“Mayor Ken Douglas throws first pitch to open upper Island Little League tournament here on Saturday while Barry Wilson, president of Cowichan Lake Little League offers smiling encouragement. The throw was a strike, the Ump said.” (Lake News, July 22, 1981)

“Mayor Ken Douglas throws first pitch to open upper Island Little League tournament here on Saturday while Barry Wilson, president of Cowichan Lake Little League offers smiling encouragement. The throw was a strike, the Ump said.” (Lake News, July 22, 1981)

Lake Cowichan Flashback: Water safety, the blame game, an MLA dies

A dive into 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

With summer arriving, water safety was the big news on the front page of the July 13, 2011 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“With hoards of tourists and locals alike taking to water activities on Cowichan Lake, it’s important to keep safety in the back of one’s mind. That’s the message visiting Burnaby water safety advocates Christine Schroeder and Mandy Arbuckle had to impart during a tour of Cowichan Lake, Saturday, July 9.

“Our mandate is to get people boating safely,” Arbuckle said, before setting out on a day-long trip around Cowichan Lake to pass on pearls of wisdom to boaters enjoying the late onset of summer weather.

The rules?

• Have the proper safety equipment on board

• Carry proper documentation

• Know and adhere to the drinking and boating laws.

Whether it’s a decade ago or today, these tips are still applicable.

In other news in the same paper, the smart meter debate was heating up.

In addition to the Town of Lake Cowichan’s recent decision to back a moratorium request on BC Hydro’s smart meters, three other municipalities have sent moratorium requests.

“We’re getting new people on board every day, and the number is now in the thousands,” local health advocate Mary Lowther said.

“Those to sign moratorium requests thus far are Colwood, Salt Spring, New Denver, and Lake Cowichan. Lowther’s also met with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, which has yet to make a decision. The underlying concern with the smart meters is with their radiation, in the form of radio waves that transmit information, rather than having meter readers check them.”

25 years ago

The cover of the July 10, 1996 Lake News featured some finger pointing between a mill owner and the local MLA.

“Cowichan/Ladysmith MLA Jan Pullinger says she is hoping for a long term answer for local shake and shingle nails which had to shut down operations by July 1.

“The two mills affected by the government ban on beehive burners, Quenco Cedar and Confederate Shake and Shingle, have had to lay off 14 employees collectively July 1, which was the deadline set for the mills to stop burning wood waste. Pullinger said she’s expecting the mills to be contacted shortly by Doug Kelsey, Jobs’ Commissioner, who is looking for a long term answer for the mills so they can begin operating again.

“Despite a comment made in a Duncan newspaper that no more extensions will be given, Pullinger says she has handed the whole thing over to Kelsey and there should be communication shortly with the two mills.

Roger Eldred (Confederate mill owner) “was fuming last week after reading the article in a Duncan newspaper which quoted Pullinger as saying the two mills are now paying the price for their bosses’ inability to find another way to deal with the wood waste.

“Eldred along with one of his employees took offence to the comment, stating that Pullinger was blaming the mill bosses for laying them off.

“I’m not pointing blame at anyone. It’s a fact isn’t it? They were unable to find an alternative. I’m just pointing out a fact,” Pullinger said.

40 years ago

The July 8 edition didn’t exist in 1980 as the paper’s staff took the week off. I couldn’t find the July 15 edition, so we’ll look at the July 22 edition for a couple of weeks it seems!

It was a big news week according to the July 22, 1981 Lake News, with lots of front page stories to report.

“Sports weekend brings hundreds here” was one of the headlines as “Lake Cowichan sports fans have been in clover this week with two top-level tournaments taking place simultaneously.”

(What does ‘have been in clover’ mean? I’ll have to ask Lexi Bainas. She’ll know.)

“Little League teams from five up-Island centres are in town to compete with the Cowichan Lake area all stars for the right to represent the upper Island region in the B.C. Little League Championships. Meanwhile at the Lake Cowichan Water ski Club facilities at Lakeview Park, July 18 and 19, 52 top waterskiiers were competing in the B.C. provincial championships.”

Also, not so pleasant news as a long time NDP MLA Bob Strachan died at 67.

“Strachan, who was first elected for Cowichan-Malahat constituency in 1952, was party leader for years until his retirement in 1968 as leader” but he continued on as MLA until 1975. “He was instrumental in setting up the Insurance Corporation of B.C. while serving as highways minister in 1972 under Dave Barrett’s leadership.”


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