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
Thank goodness there were only minor injuries this time a decade ago when there were 10 people involved in a two-vehicle collision, according to the Sept. 1, 2010 Lake Cowichan Gazette.
It happened at the Youbou Road and Highway 18 intersection.
“The collision involved two vehicles, with one violation ticket handed out to the driver of an SUV, who reportedly stopped at the stop sign, and then started up again when it was unsafe to do so,” explained the story. “The SUV, with two occupants, then slammed into a van, traveling down Highway 18 towards Lake Cowichan. The van, containing a day care group, had one driver, and seven youth aged 11 and younger.”
The kids were all sent with their parents, the story said.
Also 10 years ago this week, the Gazette reported on the Cowichan Rocks Summer Bonspiel.
“Local teams dominated this year’s annual Cowichan Rocks Summer Bonspiel, held Thursday, Aug. 26, to Sunday, Aug. 29, at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Although there were only three local teams, they managed to dominate both the A and B events. Winning all five games, and the grand prize, was the local Sutton rink, with Dennis Sutton as skip, Tricia Mayea as third, Mike Waller as second, and Belinda Waller as lead.
“After losing their first game, the local Elzinga rink managed four subsequent wins, getting top prize in the B event. The Elzinga rink, with skip John Elzinga, Thor Repstock, Diane Myrden, and Maria Elzinga, have become a staple of the bonspiel, having participated in it since 2000.
“Lake Cowichan’s third local team, the Simpson rink, were well into their first game, when team member Morreen Coulter slipped and broke her foot. Coulter’s teammates were skip Bob Simpson, George Nitskie, and Candy Nitskie. Players from Mill Bay helped fill Coulter’s spot for the remainder of the bonspiel.”
25 years ago
The front page of the Sept. 6, 1995 Lake News featured a cute photo of little Cole Noble, the one-year-old son of an Appollo Hockey player, who’d found a softball during the team’s 14th annual Slow Pitch Tournament that weekend. That’s where the smiles ended.
“A Duncan Paving asphalt truck blew up on Grossklegs Way last Wednesday. Miraculously no one was hurt. Truck driver Ray Tucker, of Duncan, admitted ‘I’m lucky to be alive.’ With black smoke that blanketed the area and fire so hot it burned the tires, it was the most spectacular blaze since Romeo Krakowec’s service station burned.”
The Lake Cowichan fire department rushed to the scene and had the fire out in minutes, but the Sept. 6 Lake News’s front page of misery continued on.
“Lake Cowichan’s Countrywide Realty office received about $4,000 damage when a vehicle collided with it Thursday, reports Sgt. Ron Merchant, RCMP. The 1978 Chev van driven by Ruby Black, 29, received about $1,000 in damage.”
Black had been stopped earlier in Duncan and faced multiple Motor Vehicle Act charges.
And finally, and worst, “A deadfall thrown from a tree crushed Gerald E. Janson, of Port Alberni, to death last week. A preliminary investigation by Lake Cowichan RCMP and the Workers’ Compensation Board, indicated that Janson was falling a big tree…the tree ‘threw two deadfalls into the air as it came down….one of the logs flew almost 20 feet into the air and landed on the victim.’
“An employee of MacMillan Bloedel, Janson was working out of Franklin River Camp where a number of men from Lake Cowichan also work. The accident occurred just north of Nitinaht Lake and not far from the Pacific Rim Park.”
40 years ago
It seems like the first week of September hasn’t been particularly kind to any of the dates we’ve chosen to remember, and this time 40 years ago is no different.
“Vandalism probed: Main smashed, half village without water” read the headline of the Sept. 3, 1980 Lake News.
“A costly teenage prank left half of Lake Cowichan without water last Thursday. Pranksters dropped one large rock off the footbridge and it landed right on the water main, breaking it.”
“According to village works superintendent Ron Dryborough, ‘one rock could do it, if it hits right.’”
Easy to break, hard to fix. “Two divers were called in to repair the damage, which has been estimated at $1,500. The divers used the fire truck hose to clean the mud off their underwater work area, Dryborough said.”
They could only work in daylight, which left “‘quite a bunch’” of houses without water service overnight. The incident also closed a restaurant due to lack of water. Flow was cut around 3 p.m. Friday and wasn’t restored until 10 a.m. Friday.