Editorial: Our top 5 stories from the Lake in 2018

A few stories really stood out.

As we wrap up the 2018 year in review (can you believe it’s 2019 already?), it gives us a chance to reflect on what happened last year up at the Lake.

A few stories really stood out.

First, right as January dawned, Darreld Rayner’s family finally had some answers about his disappearance 10 years ago, after his remains were found in a remote area. Darreld’s son Brent Rayner spoke to the Gazette about his father, and it is one of the most memorable stories of the year. We thank Brent for giving us a window into the life of his father and his family.

Our second memorable story from 2018 remains ongoing, as in a shocking turn, the Mesachie Lake Fire Department was briefly shut down after both its chief and deputy chief were dismissed from their positions suddenly by the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The future of the small department remains up in the air as 2019 begins, with options on the table that could see the department close, merge with another department, or continue on. We’ll be keeping an eye on this story as the year goes on.

Third in our list goes to the Town of Lake Cowichan opening its long-awaited ballfields at Centennial Park. Though there was some controversy over the names of the fields, the facility got a thumbs up from everyone as it finally came into use after decades of waiting.

Fourth is the outcome of the municipal elections in October. While the CVRD seats presented no surprises, with Ian Morrison being acclaimed in Area F, and Klaus Kuhn winning another term in Area I, the Town of Lake Cowichan got a shakeup when Rod Peters beat out incumbent mayor Ross Forrest and incumbent councillor Bob Day for the mayor’s chair. While council remained virtually unchanged, the change at the top is already being felt.

Our fifth and final notable isn’t really a single story, but a series of events in 2018. Laketown Ranch located just outside Lake Cowichan and Youbou marked continued growth, and as a result, the Cowichan Lake area has really become a hotbed of increasingly big entertainment events.

Laketown Ranch hosted the opening ceremonies for the BC Summer Games. There was the usual gigantic Sunfest, and Laketown Rock, on a new date, is a growing festival. Laketown Shakedowns took shape.

Cowichan Lake was already a destination for many looking for summer fun on the lake and river, but this venue is really putting Cowichan Lake on the map as a premiere cultural destination as well.

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