”Typical action at the Demo Derby June 21 as cars get caught in the crunch in cold wet weather that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of either spectators or drivers. (Lake News, June 24, 1981)

”Typical action at the Demo Derby June 21 as cars get caught in the crunch in cold wet weather that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of either spectators or drivers. (Lake News, June 24, 1981)

Flashback: Camping, classrooms, and a huge high school reunion

Do you 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

“Campers welcomed back to Centennial Park” was the big headline in the June 29, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“Teasing campers for the past year with the disallowing of camping at Centennial Park, council reversed their decision during a Tuesday, June 21, committee meeting. The reversal of their stance didn’t come easily, with council having again voted against Centennial Park camping for special events just the previous month, and this time only passing with one vote. This time around, councillors Bob Day, Tim McGonigle, and mayor Ross Forrest voted in favour of camping, while councillors Jayne Ingram and Franklin Hornbrook voted against the motion.

Also making headlines, “Council wants to crack down on unsightly premises”, according to Gazette editor Tyler Clarke.

“There are a number of properties in town that council wants to clean up. The issue of unsightly premises is one of the most commonly brought-up by the public, and council plans on looking into their toolbox of bylaws to see what they can do. ‘I’m looking at this board if they want to bring some action to this bylaw,’ councillor Bob Day said, during a Tuesday, June 21, committee meeting. ‘Are we going to sit back and allow this to continue?’

“Administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said that property owners that don’t rectify unsightly premises problems can have their properties cleaned by town Public Works crews, at the property owner’s expense.”

25 years ago

The Lake News of June 26, 1996 didn’t have great news for mill workers.

“The Ministry of Environment has ordered Confederate Shake and Shingle Mill to stop burning as of July 1. If mill owners don’t have an alternative plan, the mill will be shut down.

“Confederate Shake and Shingle, located in Area I just off the Youbou Highway, uses a beehive burner to dispose of wood waste. The burners have been banned by the provincial government in a step towards banning all open burning.”

The fines would have been $1-million a day for each day the mill burned!

“The problem faced by Roger Eldred, owner/operator of Confederate, is that all other alternatives are not economically feasible for his small business. Eldred runs a wood salvage operation. This means he has a team that goes into the local woods where forest companies have logged and salvage the debris not valuable for larger companies. Because the operation involves value added, and the mill really doesn’t burn a great quantity of wood waste, Eldred said they have the support of all the local leaders and politicians.”

Also 25 years ago in the same edition, “Parents win K/1/2 battle”.

“It appears parents of AB Greenwell children in the K,1,2 will have no more worries. A decision has been made to retain both options, the Kindergarten/grade 1/grade 2 and the separate kindergarten class.

“For the last few weeks, parents of children enrolled in the K/1/2 program have been meeting with the board and staff of AB Greenwell for fear that low kindergarten enrollment would force the discontinuation of the K/1/2 program and the transfer of teacher Chris Rolls. Superintendent/secretary treasurer Brian Hoole reported Monday that a decision has been reached to continue both options, but that teacher Chris Rolls will be transferred to Honeymoon Bay Elementary School in September.”

40 years ago

An influx of old friends were expected to return to the Lake region 40 years ago around this time as “800 expected for a huge high school reunion”.

“Nostalgia will reign supreme this weekend as nearly 800 former Lake Cowichan High School students, teachers, and their spouses gather for a three day reunion June 26, 27, and 28. According to Ken Irving a former Lake Cowichan resident who has been spearheading the organization, the response has been greater than expected.

“We are up to 775 people,” he said, adding that the returning students seem to be fairly evenly spread among the eligible years — 1947 to 1962.

“Irving said that organizers has a list of slightly more than 1,000 names to contact, and that workers had been able to reach 100 per cent of the students for some years. He estimated that ‘around 60 per cent’ of the students from each year will attend the reunion.”

Wow! What a party that must have been!

In the same edition, “the School District 66 board of school trustees, at its June 16 meeting, decided to reject an invitation from the Nanaimo school board that would have seen this district bargain with its CUPE workers as part of a four-district unit,” and “the Village of Lake Cowichan is in a land squeeze that only expansion of its boundaries can relieve, Mayor Ken Douglas told area residents.

“The village — facing a shortage of residential, commercial, and industrial land — had asked the planning department of the Cowichan Valley Regional District to show a way out of a growing dilemma.”

All this and much more appeared in the June 24, 1981 edition of the Lake News.

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