As it says in the Feb. 24, 1993 edition of ‘The Lake News’ these “two young Kiwanians” seen hefting their tools to help recondition a dormitory at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre are Matz Johnson and George Auger. Both were involved in helping building the centre some 40 years earlier.

Lake Flashback: Mould, bus service, new museum

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:

The story of A.B. Greenwell Elementary School was in the news again in the Feb. 20, 2008 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette as the school’s kids prepared to spend a week in the gym at Lake Cowichan Secondary School.

“Everything restructured to accommodate young kids” said the headline that led off the saga.

Jeff Baker, LCSS principal, waited on stage in the school theatre to greet students and parents as they packed into the seats and flowed into the aisles. “Welcome to our school. We all understand what you are going through. You will find every adult in this building is here to help you.”

With that, Darrel Welin, principal of A.B. Greenwell, addressed the many questions about the sudden drastic change for the families forced to leave A.B. Greenwell School.

“Currently engineers are evaluating the mould problems at the vacant elementary school, to be followed by necessary remediation.”

Following years of complaints about an odd smell at A.B. Greenwell, mould had finally been discovered there, and a decision was made to move the school population to Yount Elementary School in Youbou, which had been sitting closed and needed to be cleaned up and readied before teachers and students could actually use it.

The story continued, “When Yount is opened the students will catch a school bus to Youbou from A.B. Greenwell School each morning and return there by bus every afternoon, where they will be dismissed.”

25 years ago:

“Bus to Duncan starts May 1” was the welcome headline in the Feb. 24, 1993 edition of The Lake News.

Mayor Earle Darling made the announcement at the town’s annual meeting.

“There will be three trips a day, he said. The final word on fares has not been said though it has been indicated several months ago that there would be a zone system, fares costing $1 a zone. The bus will cost the Village $10,000 a year and is only one of a number of costs coming on stream. Another will be the 9-1-1 emergency phone service.

“It would have been a little better if it had been spread over a longer period,” admitted the mayor. “We will be making cuts in expenses where we can” – he called it “counting paper clips”.

40 years ago:

Work was well underway on a massive project in Lake Cowichan and the Feb. 15, 1978 edition of The Lake News was thrilled.

“Truckers to move mountain” shouted the headline, letting the Lake area know all the details.

“Cowichan area truckers will move the equivalent of a small mountain of landfill this week. Ordinarily there would be nothing unusual about that but the truckers will be working on a day traditionally reserved for TV hockey games, family outings, and other leisurely pursuits. And they’ll be doing it all for free.

“Up to 10 trucks and operators have volunteered their time on Sunday (Feb. 19) to begin the landfill project where the Kaatza Historical Society’s museum will eventually be located. The group plans to relocate and restore the abandoned CP Railway station to house a regional museum where the district’s artifacts can be displayed. To date, trucking concerns that have pledged their equipment and time to move more than 5,000 cubic yards of fill include: Swan Neva, Gordon Neva, Richard Neva, George Ballegeer, Brent Cocks, Bairds Trucking, M & N Excavating, and Butler Lafarge Ltd.

“Truckers will move heavy boulders from the Meade Creek incinerator site to form a base for the fill. Gravel will come from the Meade Creek pit and an excavation now underway in the Elk Road area.”

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