“Baby Eli, an abandoned Russian orphan, in the arms of his new Mesachie Lake Mom who went to pick up Baby Eli in Russia last week, is feeling right at home with his mom and grandma here. The question however which persists in many people’s minds is what about the other children left behind. (Lake News, June 4, 1997)

“Baby Eli, an abandoned Russian orphan, in the arms of his new Mesachie Lake Mom who went to pick up Baby Eli in Russia last week, is feeling right at home with his mom and grandma here. The question however which persists in many people’s minds is what about the other children left behind. (Lake News, June 4, 1997)

Flashback: NIMBY neighbours, Russian orphans, fires and pesticides

A look back at the history of 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

“Public meeting covers familiar ground” said editor Tamu Miles on the front of the June 6, 2012 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

What was it that was so familiar? Seems to be a little NIMBYism.

At a public meeting May 28 that year, “residents and local business owners, there were approximately 34 in attendance, again voiced concerns over derelict buildings and properties — both commercial and residential — the town’s revitalization plans, and the need for a beach access in Lake Cowichan.

“’It seemed that everybody that spoke up, it was all about their neighbour’s lawn, their neighbour’s house and that message was coming out really strong,’ says Day. There is a fine line with bylaw enforcements though. Day feels that there needs to be room, to a certain degree, to live and let live within the community. However, because this is an issue that so many feel so strongly about he does say that ‘maybe it’s time to tighten the screws and step back and take another look.’

“Both Day and Forrest said they suggested that those frustrated with neighbours who are not keeping up with house or property maintenance take into consideration that some of these people may not be able to keep up for a variety of reasons. These include age, disability, finances etc. They also stated, yet again, that there is a need for residents and business owners to talk with those property owners they feel are not keeping up with the maintenance of their properties or buildings.

In other news of the day, it seemed there was support from the community for the Cowichan School District’s controversial “restorative budget”.

“‘We are well aware Victoria could choose to appoint a ministry trustee to continue the cutbacks. However, we believe there is plenty of opportunity to reach an agreement with Victoria and we are ready to sit with the Ministry of Education to further this aim,’ the district said. ‘We are hopeful the provincial government will recognize our restoration budget is a measured response to bleak learning conditions created by under-funding.’”

25 years ago

Baby Eli flew from Russia to his new home with his mom Brenda Johnson in Mesachie Lake this week 25 years ago. The 22-month-old had been adopted from a Russian orphanage.

This was the front page story in the Lake New’s June 4, 1997 edition.

“It’s easy to feel overjoyed for this beautiful little boy — who only knew the inside of a Russian orphanage up to a week ago, who had only been outside twice in his short life, who never felt rain on his face — and who had never known the taste of animal crackers.

“Watching Baby Eli, freely, running through the little house in Mesachie Lake — running at his mother with his arms open — flinging himself at her for a hug — then a kiss — and then a tickling game, it’s hard to believe they have only been mother and son for one week.”

In other news of the day, “Witnesses to vandalism chase and hold suspect until police arrive”.

Yikes!

“When witnesses heard the smashing of windows they ran outside to see two suspects which they chased over the foot bridge by the duck pond while a third witness called police. The witnesses have requested that their names not be reported. Lake Cowichan RCMP arrived on the scene where they charged one young person. The second person got away — the suspects split up.

“Shop owners are becoming more and more angry in the area over vandalism, and many of them are no longer silent bystanders, and, will in this case, take measures to catch the culprits.”

40 years ago

The Lake News of June 2, 1982 featured a story about a fire at a Beaver Lake mill.

“A fire at the R & R mill at Beaver Lake Saturday, May 25 roared out of control over about one and a half hectares of lumber piled in the mill yard about 5:30 p.m. and damaged a small amount of brush standing nearby. There has been no indication yet of what caused the fire but Sid Sykes of the B.C. Forest Service said Tuesday that he thought it might have started in the lumber piles themselves.”

According to fire crews, it took about four hours to put the fire out.

“Also in the news of the day, Lake Cowichan village council will lodge three protests concerning a pesticide permit issued to Canadian Pacific Railway for spraying along its tracks. The decision was made at the May 25 council meeting after the mayor and aldermen had listened to a presentation on the subject by Ald. Don Gordon. Gordon chronicled an extensive list of calls he had made in an attempt to find out something about the spraying that CP Rail would be doing in this area. Once he actually found the permit, he discovered that it was posted on private property, in apparent contravention of the orders from the Pesticide Control Branch, he said. After tracking down information about the chemical in question, he said, he discovered that it can remain where it had been sprayed for up to two years.”

Haphazard HistoryLake Cowichan

 

”Round and round they go. Smaller children, including one assisted by a mother, circle a table in preparation to grabbing a treat during a ‘cupcake walk’ at the Stanley Gordon School Fun Fair, Thursday. Organizations had set this classroom as a special ‘Kiddies Room’ with games for younger children, including ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ and a fish pond. Other classrooms were used for bingo and a concession.” (Lake News June 2, 1982)

”Round and round they go. Smaller children, including one assisted by a mother, circle a table in preparation to grabbing a treat during a ‘cupcake walk’ at the Stanley Gordon School Fun Fair, Thursday. Organizations had set this classroom as a special ‘Kiddies Room’ with games for younger children, including ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ and a fish pond. Other classrooms were used for bingo and a concession.” (Lake News June 2, 1982)

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