In a photo that’s reminiscent of the work of some of the area’s artists, ‘The Lake News’ of Jan. 19, 1994 is in awe about the huge, powerful Sikorski air crane that had come to log some of the inaccessible areas around Cowichan Lake.

Lake Flashback: LCSS accreditation, Youbou mill might close, rhodo garden a hit

There was lots to talk about in early January over the 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:

“Rhododendron Garden is attracting international attention” said the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Jan. 7, 2009.

We all know it’s a pretty place to stroll on a sunny day in spring but let’s find out what was going on a decade back.

The Lake Cowichan Rhododendron Memorial Garden, located along the Beaver Creek Trail, across from Cowichan Lake Community Services on Point Ideal Road, is less than a year old but it’s already creating interest from outside the area.

Ingeborg Woodsworth of Mayo Creek Gardens east of Lake Cowichan, who spearheaded the planting of the garden, said she has received some impressive correspondence since the garden was officially opened last May.

“It’s already drawing international attention,” she said, noting that the New York Rhododendron Society has donated $1,500 and rhododendron lovers from New Zealand are planning a trip here in 2010.

Woodsworth said the $1,500 from New York will go toward installing a watering system for the garden, which will cost about $2,500.

“Anyone who wants to support us can make a donation through me,” she said.

The Lake Cowichan Communities In Bloom Society’s rhododendron committee oversees the historic garden, with the town helping maintain it. It includes indigenous varieties of rhododendrons, with the most recent 11 planted in the fall. The plan this year is to begin phase two of the garden along the east side of the trail, near Hans’ Butcher Shop at the west end of Cowichan Avenue. They will also plant some along the Trans Canada Trail that runs through town.

“We hope residents will also want to walk along the trail and enjoy them,” said Woodsworth. “We are also encouraging people to have rhododendrons planted in memory of a loved one. We’d also like to see some memorial benches along the trail.”

25 years ago:

“Will it be goodbye to Youbou mill after CORE report comes out?” asked The Lake News on the front page of its Jan. 19, 1994 edition.

Let’s drill down and see what was happening.

Deputy Mayor Jean Brown warned last week that probable C.O.R.E. (Commission on Resources and the Environment) recommendations pose a threat to logging in the Walbran Valley.

“If the Walbran goes, the Youbou mill goes,” she said.

She was speaking to the board of School District 66 as a member of a delegation from the economic development committee. Heading the delegation was chairman Dennis Laforge. Ron Smith, economic development officer was a third member.

Coun. Brown based her warning on anticipated provincial government decisions after it receives the C.O.R.E. report, scheduled to be made at the end of January.

Laforge warned the board that decisions could affect the schools.

“If you take half the jobs out of the Valley, the impact on schools could be considerable,” he said.

He read a written statement in which the EDC asked the school board for specific action, including: support in establishing a forestry training centre in Lake Cowichan and supplying someone from the school district to help review and analyze the final report of the C.O.R.E. commissioner, to determine what impact its proposals may have on the Cowichan Lake district.

40 years ago:

Lake Cowichan was shocked to read “Non-accreditation recommended” and “LCSS needs improvement” on the front page of The Lake News of Jan. 10, 1979.

An external evaluation team from the Ministry of Education has recommended that Lake Cowichan Secondary School be given a non-accredited status.

In a 59-page report prepared by the six-member evaluation team, the two school superintendents, two directors of instruction, and two school principals have concluded that “the evaluation report indicates that significant aspects of the school are in need of attention and improvement.”

The recommendation is based on six days of intensive studies by the evaluation experts in December during which time members of the team met with students, parents, trustees, school staff, administrators, and people in the community to determine, among other things, how the school stands in relation to other schools in the province and how it has lived up to its philosophy and objectives.

The external evaluation is part of an accreditation program, which all schools offering Grades 11 and 12 undergo.

While the report has not been made public, The Lake News has obtained a copy. A preliminary examination of it indicates that the evaluation team devoted much of its study to the administrational aspects of the high school.

It appears that Lake Cowichan Secondary School was not given either complete accreditation or provisional accreditation status because the school had not finalized its summary of philosphy and objectives. The 13-point checklist guideline for accreditation appears to rely heavily on a school’s philosophy and objectives.

Among the observations and recommendations made by the evaluation team are the following:

The team believed that “there was a noticeable lack of harmony between the school and the community”. Team members had discussions with parents and local businesses “to obtain an overall impression of the community’s feeling as to how effectively it saw its school meeting the educational needs of the community.

“While in no way wishing to suggest that the opinions expressed were entirely critical or unanimous, or that the methods used in soliciting these opinions were scientifically prepared, the team nonetheless believes that there is a widespread negative feeling towards the school at this point.

“Criticisims heard most frequently by evaluators dealt with academic standards, too much freedom time for younger students, and general discipline.”

Whew! Bet we hear more about this in coming Flashback columns.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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