Look at former North Cowichan Mayor Tom Walker in this October, 1980 photo. Here he was the district manager for the B.C. minister of Forests and was on hand to watch the herbicide spraying near Mount Prevost. (Lake News/Oct. 8, 1980)

Flashback: Arena delays, pool meeting and bad news

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

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

“Arena upgrades behind schedule, on budget” screamed the headline of the Lake Cowichan Gazette’s Oct. 13, 2010 edition.

“A sneak peek into the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena’s $7.6 million upgrades was given last week, providing a glimpse into the ongoing project, which is expansive in its scope,” wrote Gazette editor Tyler Clarke. “The current completion date has been pushed back, again, this time well past the previous completion date of early September, to the end of November. Island Savings Centre manager John Elzinga, who is heading the project, said that the upgrades are still on budget.

“Delays that have caused this completion date setback include waiting for the $1 million federal grant, some weather trouble, and design and construction issues. Nothing too serious, Elzinga said.

On page 2 of the same edition, the town’s debate about water flouridation was being reported.

The fluoridation of water in Lake Cowichan’s water supply should not continue, Town of Lake Cowichan councillor Tim McGonigle told council during their Tuesday, Oct. 5 meeting. “Some say it’s more poisonous than arsenic and can has a negative impact on learning abilities in young children,” he said. “Although fluoride in the 50s and 60s was a good deterrent for tooth decay, do we not have better methods today?”

At the time, the Town of Lake Cowichan was the only community on Vancouver Island still injecting fluoride into its drinking water.

The topic was tabled until a public meeting the following month.

25 years ago

“It’s crucial,” claimed the text above a story entitled “Pool meeting planned” that ran on the front page of the Oct. 11, 1995 Lake News.

“What may be the ‘make or break’ meeting on Lake Cowichan’s proposed leisure pool will take place on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. Everyone who wants a leisure pool and is willing to help to get one should attend. It’s make or break in the sense that people are going to be asked, at the meeting, to take on jobs to raise the $2.25 million needed to build the pool says Tony White, a member of the Pool Committee.

“It is intended that the pool will be built onto the arena, so that management and other services can be shared. The leisure pool would supply a place to swim in Lake Cowichan during the inclement weather of autumn, winter, and spring. It would also offer areas for tots and seniors, as well as being a community meeting place.”

Well, we all know what happened with that one but the dream was still alive this time 25 years ago.

From big projects, to a bit of a smaller one, poor Ed Harrison had a problem.

“Muddy Bank?”: Ed Harrison lives on River Road but he appeared before council to complain that when building took place on North Shore Road the result was bank erosion that affected his property. Council members said they would look at the situation and decide what could be done.

Also this time a decade and a half ago was “a memorable evening”.

“The Ohtaki delegation of students and adults is the largest delegation ever to visit Lake Cowichan. It seems incredible that an idea sparked eight years ago that Lake Cowichan and the Village of Ohtaki should twin in friendship, could be maintained and flourish.”

40 years ago

The only good news on the front page of the Oct. 8, 1980 Lake News was that the March Meadows Golf Club was effectively saved.

“March Meadows Golf Club trustees have as a group, become one of the major shareholders in Honeymoon Bay Enterprises, the operator of the March Meadows golf course. The group of shareholders was formed last spring, when after a year of scrambling by the operators to find a buyer for the golf course, an appeal was made to golf club members and interested people in the community to pledge funds towards purchase of the course, as the operating lease was due to expire in October 1980.”

There was a strong show of support.

Everything else on the front page was terrible.

First, John F. T. Saywell, a pioneer educator in the Cowichan Lake Area died on Oct. 1 at 81 years of age.

Next, on Oct. 2, a “spectacular crash kills [a] local woman”.

“A Lake Cowichan woman was killed instantly Oct. 2, in an accident on the highway between Lake Cowichan and Duncan. Leanne Zboyovsky, 21, a driver for Duncan Taxi, had just dropped off a fare about 1:45 p.m. and was attempting to drive across Highway 18 when her cab collided with a logging truck at the Somenos Road intersection.”

How awful.

“According to Duncan RCMP, the loaded Doman Industries logging truck ran over the top of the taxi, flattening it.”

And finally, “IS&S workers demand back pay” also made the front page.

“Thirty workers who lost their jobs when Island Shake Shingle Ltd. burned last spring charged Tuesday that the receiver-manager has reneged on a promise to pay all of their holiday pay.

“And a spokesman for the workers is demanding that the money be paid from the sale of shakes and shingles which were not destroyed in the May 16 arsonist-set blaze which destroyed the mill but left other buildings unscathed.”

Wonder if they ever got paid…

historyLake Cowichan

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