Read ‘em and weep. A new housing project was nearing completion on Cowichan Avenue in December 1977. ‘Seven homes, built under CMHC’s Rural and Remote Housing scheme, will be sold for less than the ceiling price of $38,900,’ the caption says in The Lake News. (Sigh.)

Lake Flashback: Hamper campaign, block parents, and sex

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:

In a timely story, the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Dec. 5, 2007, featured Community Services’ Christmas hamper campaign volunteer Sherry Sohye.

A veteran of 15 hamper campaigns, Sohye, was a great example of the community spirit at the Lake.

“I started helping out with groceries, packing boxes and doing deliveries,” said Sohye. “That evolved into working the front desk, helping clients get their forms etc.

“We’re trying to take the pressure off for Christmas day. There are eggs for breakfast, canned soup etc. for lunch and a ham or turkey for dinner, as well as potatoes, other vegetables and fruit…The culmination of months of effort [comes] when a small army of between 30-60 volunteers gather at Centennial Hall to make up the hampers. The following day, more volunteers are there to distribute them to households in the community.”

Christmas in a small community, in other words.

“It’s a great event,” says Sohye. “It’s very worthwhile to participate.”

25 years ago:

In The Lake News of Dec. 2, 1992, the major story was “Block parent program is revived” and the editor urged anyone with a yen to increase his or her community involvement to look at the idea.

“The Out and About Parenting program is rekindling block parenting in Lake Cowichan,” the story said.

“There was a program but it has sort of dwindled away largely because the committee didn’t rotate. It was always the same people on the committee and they got tired,” Pat Eisenhut of Lake Cowichan says.

Presently the group is starting with A.B. Greenwell and Palsson Schools. They will be sending out letters to parents, hoping to increase block parenting membership in the area.

“After we have more block parents, we will begin to educate the children again on what a block parent is, and when or why children should use one,” Const. Larry Parsons says. He is the RCMP liaison in the community.

“The block parenting program is an excellent crime prevention program, which provides the community with organized methods of protecting all citizens,” Parsons says.

40 years ago:

Sex was on the front page of The Lake News on Dec. 7, 1977.

Opponents of Lake Cowichan’s Life and Living [sex education] program were pushing the school board against the wall on the issue but indications were that the board wouldn’t budge.

At a board meeting all seven trustees stated they would not cut the program despite pressure to do so.

“We will not modify a program because of concerns that aren’t based on fact,” Trustee Dalton Smith said.

“The board discussed at length the best way to undertake a meeting with the opposing group and the planning committee of the Life and Living program, both of which have asked to meet with the school board…The group opposing the program met with Bob Heustis, district superintendent of schools, and Mike Grant, supervisor of instruction, the following day and sent a letter requesting a meeting.”

Trustee Buck Hollingdrake was the most vocal in his opposition to meeting with the group. He referred to the years of planning which went into the program and the countless workshops held on the subject and the fact that the board had already approved the program.

It was contentious indeed in those days.

“They had their say but weren’t interested. You can’t talk to close-minded people. They just want to throw the program out,” Hollingdrake said.

“They have the democratic right at the next election to take the representatives of the people and throw them out.”

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