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Flashback: Roundabout art, naughty youth, fire danger at the community hall

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

News isn’t always glamorous. Especially local news. Case in point the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Nov. 13, 2013.

“Last chance for public input for roundabout ‘wow’ centrepiece” was the top headline on the front page. Yup, folks were being encouraged to have their say about traffic circle art.

The new roundabout at the intersection of North Shore and South Shore roads in Lake Cowichan is lacking a centrepiece, and the town is looking to the public for ideas, said Mayor Ross Forrest. “We’re asking for some public input on the centre of the roundabout, to see what they would like there,” said Forrest. “It’s sort of a mix around town right now; some people want a logging theme, some want a fishing theme, and some want a wildlife theme, so we figured we would let the public get involved in the decision.” The roadwork was done to improve safety, and make driving through town easier. It has also provided the town with an opportunity for eye-catching art. Council is undecided on what medium the piece will be done in, but councillors do know they want something that draws attention. “We’re not sure what it will be made of yet, we just want something that’s going to make a statement, so when tourists drive into Lake Cowichan, they say wow,” said Forrest. “Those themes speak volumes about Lake Cowichan. We’re looking for some type of statement piece.”

In the same edition was a short report of vehicle windows being smashed and a ring found that police wanted to get back to its owner.

Oh, small town life!

25 years ago

“No curfew to be set” despite youth being naughty around town, it was decided this time 25 years ago. So says the Lake News of Nov. 18, 1998.

“There will be no curfew set up nor any organized effort among businesses to boycott youth organizations in response to problems with young people. These were among the messages sent out at a community meeting called to develop solutions with some troubled youth in the community. Sgt. Poitras of the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment opened the meeting stating that the purpose to meet is to ‘develop solutions of problems perceived by some members of the community’. He stressed the word solutions adding that it was not a forum for complaints and gossip.”

Meanwhile, “Half the town turned out for Remembrance Day at the cenotaph at Central Park. It was the largest crowd in many years, well over 1,000 people. They heard Rev. Blyth Hughes, chaplain of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 210, say that ‘war is always to be abhorred except when there is no other way’. We have been ‘given a trust’, he said, to ensure the way of life of our children and our children’s children. It was a clear cool day with golden autumn sunshine as the parade swung along South Shore Road to the band of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Cowichan 744. There was the strongest contingent of Scouts and Guides in many years.”

40 years ago

“SD66 was on brink of teacher injunction” according to the Lake News of Nov. 16, 1983. “A ‘totally relieved’ school board chairman Jean Brown said Tuesday that the Lake Cowichan school board was in the process of seeking a court injunction to get striking teachers back into classrooms when an agreement was reached between the premier and the Solidarity Coalition. Brown, as chairman of School District 66 board of school trustees, said she was ‘relieved that we didn’t have to go that far. Once it goes into the courts. it’s out of our hands.’ The school board had been prepared to try for an injunction and had actually started proceedings Friday but the action had not been needed.”

And finally, costly renovations would be needed as “Community hall flunks fire marshall’s test”.

“Extensive and expensive renovations will be needed before Centennial Hall in Lake Cowichan meets provincial fire protection standards and Lake Cowichan village council plans to meet soon with the hall board to discuss the problem. Peggy Forrest, chairman of the hall board had asked that the regional fire commission send an inspector to check out the hall because concerns had been raised about its safety in case of fire.

“Lake Cowichan mayor Ken Douglas said, when discussing the report at the Nov. 8 council meeting, ‘they offer us a reasonable amount of time but they expect us to get these things done’.

“He suggested that the hall board be asked to meet with council so the situation could be discussed. Troughton said in his report that he found that the operational emergency lighting on the hall’s lower floor ‘would not illuminate both exits satisfactorily.’ There are no emergency lights on the upper floor level although the exit signs are illuminated, he said. There is only one alarm-pull station on the upper floor. It is located on the wall near the stage. There is no fire alarm bell on the upper level. Troughton said he tested the existing fire alarm Sept. 2 and found that it was not working….”

The list went on.

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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