The Jan. 21, 2009 issue of the ‘Lake Cowichan Gazette’ included a photo of the Lake Cowichan Secondary junior girls basketball team, which had just secured its first win.

Lake Flashback: One couple was lucky, but other folks were struggling in this week years ago at the Lake

Feels like a million, high school confidential, tough but survivable times for forest co-op

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 Lake Cowichan Gazette of Jan. 21, 2009, readers learned that “There’s still optimism in Community Forest Cooperative”.

The story said, “The chairman of the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative [Lorne Scheffer] is optimistic about the organization’s future, despite the current tough economic times.”

“We have a meeting coming up with the Forest Minister (Pat Bell) to discuss our application for a new licence,” said Scheffer. “I’m very hopeful that we will have success on this file.”

The Forest Co-op has a non-renewable licence for, on average, 13,885 cubic metres a year in the Mount Bolduc block near Gordon River south of Honeymoon Bay, which expires in 2015. It wants a land-based licence, in partnership with the Pacheedaht First Nation near Port Renfrew, that would provide about 50,000 cubic metres a year. As part of the partnership with the Pacheedaht First Nation, a company called Qaly’it Community Forest Limited was established.

“We think this would be a great thing for our community for creating local jobs,” said Scheffer.

The Forest Co-op’s financial report for 2007-08 says it was one of the more challenging times in its 14-year history, although it did fulfill the goals of its mission statement and statement of purpose.

The Forest Co-op had a net profit of $59,000 on a value of $1.542 million. Treasurer Brooke Hodson noted the profit came despite the deadline to complete the five-year cutting permit or face penalty, the three-month loggers’ strike, the early and lasting snow last winter and the “continuous downward spiral of the log market prices.”

“As a point of information, had the December 2007 log prices held, the Forest Cooperative would have realized an additional $400,000 profit,” said Hodson. The total revenue created on the Forest Co-op’s licence, including that made by business partner Teal-Jones Group, included $100,000 to the provincial government in stumpage and for the Forest Co-op creates 830 man days of work in Cowichan Lake area licence and $50,000 for operation of the office in Lake Cowichan.

The Forest Co-op managed to provide 830 man days of work, based on 90 man days of work building roads, 250 man days contract falling in a heli block and 90 man days contract falling in a conventional block, 60 man days in helicopter logging, 115 man days in conventional logging and 225 man days in hauling 465 truckloads.

“Scheffer noted that other than the heli-logging, all the jobs were local and none of the logs were exported.”

25 years ago:

According to a mid-January 1994 copy of The Lake News, a Lake Cowichan couple won $1 million in a lottery draw.

Let’s investigate.

Joe and Bertine Harrison of Lake Cowichan won one million dollars in the Dec. 25 BC/49 lottery draw.

The couple has been on vacation visiting Pat, their daughter, in California. Hildy, another daughter, picked them up at the Victoria airport on Dec. 29.

They stopped at a corner store in Lake Cowichan to check their ticket.

Joe, who had stayed in the car, saw his wife and daughter jumping up and down as their ticket was validated.

“We’re millionaires!” his wife shouted.

Besides their daughters, the Harrisons have two sons, Charles and Rick, as well as five grandchildren. Their other son, Joe, was killed in a logging accident five years ago.

40 years ago:

Meanwhile, in the Jan. 24, 1979 issue of The Lake News, the problems at Lake Cowichan Secondary School were still on the front burner.

“Students won’t be handicapped” said the headline, referring to the situation of the school possibly not passing its accreditation test. It had shocked the entire area.

About 450 parents and teachers attended a special meeting to discuss the accreditation report on Lake Cowichan Secondary School last Tuesday night; they were assured by the district superintendent of schools that solutions to the school’s problems will be found.

Bob Heustis also told the group that they need have no fear about the education of their children because the students “will not be handicapped in any way.”

Heustis outlined the procedure the evaluation team followed conducting its accreditation of LCSS and reported that the school did well on four of the 13 points considered in accreditation, didn’t do so well on eight others, while one point was left undecided.

He said “substantial” areas of the school are in need of improvement…that an accredited school is “a lot better than one which isn’t” but stated that graduating students would not suffer any handicaps.

The superintendent indicated that the ministry of education planned more stringent guidelines for course offerings and programs in the near future, a move which would change a lot of things.

School principal Don Service outlined that the process of accreditation will not mean that students will be stamped with a sign labelling them as “rejects”. He said he would “stake his reputation” that students at the school would not suffer in any way.

He said the first four or five points of accreditation refer to the school philosophy and that the school was criticized horribly for its lack of philosophy. Service said the evaluators wanted to see a philosophy that was written down…He also said the school was also criticized for not consulting parents on things done at the school.

“We asked for input but maybe we didn’t try hard enough.”

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