lake Cowichan Secondary School has been one of the greener places around town in 2011.

Impressed with the work of a group of local Grades 6 to 8 students, the town’s elected officials awarded them with a certificate of appreciation last February.

“I want to say how proud the town is of your efforts,” said Mayor Ross Forrest. “We spent  time at yesterday’s council meeting talking about composting, and we’re learning a lot from you guys.”

LCSS’ students also partook in the Raving Mad for the Environment and  Students Taking Action by Recycling, Reducing, Reusing, and Refusing, and Composting programs. This began this past September of and has already proven itself a success. In the fall, 190 kilograms of waste, of which 97 kg was composted, 21 kg was recycled, and only 72 kg went to the landfill.