Here, stored at Lake Cowichan’s RCMP station, are some of the marijuana plants and grow-op paraphernalia picked up in the February 2009 raid at a house in Youbou.

LAKE FLASHBACK: Big pot bust, big penny drive, and big storm: all the February news from the past

There was plenty going on at this time over the years; even John Ward was stonewalled by Victoria

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas 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:

“Police seize 385 pot plants in raid of Youbou house” is enough to catch the eye any day, and it sure did in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Feb. 11, 2009.

Let’s check out the story.

Police are recommending charges against a Youbou couple after the discovery of one of the biggest marijuana Cowichan Lake grow-ops in recent years. A raid on Jan. 29 resulted in the seizure of 385 large budding marijuana plants, several bags of dried marijuana, marijuana oil, hashish, $10,000 in cash and related grow-op equipment.

A warrant was issued by BC Hydro at the residence on Miracle Way because of the suspected theft of electricity. Police found an electrical diversion concealed inside a wall, which led to what they describe as a sophisticated marijuana grow operation.

“Hydro’s the one who got the warrant,” said Sgt. Dave Voller. “It’s pretty hard to convince them that an illegal hookup is for a hot tub.”

Voller said anything from 300 plants and up is considered to be a large grow-op. “This is certainly one of the bigger ones we’ ve found,” he said.

The recommended charges against the man and woman who live at the residence include possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, production of marijuana and theft of hydro.

The investigation is continuing.

25 years ago:

“Nichole breaks her record again in giving to Telethon” was The Lake News headline on Feb. 4, 1994.

A radiant Nichole Stock, 12, of Caycuse, broke her own record for the fourth successive year when she handed over $2,000.94 to the Variety Club Telethon in Vancouver on Sunday.

Her mother, Lori, had told The Lake News earlier: “It can’t keep going. It must stop somewhere.” But it didn’t. And Nichole’s grannie, Gloria Carnell, had more pennies to roll than ever.

In 1991, Nichole delivered $570.91 to the Telethon; 1992 $1,390.92; 1993 $1,880.93.

She has donated more to the cause of handicapped children than any other child has ever done in this area. People rushed to get their coppers to her but at least one lady who arrived at The Lake News with pennies was too late. Maybe next year.

Not too late was John Garnett, who lived six years in Caycuse, and wanted to support Nichole’s effort for handicapped children. He arrived at The Lake News office shortly before she picked up her penny box for the Telethon, which is held once a year in Vancouver. He had a large plastic bucket full of pennies. He said the bank manager wouldn’t accept them. He was told to take them away and roll them. He gave them to Nichole instead.

Nichole, who had heart surgery as a baby, had been trying to return something for the care she was given. She has had coin boxes in a number of stores and institutions throughout the area. Nichole, brother Travis, grandmother Gloria Carnell, her uncle and aunt, Danny and Janice Carnell, left in a Variety Club van for Vancouver Sunday morning.


For those who have been following the tale of Area I director John Ward. According to this same edition of The Lake News, he was out of office on a technicality and a new election was expected, despite it not being entirely his fault that he missed the deadline for being sworn into office in 1993.

40 years ago:

In a story that really resonates today, the headline on the front page of The Lake News of Feb. 14, 1979, was “Storm knocks out power at Lake”.

So, was it as tough as our December storm?

“Students and loggers got an unexpected holiday Tuesday after gale force winds knocked out hydro service in the Cowichan Lake area and other parts of Vancouver Island.”

Hydro lines were knocked down by winds reaching more than 90 kph shortly before 5 a.m. Service was restored in the Lake Cowichan, Youbou, and Honeymoon Bay areas about 10 a.m. A number of hydro lines between Honeymoon Bay and Caycuse were down at press time and a BC Hydro spokesman said crews were working as quickly as possible to restore service.

RCMP said only minor damage resulted from the high winds. Many trees were blown over in the storm which was accompanied by heavy rainfall.

Bob Young, customer services manager for BC Hydro’s Duncan district, told The Lake News that crews had to patrol the entire line to find the break and it was found that a tree had sheared the line about one kilometre west of Paldi. Another break was subsequently located east of Paldi.

(These details only show that certain areas of the Cowichan Lake district get more than their share of attention from Mother Nature at this time of year.)

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