The local Rankin siblings John, Geordie, and Richie Rankin (from left), stand next to their 1942 Dodge truck. The truck is a copy of the one their father, Trav Rankin, drove during his employment in the forestry industry throughout the Island. The siblings contributed three logging trucks to this year’s Heritage Days logging truck and bicycle parade, Saturday, May 22. (Tyler Clarke, Lake Cowichan Gazette/May 26, 2010)

Lake Flashback: Museum preserves future, new hope for a pool, and a murder

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson 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

Preserving history was the name of the game for the Kaatza Historical Society this week a decade ago. Of the concerns was to transfer media from cassettes and video tapes onto DVD and CDs.

The society’s goals for 2010 were the clearest, with more specific goals dotting the annual reports Foster and Kaatza Station Museum curator Barbara Simkins submitted. One of the more time-consuming goals will be the preservation of old audio tapes and videos onto CD and DVD.

“They tend to deteriorate over time, so we’re trying to get them onto DVDs, which don’t deteriorate as quickly,” Foster said. With numerous people using the massive collection of historic archives in the Kaatza Station Museum, this kind of preventative preservation is an important thing to do, Foster said, in ensuring nothing gets lots with time.

The information was a result of the group’s annual general meeting, which highlighted “numerous areas in which they hope to grow and improve” in the coming years.

“The society discussed their five-year-plan during the AGM, clarifying the group’s specific goals. The most exciting and public of goals is a proposed event some time in 2013, in celebration of 100 years since the first passenger train arrived in Lake Cowichan.”

Also this week 10 years ago, the Town of Lake Cowichan got a thumbs up for their budget from some scrutineers.

“Auditors gave the Town of Lake Cowichan a clean report, with nothing alarming or incorrect found in the town’s 2009 consolidated financial statements. Three representatives from Duncan chartered accountants Meyers Norris Penny gave a lengthy report of their findings during council’s monthly Finance and Administration Committee meeting. The auditors summarized all of the areas of finance they covered throughout their very thorough audit.

“The auditors also brought up concerns around Lake Cowichan’s aging infrastructure. Like most other communities in Canada, the town’s infrastructure is reaching the end of its life.”

Some things never change!

25 years ago

“Help it become a reality!” was the headline above the rendering of a new swimming pool planned for Lake Cowichan on the front page of the May 31, 1995 edition of the Lake News.

Where did it go wrong?

“Cowichan Lake district’s proposed leisure pool looks promising — so much so that the ad hoc committee is promising to raise $1 million towards its $2.25 million cost. They hope you’ll be using it some time in 1996.”

Lakers are still waiting.

“‘Everyone was so enthusiastic that I believe the pool will be built,’” said [Elvin] Hedden, chairman of the committee.

In other news that same week, searchers were still trying to find David Zboyovsky, 25, who’d disappeared the week before.

“Police said that Zboyovsky grew up in Caycuse and was living with his brother, Dennis, on Greendale Road. David had been to Port Renfrew. On his return he told his brother he was gong to meet a person in the Village. The following day, said Sgt. Ron Merchant, the truck he was driving was reported at the Harris Mainline and Lens Mainline, with the keys inside, but Zboyovsky was not to be found.”

In better news of May, 31, 1995, “Honeymoon Bay School is to get a $644, 132 upgrade and the work will start ‘as soon as possible,’ says Brian Hoole, acting secretary-treasurer of School District 66.

“If the work isn’t complete by the beginning of school in September, classes may be held in Honeymoon Bay Hall, said Hoole.”

Of course, despite its upgrades, Honeymoon Bay School closed its doors to students in 2002 and now is the site of the Honeymoon Bay Lodge and Retreat.

40 years ago

If there’s ever a small-town headline it’s this: “Meetings set to air local beefs”.

Such was the case in the May 28, 1980 edition of the Lake News.

“Mayor Ken Douglas will keep a campaign promise next week by holding public meetings at which he hopes to get ideas which would help guide his village council.

“Douglas said Tuesday he encourages citizens to come out and air their complaints or make suggestions for improving village life.”

As for what they talked about at that meeting, hopefully it’ll show up in future old editions.

Sharing the front page was “RCMP raid rowdy campers”.

Tucked into the middle-right of a busy front page in a black outlined box was this:

“RCMP seized large quantities of beer and liquor from several rowdy campers in the Lake Cowichan area during the May 24 weekend.

“Sgt. Don Douglas, officer in command of the detachment, said that several complaints were made about loud and abusive youths disrupting camping areas at Skutz Falls and Gordon Bay. RCMP also investigated a ‘pre-grad’ party of dozens of youths from Nanaimo at Ashburnum Beach.”

That story could just as easily be written today.

And finally, a Youbou man died following a knife attack near Nanaimo this week 40 years ago.

“A Youbou man was stabbed to death Sunday after picking up a hitchhiker near Chase River, Nanaimo RCMP said Tuesday. John Matthew Conners, 63, died in the assault. Police said that a 16-year-old juvenile from Nanaimo is in custody. Investigation into the motive is continuing, RCMP said. Next of kin is Richard Conners of Antigonish, N.S.”

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