Moving the CP Rail train station to its new site was a big deal back in September 1978.

Lake Flashback: Everyone was thinking big on this date in the past

From building new schools and a new town hall to moving a train station, it was all go, go, go

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Lexi Bainas has been combing through oldnewspaperswiththeassistance 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 weekaround Cowichan Lake in years gone by.

This week around the Cowichan Lake area…

10 years ago:

For the first time since 1999, Lake Cowichan Mayor Jack Peake faced competition for re-election, according to the Lake Cowichan Gazette of a decade back.

“Peake won the mayor’s seat by acclamation in the last two elections in 2005 and 2002.”

Joining Peake to challenge for the seat is Stan Pottie of the Trail’s End [pub] and perhaps one other candidate who is deciding whether he wants to run for mayor or councillor.

Peake said he’s seeking a fourth consecutive term as mayor because there are still some things he would like to see completed, such as a new town hall, major upgrades to Centennial Field and securing funds for an upgraded sewage system.

Pottie, who put an ad in the Gazette last year inviting people to have their picture taken with the future mayor, admits he was only joking at the time. Now, though, after a lot of people urged him to go for it, Pottie said he’s dead serious.

“I’ve got lots of time and I’m not doing it for the money,” said Pottie. “I really do believe I can win. I don’t like to lose.”

A third potential mayoralty candidate is Ross Forrest, who has spent most of his life in Lake Cowichan. His father, Ted Forrest, was a town alderman and also mayor of Lake Cowichan for two years, and he said he’s trying to decide whether to run for a councillor’s seat or the major’s chair.

“I do realize I should start as an alderman to get the experience, but I’m also seriously thinking about running for mayor,” said Forrest.

“The one thing that’s got me interested in getting onto council is that this council doesn’t communicate very well. A lot of people want me to go for mayor right now, rather than wait,” he said.

25 years ago:

From the front page of the Sept. 15 issue of The Lake News it seemed new schools were on the horizon.

“Following a study of probable population growth in the Lake area, School District 66 has approved tentative plans to build new schools that would double the square footage of schools within five to 10 years.

“Trustees at a special meeting last Tuesday emphasized they are contingent on growth occurring as now appears likely. The proposals were part of a five year plan…subject to change and modification as circumstances require.”

What were they looking at?

Approved by the board in order of priority were:

1. Construction at A.B. Greenwell for earthquake protection and to enlarge the gym so that the school can accept pupils to Grade 7;

2. Modifications at Honeymoon Bay School…to provide space for 60-70 primary and intermediate grade pupils and a library;

3. Acquisition of a site for a new secondary school and three new elementary schools, one on Crown land near the CLEC centre, one near Hudgrove Road, and one at Paldi.

And more. It seems almost amazing in these days but back then they were still thinking big.

40 years ago:

They thought big back in 1978, too, and the results are still standing today.

“CP Rail station survives big move” said the headline in The Lake News of Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1978.

“After months of planning and preparation, the station was moved [creaking, groaning, and sagging] to its new home at Saywell Park last week with the help of two huge steel beams imported from Vancouver.

“Workmen from Belton Brothers, the house moving firm that took on the job, had slightly underestimated the immense weight of the building and found the equipment they had originally planned to use was inadequate. When the moving was delayed for three weeks, things went smoothly after the building was actually rolling on the dollies installed underneath.

“The station, which will become the Kaatza Historical Society’s museum, is now sitting on blocks waiting for E.M. Johnson Construction Co. to build a concrete foundation underneath. That job is scheduled to start immediately and at the same time, workers hired under a Canada Works grant will begin re-roofing the building. Cedar shakes will be donated by local forest companies.

“The station, one of the oldest remaining structures in the village, will soon be declared a heritage building by the village council and the provincial government is considering a grant to restore the building through the B.C. Heritage Commission.

“To date, most of the work done on the building has been done on a voluntary basis other than the actual moving. The price tag on the move is $4,000 (!). It is now sitting on a site donated to the village by B.C. Forest Products. This spring, area truckers donated their time and equipment to haul more than 7,000 cubic yards of gravel to fill the swampy area where the building now sits.”

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