Skip to content

Flashback: A new doctor, a hearty boost for seniors housing and an ‘explosive’ community sign

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area
”Nikki Gibson (left), Sydney Allan (centre) and Darien Robertson take their turn on the runway at the LCSS Grad Fashion Show on Friday, March 15. The three grad students organized the fundraiser event.” (Lake Cowichan Gazette/March 20, 2013)

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

“Cowichan Lake has [a] new doctor” declared the Lake Cowichan Gazette of March 20, 2013.

“The CCLC announced that on Wednesday, March 13, a doctor had been found who will relocate his practice to Lake Cowichan. Dr. Chris Kibonge has accepted a position at the Brookside Medical Clinic effective July 1, 2013. ‘We are thrilled to know that the CCLC had such an effect on Dr. Kibonge’s choice to relocate his practice to Lake Cowichan,’ said Johnson.”

“The committee, made up of a cross section of concerned Lake Cowichan citizens including Mayor Ross Forrest (co-chair of CCLC) was formed in early January of this year. They have met several times to come up with effective strategies to recruit physicians to set up practices in town. The group works closely with Vancouver Island Health Authority‘s (VIHA) Physician Recruitment Office based in Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley Division of Family Practice. Brookside Clinic physician, Dr. Philip Kerswell is also an active member of the group. Initiatives include upgrading the town’s website, as often it is the first place a prospective physician may look when considering relocation. Other programs include compiling and distributing informational packages on the town and its amenities to interested parties.”

In other news, “‘Substantial’ theft of copper wire cuts power to Ditidaht community” was a top headline.

“A substantial theft of copper wire between China Creek and Nitinat Lake on Vancouver Island forced BC Hydro to cut power to 88 homes on the remote Ditidaht First Nation reserve. On Thursday, March 14 a BC Hydro crew responding to a service call at Ditidaht discovered a substantial amount of copper wire had been stolen off approximately 300 utility poles.”

25 years ago

The paper was the Lake News of March 18, 1998 and the top story was about jobs, more specifically, the decline of forest industry jobs.

“Price Waterhouse and Bank of Montreal paint bleak forecast for forestry” was the headline.

“A survey carried out by the Bank of Montreal, and forecasts made by Price Waterhouse paint a bleak picture for the forest industry in B.C. According to the Bank of Montreal, $1.1 million new jobs will be created over the next four years in Canada, which will drop the unemployment rate to 7.5 per cent, but the clue will be to know in what industries those jobs are to be found. Do not look to forestry…

“B.C.’s timber harvest is expected to decline as much as 10 per cent in 1998, to a 15-year-low of 62 million [cubic metres]. The province’s wood products and pulp and paper industries will experience a corresponding decline in production.”

Also in the March 18, 1998 edition of the Lake News, a little less depressing news came in the form of a story headlined: “Seniors get $150,000 from Florida man” These days the headline would read more like “Seniors scammed out of $150,000 by Florida man” but that is a different story.

Let’s read Ron Kenyon’s good-news story:

“Ron Hunt, a construction engineer and lawyer from Florida has dramatically stepped in to make the proposed Seniors’ Affordable Housing building possible. He is contributing his time to supervise the building — a service that would have cost $145,000 and it doing the legal work, worth a further $10,000.”

How about that!

40 years ago

The Lake News of March 16, 1983 was appealing to Cowichan Lake citizens to come up with a theme for Lake Days ‘83.

“Lake Days organizers meeting for the first time last week, decided to continue the tradition of seeking ideas for a theme from local people. Dave Darling, this year’s chairman, said at a sparsely-attended meeting last Wednesday that a deadline for entries has not yet been determined, but he encouraged people to submit their suggestions as quickly as possible.”

And here’s a doozy from the same paper: “Council delays, defuses ‘explosive’ community sign”.

“A potentially explosive situation was defused March 8 when Lake Cowichan village council decided to postpone a decision to allow a ‘community signboard’ to be erected on village property in the centre of town.

“The councillors heard arguments from all sides and, when the debate began to become heated, Mayor Ken Douglas suggested that it might be a good idea to see who will be allowed to use the free advertising space before council makes a final decision.”

Who knew something as basic as a community noticeboard would cause such a stir?

“Community Services had said the board would be strictly for non-profit groups and would give preference to listings of activities for young people.”

Rod O’Driscoll, who owned the Riverside Inn at the time, argued some of those non-profits were his competitors “because they offer beer and liquor for sale. He also noted that dances sponsored by these and other ‘non-profit’ groups draw clientele from his establishment. The difference, he said, was that he had to advertise on a sign that cost him $216 a month.”

”Black Magic, Lake Cowichan’s precision skaters were special guests for the second year at the ice show. These skaters, who make up Lake Cowichan’s only Ladies Adult Precision team, recently won a gold medal at the Lynn Hetherington competition.” (Lake News/March 18, 1998)

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
Read more