It’s been a year of change for the communities around Cowichan Lake. (Gazette file)

It’s been a year of change for the communities around Cowichan Lake. (Gazette file)

Editorial: Events back, real estate up, election in 2022 in Lake Cowichan

2022 was a year of change

It’s been a year of change for the communities around Cowichan Lake.

As the pandemic receded into the background as 2022 wore on, it was time for many to break out of their isolation of the last two years. Many events, such as the huge concerts at Laketown Ranch, were back, with Sunfest, Laketown Rock and more hitting the stage again to huge crowds and big accolades.

Community events were back too, with the Youbou Regatta diving into Cowichan Lake, and Lady of the Lake resuming a more familiar shape for this year.

But even with the latter there is change on the horizon. Organizers announced that next year, everyone will be invited to enter the competition, which is rebranding as an ambassador program for all genders.

Also changing like a roller coaster this year was the real estate market and property assessments. In communities like Youbou, Honeymoon Bay and Mesachie Lake, residents saw their property values skyrocket more than 50 per cent as real estate continued to boom. The boom was over by the end of the summer, however, and prices have been edging downwards again from highs that were almost too high to be believed.

The year saw a number of new shops open in the Lake Cowichan area as well, with the likes of Jack’s General Store, Sarpino’s Pizzeria in the first half of the year, and Sugerwell women’s clothing in December. Uptown Lodge also had new owners and renovations were underway.

In political news it was the year for a municipal election.

The vote saw a changing of the guard with Tim McGonigle winning the mayor’s chair over incumbent Bob Day. McGonigle had previously been sitting as a councillor. Town council saw little change with incumbents Carolyne Austin, Kristine Sandhu and Lorna Vomacka re-elected. The newcomer at the table is well-known Tube Shack owner Aaron Frisby.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls) saw Ian Morrison re-elected to the position of director by acclamation. Alison Nicholson was re-elected to be director of Area E (Sahtlam/Glenora/Cowichan Station). But Youbou saw change with Karen Deck defeating incumbent Klaus Kuhn for the Area I directorship in one of the most hotly contested races in the Cowichan Valley.

What will the year ahead bring?

As we’ve just seen with the huge pre-Christmas snowfall that walloped the Valley, life is unpredictable. But we do know that the Cowichan Lake community will face the hardships and celebrate the victories together.