”It was an angry welcome for Cowichan-Ladysmith MLA Jan Pullinger when she arrived in Lake Cowichan Monday to open her constituency office. She was greeted with some of her long time supporters calling her a ‘liar’. Left to right, Jan Pullinger, Director of Area I, Lois Gage, school trustee Rolli Gunderson, school trustee Pat Weaver, Save our School Committee Chairperson, Tara Daly.” (Lake News/April 17,1996)

”It was an angry welcome for Cowichan-Ladysmith MLA Jan Pullinger when she arrived in Lake Cowichan Monday to open her constituency office. She was greeted with some of her long time supporters calling her a ‘liar’. Left to right, Jan Pullinger, Director of Area I, Lois Gage, school trustee Rolli Gunderson, school trustee Pat Weaver, Save our School Committee Chairperson, Tara Daly.” (Lake News/April 17,1996)

Flashback: Garbage, geography and tragedy

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan?

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

The front page of the Lake Cowichan Gazette of a decade ago was pretty much garbage. Literally, one of the two stories was about trash rates going up by a significant amount.

Then-editor Tyler Clarke explains:

“Some Cowichan Lake area residents can expect to pay 32 per cent more for their garbage/recycling pickup, this year. Despite local politicians’ objection, annual garbage and recycling collection costs will shoot up 32 per cent this year, up to $178 in both the Youbou/Meade Creek (Area I) and Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls (Area F) Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) electoral areas.

“The decision was finalized during the CVRD’s Wednesday, April 13, board meeting. ‘Ian and I voted against it because it’s a steep increase,’ Area I director Klaus Kuhn said, of himself and Area F director Ian Morrison. ‘It’s hard to justify.’”

In non-trashy news, a seventh grader was making headlines as well.

“Local Grade 7 student Evan Croteau, 12, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to world geographic knowledge. Evan placed seventh in last week’s national Great Canadian Geography Challenge test. This seventh place finish comes after placing first in School District 79, and within the top three, provincially.

“The competition is open to students from Grade 7 to 10, giving Evan’s competitors an age advantage, and making his accomplishment all the more impressive. Of the top 10 national finalists, Evan was the youngest. The nearly straight-A Lake Cowichan Secondary School student chalks his success in the Geography Challenge to having a good memory.”

I wonder what the now 22-year-old Croteau is up to now?

25 years ago

Anger was the theme of the Lake News of April 17, 1996: angry constituents and an angry village councillor.

Let’s start with the former. Ron Kenyon reported: “Some of the very people who helped elect Jan Pullinger, MLA, to office publicly called her a liar on Monday and shouted that she had betrayed them.

“Pullinger came to Lake Cowichan to open her campaign office in preparation for the coming provincial election. She was met by an angry crowd with placards denouncing her failure to try to protect School District 66 from amalgamation. The government has announced that SD66, controlling the schools in the Cowichan Lake area, will be amalgamated by December with SD 65 (Duncan).”

Also 25 years ago this week, the Lake News reported a high profile resignation.

“In a dramatic letter to village council, councillor Garry Gunderson handed down his resignation hours before council’s regular meeting. The resignation followed an article published in the Duncan Citizen newspaper which revealed the Lake Cowichan Ratepayers’ Association had reported suspicions to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs over some business deals between Gunderson and the Village of Lake Cowichan. Despite an investigation by Fred Thompson, deputy inspector of municipalities, Thompson did not call for a public inquiry.”

40 years ago

Tragic news this day 40 years ago according to the Lake News of April 15, 1981.

“A 14-year-old Victoria boy was killed Monday when he was struck by a car driven by his 16-year-old brother, police said Tuesday. Another person, a passenger in the car, also was killed. Steen Bendston, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was walking along Meade Creek Road when he was struck by a car driven by his brother, Tom Bendston, at about 5:10 p.m., police said.

“The name of the second victim, a Victoria male, was being withheld until relatives were notified.”

Police were investigating the cause of the accident. Maybe future editions will tell us what happened.

Also 40 years ago this week, a freak snow storm dumped “nearly 14.5 cm (nearly six inches) of snow on the Cowichan Lake area, catching early risers, motorists, gardeners and B.C. Hydro by surprise.

“District residents awoke to find the first April snow since 1975, when a barely recordable two centimetres fluttered down to dust the tulips on April 3.”

And finally, “gone are the days when two ambulances were squeezed into cramped quarters behind the fire trucks at the municipal hall, and strictly volunteer drivers and attendants operated the facilities. The Lake Cowichan ambulance service is now based at the old Lake Cowichan ranger station, which means there is lots of room to park the vehicles and a big building that will serve a variety of purposes. Keith Chance has been hired as permanent ambulance worker by the medical Services Commission and having finished a six-week training course in Vancouver, is tackling the job of getting Lake Cowichan’s revamped service running smoothly.”


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