Flashback: Elections abound and the village becomes a town

A look back into the history of the Cowichan Lake area

“CeeVac winners: Top centre: Lindsay Brooks, left to right: Ryan Burke, Ashley Brooks, bottom centre, Morgan Gregson.” (Lake News/Nov. 27, 1996)

“CeeVac winners: Top centre: Lindsay Brooks, left to right: Ryan Burke, Ashley Brooks, bottom centre, Morgan Gregson.” (Lake News/Nov. 27, 1996)

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

In the tightest of races, it was a decade ago this week that Pat Waver narrowly beat out Klaus Kuhn for the Area I director’s position in a 147 to 143 race. This, according to the Nov. 23, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette’s front page.

“After weeks of tedious campaigning, Pat Weaver has emerged victorious as the Cowichan Valley Regional District Area I director, defeating incumbent Klaus Kuhn. Weaver’s victory was by no means a landslide, however, as she managed to surpass Kuhn by just four votes.

Weaver is relieved the campaign trail is behind her but is eagerly anticipating the task at hand. ‘It has been a heavy month. It was a lot of work. We worked hard. The people that I had with me worked really hard. I knocked on doors, I like people to know who I am, there are a lot of new people out there and I want them to know how genuine I am about this job,’ said Weaver.

“Prior to Weaver being elected, Kuhn served as Area I’s director for the past three years. Kuhn said he enjoyed the time he served as a director but couldn’t help feeling slightly upset by the results. ‘I’m a bit disappointed. I would have liked to continue the work I did but it didn’t work out,’ said Kuhn.”

Also 10 years ago this week, “crafters come from across the Cowichan Valley” to visit the Honeymoon Bay Christmas craft fair.

Oh, those pandemic-free days, remember them?

“Everything from baked goods, quilts, specialty wood products and pottery was up for grabs at Honeymoon Bay’s annual craft fair that happened on Nov. 19 and 20. Hundreds of people and dozens of vendors from the Cowichan Valley area funneled into Honeymoon Bay over the past weekend to get their hands on the assortment of crafts and home goods that were available.”

25 years ago

There was big news in the Lake News of Nov. 27, 1996.

“A town is born” was the headline but the story told the news: “The Village of Lake Cowichan is now officially a town. We became a town yesterday, Nov. 26, with a population of 2,980.

“A shadow however has fallen over any excitement such an event would create as this is also the very week that we will say goodbye to School District #66. On Dec. 1, we officially become School District #79, and join the Duncan district. Events are being held to commemorate both events.

“In a letter to Mayor Earle Darling and Council, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Dan Miller said, ‘I acknowledge the changes and growth that have taken place to put Lake Cowichan in the position to qualify for town status. I believe this status change will streamline the business of operating the municipality which has been a goal of this council. I congratulate your council on this achievement and am pleased the Province was able to be of assistance to the municipality in this matter.’”

In the same edition was some great news for the Lake Cowichan contingent of the region’s track team.

“Four Cowichan Lake youths outdid themselves in the recent CeeVac’s Island competition, getting good placements for the best Individual, [and] Island wide including excellent individual scores in separate categories.”

Ashley Brooks, Lindsay Brooks and Ryan Burke did well, while Morgan Gregson was the top placer.

“Ten-year-old girl places second as best individual Island wide. She came in first on the run, jump, and throw and places second in the best five events category. She also won the CeeVac’s Tyke Award and CeeVak’s [sic] Most Outstanding Female Award.”

Finally, 25 years ago this week, “for two candidates, it was just a few votes away from a win. Jack Waite is the new CVRD director for Meade Creek/Youbou, beating out incumbent Lois Gage by two votes.”

That race was initially tied and required a recount.

“Votes for school district trustees from Cowichan Lake also required a recount. In preliminary results, Buck Hollingdrake had won by two with 617 votes to [Tara] Daly’s 615. Upon recount, Hollingdrake’s votes dropped by two but Daly’s dropped by one bringing the final total to 614 for Daly and 615 for Hollingdrake.”

Woah! Those were close ones indeed!

40 years ago

“Penny-pinching council holds line” topped the headlines in the Lake News of Nov. 25, 1981.

“A village council that seems determined to hold the line on costs was expected Tuesday night [to] approve a budget which increases costs by a modest $125,323 — from $978,663 in 1981 to $1,103,987.

“The mayor and aldermen studied the provisional budget at a special meeting Nov. 19 and were scheduled to vote on it at the regular council meeting Nov. 24. Village clerk Pat Akerly said she thought there might be a decrease in the mill rate by as much as two or three mills in 1982, adding that she would not know for certain until she saw what the local assessments would be.”

Also making the front page was more election news. This time: “Two trustee incumbents lose seats in close fight.”

“A political neophyte and a veteran ousted the two incumbents in Saturday’s election for rural school trustee. Mike Wasney topped the polls with 174 votes, closely followed by Ray Bennett with 168. Both men are from Youbou. Dave Hatton of Honeymoon Bay — Bennett’s running mate and another newcomer to school board politics — finished third with 146 votes. Incumbents Bob MacPhee and Helga Lemke, also of Youbou, followed with 94 and 70 votes respectively.”

Here’s the kicker: “A total of 418 voters turned out for the election Nov. 21 at three polls, which meant that the trustees were elected by 26 per cent of the 1,600 eligible voters.”


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(Lake News/Nov. 25, 1981)

(Lake News/Nov. 25, 1981)