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
Under the annual Youbou Regatta front page swim photo, the headline of the Aug. 17, 2011 Lake Cowichan Gazette read: “Gas tax funding of $367,000 comes in for eco-friendly parking lot” and the story went as follows:
“If Joni Mitchell had seen the parking lot proposed for the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, she may have changed her tune. Last week, it was announced that the Union of BC Municipalities has approved a $367,000 gas tax grant to help put in an eco-friendly parking lot at the arena. ‘We’re trying to do a green renovation,’ Cowichan Valley Regional District Area F (Cowichan Lake South/ Skutz Falls) director Ian Morrison said, of the project. ‘Where does the storm drainage go? Into the river. We will go weeks without rain. So, if we have cars dumping pollutants and get a mid-August rain, it’ll all go right into the water system.’
“With state of the art oil catchments and a rain garden component, nothing of questionable content will flow out of the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena’s renovated parking lot, once it’s complete. Morrison’s brain child, the proposed project went through some ups and downs earlier this year, after the project was not found on a list of approved funding items. With the funding now set in stone, it’s hoped that the parking lot construction can begin as soon as possible.”
Another noteworthy story was on page 3, though, entitled “Gnomes have a night on the town”.
“Some early morning shenanigans had a group of 17 garden gnomes make their way to Lake Cowichan’s roundabout, at King George Street. The unusual activity took place during the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 7, during which time pranksters stole the lawn ornaments, presumably from more than one property, and placed them on the roundabout. ‘We have nobody that has claimed them yet,’ Lake Cowichan RCMP Cpl. Warren Potter said. There are some clues, however. According to the writing on the head of one of the gnomes, it was a gift from a grandparent to a granddaughter named Amber, in 2008. The gnome collection also includes all seven of Disney’s seven dwarfs; Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy. Lake Cowichan RCMP hope to reunite the gnomes with their owner(s).”
25 years ago
Gosh, of the three front page stories that made up the Aug. 21, 1996 Lake News, none of them were good news.
First up was “arson truck fire ‘potential bomb’”.
“There have been nine fire alarms in three days with some of those fires believed to have been deliberately set. One such fire, fire chief Dick Newman is calling a ‘potential bomb’. The fire was started in a flat bed truck, beside Lakeview Apartments. According to Newman, there were also gasoline cans in the truck.”
Sure glad it didn’t blow up!
Up next was “Tragedy strikes 12-year-old girl”.
“A young girl visiting here from Coquitlam died last Tuesday in circumstances yet to be fully understood. The preliminary autopsy results show that Melanie Diesing had viral myocarditis, (virus of the heart) but nothing more is known and police say nothing is being ruled out.
“‘She was outside with other relatives and they were all ready to go inside when the girl just collapsed,’ Sgt. Merchant said. He added that Melanie had complained earlier in the evening that she had a headache and didn’t feel very well.”
And finally, there was a 16-hour black out for ambulance service on the coast.
“Due to staff shortages, this Wednesday there will be a 16-hour blackout of ambulance services in Port Renfrew.”
The story went on to note that it “could take about an hour to come from Lake Cowichan or Sooke” and that it was “the second time this month that staff shortages will cause a blackout of ambulance services in that area.”
40 years ago
“Fender-bender argument leads to death, murder charge” was the big story on the front of the Aug. 19, 1981 Lake News.
“A minor traffic accident on Greendale Road Friday, Aug. 14 led to the death of one Lake Cowichan man and a charge of murder against another. Eric Eugene Erickson, 67, was killed in a fight near Little Beach about 11:15 p.m. according to police. John Carl Shirley, 18, has been charged with second degree murder, police said.”
And finally, it looks like there might be an end to that forest industry workers strike that’s lingered in these pages of history for so long.
The workers “could be back to work weeks earlier than feared when a province-wide strike was launched six weeks ago amid speculation it could be one of the industry’s worst. Following a breakthrough in negotiations, Forest Industrial Relations has reached agreements with two forest industry unions — the 48,000 member International Woodworkers of America and the 7,000 member Canadian Paperworkers Union. Only the 5,500 member Pulp and Paperworkers of Canada is balking at the industry offer. The industry is hoping to re-open Aug. 24. “