“Keeping fit for Mother’s Day: Participants of Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Mother’s Day hiking event make their way down the Trans Canada Trail, Sunday, May 8. The morning event later wrapped up with snacks and prizes.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette May 11, 2011)

“Keeping fit for Mother’s Day: Participants of Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Mother’s Day hiking event make their way down the Trans Canada Trail, Sunday, May 8. The morning event later wrapped up with snacks and prizes.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette May 11, 2011)

Flashback: Bears, elk, salmon, candidates, and lumber graders

This week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by

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

Animals ruled the front page of the May 13, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette. In both stories there was a warning: do the right thing.

“Bears are back out, at the Cowichan Lake area, so lock up your garbage. This is the message local conservation officer Mark Kissinger tries his best to spread every spring, in order to save the lives of local bears. ‘We’ve already had our first bear sighted in Honeymoon Bay,’ he said. As a new offender, this bear will very likely be returned into the wilderness, Kissinger said. But, sometimes this isn’t the case. When bears are habitual offenders — usually drawn to areas where there’s readily accessible food — they have become too accustomed to living among humans, and must be put down.”

The same story could be run today so take that warning and heed Kissinger’s advice.

“Bear sightings can be called in to 1-877- 952-7277. Kissinger says that the sooner a bear is called in, the less habituated they are, and the less likely they will have to be killed.”

Also in the same edition was a warning that local Wilderness Watch volunteers are always keeping an eye out for poachers. This came after a court decision regarding an elk poaching three years prior.

“Nearly three years after the fact, a Vancouver man is now being punished for poaching Cowichan Lake area elk. Acting on a tip from a member of the public, conservation officers found the accused with a freshly killed and a field-dressed elk, Nov. 9, 2008, on the north shore of Cowichan Lake. The hunting of elk has been banned in the area for the past 30 years.

“Sergei Sharov pleaded guilty to one count of hunting during a closed season, and one count of unlawful possession of wildlife, and was fined $5,000. Of the fine, $4,500 will go toward the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. Sharov will also receive a five-year recognizance, which includes a ban from hunting and being in contact with other hunters. His firearm was also forfeited to the Crown. ‘It’s refreshing to see that people will get fined when people catch them,’ Kissinger said.”

25 years ago

The Lake News of May 15, 1996 reported that the CVRD was applying for a hefty grant. What’s this all about? Let’s find out.

Susan Lowe reports: “The CVRD will be applying for a rather hefty grant to aid in putting together an extensive salmonid stream and wetland protection and management plan. Joe Allan, director of area F says the plan called the CVRD Salmonid Watercourse Improvement Strategy Project will concentrate on managing the streams in the area.

“’We would really like the Village (of Lake Cowichan) on board with this one,’ Allan said adding that it would be one more step towards working together to protect the waterways in the Cowichan Lake area. The grant applied for is in the amount of $120,770 over three years. The CVRD proposes to provide in-kind contributions of up to $181,130 over the same period of time. The project will concentrate on identifying, mapping, and development management and protection strategies for salmonid streams and wet areas.”

Meanwhile, the paper of the same date also gave an in-depth summary of four candidates for the Cowichan/Ladysmith riding. But it took quite a while to tell us who the candidates were. In fact, though the story began on the front page, only one candidate, eventual victor Jan Pullinger, the incumbent, was listed by writer Ron Kenyon.

“You were standing in the polling booth on May 28, faced with four names. You have to put your all-important X beside one of the names. But which one? Perhaps you’ve already made up your mind. Perhaps you always vote for a particular party. You always have, you always will, no matter who the candidate is. That makes it easy. Or perhaps you like the party leader and you are voting for him. That also makes it easy. But perhaps you prefer to vote for your local candidate, the person who will be responsible for caring for the dreams of your local area until the next election. Which one of these for candidates will do the job best?”

I had to do a little research to learn what candidates were actually running. They were, in order of the most votes: Pullinger (NDP), Ray Smith (Liberal), Tom Walker (Reform), Perry James Johnston (Progressive Democrat) and Julian West (Green).

40 years ago

Four decades ago, in the Lake News of May 13, 1981, we learned that “B.C. Forest Products late Tuesday was trying to get a ‘cease and desist’ order from the Labour Relations Board to end a walkout by the 500 workers at the Youbou sawmill.

“Workers walked off at the start of the graveyard shift Tuesday, May 12, when they heard that two IWA lumber graders had been suspended. The graders were given an ‘indefinite suspension’ and the whole mill walked out in support according to IWA business manager Ken McEwan. About 500 workers were involved he said.”

What happened?

“BCFP spokesman, Wilf Hurd, said Tuesday that the two men ‘had refused to grade an order,’ and had been suspended for the shift. The suspension was based on their refusal to obey an order, he said. No further disciplinary action was planned, he said.”

Seems there’d been some issues with lumber grader pay.

“The dispute involved a complicated system where there are two classifications of lumber graders, and one classification received 66 cents an hour more than the other” despite doing the same exact job.

“The workers think there should be equal pay for equal work.”


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