Skip to content

Flashback: Regional recreation, Lake Days goes country, milestone tree planted

A look back at the history of the Cowichan Lake area
“It’s a busy lifestyle for Tianna Lefebvre (left), Rick Tippe (Right) and Patricia Conroy leading up to Lake Days. Both Tippe and Lefebvre are in Vancouver as they have been nominated for awards at the B.C. Country Music Association. Both will be attending the awards then coming to Lake Days.” (Lake News/June 9, 1999)

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

It’s hard to oppose the purchase of a fire truck.

“Town to borrow money to purchase new rescue truck” was the front page story in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of June 4, 2014 and nobody was complaining.

“The Town of Lake Cowichan will be borrowing money in order to complete the purchase of a new rescue truck to be used by the Lake Cowichan Fire Department. The truck costs $347,855.50 and the town has already paid a deposit of $109,669 on that price. A further $110,000 will come out of the fire department equipment reserve fund to pay it down, thus the town will be borrowing a total of $144,859.55 to complete the purchase.

“‘In the Financial Plan for 2013-2017 the replacement of the rescue truck was approved,’ wrote the town’s director of finance Ronnie Gill in a letter to council last week. Gill’s letter was presented to council at last weeks regular council meeting at the town hall, where the table voted to go ahead with the borrowing unanimously.”

Regional recreation reared its ugly head on page 2 of the same paper a decade ago.

“Lake Cowichan wants usage based model for Sportsplex funding going” was the headline.

A group of Cowichan Lake locals recently indicated that they would like to see future funding of the Cowichan Sportsplex in Duncan be done so on a usage based spectrum. The indication came at a Cowichan Valley Regional District public presentation, carried out by the CVRD’s manager of corporate planning Jacob Ellis, at Centennial Hall last Monday.

“Cathy Wagner ended the presentation by saying to Ellis and the CVRD, ‘you guys are taking everything away from us, everything is in Duncan.’”

25 years ago

“A new twist for baby: Lake Days Goes Country and so will our baby contest” was the headline on page 2 of the Lake News of June 9, 1999.

“Yeehaw! Dust off those the cowboy booties, break out the snap button chaps and put down those bottles cuz Lake Days Goes Country. This year at the Lake Days Baby Contest there will be an additional award for the Country Cutie. One baby from each category who is dressed/costumed like a cowboy or cowgirl will be chosen as the Country Cutie.”

In other news of the day, “New buses will be on the CVRD system in September, Coun. Pat Foster promises. The Cowichan Lake run is still the second busiest on the system and in the first four months of the year carried 6,410 more passengers than last year.”

Also in the news briefs section, “Council approved a beer garden at Centennial Park on Lake Days Saturday, to be operated by the Apollos Hockey Club. The RCMP and Lake Days Committee are to be notified of the decision. Coun. Jack Peake said he didn’t think that a family festival fitted well with the beer garden. Mayor Jean Brown said she understood it was ‘strictly for funds. It makes more money than anything else they do’.”

40 years ago

Some 40 years ago this week the “Kinsmen mark[ed] 40th anniversary with wing-ding at Honeymoon Bay.” This, according to the June 6, 1984 edition of the Lake News.

Does anybody else think “wing-ding” should be put in headlines more often?

“Cowichan Lake Kinsmen will hold a reunion at Honeymoon Bay June 16 to celebrate their 40th anniversary of serving the district. Invitations have been sent to all former members asking them to attend the festivities which will include skits and reminiscing with old friends. ‘We’re expecting Kinsmen from all around the province,’ said Kinsmen Ken Yaeger, who is organizing the function for the club. The Kinsmen have been involved in many community services here over the years including starting an ambulance service and, in recent years, maintaining the Duck Pond swimming area and providing swimming lessons for local youngsters.”

On the union front, “CUPE, SD 66 reach new pact” was big news of the day.

“School District 66 has reached an agreement with its Canadian Union of Public Employees staff that has left the door open for further discussions on the subject of volunteer workers in the schools here. The one-year agreement, which keeps all CUPE staff at the same pay rates as last year, was announced June 4 by Mike Wasney, chairman of the School District 66 board of school trustees. The new contract includes a reworded clause covering volunteers which reads ‘community involvement in schools will be encouraged as long as it does not result in the displacement of staff, in whole or in part, who fall within the scope of the bargaining unit’.”

And finally, “20 million tree milestone” was a front page headline.

“B.C. Forest Products’ Caycuse division forestry crew will celebrate a significant milestone next week. Lloyd Kiss, forestry crew foreman, will plant the division’s 20 millionth tree Thursday, June 14. The tree will be planted in the Wilson Creek section of the Caycuse mainline — which is about 13 km southwest of Caycuse as the crow flies but much farther by meandering logging road. BCFP was the first company to introduce permanent forestry crews on tree farm licence land. The practice started at Caycuse back in 1943, when the division was still known as ‘Camp 6’.”

”A fine crop of beards is sported by members of the Cowichan Lake Kinsmen Club of 1958, who grew the chin lettuce for a centennial year contest. Group of ‘Century Sams’ includes (back row from left: Andy Olson, Don Grant, Phil Le Mare, Larry Reid and Andy Anderson; and (front row from left) Jim Gordon, Moe All and Tom Gordon. Local Kinsmen are celebrating 40 years in the Cowichan Lake district Saturday, June 16 with a reunion.” (Lake News/June 6, 1984)

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.
Read more