Dignitaries gather at Lake Cowichan’s 50th annivesary in 1994. Moe Sihota (provincial environment minister), left, Jan Pullinger (MLA), Earle Darling (mayor of Lake Cowichan), Toshikinyi Tatabayashi (mayor of Ohtaki) are all part of breakfast where Sihota handed over Lakeview Park to the village of Lake Cowichan. (Lake News file photo)

Flashback: Library concerns, a new park and new seniors plans

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas 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:

“Library users concerned about cut in provincial funding,” was the worrying headline in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Aug. 26, 2009.

The library in Lake Cowichan is a well-used and well-loved facility. Let’s read the story.

“Yvonne Dillon of Youbou has an armful of books. As an avid reader, she’s at the library in Lake Cowichan quite often.

“’I think the libraries any-where are a treasure,’ said Dillon. ‘They provide so many resources for young and old.’

“When told about the provincial government’s 22 per cent funding cut to libraries, announced on Friday, Dillon admitted she’s con- cerned. Last year the provincial government provided $1.4 million in funding to Vancouver Island Regional Library, which include the Lake Cowichan branch. A 22 per cent cut translates into $308,000.

“The bulk of VIRL funding comes from municipal and regional governments.

“’The money that goes to the libraries is an investment in the future,’ said Dillon. ‘The staff here is very helpful and so friendly. I hope it doesn’t cost any jobs.’

“Other library users are also worried about the impact of the funding cut. Brandon Riopka was at the library on Friday night to take his children to the Whiz Bang Show at the library, put on by science teacher Glenn Kachmar of Victoria. The show was part of the wind up for the summer reading program.

“’I’m a real supporter of reading,’ said Riopka, who added that he is always reading to his kids, including his infant baby. ‘We take advantage of the reading club, take out books all the time and movies. I think it would be a big shame for families if anything for children gets cut because of this.”

25 years ago:

“Village to get Lakeview Park at last” roared the big headline in The Lake News of Aug. 24, 1994.

“Moe Sihota, Lake Cowichan’s currently best-known native son, has got us Lakeview Park as a 50th anniversary gift. He made the announcement in conjuction with Jan Pullinger MLA at Breakfast on the Town Saturday, drawing hearty applause. He was guest of honour. Later, he and Pullinger rode in the parade.

“Sihota, Minister of the Environment, Lands, and Parks, was born in 1955 to a family living here.

“He said the provincial government and the village are working out final details of the 15-hectare land gift, which is expected to include the park and part of the foreshore of Lake Cowichan.

“Up to now the entire area has been Crown land. Until 1991 it was leased by the village but in that year the lease was terminated. The park has been promised to the village ever since but no action was taken until now.

“Sihota told The Lake News that he asked his staff: ‘What can we do for Lake Cowichan for its 50th? This is what they came up with.

“‘It means a lot to me,’ he said. ‘When I leave office, it will be one of the things I’ll be very satisfied about.’

“The exact area and its boundaries to be given to Lake Cowichan will be worked out over the next few months.”

40 years ago:

The Wednesday, Aug. 22 issue of The Lake News announced via the front page “Seniors home gets new lease on life”.

Apparently, a government grant was in the offing for a complex that had been shelved for more than a year. Let’s find out.

“A letter received here from Pat Grove, assistant regional manager of the ministry of lands, parks and housing, appears to have revived the interest of volunteer clubs.

“Kiwanis president George Webster said that the letter indicated that the federal and provincial governments had reached agreement after a long period of bargaining over, among other things, how each government would participate in financially supporting such a project.

“The Kiwanis Club, jointly with the Lions and Kinsmen, had formed the Cowichan Lake Senior Citizens Housing Society and Webster, its chairman, Monday expressed optimism with the latest government communication.

“Grove was scheduled to speak to the society membership today (Wednesday, Aug. 22) and Webster said he anticipated an announcement that would spur the local group to new assessment of the viability of such a centre.

“The proposed complex, based on plans made a month ago, would provide 16 self-contained units on a 2-3 lot site in downtown Lake Cowichan.

“The home, which would cost more than $500K, would be comprised of 12 single apartments and four for double occupancy, and would be in the area of 7,000 square feet in size.

“Webster said there was a real need for such a home here with about 75 elderly people who might be considered and, at this time, about 15-20 who would qualify immediately.”

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