Sukchain Kaila and Sherry Coleman pour on the elbow grease as part of a fun fundraising effort by Grade 8 students from Stanley Gordon Elementary in this photo from ‘The Lake News’ of March 29, 1979.

LAKE FLASHBACK COLUMN: Ratepayers pour cold water on metering idea, loggers descend on Legislature, door slammed on activity centre

And we’ve even got a fund-raising carwash from Stanley Gordon from 40 years ago

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:

“Lake Cowichan Ratepayers challenge need for water meters,” said the Lake Cowichan Gazette April 1, 2009.

The Association wanted an exhaustive public consultation process before the town makes any decision on water meters, the story said.

Duncan Brown and Don Gordon both urged council last week to reconsider its focus on water meters and use education instead to get people to use less water.

“No one should underestimate the significance of this decision,” said Brown. “We can’t live without water, it’s a necessity.”

The town just received a $400,000 Towns For Tomorrow grant for stage one of water metering.

Brown said the capital costs of meter installation, as well as the ongoing expense of billing and collection, could be better spent on infrastructure improvements in addition to public awareness; campaigns such B.C. Hydro’s Power Smart and the reduce, reuse, recycle slogan would be good examples of how to get the message out. He said metering would unfairly burden large and low income families for their basic needs or punish those who choose to have gardens and grow their own food.

He also suggested that metering would commercialize our water.

“We could lose control of our water,” he said. “Losing it will be much easier than getting it back.”

Gordon said that despite all the suggestions that water meters are green, he suggests they are the opposite.

“Water meters are anti-green,” he said. “Water metering will discourage people from growing gardens. Water meters will reduce the number of people who will grow their own food because of the extra cost. People watering their gardens are certainly not wasting water.”

Gordon suggested that instead of installing water meters, the town should spend the money on fixing the leaks in the water system.

“Water meters are not going to stop these leaks,” he said. “Let’s not install water meters. Just because someone says they’re green doesn’t mean they’re green.”

Brown asked council to consider the following resolutions:

• That the Town of Lake Cowichan affirm the right of all to a publicly owned and operated quality, accessible water supply and further that any decisions around this matter will be preceded by an exhaustive public consultation process.

• That the town council make public the correspondence and feasibility report on water metering that Terasen Gas submitted to the town several years ago.

25 years ago:

Twenty-five thousand voices raised as one booed Premier Harcourt as he thried to explain he reasoning behind the contents of the CORE report.

The crowd was not interested.

Described as what could be the largest gathering ever to fill the lawns of the Legislature, loggers from across the Island and mainland descended on Victoria with one common goal: “12 per cent”. Not 13 per cent, plus eight per cent preserved for park land.

Coun. Jean Brown who spoke to the mass of people stressed that ‘it’ should be put in the hands of the community and people affected by the CORE report.

Comments from those attending included a school teacher who said: “People need real jobs, so people like me can teach school.”

A 47-year-old logger pointed out that he’s been logging for 26 years and at his age there would be nothing much left for him to do.

“I don’t want to go on welfare,” he said.

A logger from the Interior said he had come because the CORE report for the Interior would be the same kind of stupidity.

“It’s time the working man had a say in this,” said another logger.

“In the States hundreds of people are living under the poverty line. We aren’t prepared to accept his ‘recommendations’,” commented a logger.

Mayor Gillian Trumper of Port Alberni was very clear as to what should become of the report.

“I want them all thrown out,” she said.

40 years ago:

“Activity centre shuts doors Friday” said The Lake News of March 28, 1979.

Administrator Douglas Denton-Howes will lay off five workers Friday after being told this week that the Human Resources Ministry will not reconsider fully funding the operation, he said Monday.

He was told to operate with volunteers or with whatever funds can be raised by local people.

The newly appointed administrator said that he was told by Iva Woodward, regional director of the Ministry of Human Resources, that the ministry would not make up a $48,000 grant which it had withdrawn last month. Removal of this amount — approximately 60 per cent of the entire budget — means loss of services and jobs effective March 31.

Denton Howest said five full time and part time workers have been told that their jobs end Friday.

He said that no response had been received by him from top government people despite a flood of appeals from staff members and other people in the community. Letters had been send to Premier Bill Bennett, Human Resources Minister Bill Vander Zalm and Provincial Secretary Hugh Curtis.

The latter minister is responsible for the Provincial Lottery Fund distribution and the Cowichan Lake District Community and Resource Centre has made an approach for some of those funds to continue programs which cannot be funded without the lost $48,000.

As it stands, Denton-Howes said there are enough funds now to pay his salary at the time he officially takes over in June and to provide what will amount to ‘referral’ services at the community centre building.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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