“Soon to be stars on ice, these girls were part of last week’s Ice Show hosted at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Left to right are Kaitlin Smith; five years old, Cari Yablonski; seven years old, Lauren Foster; seven years old and Katie Fothergill, six (and a half) years old.” (Lake News, March 19, 1997)

“Soon to be stars on ice, these girls were part of last week’s Ice Show hosted at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Left to right are Kaitlin Smith; five years old, Cari Yablonski; seven years old, Lauren Foster; seven years old and Katie Fothergill, six (and a half) years old.” (Lake News, March 19, 1997)

Flashback: Developments planned, taxes hiked, budgets cut

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

“Want to roast marshmallows under the stars this summer? Better make a reservation.”

That was the advice in the March 21, 2012 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“The Ministry of Environment announced that starting on March 15, for the first time ever, people will be able to book up to three reservations at one time for their favourite BC Parks campground. Reservations for all front-country provincial campgrounds began at 7 a.m. on Thursday, March 15 and showed a 41 per cent increase in reservations over 2011. Reservations can be made a maximum of three months in advance. Reservations for group sites are available up to 12 months in advance.”

Since then, reserving has become the go-to way to secure a provincial campsite as throngs of would-be campers rush to the website when reservation season opens, to book their summer spots.

In other news of a decade ago, “Affordable age in place community planned” was the headline and the story was written by Tammy Caruso.

“As the senior population in Lake Cowichan increases, demand continues to rise for affordable housing. Mr. Jon Roler has made a proposal for an affordable Age in Place Living Community at 21 Oak Lane to meet these rising demands.

“At last week’s town meeting, Roler had formally requested a letter of support in principal and council approved it. ‘In order for towns to keep seniors in their community there needs to be housing in all price ranges and especially homes that have minimal upkeep involved,’ says Coun. Bob Day.

“The proposed community will feature homes priced $60,000 less than that of comparable housing currently available, making monthly mortgage payments with the current interest rate below $700 a month. Extra services that would be available for senior home owners include transportation, meals and housekeeping. The first phase of housing development includes 15 attached patio residences. In 8-10 years, the expectation is approximately 40 patio residences. Each home will be 900 square feet and include a 220 square foot garage. The homes will be energy efficient, have low water use plumbing, and low volatile organic compound paint, making the homes green and more affordable in terms of energy and water consumption.”

And finally, the “local chamber of commerce has a new president.”

“After seven years, the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce has a new president. Jim Humphrey, who has been the president of the Chamber since 2005 stepped down as a director and president at this year’s AGM.

“Humphrey says that he thinks new president Rita Dustow will do a great job in her new position. Her high energy level combined with her understanding of what it is like to be in business in the Cowichan Lake area will serve her well in her new position. Humphrey is sure that with Dustow as president and Ron McKenzie as vice president, the chamber is in good hands.”

25 years ago

It was good news and bad news in the Lake News of March 19, 1997 as reported by Glen Porteous.

“School district #79 has learned it will have to cut $1.2-million from its budget, but Secretary Bill Brown told trustees it’s not as bad as he thought, calling it a good news and bad news budget.

“‘If this is the good news, I don’t want to hear the bad,’ Chairperson Pam Campbell said.

“The general atmosphere was rather tense and the trustees did not seem to enthusiastic about the numbers presented. Brown suggested an April meeting with both MLAs, Rick Kasper and Jan Pullinger, to discuss the impact of this budget, but Campbell said that five weeks is a very short time in which to find ways to reduce spending by $1.2 million.

“There appears to be an almost simplistic attitude towards problem solving by the Ministry which appears to be more interested in results rather than how to obtain them, trustees expressed.”

In other news of the day, the CVRD allocated $210,000 for skateboard parks, including one in Lake Cowichan, and “the Cowichan Lake Seniors Association will receive $8,000 of the required $10,000, from the CVRD in order to begin plans towards the building of their seniors’ housing complex.”

40 years ago

“New school tax formula costs homeowner $40” was a headline on the front page of the March 17, 1982 Lake News.

“The average taxpayer will have to pay about $40 for school taxes this year, under the new system for financing education. Last year [the taxpayer] paid nothing.

“An average homeowner in School District 66 will have to come up with $40 towards school taxes after he has applied the homeowner’s grant of $380 to his 1982 school tax bill of $413, according to Nancy Greer, executive director of data and information services for the ministry of education. In 1981, the average homeowner in this area received a school tax bill of $271. Once he had applied the homeowner’s grant of $380, there was $109 left over.”

Also 40 years ago, according to the Lake News “Hotel, subdivision complex planned for village area” made headlines.

“The wheels have been put in motion for development of a plus hotel-subdivision complex on about 80 spacious acres near the village. Lake Cowichan village council has started the process that would enable the development to proceed on the rolling, treed acreage south of the Cowichan River and east of the village.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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“All fired up about hunger training course, Melanie Bingham of Lake Cowichan takes aim at target under watchful eye of instructor Len Davis. Melanie was among several women and Kelsey Alfano, 12, peering over Melanie’s shoulder was among many youngsters taking the course. The CORE program course, sponsored by School District 66’s adult education division, must be completed by anyone seeking to acquire a hunting licence for the first time. Course content includes identification of species, safety with firearms, practice shooting and a written examination.”

“All fired up about hunger training course, Melanie Bingham of Lake Cowichan takes aim at target under watchful eye of instructor Len Davis. Melanie was among several women and Kelsey Alfano, 12, peering over Melanie’s shoulder was among many youngsters taking the course. The CORE program course, sponsored by School District 66’s adult education division, must be completed by anyone seeking to acquire a hunting licence for the first time. Course content includes identification of species, safety with firearms, practice shooting and a written examination.”