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Flashback: All about money: Gas Tax funding, expensive garbage, food bank donation

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area
“Town council presented this plaque to Ray Miller, their public works employee for his work through the years on the Lake Days float. Miller sent a letter of resignation to Council, informing them of his decision to discontinue his work with the float for other interests. Miller had worked along with others for nine years on the Lake Days float. The Lake Days Committee air disappointment at their last meeting that Ray would be leaving and left to wonder who if anyone could take his place. (Lake News/March 4, 1998)

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

Folks were not happy with the school district this time a decade ago, the Lake Cowichan Gazette of March 6, 2013 reports.

In the story “School District 79 on the hot seat at community meeting” Elodie Adams reported that “results were inconclusive at the March 2 Community Consultation meeting between SD 79 and parents, teachers and residents of the Cowichan Lake area.

“The meeting was led by the school district’s superintendent of schools, Joe Rhodes, secretary-treasurer Robert Harper, and appointed interim trustee Mike McKay. It was a much smaller turnout at this meeting than there had been for the December meeting, but one message came across loud and clear: people are not happy with the cut and closure solutions the school district proposes to balance its budget for 2013.

“‘If school closures were the answer, we wouldn’t be in difficulty now,’ commented Diana Gunderson, who was referring to the closure of two schools in Lake Cowichan, Stanley Gordon and A.B. Greenwell Elementary schools. ‘These are complex issues,’ McKay said. ‘It’s not only a matter of increasing costs in the district, it’s a matter of declining enrolment, and we are funded according to the number of students we have enrolled.’”

In the same edition the “Town of Lake Cowichan receive[d] federal funding” thanks to the Gas Tax Fund.

“The Town of Lake Cowichan has learned it will receive over $1.5 million through the Gas Tax Fund transfer for its wastewater treatment facility and drainage system improvements from the federal government,” Adams wrote.

“Mayor Ross Forrest was visibly pleased to hear the announcement that the application for funding had been approved, saying that it is a huge investment for the town.

“’This is the biggest grant we’ve ever had from any government, provincial or federal,’ he said. ‘Our town has limited financial resources and this funding will make it possible for us to make these improvements.’”

25 years ago

Garbage was making headlines on the front of the 1998 March 4 Lake News.

“High costs for garbage to impact us this year” was Susan Lowe’s headline.

“The rubbish of no value — that we throw in the trash is going to be costing us in Lake Cowichan, very dearly. To be exact — $80 per ton dearly. Politicians are now putting an ever greater emphasis on recycling and Mayor Jean Brown said it is inevitable that the Town of Lake Cowichan will have to implement a recycling program — which too is going to cost.”

Isn’t it crazy that only 25 years ago there was no recycling program? Times sure have changed in that regard.

“What does this all mean,” Lowe continued in her story. “Higher taxes and an increase that we will probably see this year, Mayor Jean Brown said.

In other Lake-area news of the day, “Police look for prints for clues to break in” was on page two.

“Lake Cowichan RCMP conducted fingerprint examinations with the hopes of identifying those responsible for breaking into and stealing items from a cabin on Hudgrove Road. Police say the cabin was broken into and numerous items were stolen sometime between the month of January 25 and February 25. Included in the stolen property were a wood burning stove, electric panel and cabinets.”

One thing’s for sure, the thieves didn’t stuff that loot in their pockets!

40 years ago

Lake News founder dead at age 72” was the headline on the March 2, 1983 edition of the Lake News.

“Ernie Ardley, a long-time local merchant and newspaperman, died Wednesday, Feb. 23 in Lake Cowichan. He would have been 73 March 12. Ardley — renowned for his sense of humour and the butt and perpetrator alike of many a practical joke — came to Lake Cowichan on April Fools Day — April 1, 1944, with his wife, the former Irene Bateman, and young family. Ardley was always active in the United Church in Lake Cowichan and at one point, also belonged to the local Kiwanis Club.

“It was as the publisher of the Lake News, however, that he made the most impact on the community of Lake Cowichan. Ernie and Irene Ardley started the Lake News in February, 1958, exactly 25 years before his death last week. He published it with his wife until it was finally sold to Tony and Liz Kant in 1975. They in turn sold it to Gerry and Vera Soroka, the present publishers, in 1979.”

And finally, some good news of the day, “Youbou millworkers give food bank $3,745.

“Workers at the B.C. Forest Products sawmill in Youbou have donated a total of $3,745 towards the Lake Cowichan food bank. The money, collected by payroll deduction and donations, has been sent to the Cowichan Valley Unemployed Committee in Duncan, but Frank Walker, chairman of the Lake Cowichan Unemployed Committee, said Monday that he did not anticipate any problem in getting the money for use in Lake Cowichan. He called the donation ‘a gesture of appreciation’ by people who are still working towards those less fortunate.”

”Ernie Ardley, doing one of the things he loved best — wrapping up another issue of the Lake News. Ardley, along with his wife Irene, and colleague Adeline Anderson, founded this newspaper 25 years ago.” (Lake News/March 2, 1983)

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.
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