Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson 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 area…
10 years ago
There was a “lively discussion during the town’s public meeting” this time a decade ago according to the June 8, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette.
From the marathon Page 3 story written by then-editor Tyler Clarke, there were multiple items on the agenda, but Clarke led off with discussions around the A.B. Greenwell school site.
“One of the key items of concern to the public is the future of Lake Cowichan’s proposed new elementary school, tentatively to be located at the old A.B. Greenwell school site,” Clarke wrote. “Consultant Sue Plester has prepared a report, to be presented to mayor and council in the near future, wherein she’s compiled the results of her consultation with the public as to what they’d like involved in the construction of a new school; additional money to add services in addition [to] just a school. Although the public at large has been in support of using the A.B. Greenwell site in Lake Cowichan, one member of the public brought up his opposition. ‘I don’t think that elementary kids should be housed in a dark swampy environment,’ he said. ‘I don’t think that a school built in a swamp is right for school children.’ The school building previously at that location developed mould issues.”
To this day, A.B. Greenwell still sits idle.
Camping at Centennial Park was also nixed at the meeting, leading to some criticism from at least one resident.
“In a split vote during a recent council meeting, the town’s elected officials decided against allowing camping at Centennial Park for special events. Local music event organizer David Lowther said that by shutting down camping at Centennial Park the town is shutting out potential visitors. He expressed interest in organizing a music festival, which would include camping. ‘The municipality could bring in a decent amount of income… It’s perfect for it,’ he said. ‘It strikes me as shortsighted… Sometimes you have to put up with a little upset from your community.’”
25 years ago
The Lake News of June 12, 1996 introduced a new Lady of the Lake on the paper’s front page.
“Shelby Sanders, Miss Curling Club, walked away with two crowns and three titles in the Lady of the Lake competition. Winning Lady of the Lake, Miss Congeniality and sharing the title of Miss Blossom with Erin Buskey, Sanders was a happy lady Saturday following the Lady of the Lake crowning,” wrote Susan Lowe. “Roxanne Bourassa, Miss Village Market, was named first princess and Erin Buskey, Miss Legion, was named second princess.
Also making the June, 12, 1996 front page, “School District #66 is abandoning the idea of merging with the Village of Lake Cowichan to save themselves from amalgamating with Duncan school district. When the Lake News asked chairman of the school board, Wilma Rowbottom if the board was giving up the fight on amalgamation she said they still support the British Columbia School Trustees Association in demanding an appeal process, but that this district will not be working with the Village on a merging of the two services.”
Trustee Gary Gunderson was not happy. “This school board should be ashamed of themselves,” he said when he learned of the decision. He added that this comes right after Jan Pullinger MLA has agreed that her government would support a merger between the Village of Lake Cowichan and the school district.
“Well they keep saying they are going to amalgamate us anyway,” Rowbottom said explaining why they are no longer interested in merging with the Village. “We also believe it is in everyone’s best interest that we join up with another education facility (rather than the Village of Lake Cowichan),” she said.
40 years ago
It was good news and bad news for the Lake News according to the June 10, 1981 edition.
First, the good news:
“The Lake News has been acclaimed the ‘third best’ newspaper in Canada, the second time in three years it has won that award and one of three national honours garnered this year. Judges in the national competition named the Lake News the third best ‘overall’ in the nation among member newspapers of the Canadian Community Newspaper Association. It also judged the Lake News editorial page the second best in its category — among tabloid-format papers with circulation of less than 3,000.”
Way to go former staffers!
Next up, the bad news:
“Regional district director Don Studds has filed a writ in Supreme Court of B.C. in Duncan claiming damages against the Lake News which published a sketch and an article criticizing him. Studds is seeking punitive damages in a claim which states that the sketch and article implied that he was ‘incompetent, infantile and threw tantrums…’
“Studds’ writ claims that the publication implied that he was ‘uncaring, and incapable of fulfilling his public responsibilities, that his actions were contemptuous, disgraceful and deserving of public vilification.’
“Publishers Gerry and Vera Soroka, in a statement of defence, denied that that was the intent of the sketch and article. They stated further that the critical sketch and article were fair comment. No date for trial has been set.”