After a short, quick run from Duncan, old 1077 lets off steam in Lake Cowichan. The locie was one of the main attractions of the museum train which pulled into town for a brief visit. Many local folks enjoyed the sound of a steam locomotive passing through the area for one last time. (Lake News Aug. 15, 1979 photo)

Lake Flashback: Boozing tubers, golden anniversary for Mesachie station, possible pub for Honeymoon Bay

Plus this week: a nostalgic reminder of the sounds of Lake Cowichan past

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:

“Tubers caught with booze on river”.

Hmmm. That was in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Aug. 12, 2009? It’s still a problem today.

Let’s read.

“Policing of the Cowichan River during the long weekend disappointed many tubers who had to give up their stashes.

Police presence on the river has been a long time coming.

“Up until this year the only ways we had to patrol the area were from shore or by physically standing in the river, which we have done two or three years in a row,” Const. Jeff Haney in Nitinat said.

“We had no way of chasing after the tubers, and once word got out that RCMP were on the river, tubers would hang back in larger pools to quickly finish their drinks.”

Now the detachment has an motorized aluminum boat for patrolling the waters. Haney and Const. Roger Nyberg both spent the long weekend working overtime patrolling the river, four hours each day.

“This was much more successful than standing in the river. We managed to seize a phenomenal amount of liquor. People were toting coolers just loaded with alcohol,” Haney said.

“A lot of people were pretty good about it. There were a few people that were not so happy we were taking their liquor.”

Haney said the majority of people who were stopped were from outside of the Lake Cowichan community, mainly Nanaimo and Victoria. He heard a lot of excuses, mainly from people claiming they saw people drinking on the river once before and assumed it was OK.

“We didn’t get it all but we made a dent. We are going to try and get out there as much as we can,” he said, “but unfortunately we are a small detachment.”

Because it takes two men to patrol the river for safety reasons, more than likely the members who are going out to patrol the river will be working overtime, Haney said.

The police presence is mainly on the river to enforce rules against public drinking, but handing out tickets or fines creates problems.

“Handing out fines to someone in a bathing suit in a tube is hard for us. We can’t get their information. We can’t get personal I.D.”

Instead, the RCMP are working towards prevention, taking away as much booze as possible to limit drinking and driving.

Writing up tickets that could end up with the rest of the trash in the river would take time away from nailing other drunk tubers floating by, Haney said.

25 years ago:

There was a lot of interest in the headline in the Aug. 17, 1994 edition of The Lake News: “Honeymoon Bay pub moves a step closer”.

The pub has come and gone but at that time it was still a dream.

The neighbourhood pub that Rod O’Driscoll wanted to open in Honeymoon Bay moved closer with its approval by the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board.

The approval followed a referendum in Honeymoon Bay that showed 69 per cent in favour of a pub.

Joseph Allan, director of area F, said that three provisions have been put into the approval process: that the pub may be open only from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; that there be no loudspeakers outside the pub, plans for which include tables outside; and that there shall be no live bands.

Changes would be subject to a public meeting before approval.

The slow process of approving the pub involved a meeting, attended by only about 20 people, said Allan, and a public hearing, which only attracted 30 people.

40 years ago:

“Research station marks 50th anniversary with style” says the headline on the front of The Lake News on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 1979.

“The Cowichan Lake Research Station will hold a 50th anniversary party Friday, Aug. 24 with an announcement of expansion totallying more than $1 million. This will mean an increase in employment and more security to the local economy.”

Ingemar Karlsson, the forester in charge of the station, said that in addition to the official ceremonies, a time capsule will be buried in a specially built cairn. The capsule will contain messages from the hierarchy in the forest industry, seeds from a new strain of Douglas fir developed at the station and pictures of current activities there and people connected with the facility.

A message also will be included from Trevor Green, who worked there for 15 years before his retirement. The capsule is scheduled to be unearthed and opened in 2019, 50 years from now.

The cairn in which the capsule will be buried will also be unveiled Aug. 24. It is located on a high point on the road to the station.

Forests Minister Tom Waterland, Deputy Minister Mike Apsey, and Chief Forester Bill Young will attend along with representatives of logging companies, tree breeders, and members of the federal forest service.

A number of oldtimers who were involved in the development of the research have been invited including one who will be marking a milestone of his own. A scientist who was a pioneer of the station, having worked there in 1929 and coincidentally having honeymooned at the station that same year, will be enjoying his second honeymoon during his visit.

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