Talking about the future development of the Village of Lake Cowichan at an open house in 1993 are, from left, long-time resident Archie Greenwell, planner Anita Green, CLEC manager Dalton Smith, and arena manager Bruce Tilbury.

Lake Flashback: Holding onto forest land, keeping Hudgrove rural, and cash for schools

In 2008, 1993, and 1978 Cowichan Lakers were looking at both past and future as they made plans

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:

“Town pushes for forest land reserves”.

It was still a painful subject for Lake Cowichan Gazette readers in April 2008, seven years after the sawmill at Youbou closed its doors.

“The Town of Lake Cowichan will lobby Premier Gordon Campbell and his government to designate forest land reserves on private forest lands to ensure a viable forest industry in the Cowichan Lake area.

“The intent is to keep forest lands as forest lands,” said Coun. Tim McGonigle, who was a forest worker.

Mayor Jack Peake said that if private forest lands are sold it will more likely mean the loss of forest land. “If private forest land is for sale it seems to me the provincial government should have first dibs on it,” said Peake.

Coun. Pat Foster told the council meeting that rumour has it TimberWest will be selling its campgrounds around Cowichan Lake.

Most of the Cowichan Valley’s electoral areas, including Areas F and I, have amended their F1 forestry zoning to increase the minimum lot size to 200 acres from 50 acres in hopes it would encourage continued logging operations. Brooke Hodson, Cowichan Valley Regional District director for Youbou-Meade Creek, supports council’s initiative.

“I applaud anyone who wants to jump on board,” said Hodson. “If we keep whittling away at all these private forest lands there won’t be anything left.”

Town council’s move is also supported by the Youbou TimberLess Society [formed after the Youbou closure], whose April newsletter discusses the erosion of working forest land.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Roger Wiles of Cowichan Lake’s Marble Bay, who is secretary for the TimberLess Society, said about Lake Cowichan’s resolution. “It sounds like good news. The community suffers not just from the loss of a working forest, it’s also a loss to the watershed.”

Steve Lorimer of TimberWest said Friday that his initial reaction to the resolution is it’s not needed. “We don’t need a forest land reserve designation because we already have the rezoning process,” said Lorimer.

“The F1 designation can’t be changed unless the local government agrees to change the zoning.”

Lorimer also suggested that some private forest land can provide local tourism opportunities that could be better for the economy. “We also need places to live and to recreate. It’s interesting that this issue came forward now because TimberWest is making a presentation at the next chamber meeting in April.”

25 years ago:

“Hudgrove Road: They want a say” was the headline in The Lake News of April 7, 1993.

What was it all about?

“The Hudgrove Road Committee met Sunday to discuss their concerns with the proposed Block 200 boundary expansion to the village.

“Residents say they simply want to be part of the process. They want to know what the plans are for Block 200, approximately 400 acres owned by Johel Brothers before any firm decisions are made.

“Among concerns aired, residents say they want to know how Hudgrove Road will be maintained if a proposed housing development should go through, and the effect the process will have on taxes.

“Sharon Beril, a resident living on Hudgrove Road, told The Lake News that the road was built originally the residents, and is now maintained by the Ministry of Highways.”

40 years ago:

In the March 29, 1978 edition of The Lake News we learn that the [Lake Cowichan] school board had submitted a $566,895 capital works proposal to the Ministry of Education for that year.

When you think back, that was a sizeable chunk of change in 1978, and a big piece of that budget — $256K — was to be spent on the Lake Cowichan Secondary/Stanley Gordon School sprinkler system.

But the board was tightening their belts, too.

“About $88K has been requested for the removal and renovation of windows at LCSS, Stanley Gordon, and Yount Elementary School. Trustee Dalton Smith opposed the expenditure, aimed at reducing heat loss from the schools by cutting down on the number of windows, because windowless classrooms, lit by fluorescent lights, are not a good teaching situation.

“Also included in the capital works submission was $22K for a central monitoring system for the industrial arts area at LCSS, $38,755 for minor renovations throughout the district, and $5,500 for the LCSS earth sciences course.”

However, the story concluded sadly, “It is expected that the provincial government will not approve most of the items in the submission.”

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