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Flashback: Fatal accident, no playground please, ‘gauntlet thrown’

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

A motorcyclist, the pedestrian he collided with, and her dog, were killed on the Youbou highway this week a decade ago.

The Aug. 8, 2012 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette’s front page carried the story.

“A local woman walking her dog was struck by a motorcycle heading east towards Duncan on the Youbou Highway at the Neva Road intersection on Saturday evening, Aug. 4, at approximately 8:40 p.m. Small crowds of concerned neighbours gathered on both sides of Youbou Highway as Lake Cowichan RCMP, Fire Department, and B.C Ambulance responded to the scene. Paramedics tried to resuscitate the driver of the motorcycle, a male, and his passenger, a female. Both were taken to Cowichan District Hospital. According to Cons. Preston, the male died en route to the hospital. The female was held overnight, but released the next morning. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. A gentleman believed to be connected with the deceased woman was on the scene trying to come to grips with the reality of the situation. Several friends arrived to offer him some comfort and support. The dog succumbed to its injuries.”

In the same newspaper, “Cooperation could bring extra funds for school district” was a pleasant headline to come across.

“One of the ways being explored at this time is a partnership with B.C. Transit. In one of the last board meetings of the nine trustees who were recently fired by the province, the board passed a motion to investigate such a partnership, which would see the storage and maintenance of approximately 25 B.C. Transit buses at the school district’s facility on Beverly St. in Duncan, with the possible use of satellite locations at Stanley Gordon Elementary in Lake Cowichan and Frances Kelsey in Cobble Hill.”

25 years ago

The Wednesday, Aug. 13, 1997 edition of the Lake News also had school news. It wasn’t as hopeful.

“Possible job loss for teacher assistants” was the headline and it wasn’t good news.

“Teacher assistants this September will feel a crunch, with possible job loss or reduction of hours due to a blending of contracts with Duncan caused by amalgamation, while full time teachers have yet another year before feeling any crunch or before being bumped by someone with more seniority.

“According to Derek Carroll, first vice-president of Cowichan Valley CUPE #79, there may be some teacher assistants who will lose their jobs this September, and at the very least there will be a reduction of hours. The way the system has always worked is that teacher assistants were chosen by seniority and qualifications. Prior to amalgamation, the seniority list for Lake Cowichan was not very long. However, with amalgamation, all the T.A.s from Lake Cowichan will be blended with Duncan. This makes for a very long seniority list and due to the blend, T.A.s won’t actually know whether they will have a job until at least August 11 when there will be an assignment meeting.”

Talk about limbo!

Also making headlines was news that “Residents don’t want playground”.

“Some residents in Youbou are upset. According to resident Tom Bjur, the Area Director, Jack Waite has already decided to install playground equipment at Arbutus Park. Bjur, who lives near the park is concerned not only with tax payers’ dollars being spent on equipment but he also has safety concerns. Bjur believes to put a playground in would be ‘ridiculous’, that kids would be left unattended by the water and once the rains start there is quite a creek alongside the park.

“‘Nobody I’ve met wants it,’ says Bjur. A petition is going around to ‘leave Arbutus Park as a family, play, swimming, picnic area with lawns left as they are now — green and beautiful’.”

40 years ago

Here’s an odd deadline from the pages of the Aug. 11, 1982 Lake News: “Sewer line blockage ‘tolerable’”.

“The unfortunate case in which a building was constructed directly over the sewer line may cause the Village of Lake Cowichan less trouble than was originally anticipated. An engineer has investigated the sewer line, which crosses property owned by Ted Johnson on Hillside Road. Engineer John Motherwell said in a recent letter to Lake Cowichan village council that the sewer line is deeply buried and should not be affected by the building. He suggested that the village should obtain a right of way both for the existing sewer line and for a future one that would bypass the building.”

Oh. That’s not at all the story I thought I was about to read. Moving on!

And finally: “Court challenge gauntlet thrown” was a headline on the front of the same edition.

“A group of dissident Honeymoon Bay residents — angry at the sale of WFI land to a group of Victoria developers — wants to fight the deal all the way to the courts if necessary. A letter, which is being signed by several residents at the townsite just sold to T.A.L. Developments Inc., asks the Cowichan Valley Regional District to intervene in a last-ditch attempt to get a better deal.

“Under a deal struck between T.A.L. and the Honeymoon Bay Residents Association, most properties would sell at an average of $16,500 with WFI pitching in with $1,500 to reduce the average price to $14,000, an objective which the residents had sought.

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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