Members of the Valley Fish and Game Club pick up old junk and garbage in 1994 from, top, the area above the highway in Honeymoon Bay, and, bottom, an old truck dumped at the old copper mine site adjacent to Grosskleg’s Hill, which had perhaps lain in the bush as much as 20 years. (Jim Eddy photo)

Members of the Valley Fish and Game Club pick up old junk and garbage in 1994 from, top, the area above the highway in Honeymoon Bay, and, bottom, an old truck dumped at the old copper mine site adjacent to Grosskleg’s Hill, which had perhaps lain in the bush as much as 20 years. (Jim Eddy photo)

Lake Flashback: Selling land, cleaning up garbage, and voting in the NDP: yep, it was Lake Cowichan all right

Barbara Wallace rolls, TimberWest in selling mood, and praiseworthy push by Valley Fish & Game

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:

“TimberWest sells 20 hectares near Shaw Creek, still more available” said the May 20, 2009 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“A trio of land parcels, including one at the Lake, have been sold to secret buyers, just months after TimberWest put them on the market. The forestry giant sold 20 hectares near Shaw Creek, west of Youbou. There is still another 70-acre parcel available in the Shaw Creek area. The biggest chunk the company sold was a 408-hectare site in the Qualicum area and another 85-hectare in Campbell River was sold.

The companies that purchased the lands did so with the proviso nothing about the deal be released publicly, said Stephen Bruyneel, of Couverdon Real Estate, TimberWest’s real estate business.

“I can tell you the companies are B.C. companies, but that’s it,” he said.

“TimberWest recently put for sale signs on 28,000 acres of land it owns in various spots on the island and interest is growing,” said Bruyneel.

Of what’s up for sale, there are three other lots in the Cowichan Lake area, including 282 acres in and around Honeymoon Bay. There are two parcels of Gordon River Camp land totaling 118 acres, both zoned F-1. A Skutz Falls site is 776 acres, priced at $3.185 million and zoned F-1 and RC- 3.

In the coming years, TimberWest wants to sell off about 134,000 of the total 800,000 acres of island real estate it owns, said Bruyneel.

“It has picked up in the last month or so and we’ve had a lot of interest,” he said. “We’ve always said the island is a great place and we have a lot of land on it and I think, despite the downturn in the market, the interest is recognition of that.”

All the land up for sale now is zoned as managed forest and Bruyneel said it’s up to the purchasers to look after rezoning and other things they might want to do with the land, much of which has few trees left. “These are just chunks of land that it makes sense for us to try and get rid of,” he said.

25 years ago:

“Valley Fish and Game Club members clean up the junk” said the headline on the front page of The Lake News on May 18, 1994.

So, if you’re humming, “Seems to me I’ve heard that song before” when you hear today about garbage-dumping concerns, you’re dead right. It’s an ongoing scourge, especially in areas with logging roads.

“Why should the side roads and forests become a dumping ground for people’s cast off junk?” asked the story. Let’s see what happened.

Members of the Valley Fish and Game Club learned first hand on May 7 how much garbage is dumpted because people are too lazy to dispose of their own garbage in the proper place. Seventeen members of the club and volunteers took part in the national Pitch-in event. A crew of nine, Bob and Reid Godfrey, Cliff and Len Davis, Bruce Wilson, Al Grass, Jerry and Carol Broswick, and Jim Eddy removed two gravel truck loads, one Hiab load and two large trailer loads of mostly car bodies and scrap steel from the old copper mine road on Grosskleg’s Hill.

This crew then moved on to an old roadside dump site at Honeymoon Bay and removed one gravel truck and two pickup trucks of garbage and appliances from this area.

The Swain brothers: Bill, Fred, Wes, and Peewee, accompanied by Brian Falconberg, cleaned garbage from Skutz Falls to Stoltz’s Pool, Mayo Lake, and Block 51. Stoltz’s Pool has a great deal of broken glass and will require many hours of work to clean up properly.

Terry Smith and Hans Seise attempted to clean up the Cowichan Estuary but encountered a minus tide. They will return in the next few weeks and working with the tide, remove the flotsam and jetsam of commercial and sport boats in Cowichan Bay.

The crew working the river report a much improved level of cleanliness than in past years, but would like to remind hikers and fishermen to pack out what they pack in, especially cans, bottles, plastic bags, and fish line, and other garbage.

Valley Fish and Game Club were grateful to SD #66 for loaning them a gravel truck and backhoe, Bob Godfrey Welding provided a Hiab truck and labour. Jim Peterson [also] offered the loan of his crane truck, which was not required this year.

A superb, wide-ranging effort indeed!

40 years ago:

In the May 16, 1979 edition of The Lake News, the top story was “Cowichan Lake — NDP country” in which we learn that there was “an overwhelmingly New Democrat vote in the Cowichan Lake area.

Four polls gave MLA Barbara Wallace a sweep. Undoubtedly the success she scored here gave her the needed push to return to the Legislature.

After the polls showed early Thursday that she would win Cowichan-Malahat riding, Wallace exulted in her victory but expressed disappointment in the failure of the NDP to upset the Social Credit government.

“I had it in the back of my head that we were going to win this thing provincially,” she told about 100 party workers at the NDP election night headquarters at the IWA hall in Duncan.

However, she said she was happy that Progressive Conservative candidate Ken Paskin did not act as a ‘spoiler’ in the race between Wallace and losing Social Credit candidate, Rex Hollett.

“I’m glad they got a clear majority. They can’t blame it on Paskin.”

Total ballots cast for Wallace was 9,539; for Hollett 7,564; and for Paskin 1,084. The difference between Wallace and Hollett was wider than the margin in 1975 when the New Democrat defeated three-time Socred candidate Dr. Charles Ennals.

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