Alex Sawatzky, three, Violet Argue, six, and Courtney Bolitho, seven, play some music under the guidance of music teacher Robyn Crosby at the Ready, Set, Learn session at Centennial Hall on March 6, 2008.

Lake Flashback: Family home burns at Bay, abandoned vehicle pickup, and IS&S saga continues

They could still laugh after the blaze but ditched vehicles and a mill closure were serious matters

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:

“No one hurt in Honeymoon Bay house fire: family returns home to see smoke, flames” said the scary headline in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of March 12, 2008.

“A house that at one time was the Honeymoon Bay fire hall burned down Wednesday night. No one was injured and the house was insured…a pickup truck and boat were also damaged beyond repair,” said the story.

“Fire Chief John Rowley said it’s not official but is appears it started as a chimney fire.

“Terry and Christine Hind and their two sons returned from a diving club meeting in Duncan and got home shortly after 10 p.m. Christine said she noticed quite a bit of smoke and when they opened the front door, air was sucked into the house and the flames took off.

“Terry quickly dialed 911 and the Honeymoon Bay Fire Department responded, then asked for assistance from the Mesachie Lake Fire Department. The wooden house could not be saved and it took into the wee hours of Thursday morning before the fire was completely out, although firefighters stayed until about 4 a.m. to make sure no hot spots flared up.

“Thursday morning, looking through the rubble of the house, the Hinds were remarkably upbeat. Christine even laughs when she finds some of the things that survived the fire.

“What else can we do but laugh,” she said. “We’re done our share of crying.”

“We’re just grateful that no one was hurt,” said Terry. “We can replace the house, the truck and the other things that were destroyed.”

25 years ago:

“Police to remove abandoned vehicles” said the headline in The Lake News of March 10, 1993.

Lake Cowichan Mounties were moving in, developing an action plan to remove all abandoned or unlicensed vehicles in the residential areas of Lake Cowichan, including Mesachie Lake, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou, says Sgt. Ron Merchant of the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment. He is also asking for public assistance: if you know of an abandoned vehicle, that is an eyesore, or on public lands, to phone the RCMP at 749-6668.

“The RCMP want to advise the public of the laws regarding abandoned autos, the powers of enforcement that are available to remove such vehicles, and to get information from the public of the locations of abandoned vehicles,” Sgt. Merchant says.

40 years ago:

Lake Cowichan village council was stepping in to try to resolve a problem that could force Island Shake and Shingle Co. Ltd. to close its mill within two years.

At the urging of Ald. Don Gordon, the story in the The Lake News of March 8, 1978 said, council passed a motion at last Tuesday’s meeting to ask the principles of Island Shake and the manager of Western Forest Industries to attend a meeting to discuss the situation.

Island Shake president Bert Rodenbush said last week the company will have to ‘phase out’ its operation if it can’t obtain a long-term lease with WFI, which owns the property where the mill is now located.

Island Shake has been leasing the mill property on a yearly basis from WFI for several years but Rodenbush said the company cannot arrange financing for improvements because it does not have tenue on the property.

“There’s quite a bit of concern about this in the community,” said Gordon. “We should know what the problems are and if we can do anything to assist.”

Ald. Hazel Beech agreed with Gordon, saying the council should be taking an active interest “in keeping business ongoing as long as we can.”

Ald. Ken Irving said he wasn’t sure if it was the business of council to “delve into the finances” of the two companies. Irving suggested the matter of the possible closure has been handled poorly by The Lake News. He said the paper was obviously one-sided and had written the story in an idiotic way.

Ald. Ernie Burns suggested the entire story has not been told.

“Someone should say something about bidding up timber…When people make charges like this, it’s a very unsubtle form of pressure.”

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