In this front page photo from 1979, fastball fans toughed out wet weather and turned out for a game at the LCSS grounds in the Elks Fastball Tournament over the Labour Day weekend. Leaden skies dumped buckets of rain but teams and fans managed to hang in for three whole days.

Lake Flashback: Heather Mountain rescue, Ratepayers up in arms, attendance crackdown at LCSS

Sometimes a news item really proves a lot of water has gone under the bridge in 40 years

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:

An early fall rescue caught everyone’s eye in the Sept. 9, 2009 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

There, we read about how “the police, the Cowichan Valley ATV Club, and Cowichan Valley Search and Rescue searched the Heather Mountain area at the west end of Cowichan Lake for two days before finding two Duncan teenagers who got lost.”

“Police first received word last Thursday that a 19-year-old male and 17-year-old female, who planned to hike the rugged terrain at Heather Mountain, had not returned by night fall.”

The search began on Friday morning under excellent weather conditions and perfect visibility, with RCMP air services, members of the Lake Cowichan and Shawnigan Lake RCMP and an RCMP helicopter from Comox scouring the hillsides from the air and ground, but the hikers were not located.

The effort resumed on Saturday, but heavy cloud cover and very wet conditions slowed everything to a ground search, which is when the Cowichan Valley ATV Club was called in for assistance. Twelve members responded with their machines and the hikers were eventually found, unharmed, by three ATVers at about noon on Saturday in the backwoods toward Nitinat.

“The Lake Cowichan RCMP would like to thank all organizations and partners involved in the search, especially the Cowichan Valley Search and Rescue team who worked tirelessly and even had some members camp overnight on the mountain in a committed effort to locate the missing teens,” said Const. Marcus Skinner of the Lake Cowichan RCMP.

He also thanked the efforts of the Cowichan Valley ATV Club.

“Thank goodness for ATVs,” said Gord Austin of Lake Cowichan, a member of the ATV club. “They might not have lasted another night out there.”

25 years ago:

On Wednesday, Aug. 31, 1994, we discover in The Lake News that “Fireworks erupt at council”.

Apparently both Rod Peters and Leslie Whyte of the Lake Cowichan Ratepayers had asked for delegation status.

Whyte also filed written questions. At the meeting, she was handed written answers. Neither questions nor answers were released by either side, the Village or the Ratepayers, to the public or the press.

Mayor Earle Darling issued a press release in respecting the building inspector’s role.

“Council, with the assistance of a consultant, has been reviewing the administration and operation of village services,” said the mayor.

“The lengthy absence of the building inspector gave us an opportunity at this time to focus on that function and we detemined that the the workload over the past year did not justify retaining a full time inspector. Therefore, we decided to continue to carry out that function for the time being as we did during the building inspector’s absence. If the workload increases in the future, we will consider other options.”

40 years ago:

“Attendance crackdown promised” said The Lake News of Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1979.

Remember we had all that brouhaha about accreditation at Lake Cowichan Secondary School earlier that same year.

Well…

“School District #66 board of trustees will be ‘tightening up’ on attendance at LCSS this year,” chairman Buck Hollingdrake said Tuesday.

“The people wanted a tighter ship,” Hollingdrake said. “They asked for it.”

He said the school board has asked the administration at the high school to “monitor” attendance more closely. “In the board’s view, attendance has been a problem,” Hollingdrake said in reference to withdrawal last season of accreditation from the high school.

Partial accreditation has since been restored and, Hollingdrake indicated, the board is determined that problems such as poor attendance by students will not threaten the likelihood of regaining full accreditation.

He said that the provincial government of education’s accreditation committee has agreed to a delay until December in presentation of a progress report to it. The committee originally had requested a report by Oct. 31.

But it agreed to the postponement because of the appointment of a new principal to the school, Hollingdrake said.

Meanwhile, attendance at the elementary schools is stable for the 1979-80 year, with perhaps a slight increase in the number of students to register.

How many kids were in those schools? A.B. Greenwell had 170; J.H. Boyd had 125; Palsson, 137; Stanley Gordon, 260; Caycuse, 27; Yount, 114; and Honeymoon Bay, 56.

Now, in 2019, Lake Cowichan has one free-standing primary school, Palsson, and kids in Grades 4, 5, and 6 are at the high school, which is now called Lake Cowichan School. Hardly anything shows more clearly that the families who worked in the forest industry no longer have that chance to live in Lake Cowichan since the industry has changed from the ground up since 1979.

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