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
Teaching job cuts were on the school district’s radar according to the April 25, 2012 edition of the Lake News. Or at least it looked that way.
“School board directs finance committee to build restorative budget” was the headline and the story and it went like this:
“Duncan Brown, a local school trustee and representative on the District 79 school board, says that even within the proposed budget, which has been sent to the district’s finance committee to be costed, there are approximately 17 teaching positions that will have to be cut in the Cowichan district next year. The restorative budget is an effort by board members to reinstate and enhance services that have already been lost over the last 10 years.”
It was risky though, as “Brown says the board could be fired by the province, but he is confident this will not happen.
“Trustee Cathy Schmidt, isn’t on side with the plan to present the ministry with a restorative budget, and says the risk is too high.”
Street vendors were on town council’s radar in the same paper.
“Council is trying to figure out what to do about the inevitable street vendors who make their way into town during the summer months,” the story began. “‘Being as this is a small town, council does not see the logic in charging vendors $30,000 to set up a hot dog stand’,” said Councillor Bob Day.
“’We are sort of at a crossroads — the whole table actually — in thinking ‘is it fair for somebody to go out into the street and sell a hot dog and a coffee in Saywell Park,’ because all the other coffee shops aren’t afforded that,’ says Day. Local businesses, much like the many other small communities on Vancouver Island, rely on summer customers and Day says that it is not fair to these established businesses to watch sales decline because of street vendors.”
25 years ago
“Suspect nabbed by police dog” likely got a lot of attention on page 2 of the April 30, 1997 Lake News 25 years ago.
“A suspect running from Sooke RCMP, wound up faced with Lake Cowichan RCMP on the Port Renfrew logging road, where the suspect escaped on foot to be later tracked down by a police dog, Const. Mike Cain of the Lake Cowichan RCMP said. Early Monday morning, Sooke RCMP responded to an alarm in a business in Sooke. Police arrested two suspects but one escaped with a stolen 1983 Toyota van. The suspect headed towards the Port Renfrew logging roads and was intercepted by members of the Lake Cowichan detachment. At that time the suspect vehicle lost control and the suspect left the vehicle, attempting to make an escape on foot.”
The man was eventually apprehended by a police dog called in from Nanaimo.
And what’s an April newspaper without a tax story? This time it was bad news.
“We warned you it was coming, and it has, and again…it’s bad news for business. Council has approved a residential property tax increase of 5.9 per cent and a commercial property tax increase of anywhere between 11.24 per cent to over 16 over cent. These increases on residential property mean on an average home worth $123,000 taxes will increase by $56.”
Can you believe the average home in Lake Cowichan was only $123,000 just 25 years ago? Incredible!
“On commercial properties the increase could be anywhere from $130.30 to over $1,000.”
40 years ago
It was the same news 40 years ago as it was 10, as the Lake News reported in its April 28, 1982 edition that “Teacher cutbacks [were] feared.”
Let’s learn more:
“A representative of the Lake Cowichan Teachers’ Association had asked the school board finance committee to ensure that the school district not trim the budget by reducing teacher jobs. Gary Gunderson said at the April 20 meeting of the finance committee that he had looked over the analysis of the 1982 budget and had seen that there were differences between the amounts budgeted under the various ‘benefits for employees’ sections. Some were actually budgeted for less than the amount spent last year, he said.
“Gunderson said he thought the board might have to opt for a reduction of a teacher to pay for benefits that weren’t properly budgeted for in the first place — something he didn’t want to see.”
Assistant secretary-treasurer Lawrence White agreed that “‘we should have picked up that they were under budgeted,’ adding that the increase in demand for benefits offered by the district had resulted because female employees were using their benefit package now that their husbands were out of work.”
Why were the men out of work you wonder?
In the same edition, “Youbou mill shutdown seen this summer” gives us a big hint.
“Workers at B.C. Forest Products’ Youbou sawmill will be given an unwanted summer holiday this year as poor markets force the mill to close for a period during July and August. Mill manager Spence Brigden said Monday that the veneer plant will be shut down for three weeks starting July 19 and the sawmill for two weeks starting July 26.
According to Brigden, poor markets for lumber are definitely the cause of the closure.