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Flashback: No Great Lake Walk, garbage dumping, new un-union

A look back at the history of the 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

“Great Lake Walk cancelled for second year in a row” was a headline that disappointed some, but not enough to change the fate of the event, according to the March 26, 2014 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“The Great Lake Walk is seemingly at the end of the road. For the second year in a row, the event has been cancelled and society stalwarts are fearing it may never happen again.

“‘We just haven’t had the numbers we need, in terms of people registering and coming out for it,’ said Great Lake Walk Society chair Joan Hieta. ‘I think it has ran its course.’ The event was a 56-kilometre walk starting at Youbou Community Hall and participants would then walk or run around Lake Cowichan and finish at the community hall in the town. It happened on the third Sunday of September each year but was also cancelled back in 2013.”

A chemical composter was on council’s minds a decade ago according to the same edition.

“The idea of a chemical composter for the Town of Lake Cowichan could become a reality, if not this year then next. Town staff has already begun primary research into the machine called the BIOvator which converts organic waste into compost.

“Mayor Ross Forrest still wants numerous questions answered before going ahead with the purchase, but is an admirer of the concept.

“‘There’s a few questions in terms of operating costs, acquiring property, how much land we would need if it’s an acre or two acres. I’d hate to go in and rush without looking at other municipalities who say it doesn’t work. We have to do our homework. It’s a big investment,’ said the mayor.”

25 years ago

“Pajama Game hits the stage” was the front page story of the March 31, 1999 edition of the Lake News.

“LCSS students and staff pulled it off again — a superb performance; the caliber of talent far above what one expects from a school performance. The Pajama Game, running nearly three hours is a high energy play commanding a great number of song and dance routines. The choreography in this play is exceptional and while the level of singing and acting talent deserve mention it was the number of dance routines and the skill at which they were performed which seemed to dominate this production.”

Also of note in that particular newspaper, “As was feared, the closing of the Meade Creek incinerator has led to the dumping of garbage in forests.”

“Coun. Jack Peake told council that ‘it is appalling what is happening.’ People are dumping garbage on the incinerator road just past where the incinerator was for 23 years. Cowichan Lake Road is another dumping ground for garbage. Sgt. Gerry Poitras, RCMP, said that some tickets have been issued for dumping garbage but ‘it’s only a $58 ticket’.”

Also in the Lake News of March 31, 1999, it turns out that the Lake Cowichan seniors centre wasn’t the only operation hit by RCMP following up on complaints of illegal gambling.

“The Gaming Commission has changed its headquarters to Nanaimo from Victoria and there is a new person in charge. Among operations checked were the Honeymoon Bay bingo, the Seniors Centre, the Elks Club and pubs that operate VLTs.”

40 years ago

Here’s an odd one from the March 28, 1984 edition of the Lake News:

“Un-worker un-serious about new un-union”:

“A Lake Cowichan couple is tackling the union-non-union controversy by forming UNUW a union for non-union workers. Paul Mouscos and Laura Van Gent have said that the start-up day for her association is April 1 — a significant date. ‘It’s half a joke and half serious,’ Van Gent said Thursday. ‘I’ve got five members already.’

“Anyone who decides to Join UNUW must pay a $5 membership fee for which he or she will receive a union card and possibly a newsletter.

“She said she got the idea because of all the problems between workers recently — plus the fact that April Fool’ Day is approaching. ‘I couldn’t get a job so I thought I’d made one for myself’.”

In more serious news of the day, “$16 MILLION AT STAKE: Forest companies avoid high taxes” was the headline.

“Area forest companies will pay less tax in 1985 after winning a $16.3 million reduction in the assessed value of their forest land. This dramatic decrease in the value of taxable assessments in regional areas ‘F’ and ‘I’ has prompted the Cowichan Valley Regional District board of directors to investigate what its effect will be on the district. The changes occurred because forest companies — particularly Pacific Forest Products — were given permission by the forests minister, to change large parcels of forest land to tree farm classification. Changes in Area ‘F’ were the greatest. This huge district, which covers the area from Riverbottom Road north and south of the highway up the village of Lake Cowichan and south of Cowichan Lake all the way out to Nitinat Lake includes a great deal of forest land.”

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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