In this week’s picture, from the May 2, 1979 edition of The Lake News, we learn that “Volunteer firemen could only keep blaze from spreading to nearby bush after single spark set off a fire last Wednesday morning which destroyed shake mill owned by Mark Couterier on Beaver Road. Couterier told police he was cutting shake blocks when a spark ignited a diesel engine, setting off fuel, which erupted into fierce blaze that took a truck with it.

Lake Flashback: Salmon, teens chime in, 200 new jobs

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:

“Hatchery gives chum salmon a helping hand” was the big news in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of May 6, 2009.

The president of the Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society and other members recently moved 360,000 chum fry from brood stock at the Cowichan River’s Marie Canyon and placed them into the incubation room at the hatchery in Lake Cowichan.

Frank Sutherland said the fry are about .37 grams, on average, when he put them into the hatchery troughs, through which water from Beadnell Creek flows.

“We’d like to grow them a little bit more,” said Sutherland. “In about two weeks they’ll be released.”

By that time, he said, the fry will have grown to about a gram or so. About 100,000 of the fry will go to the hatchery on Saturna Island, with the rest to be released in upper Sutton Creek south of Honeymoon Bay.

“It’s been pretty good for chum, they’re doing pretty well in the Cowichan, but we didn’t get any coho,” said Sutherland.

Although most of us frown when it starts to rain, Sutherland is hoping it will. He said that for this time of year the river, streams and creeks are low and as the days get longer and warmer the water starts to heat up.

“We really need some rain. Everything’s really low right now.”

25 years ago:

On the front page of The Lake News from May 4, 1994, one can find a plethora of news stories.

Obviously that week, the editor was spoilt for choice and squeezed in as many news items as he could into the paper.

First off we read that the Kaatza Lakeside Players were preparing for a Mother’s Day performance of Steel Magnolias, starring Dena McPhee (M’lynn), Nori Nilson (Annelle), Tyra Hauck (Truvey), Dane Baecker (Clairee), Laurie Bennett (Shelby), and Miriam Coghlan (Ouiser).

Next, we learn that “Tax levies go up” after “Mayor Earle Darling warned council to expect a big jump in Village taxation when the Chemainus Hospital goes into service.”

In a story that seems to come back every few years, we read “Young people ask for more programs and facilities”.

Asked for their say, Honeynoon Bay Elementary School students said drugs and alcohol, no jobs, stealing, name calling and fighting were problems they saw. They said the area needed a swimming pool, go carts, cinema, skate boarding facility, water slides, and school cafeterias.

A Grade 7 student from Stanley Gordon favoured a roller skating rink, swimming pool, summer time activities, and “people who would help with interests”.

At Yount School, Grade 7s were concerned about sexually transmitted diseases, drugs, and violence. They called for a bus that would connect them to Lake Cowichan more easily and wanted a place to “hang out”.

If all this isn’t enough, another story tells that a seniors’ apartment building is planned at Renfrew and King George Streets, which developer Grant Clement said “will be designed to fit with the village atmosphere of Lake Cowichan.”

Further down the page, we see that “Council protests TV violence”, following the lead of the City of Surrey and the Canadian Broadcasting Association’s campaign against violence on TV and in videos.

In the bottom corner, there’s a headline “Dorothy Clode is ill in hospital” and a brief paragraph. “Dorothy Close, pioneer in education in Lake Cowichan, is seriously ill in the Jubilee Hospital, Victoria. It is not known when she will be coming home.”

40 years ago:

“Island Shake announces new mills: 200 jobs in two years for area” screamed the headline on the front page of The Lake News on May 2, 1979.

It was something to get excited about.

The local economy got a shot in the arm this week with an announcement Tuesday of construction of a two-phase, $13 million development. The development will provide 200 jobs directly.

Bert Rodenbush, president of Island Shake & Shingle Co. Ltd., announced that his company will build a sawmill and planer at Beaver Lake this year and a composite particle board plant in 1980.

The first phase — the sawmill and planer — is valued at $5 million and will employ 100 persons. Construction of this plant on industrially zoned land on the site located between here and Mesachie Lake will start in June and production is scheduled to begin in January 1980, Rodenbush said.

He said the particle board plant, valued at $8 million, will employ another 100 people. Construction is slated for the fall of 1980 with production starting in May of 1981.

The existing shake and shingle mill, which employs 60 people, will continue to operate at its present site on Nitinat Avenue as long as the company can continue leasing the property, Rodenbush said.

Rodenbush commented that, in addition to the 200 direct jobs, the expansion would create, there would be “several hundred supporting service industry jobs [created] in the next two years.”

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