Expert cyclists from all over the world kicked off a seven-day bike race from Victoria to Whistler. Above, the participants leave Lake Cowichan on Highway 18 on Sunday, June 29 heading towards Port Alberni.

Lake Flashback: Stories still resonating at the Lake

A.B. Greenwell, doctor shortage, and future of forest industry: sounds like Cowichan Lake

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:

(The ongoing A.B. Greenwell Elementary school story contiuned in the Lake Cowichan Gazette July 2, 2008.)

“Parents want renovations for A.B. Greenwell, [but] proposal of new school met with skepticism” was the story on the front page.

At a Ratepayers meeting, parents came to the resolution they want renovations done at A.B. Greenwell and their children back at the school as soon as possible. A.B. Greenwell was closed in February because of mould. Parents voiced their concerns about waiting for one big elementary school to be built, a suggestion of School District #79 staff.

Parents expressed distrust of the district and school board, saying they were skeptical any new school would ever be built.

Before A.B. Greenwell closed, there was $1.2 million worth of renovations planned over the summer for the gym. Near the end of the two-hour Ratepayers meeting, the parents came to the conclusion they should take the $1.2 million and ask for more renovation money. This would be cheaper than the estimated $9 million for a new school, they pointed out.

But school board trustee Kristine Sandhu, who was at the meeting, said it wouldn’t work that way.

She said there won’t be additional money given to refurbish A.B. Greenwell, and funds will only be available to open a new school.

Rod Peters, president of the Lake Cowichan Ratepayers’ Association, said Lake Cowichan is getting the shaft when it comes to its schools.

“We’ve paid our money. I know Sandhu said there are other ‘have not’ communities around, but we’ve paid our money and we’ re getting back nothing. I don’t know where it’s going…The system is terribly, terribly flawed,” he concluded.

25 years ago:

On June 30, 1993, The Lake News had a story that resonates today: “Doctors not on call: Concerns expressed by Mayor”

“Mayor Earle Darling told this to Dean Monterey, Superintendent of Region 1, Central of the B.C. Ambulance Service, who came from Nanaimo at council’s request to answer questions about the ambulance service.

“The mayor pointed out that, until recently, at least one doctor was on call evenings and weekends. Now people taken ill have to go to the emergency department of the Duncan hospital. Council wanted to know the level of training of the ambulance attendants.

“Monterey replied that the Ambulance Service has three levels of training. Level 1 trainees get 80 hours of instruction, which includes basic assessment of a patient’s condition. Level 2 receive six weeks’ training approaching the best advanced life support instruction available five years ago. Level 3 offers training of most use in large cities and is equivalent to paramedic status…Lake Cowichan ambulance attendants can give drugs for allergic reactions and can use electrical stimulation for heart failute, he said. They’ll be using laughing gas as an anesthetic.”

40 years ago:

On June 28, 1978, the main story in The Lake News shared that “the 160-180 people employed through Pacific Logging’s Cowichan Division operations will probably still be working for the forest compmany many years down the road.”

They didn’t say how far down the road they meant. That company is long gone now but the story was optimistic 40 years ago.

“Pacific intends to continue with the policy of managing its forests so there will be a future crop, according to comments made by Pacific chief forester Bruce Devitt at the 60th annual meeting of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association.

“A copy of Devitt’s speech to the forestry group was recently sent to the Cowichan Valley Regional District board in response to requests for information about the company’s activities for the Cowichan Lake area.

Devitt cites the track record of Pacific as proof that the company has an eye to the future.

Of the 300,000 acres of company holdings on the south-east portion of Vancouver Island (140,000 acres are in the Cowichan area), better than two-thirds in mature timber or immature forest plantations…Since the company cuts between 1,500 and 3,000 acres annually, Cowichan area loggers still have 15 to 20 years of mature timber to cut before the transition to second growth takes place.

About 14 per cent of Pacific holdings are in plantations and since 1962 the company has consistently planted more acreage than was harvested, according to figures prepared by Devitt.

Like any good business, Pacific’s goal is “to obtain the highest possible return on our investment consistent with a continuous supply of wood,” Devitt states.

Pacific Logging was one of six companies operating in the Cowichan Lake area which were asked by the regional district to outline activities on log movements, processing areas, and short and long range plans.

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