The Class of ‘93 were being blamed for partying too heartily at Cottonwood Creek it seems.

Lake Flashback: Repairing the car bridge, Grad mess to clean up, and bureaucracy to overcome

The park at Cottonwood Creek gets two mentions, plus the relief of finishing up repairs on the car bridge

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:

“Work on bridge could be done by middle of July” was a headline to gladden hearts in Lake Cowichan when it appeared July 9, 2008 in the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“We’re pretty close to finishing, said Scott MacDonald, project manager for the Ministry of Transportation. “I think we’ll be out of there by the 15th of July. You won’t see us on top very much from now on.”

The [car] bridge maintenance work began in mid-April, later than the ministry wanted, with only one lane open to traffic.

Two lanes were to be open, for the most part, by late June. Traffic control workers have been on duty seven days a week, 24 hours a day through most of the work.

Over the last week, traffic control has only been needed during working hours during the day.

“I think Ruskin (Contracting) and the crew have done a really good job,” said MacDonald.

The bridge was resurfaced in 1977 and the joints at each pier had been leaking because of salt and water, which caused severe corrosion. The type of deck joint used in 1977 is no longer used.

The reinforcing and concrete in the areas near each pier had deteriorated, said MacDonald, and some bearings underneath and rubber seals still have to be installed and the railings between the road and sidewalks have to be put in.

25 years ago:

“Grads are blamed for mess” was the unfortunate headline in the July 14, 1993 issue of The Lake News.

“This year’s Lake Cowichan Secondary grads are being blamed for a mess at Cottonwood Creek where they held a party.

Sgt. Ron Merchant, in charge of the Lake Cowichan detachment, RCMP, told The Lake News that the area was left in a great mess and a vehichle was smashed up and left in the lake

It had “Grad” painted on it.

Grant Daly, of Daly’s Esso Centre in Youbou, towed the vehicle out of the lake. He said it had no licence plates and was badly smashed, though it could have been worth something before the damage was done. He confirmed the state of the picnic area.

“There is broken glass everywhere, a lot of it from bottles,” he said.

He suggested that the graduating class in future be required to post a sum of money, returnable if no damage is done and no mess left.

He said the mess was made the night the grads held their party at the Creek, though he is not aware of anyone who saw them do it.

Police did not indicate whether they were contemplating laying charges.

40 years ago:

In a related story from years earlier, The Lake News of July 5, 1978 featured the headline “Cottonwood Park project slow”.

Talks about a park there had apparently been going on for some time. Let’s check the story:

“The provincial parks branch has indicated that the acquisition of property for a provincial park at Cottonwood Delta near Youbou is a ‘Top priority’ but the manager of the region says nothing is likely to happen for at least two years…The Lake Cowichan village council recently wrote the parks branch pointing out that camping facilities in the area are overcrowded and a new park is needed here.

“The reply from the parks branch pointed out that 57 additional campsites were added at Gordon Bay this year, bringing the total number of spots to 131.

“We had anticipated that this would alleviate the shortage of campsites in the area for the time being. From your information, these do not appear to be sufficient,” the letter states.

“The letter from council has pointed out that during the May 24 weekend, traditionally the first heavy weekend for camping, many visitors leave the Cowichan Lake area because of a shortage of camping spots.”

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