In this photo from the ‘Gazette’ of Dec. 16, 2009, we see Rev. Vikki Marrs leading a group of 25 Youbou and Meade Creek residents in singing Christmas carols at Sunset Place in Meade Creek. This special festive gathering led to other locations in Youbou as part of the You ‘n’ Me Nights social group.

Lake Flashback: Drenching rainfall, 300 houses, hamper campaign

And there’s a picture of locals going out to sing carols. Why not gather the gang and do the same?

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:

The Lake Cowichan Gazette of Dec. 16, 2009 reported “On the eve of Cowichan Lake Community Services distributing the Christmas hampers, the response has been incredible, according to coordinator Angie Fournier.

“It’s amazing how so many groups, businesses, the schools and people in general have contributed,” she said. “We really appreciate it.”

Even during the interview with the Gazette on Monday, the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce and the Honey Pot Pub in Honeymoon Bay dropped off some donations.

The chamber’s Katherine Worsley dropped off numerous gifts and nonperishable food and presented $107 cash raised from the 50-50 draw at its Christmas dinner. Right behind the chamber was Cindy Kruk, manager of the Honey Pot. She had $90 in cash raised from a recent turkey and ham draw and also had a couple of boxes of toys and food.

The Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s second annual toy run on Friday night and Saturday at Lake Cowichan Country Grocer was another great success.

Fournier said the amount of food collected was down, but there appeared to be more toys and the amount of cash donations was very good.

“It was another great job by them,” she Fournier. “We really appreciate their efforts.”

Lake Cowichan District Minor Hockey also did very well with its food drive at the arena on Dec. 4-5. Fournier, who is on the executive of minor hockey, said the amount of food, toys and cash donations easily blew their previous contributions out of the water. In the past, minor hockey made a cash contribution, including $100 last year.

“We’ll definitely try to do that again because it was so successful,” she added.

25 years ago:

The question on the front page of The Lake News of Dec. 21, 1994 wondered if 300 more houses were coming west of Neva Road.

“Yet another major subdivision is being planned for an 80-acre site west of Neva Road on the Youbou Highway. The Lake News was told by Joseph Allan that up to 300 houses are in the plan at present…The Bon Street Group has acquired approximately 80 acres, said a press release. The new owners will be planning a single family residential development…and will be constructing the homes through a wholly-owned subsidiary called Ironwood Homes.”

The Village of Lake Cowichan and the CVRD were to be part of the planning, it was promised.

An unofficial advisory board is being set up…Rod Peters has accepted one of the positions from the village and Allan has accepted one of the positions from the CVRD.

There were concerns.

Peters is president of the Ratepayers Association, which has been unsuccessfully urging council to set up a village planning commission. Allan wants to see an area joint planning commission with the village, Area F and Area I. Allan told The Lake News that he understood the developers intend to apply to have their property taken into the village. He said he is concerned about the impact on the village sewerage system of the new buildings going up.

“I don’t want to see any more sewage effluent going into the river,” he said.

40 years ago:

Everybody loves a weather story.

On the front page of The Lake News, a massive headline screamed “Worst rainfall here since ‘72. Cowichan Lake residents are downright drenched.”

What? Only since 1972? If you remember those years, you’ll remember we had some spectacular pre-Christmas rains back then. When I arrived at the Lake in November 1971, it seemed like it rained 40 days and 40 nights.

So, how bad was this December 1979 rainfall after all?

“A B.C. government meteorological station at Mesachie Lake Experimental Station has recorded 356.3 mm of rainfall already this month. That makes the 178 mm recorded at Sidney airport weather office look like a spring shower.

(My rough translation of that into the prehistoric inches I understand means we’d had about 14 inches of rain in the first three weeks of that damp December. Whew!)

The result of the downpour has been blocked culverts, leaky roofs, and some flooded basements in the Lake Cowichan area. Village administrator Bill Chappell said that the Quamichan Avenue area has been particularly hard hit.

“There is a natural watercourse there,” he said. “Another 24 hours of rain and there will be real problems.”

The weather office blamed our old friend, “a warm flow from the southwest”. (The Pineapple Express hadn’t been invented in those far-off days.)

The heaviest downpours had occurred in two 24-hour periods: Dec. 13-14 when 70.2 mm fell and the second was Dec. 16-17 when 81.0 mm fell.

Meanwhile, local businesses have been sporting buckets in their aisles to catch drips from leaky roofs.

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