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Flashback: Boy meets hockey heroes, big storms brew, assault with a crossbow

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area

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

“Every Kid’s Dream: Young Laker lines up with Sedin and Bieksa for NHL game opening” was the top headline on the Feb. 5, 2014 Lake Cowichan Gazette and while it might not really be every kid’s dream, it sure is for a lot of young people.

As the 18,000 fans at the Rogers Arena cheered, he was the first to step on to the ice. The announcer exclaimed ‘From the Lake Cowichan Lakers, nine-year-old Alex Rudzik.’ Rudzik and his father John Rudzik of Youbou lived a dream come true when Alex was chosen to stand on the blue line alongside the Vancouver Canucks at the opening ceremonies of the Jan. 27 Canucks home game against the Edmonton Oilers.

“‘It was awesome!’ says Alex. Besides meeting some of his hockey heroes and attending a Canucks game Alex and his dad were also able to stand in the Olympia Tunnel to watch the team warm up on the ice and meet the coaches before Alex and the Canucks stepped on to the ice with the starting line-up for the opening ceremonies.”

“Lake council OK with more spending to buy regional parks” was the secondary headline on the Feb. 5 edition.

“The Town of Lake Cowichan has given the Cowichan Valley Regional District its support to go ahead and increase its Parkland Acquisition Fund. The CVRD wants to increase the fund from $766,000 where it is currently, to the maximum amount within the relative bylaw to a total of $958,000. ‘The Parkland Acquisition Fund is utilized through various properties throughout the regional district, including in the Town of Lake Cowichan,’ said Councillor Tim McGonigle, Lake Cowichan’s CVRD representative. The town joins each area within the regional district in paying a percentage into the fund every year.”

25 years ago

It was the calm after the storm this time back in 1999. In the Lake News of Feb. 5, 1999, Susan Lowe reported: “Snow, rain, high winds, and power failures plagued Cowichan Lake last week, with heavy rain continuing last Monday. Honeymoon Bay and Youbou elementary schools were closed Friday due to power failures in both communities. Lake Cowichan hydro did not go out — and that seems to be news with such poor weather.

“Wind played havoc with signs, knocked down trees and telephone lines, and fences on Thursday night. According to the Town of Lake Cowichan climatological station report, we received just over an inch of rain Thursday along with five and half inches of snow — which all fell in only a matter of hours making Highway 18 to Duncan treacherous for many drivers — and many of whom ended up in the ditch. Lake Cowichan RCMP said the worst problems they encountered were cars losing control and ending up in the ditch and accidents on Highway 18.”

In other news, a political storm was also brewing as Ron Kenyon reported that “Mayor Brown [was] ‘humiliated’ by the CVRD”.

“CVRD has again refused to consider incineration to get rid of garbage. Mayor Jean Brown, a member of the board representing Lake Cowichan, told me she felt ‘humiliated’ and ‘offended’.

“A long-standing animosity between CVRD and Lake Cowichan seems about to burst out again. Mayor Brown sat silent, eyes averted, at a CVRD board meeting last week as other members shot down Lake Cowichan’s request to look at incineration.

“Some years ago when it was announced that the existing incinerators were to be closed, Lake Cowichan had urged the building a new state of the art incinerator, but CVRD insisted on a landfill site. After spending nearly $400,000, including staff time, on a landfill site on Hill 60, it was abandoned when the Cowichan Band, of Duncan, threatened court action.”

40 years ago

One of the stories of the day on the front page of the Lake News of Feb. 1, 1984 was the result of the IWA contract vote.

“Loggers give grudging 65% okay” was the headline.

“Cowichan Valley members of the International Woodworkers of America have voted 65 per cent to approve the contract reached in December between their union negotiating team and Forest Industrial Relations. It took most of the month of January to get the IWA vote collected from its far flung operations around the province and the various counts were not officially announced until Jan. 27. Ken McEwan, business agent for Local 1-80. said in releasing the figure that it “‘certainly indicated to the forest companies that although the members are willing to accept the agreement, they are not happy with it’.”

More news included a story saying “Charges laid after crossbow arrow hits man”.

“A Lake Cowichan man has been charged with aggravated assault following a bizarre incident in Lake Cowichan Jan. 28 in which a man was shot by a crossbow following a dispute. Gary Rogers of Courtenay was wounded in the leg by an arrow from a crossbow. He was treated in Lake Cowichan and then transferred to Cowichan District Hospital for observation. Charles William Tall of Lake Cowichan was charged following investigation of the incident. Police say an altercation at a house party led to the injury.”

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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