Dawn Coe-Jones carries the Olympic flame (via a lantern) onto a floatplane at Cowichan Lake Marina for transport to Ganges on Saltspring Island during pre-Olympic festivities. (Gazette 2009)

Lake Flashback: J.H. Boyd story continues, Dorothy Clode at 75, village politics in ‘79

And, it was 10 years ago that Dawn Coe-Jones carried the Olympic flame in Lake Cowichan

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:

In the Nov. 4, 2009 issue of the Lake Cowichan Gazette, we discover another chapter in the ongoing saga of J.H. Boyd School.

“Community interest in the old J.H. Boyd school property in Lake Cowichan appears to have waned considerably in the last 18 months, but the property still creates a stir.

Town council will decide this week the fate of the property and the latest residential development proposal after an hour long public hearing in the high school theatre on Oct. 27.

About 40 people attended the public hearing (compared to more than double that at a public hearing in February 2008), with less than half even commenting. Only development proponent John Kelly handed in any written submissions, including several letters of support from businesses and a petition that includes 76 names.

“This is a significant change from the first application,” said Kelly.

In early 2008 Kelly proposed 56 single family homes on 9.8 acres of the property and 15 duplexes on two acres. The plan was turned down by council in March 2008 after overwhelming and often loud opposition.

In August 2008 Kelly bought the property. This time he proposes what he calls 34 small single family homes on about 5.1 acres, which he and partner Jon Roler want rezoned to modular home residential from public parks and institutional.

Another four acres, where the old J.H. Boyd school building is still located, would be sold to the Lake Cowichan Christian Fellowship Church, pending approval of the rezoning application on the other portion of the property. The four acres would not have to be rezoned to accommodate the church.

With the proposed homes all being built by Kelly and Roler, with three options to choose from, the size of the lots would average 4,950 square feet and the homes range from 1,200 square feet to 1,700 square feet; Kelly said the houses will sell for between $240,000 and $300,000.

About 2.5 acres would have a covenant attached to protect several streams.

Kelly said the development would be valued at about $7 million, with the town receiving about $165,000 in development fees and about $80,000 annually in property taxes, once the development is completed over an estimated three years.

“I think this is a significant compromise,” said Kelly, who wouldn’t divulge any details of the purchase agreement with the church, although shortly after the rezoning bylaw was introduced in September he admitted it could involve a land swap with the current church property.

25 years ago:

On the front page of The Lake News of Nov. 2, 1994, there’s a tribute to “Lake’s special lady, Dorothy Clode, marks 75th birthday”.

Editor Ron Kenyon wrote the copy himself:

When you’ve talked about your royalty, your first ladies, and all the other feminine personages, there is one lady who is, and will remain, dear to the hearts of the people of Lake Cowichan. She is Dorothy Clode, founder of continuing education in the area and one of the first into it in the province.

Last Saturday, she celebrated her 75th birthday with a small party at her Stevens Crescent home. She served a salmon caught by her son-in-law in Port Renfrew.

Frankly, not many months ago, people were shaking their heads sadly over the spunky little lady as she lay in hospital in Duncan. They didn’t expect her to live long.

When I visited her Friday she was cheerful and pink cheeked, looking at though is is just getting into life’s stride.

Kenyon then went into the many details of her background and travels around B.C., and then her arrival at Lake Cowichan and how, slowly, since its first beginnings in 1948, she kept working towards a lively program of continuing education for the Cowichan Lake area.

40 years ago:

It’s with a strange feeling that this writer looks back at the front page of the Oct. 31, 1979 issue of The Lake News. Although there is nothing visible to announce the momentous fact, that was the first week that I worked at what was at that time Lake Cowichan’s only paper, under the direction of Gerry and Vera Soroka. I hope at some point soon to be able to share my first-ever published copy.


Meanwhile, back then, we see “Race for mayor sure thing now” as someone had stepped up.

Rookie alderman Ted Forrest has entered the fray, essentially, he said Tuesday, to ensure that there is a contest.

“Now the village has the choice of two people, and may the best man win,” said Forrest in a challenge to teacher Ken Douglas who announced his candidacy last week.

Meanwhile, the only person to file papers for alderman walked into that job unopposed when Forest withdrew as aldermanic candidate to oppose Douglas.

Roger Hamilton, proprietor of the Jolly Roger Restaurant, will join incumbent Don Gordon who was unopposed in his bid for a second two-year term to village council.

In the school board, two new trustees went in by acclamation. Wilma Rowbottom took over the village seat vacated when Stan Creelman decided not to seek re-election and will assume the position created when Les Peake decided to opt out for another term as a rural trustee. Helga Lemke of Youbou was returned by acclamation to a two-year term as a rural trustee.

Longtime residents will note that I was not the only one beginning a career that lasted decades. Rowbottom went on to become the chair of many school boards in two school districts during her distinguished service to the students of the Cowichan Valley.

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