‘Santa at the Co-op was a big success with not only small children, but even his helpers had a big kiss for him, for the job he does so well. Sitting on Santa’s knee is Kimberly Knott (left) and Nina Padjen (right).” (Lake News, Dec. 20, 1995)

‘Santa at the Co-op was a big success with not only small children, but even his helpers had a big kiss for him, for the job he does so well. Sitting on Santa’s knee is Kimberly Knott (left) and Nina Padjen (right).” (Lake News, Dec. 20, 1995)

Flashback: Vandals, a new pub, and development delays

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

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

“Van smashes into the front of Youbou’s Mini Mart” was the top story in the Dec. 22, 2010 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“Precautionary measures at the Youbou Mini Mart helped prevent the theft of an ATM’s contents, during the early hours of Sunday, Dec. 5. During this time, the driver of a van that had been stolen from Chemainus drove through the front of the store, causing considerable damage to the front of the building.”

“They went for the ATM, but it was empty and open so they didn’t take anything,” cashier Juanita Thompson said. A loud alarm sounded immediately after the loud crash, alerting neighbours two-fold as to the break in. The prospective thieves became simple vandals, as they weren’t awarded enough time to grab anything, upon finding nothing in the ATM.

If that wasn’t bad enough, vandals got to Christmas lights in town as well!

“Upon investigating why the Christmas lights on the Kaatza Station Museum’s locomotive were not working, Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce Visitor Business Centre coordinator Katherine Worsley discovered that they’d been tinkered with. She found that one section of the lights had been cut through cleanly — likely with wire cutters. The automatic timer that controls when the lights go on was also tampered with. Oddly, it wasn’t destroyed or taken. Instead, mischief-makers switched it off.”

What Grinchs!

25 years ago

The front of the Dec. 20, 1995 Lake News bore good news for Honeymoon Bay and the area overall as “the workingest man in town says the Cutthroat Tavern in Honeymoon Bay will be open May 1.” Hey, it’s not exactly a gift in time for Christmas but the news of an opening date was good.

“The workingest man in town is, of course, John Rotenburger, who says he likes working. ‘It beats watching Oprah,’ he puts it laconically. He is the operator of Sturgess Place, finished not long ago as a tourist lodge. John did much of the work himself as well as working on the suites he operates as an overflow from Sturgess Place. They’re back of Dr. Egan’s former office on South Shore.”

The part of the story I liked best is this: “Incidentally, Sturgess Place may have had more Christmas lights than any other place in town. Rotenburger said it took him seven hours to put them up. Sure, he did it himself.”

Also on the front page of the Dec. 20, 1995 Lake News, was a piece about the Cowichan Valley Regional Directors voting on a pay cut.

“Newly re-elected chairman to the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Joe Allan, stunned directors at last week’s meeting with his recommendation of remuneration cuts to directors and his announcement of restructuring committees. Allan estimates remuneration cuts to directors would save an additional $145,000. And nearly $30,000 would be saved per year by restructuring meetings.”

I wonder how that turned out? We may find out as we comb through future editions of the Lake News.

40 years ago

With Dec. 17, 1980 Lake News headlines like “BCDC queries industrial park need” and “Police want hurry-up action on building site” and “Merchants demand action on parking violations” you’d hardly know it was the holiday season in Lake Cowichan. It was, but the Kids Kitchen cookie class took a back seat to hard news in this edition.

“The British Columbia Development Corporation may back out of any involvement in developing an industrial park here, a corporation executive warned this week. And small businessmen in the Cowichan Lake area whose hopes for a local industrial park have been kicked around like a football may find themselves out of luck — and at least in one case, out of money.”

Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good.

“Peter Breeks, vice president of the B.C. Development Corporation, which provides funds for the development of such facilities as industrial parks, said Monday that, since the Meade Creek industrial park project seems stalled permanently because the land is now unavailable, BCDC must ‘re-evaluate’ its position.”

In other news, “School District 66 has been told that if it doesn’t get moving on the land swap with the village, or property at South Shore and King George Streets, the RCMP, who have been trying to get a property for a new police station, will look elsewhere.

“The land, which was first proposed as a potential site for a police station under Mayor Bert Brown’s village plan a few years ago, has been unavailable for development because the school board and the village council have been wrangling over a place to put the school district maintenance shop.”

And finally, it looks like the all-day parking on South Shore was drawing the ire of merchants.

“Mayor Ken Douglas told Lake Cowichan Village council at its Dec. 9 meeting that he has had complaints from merchants about all-day parking on South Shore Road. He said he plans to discuss the situation with merchants and with the RCMP before suggesting any action to council. Co-operation from the police is necessary if any plans for parking restrictions are to be successful, he said, noting that without co-operation, bylaws couldn’t be enforced.”


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