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Flashback: Paving, byelection, drugs and booze, and one lucky dog

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area
“It used to be floating on Cowichan Lake, but now Ben’s Marina Restaurant is beached for good. The restaurant has been pulled in and may be used for storage or another purpose. Over the weekend crews with heavy equipment pulled the floating restaurant out of the Lake, loaded onto a flatbed truck and taken to Sa-SeenOs Point Bed and Breakfast. The restaurant was once one of the most popular spots on Cowichan Lake.” (Lake News, Oct. 22, 1997)

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

An election was slated for Nov. 2013 according to the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Oct. 17, 2012.

“On Oct. 11, Minister of Education, Don McRae announced that there will be an election in November of 2013 for a new board for School District 79. The decision comes, perhaps not surprisingly, after mayor and council from the Town of Lake Cowichan presented an emergency resolution to members of the Union of B.C. Municipalities at an annual meeting in Victoria on Sept. 28. This resolution asked that the UBCM petition the province to issue a ministerial order for elections to be conducted in a local government where vacancies are caused by ministerial intervention. In a telephone interview, Min. McRae explained that he would like to see a democratically elected board reengaged in the district.”

From delayed byelections to put-off public works, “South Shore paving has been delayed until early 2013” the paper also noted.

“On Oct. 12, Mayor Ross Forrest announced that the awaited paving of South Shore Road has had to be postponed until sometime in early 2013. He says that the tender for the project was put out late by the ministry, ‘and now it’s getting kind of late because now the weather is changing of course.’ The town has been working closely with the ministry to decide the next best plan of action. ‘The plan now is we’re going to begin early in the new year. There will be a roundabout built, and then [the road will be] paved,’ said Forrest. The paving is to be completed as soon as the paving season starts, meaning once the weather turns dry again.”

25 years ago

The front of the Oct. 22, 1997 Lake News featured a giant photo of Ben’s Marina Restaurant, that was removed from the lake for good. Onto the second page of the paper we go in search for news of 25 years ago…

There was just one story on page two but it’s a story about a group of kids working together to promote change so I think it’s a good one to share.

“State of tennis courts unacceptable, say students” was the headline.

“Approximately 16 LCSS students have written to Town Council complaining and requesting something be done with the tennis courts in the town of Lake Cowichan. Council will refer the problem to the Official Community Plan Committee and review a previous report of the tennis courts.

“Mayor Jean Brown said that this problem with the tennis courts is not a new one. “I find this interesting. As long as I have been on council there has been (this) problem, but there have not been the funds,” Mayor Brown said. Councillor Hazel Beech suggested, half-handed, that the Town raise the money to fix the courts by charging the students to use the courts. She said that since the School District is going to start charging for the use of their facilities next year, then maybe the Town should do the same.”

40 years ago

“Funding sought: Drug, booze use ‘community concern’” was one of many front page stories in the Oct. 20, 1982 edition of the Lake News.

Staff writer Lexi Bainas had the scoop.

“The problem of alcohol and drug abuse can best be solved by community action, a panel of experts told a packed house at Stanley Gordon School Thursday night. A crowd of 80-90 people jammed the school library to learn about the problem and ask questions. The Cowichan Lake Lions Club, which organized the meeting, had gathered a panel of policemen, counsellors, a probation officer and others. After hearing the speeches and listening to the answers to questions, the audience decided to apply for funding for a program to combat drug and alcohol abuse in the Lake Cowichan area.”

Right beside the “drug and alcohol problem” story was one titled “Dog with nine lives gives surprise birth to 4 pups”.

I thought it was cats that had nine lives? We’ll find out as we read on:

“A golden retriever had shown that cats aren’t the only ones with nine lives. Dogs are survivors, too. Sheena, a nine-year-old purebred beauty owned by Cindy Margetisch of Skutz Falls, suffered an accident in June but is recovering now, thanks to many operations on her legs and back.

“A tree blew down onto her, breaking both legs and tearing open the flesh on the back of her neck. Sheena was one week pregnant at the time and veterinarian Dr. Patricia Henry said last week that she hadn’t expected the pregnancy to continue after the serious injury and the operations.

“Sheena had other ideas. As Dr. Henry and her assistant carried her back and forth during the ensuing weeks, the dog seemed to get heavier and heavier.

“Dr. Henry quipped that she thought she was getting weaker because she found the dog harder to carry.

“Finally, 10 weeks ago, Sheena produced a litter of four pups. Three of them have survived.”

Sheena was an older dog, by golden retriever standards, so it took her longer to heal, and the vet said she would never fully recover.

“Dr. Patricia Henry soothes Sheena, who is recovering from an accident while puppy Ben snuggles in close.” (Lake News, Oct. 20, 1982)

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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