“Local bus drivers are angry with B.C. Transit’s new reserve your ride program which will begin July 29. What makes them angrier is the number for reservations on the sign, under Our Taxi, is wrong. Left to right are Maria Duncan, Betty-Lou Lancaster and Michelle Sullivan.” (Lake News, July 17, 1996)

“Local bus drivers are angry with B.C. Transit’s new reserve your ride program which will begin July 29. What makes them angrier is the number for reservations on the sign, under Our Taxi, is wrong. Left to right are Maria Duncan, Betty-Lou Lancaster and Michelle Sullivan.” (Lake News, July 17, 1996)

Flashback: Cowichan Lake is no toilet, an important wrong number, and a toll-free request

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

Well here’s a headline from the July 20, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette that makes us thankful: “Study proves that Cowichan Lake is no toilet”. Thank goodness for that!

Tyler Clarke reported:

“Tests performed on Cowichan Lake water last year prove that it’s fairly clear of fecal coliform, which is bacteria that originates in feces. But it’s not entirely crystal clear.

“It’s not disastrous results, but high enough that people shouldn’t be drinking lake water without treatment,” Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society member Gerald Thom said. The sampling was done by the society, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, which has been charged with making sense of it. Sampling was done at 12 sites around Cowichan Lake, over 10 weeks in 2010.

“Five weeks’ worth of sampling was done from July to August, during which time water is the lowest and therefore the least dilution is taking place. Another five weeks of sampling was done from October to November, when the highest level of drainage into the lake occurs. ‘The fecal coliform, or e-coli, are usually pretty low, below detection levels,’ Ministry of Environment environmental impact assessment biologist Deborah Epps said. There were, however, several spikes where sites exceeded maximum allowable fecal coliform levels, though most averages remained well below the danger zone.”

In other good news a decade ago, “Proper use of survival suits were instrumental in preventing a boating tragedy on Nitinat Lake, Saturday, July 9. All seven occupants of a 1979 29-foot aluminum boat were thrown overboard after the boat struck a rock face along the east side of Nitinat Lake. They were all wearing their survival suits and were able to swim the three metres to shore. The occupants of the vessel were family and friends ranging in age from nine to 56. There was no sign of the vessel from the air the next day and it is presumed sunk.”

25 years ago

Locals were angry back in July of 1996 as a “New reservation policy may destroy bus service”. That’s according to the July 17, 1996 Lake News.

Susan Lowe wrote that “B.C. Transit has blown it according to local drivers, and it may just cost us the expense of having a bus service. As of July 29, all passengers wanting to use the local bus service will have to reserve their ride and B.C. Transit has made up posters promoting the phone number to call for reservations. There is one glitch. The number on the poster which is to be placed in stores and along bus routes, is advertised as the number of Our Taxi but in fact it is Maria Duncan’s number which will be disconnected in 10 days as she is leaving for Australia.”

Oops.

What’s more, people were expected to book their return trips as well, which some didn’t care for. Something tells me we’ll see another story on this in the coming weeks of Flashbacks.

Moving on to another front page headline in the July 17, 1996 edition: “It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit” grabbed readers’ attention.

“Weather forecasters are saying that Monday was the end of the recent heat the Cowichan Lake area and the Island has been receiving for the last week. If you thought it was hot Sunday, you were right. It was the warmest day we’ve had in 1996, hitting a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Oh, what would 1996 folks say if they knew our most recent heatwave had it well beyond 40 C!?

40 years ago

The July 22, 1981 Lake News was calling for a toll free phone link to Duncan.

(Remember rotary phones? Kids these days wouldn’t know what to do with them!)

Anyhoo, the story went like this: “Phone calls between the Cowichan Lake district and the municipality of North Cowichan and the city of Duncan will be toll-free if politicians in all three centres can convince the B.C. Telephone Company that the idea is a good one. To this end, Lake Cowichan village council has instructed village clerk Pat Akerley to ask B.C. Tel if it will send a representative to Lake Cowichan to discuss the possibility of establishing a toll-free area between the Cowichan Lake area and the Duncan-North Cowichan area. This decision was made because in its reply to an earlier suggestion, B.C. Tel appeared to misunderstand what Lake Cowichan village council had requested. B.C. Tel’s answer mentioned a toll-free emergency line to Duncan and this has no reference to the village’s request. Village council had initially made the suggestion because of the large number of people here who have businesses or family connections in Duncan and vice versa.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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