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Flashback: Fired school board rallies support, teachers take days without pay and more

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area
“There’s always a first time, and for Mayor Jean Brown, it was a canoe trip down the Cowichan River which she participated in with Cowichan-Ladysmith MLA Jan Pullinger and associate Doug Creba.” (Lake News, Oct. 1, 1997)

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

“Fired trustees rally support for by-election” was the headline of the Sept. 26, 2012 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette and the secondary head was “Lake Cowichan town council decides after much discussion to support fired school board trustees in the bid for by-election”.

“From Sept. 24 to the 28, Lake Cowichan mayor and council will be attending the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria. Besides bringing forward issues that effect the Town of Lake Cowichan, mayor and council will be bringing forward a special resolution at the request of the fired School District 79 board members.

“At the regular town meeting that took place on Sept. 18, Duncan Brown, along with Eden Haythornthwaite, Hannah Seymour, Jane Martin, Hazel Beech, Diana Gunderson, and former mayor Don Gordon, presented council with two requests.

“The first was a request for council to write a letter to education minister, Don McRae, asking for a by-election for a school board hearing in the Cowichan Valley. “’Secondly, I would like to ask council to bring forward an emergent resolution to the upcoming UBCM to call on the provincial government to call a by-election for the school trustees in Cowichan.’

“After providing council with a history of events leading up to the Cowichan School Board being fired on July 1, Brown expressed the ex-board’s stance that by not calling a by-election, the education minister is denying Cowichan Valley residents their right to vote.”

25 years ago

“A first for Mayor Brown during B.C. River Day” was the happy headline on the front of the Oct. 1, 1997 edition of the Lake News.

Susan Lowe wrote: “Cowichan-Ladysmith MLA issued a news release Friday stating how proud she was that the Cowichan River had been nominated for Canadian Heritage River status. ‘This gives the Cowichan River the recognition it deserves. It’s hard to believe that just two and a half years ago this river was near the top of the endangered rivers list. Hard work of the Cowichan Watershed Council and many others in the community has really paid off. The whole community can feel proud that the Cowichan River has now been recommended for Canadian Heritage River Status.”

But how did Brown end up in a canoe?

“River Day in Lake Cowichan was a success for those who took part — which were few, but Mayor Jean Brown commented it was the first done here and next time, there would be more turn out. Pullinger arrived, with canoe, paddles, lifejacket etc. at the Duck Pond ready to take part in the River Day — along with her associate, Doug Creba. It didn’t take Mayor Brown long to decide she too would join Pullinger, in the canoe — something Mayor Brown has never done before.

“‘Do we have a deputy Mayor?’ Brown was heard saying as the threesome set off down the river…”

In less watery news of the day, “Thousands of dollars of merchandise stolen from Honeymoon Bay area” was another headline.

“Lake Cowichan RCMP are investigating at least six break, enter and thefts involving the theft of over $10,000 worth of goods stolen from residences in Honeymoon Bay. Late Sunday night five separate buildings were broken into on Walton Road. Construction tools were taken by a home under construction; items valued at $12,000 including an ATV and construction tools were taken from a workshop; and at least three summer residences were broken into.”

40 years ago

Honeymoon Bay was in the news as well, back in September of 1982 as that townsite was still major news.

In the Sept. 29, 1982 edition of the Lake News, “Victoria developers launch campaign to woo residents” was the top headline.

“The Victoria developers who bought Honeymoon Bay made a slick presentation last Wednesday in a bid to get the hard-pressed residents of the townsite to lobby for zoning changes on their behalf. T.A.L. Developments and its land survey team of Wright, Hillyard, and Parry — in a meeting where they demanded that the press be excluded — asked the beleaguered people of Honeymoon Bay to support them when they seek zoning changes from the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

“If the CVRD agrees to zoning changes, okays the subdivision of the townsite and can get government funding to upgrade the water system, residents will then be able to buy their lots and rid themselves of uncertainty about their homes, they were told.”

And in school news, “No teachers will be fired locally as a result of the 1982 restraint program as they and all other school district staff will take three days off without pay. The Lake Cowichan Teachers’ Association and the School District 66 board of school trustees reached an agreement Tuesday, Sept. 21 that the district meet its 1982 budget cutback requirements by instituting three ‘days without pay’.

“The days were held Dec. 15-17 just before the Christmas break. LCTA president Eric Lundberg said the short layoff was ‘to maintain the existing quality of education in our school district and to allow for more time to publicize the impact of the cuts and to lobby the government to reconsider changes in the School Act before the next round of restraint beginning in early 1983.’”

“Truckin’ on in style” Don Johnson of 4-mile on the Old Cowichan Lake Road caresses beauty he picked up with $10 investment in Victoria recently. The 1982 Corvette, which carries a retail price of $27,000 was won by Cowichan Lake area logging truck driver in raffle. The Victoria Society for the Recreation of Handicapped Persons printed 5,000 tickets at $10 each. Johnson found out that his ticket — no. 3127 — was the winner on the day he returned from a vacation in the interior. Collecting the car put him right back into a holiday spirit, he said.” (Lake News, Sept. 29, 1982)

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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