Enthusiastic developer Thomas Kreilein talks in April 2009 about the plans his group have for the old Youbou mill site.

Enthusiastic developer Thomas Kreilein talks in April 2009 about the plans his group have for the old Youbou mill site.

LAKE FLASHBACK: New future for Youbou? Gyproc in the bush, abandoning the CN, and all-day parking

It’s surprising how many subjects come up again and again over the decades

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:

The so-called Youbou Lands site was the name of the game in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of April 15, 2009.

“The development proposal to build more than 2,000 residential units, a resort, marina and light industrial park on the old Youbou sawmill land is set to go to a public hearing on May 14. The public hearing will be preceded by an open house in Youbou on April 25,” said a front page story.

Thomas Kreilein of the Youbou Land Development Group spoke at last week’s Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce meeting, seeking support for the planned development.

Kreilein told the meeting that there will be 63 lakefront single family lots, 693 single family lots east of Cottonwood Creek, 50 hillside single family lots, 64 multi-family units west of Cottonwood Creek, up to 750 multi-family units in the village core and 96 affordable housing units. There would also be a 225-room resort hotel, a village core with retail, commercial and cottage industry uses, a marina and 121 hectares of parks and environmental conservation areas.

When asked about a possible school site, Kreilein said there is a 16-acre site that would be half affordable housing, with the other half available for a future community hall or a school.

One of the highlights to the proposed development, says Kreilein, is a 13-acre light industrial park that he hopes will cre- ate as many jobs as the old sawmill did before it was closed in 2001.

“There will be full time jobs that will be here now and into the future,” he said. “The business (light industrial) park will be turned over to the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative to manage. The objective of the business park is to create as many jobs as possible.”

Kreilein said if approval is granted for the development, the light industrial park would be a priority, followed by Phase One of the housing development that includes 300 to 350 homes. He said the early focus will be for home owners who plan to live full time in Youbou, although he admitted that later in the development there would be recreation housing.

“We are committed after the first phase to start the town core,” he said.

25 years ago:

On the front page of The Lake News of April 20, 1994, we find a story dealing with an issue that is still in the news this week: garbage dumping in the bush.

“Since garbage disposal sites have been charging stiff fees for accepting certain types of waste, much more of it has been dumped in the forests, especially along forest roads.”

Dan Aitken, Forestry Supervisor for Pacific Forest Products, told The Lake News that it may be necessary to install gates and close forest roads to the public.

Just recently, on the road that turns off South Shore Road opposite the entrance of Lakeview Park, some two pickup loads of gyproc were found, along with household waste. Gyproc is not accepted free at municipal waste disposal sites. The matter was reported tot he Ministry of Environment, said Aitken, which is investigating and is prepared to lay charges.

40 years ago:

In a story that really shows how much time has gone by, we read in the Lake News of April 18, 1979, that “plans by Canadian National to abandon a 48-kilometre (30-mile) branch line between Youbou and Cowichan Bay were temporarily derailed by a legal logjam at a public hearing held in Duncan last week.”

The CN application came dangerously close to being thrown out entirely by Canadian Transport Commissioner D.H. Jones Q.C.

Just as CN was beginning to present its case, J.E. Foran, chief counsel for B.C. Forest Products…told Jones the CN application failed to examine completely the feasibility of continuation of service, either through an altered operation or co-operation with the parallel CP rail line from Lake Cowichan to Duncan, the story said.

This apparently caused a huddle of legal beagles. Finally, CN decided to admit it hadn’t included that idea and asked permission to amend its application.

Commissioner Jones then met with CTC lawyers for more than 30 minutes before announcing his decision…that CN’s amended application to abandon couldn’t be heard until the fall but [he] “hoped the delay would be a productive one for all concerned.”

Prior to the legal sparring, Jones had listened to a dozen presentations including three from the Lake Cowichan area. All spoke against the abandonment plans.


In another front page story, that edition of The Lake News reported that “Village council will confer with RCMP over an apparent problem of all-day parking of pickup trucks in downtown areas.”

The trucks and other vehicles evidently are left there by workers who transfer to company-owned buses.

The Chamber of Commerce had complained to council that a one-hour parking area by Central Park was pushing these trucks onto the streets to sit all day near the town’s two banks.

Council expressed some doubt whether the police would act as surrogate parking attendants. Aldermen had been considering placing warning notices on windshields. Council noted that those workers who park in the contested area could just as easily park at the arena and catch the bus there.

All-day parking is still a problem in Lake Cowichan, but in summer only. Out-of-towners who want to ride innertubes down the Cowichan River often plug every parking space in the downtown core on July and August’s sizzling weekends. It’s been a long, long time since the crummy buses rolled through Lake Cowichan every day.


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