Lake Cowichan United Church was filled half an hour before the memorial service to the late Oscar Palsson was due to begin Monday. Nearly 400 people thronged the church. The vacant seats in front are reserved for family. (Lake News, August 9, 1995)

Lake Flashback: Boozy tubers, Palsson’s funeral and copper ore

Do you remember these stories?

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

More than 700 bottles and cans of alcohol were taken from tubers, according to then-editor Tyler Clarke on the front page of the Aug. 11, 2010 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“Tubers’ drunken party down the Cowichan River was halted over the BC Day long weekend, with over 700 cans and bottles of alcohol seized by local RCMP.”

“They totally ignore the laws,” Cpl. Krista Hobday said. “Where’s your sense of community?”

”It’s not just a public nuisance issue, Hobday said, but a safety issue as well. With life jackets few and far between, and tubers becoming progressively more drunk as they make their way down the river, towards more turbulent waters, a relatively safe activity can become deadly.”

“If they’re on air mattresses and inner tubes that break, and they get caught up on a rock, their inner tube is gone, they’ve got nothing on their feet, they don’t have a personal flotation device on and they’re three sheets to the wind, what are the chances they’re coming out of the river alive?” Hobday asked.

“Of the alcohol seized, about 500 of the cans and bottles were taken away from tubers making their way to the Cowichan River — mostly in Saywell Park.”

“That parking lot there was packed with people,” Hobday said. “There was just an enormous amount of public drinking.”

“A local constable patrolled the river on a 12-foot inflatable river boat. Despite the high number of alcoholic beverages seized, Hobday said it could quite easily have been much higher, with increased patrols the department is currently unable to afford.”

Also making the Aug. 11, 2010 front page: “Young baseball players shine during provincials”.

“Lake Cowichan’s own Mosquito league (ages nine and 10) all-stars baseball team have proven themselves the second best in the province, placing second to Tsawwassen during the Provincial Championships, July 30 to Aug. 1, in Chemainus.”

“They were disappointed to lose,” coach Micah Anderson said, of the team’s response to placing second to Tsawwassen. “We ran into a couple of aces. The sent out their best pitcher, and he pitched awesome.”

”Despite this, he said that the Lake Cowichan team did an excellent job, doing their community and the local baseball association proud.”

25 years ago

The funeral for the late Oscar Palsson was attended by nearly 400, the Lake News of Aug. 9, 1995 reported. The beloved educator died peacefully July 31, 1995.

“Only a few days earlier he had attended 25th anniversary celebrations at March Meadows Golf Club. He was 79 years old.”

Also 25 years ago, “Deputy mayor Jean Brown arrived home from Japan to learn that the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative had obtained its official number: CP-1712. She had been representing the village at the 100th Anniversary celebrations in Ohtaki.

“The first thing we will have to do it have an election of officers,” she said. “We will need a chairman and a vice-chairman and committee.”

“Up to now an ad hoc committee, with Brown as chairman, has carried out all the work to get the community forest off the ground.”

Back in August of 1995 there was also a bit of a shake-up for school administration.

“Chris Clark has been appointed principal of Honeymoon Bay School, School District 66 has announced. He replaces Claude Ruggieri, who is becoming vice-principal of Lake Cowichan Secondary School. Steve Taylor, currently vice-principal of LCSS, becomes principal of Yount, replacing Steven Shaw, who is on medical leave.

41 years ago

For one reason or another I don’t seem to have the front page of the 1980 Lake News in my files but for some reason I do have the front page of the Aug. 8, 1979 edition so let’s take a look back 41 years this week instead of 40.

“Coe faces biggest test of young career” was one of the headlines.

“Lake Cowichan’s Dawn Coe will face the biggest test of her golfing career next week. She will be competing in the Canadian nationals in Cornerbrook, Nfld. and a win would be a long step on her march towards the women’s professional golf circuit.

“The 18-year-old won a berth on the B.C. team, which will tee off in Cornerbrook Aug. 13-17, with an impressive string of appearances this year to add to the accolades collected in the 1978 campaign.”

Also 41 years ago this week, “A mining company — spurred by increasing copper prices — has begun exploring the possibility of reviving a dormant mine near Honeymoon Bay.

“If the quality and quantity of ore proves out a ‘smallish’ mine employing 20-30 people could be in operation sometime in the next two or three years, said company employee Harold Stevenson in a telephone interview from Vancouver.”

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