There will be a positive economic spin-off for both Lake Cowichan and Port Alberni, Mayor Earle Darling told the Cavalcade participants assembled at the Port Alberni quay in The Lake News of June 9, 1993.

FLASHBACKS: Fish kill by chemical, Port Alberni to Lake Cowichan Cavalcade, and demonstration forest

Roof-moss cleaner suspected of killing fish, another try at highway link and a demonstration forest

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas has been combing through oldnewspaperswiththeassistance 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 weekaround Cowichan Lake in years gone by.

This week around the Cowichan Lake area…

10 years ago:

A fish kill was top of the news on the Lake Cowichan Gazette of June 4, 2008.

“A product used to remove moss from a roof in Lake Cowichan inadvertently got into Oliver Creek about 10 days ago and killed all the fish below a culvert,” said the story.

“No charges will be pressed, said Willi Jansen of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, because it is considered an honest mistake.

The compound used is a legal product that contains zinc sulphate. Jansen said zinc is toxic to fish, noting it basically suffocates the fish because they can’t get enough oxygen.

It killed some coho fry, small cutthroat and brown trout. The trout were about four inches long.

“You could see the dead fish right at the culvert, but nothing above it,” said Jansen. “It hap- pened quickly. What I want to do is treat it as an education opportunity. The people who did this are devastated and they’ ve been very cooperative.”

She said that with the vicinity of the runoff pipes to the creek, the users of the product may have been a little more aggressive on the roof than was necessary and with a little rain it drained off and into the creek.

Fish biologist Ted Burns, who toured the creek with Jansen, said that at first it was a mystery what caused the fish to die.

“It’s a shame because it was one of the few creeks that had a fairly good return of coho,” said Burns.

Jansen said there are two things she now wants to do. She wants to see if, through Environment Canada, the product used on this roof can be better labelled and whether there is another safer product that can be used.

“If this stuff is widely used then it should be more clearly labelled,” she said.

Jansen said a suggestion she heard is using a light detergent that will dilute easily in rain.

25 years ago:

Sixty one supporters of the highway link from Lake Cowichan to Port Alberni sat down for a pancake breakfast, prepared by the Kiwanis Club, as Cavalcaders assembled at the community hall for the sixth cavalcade, said The Lake News of June 9, 1993.

Sunday was a perfect day for driving the backroads as the damp weather kept dust to a minimum.

“It was the best Cavalcade we’ve had,” said Elaine Perry, who has been a loyal supporter for many years.

There may have been a number of reasons: it was not too hot and the Westcoast Highlanders Band entertained with a bagpipe selection, Lake Cowichan’s own Giggles the clown added her own brand of entertainment, which left the crowd on the quay laughing.

“The economic spin off from a highway for Lake Cowichan and Port Alberni will be very beneficial,” Mayor Earle Darling of Lake Cowichan told the crowd.

40 years ago:

If you drive Highway 18 now, you may see some old, faded signs for a Demonstration Forest. But in 1978, it was a big deal.

The Lake News of June 7, 1978 said the forest had been extended, with a big crowd onhand Friday, June 2, 1978 that included Forest Minisgter Tom Waterland, Cowichan Malahat MLA Barbara Wallace and a number of other dignitaries for the official opening of the western section of the Cowichan Valley Demonstration Forest.

“The first section of the demonstration forest, on a 20 km stretch of the Cowichan Lake highway between Lake Cowichan and Duncan, was opened last year. The western section of the demonstration forest extends around Cowichan Lake. The project, developed by a committee made up of members of various government agencies, area logging firms, and the Canadian Institute of Forestry, is designed to help the public better understand the concept of forest management.

“The project involves posting areas where various managment practices are being employed with numbered signs. An explanation of the specific managment methods is posted on a large sign board at the demonstration forest lookout on Hill 60 and in brochures. A new brochure, featuring a large map of Cowichan Lake has been printed in conjuction with the project.

“Cowichan Lake forest ranger, Rai Thomas, said the addition to the demonstration forest will give people an opportunity for a first hand look at the recreational and production aspects of the forest in addition to various thinning projects on second growth timber already in progress.

“He said the fact that visitors to the demonstration forest will be driving on slower, secondary roads will afford a ‘more intimate contact with the forest’ including its recreation spots, fish and wildlife, research project and the area’s mills.”

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