’The Batmobile’ caused a sensation at the Car Show & Shine, held during Heritage Days weekend in Lake Cowichan in May 1993. Don Currie of Duncan built the car, and his legend extended all the way to California, where he had built cars for such movies as ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Robocop’.

’The Batmobile’ caused a sensation at the Car Show & Shine, held during Heritage Days weekend in Lake Cowichan in May 1993. Don Currie of Duncan built the car, and his legend extended all the way to California, where he had built cars for such movies as ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Robocop’.

LAKE FLASHBACK: Sunny long weekend pulls the politicians, boaters, and old car lovers to Cowichan Lake

And, to top it all off, Lake Cowichan’s school buses led the way in economy in ‘78. Who knew?

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:

There was outdoor news on the front page of the Lake Cowichan Gazette from May 21, 2008.

First up is a short item entitled “Rescuers search for man in river” in which we learn that “A 21-year-old man from Victoria was still missing along the Cowichan River near Skutz Falls Sunday after his inflatable raft flipped the day before. The man was camping with friends at Skutz Falls when they decided to go down the river.

“One of the boats capsized,” said Const. Danny Butler. “The one man doesn’t know how to swim and had no life jacket. A friend jumped in to help him and almost reached him.” A police helicopter and a plane did air searches and police dogs were brought in, but as of 4:30 p.m. Sunday the man had not been found.

“It’s another tragedy on the river,” said Butler, who noted the river level is high and the water very cold. Police don’t believe alcohol was involved.

A second story, just below it, said, “Stolen boat crashes into Bald Mountain Sunday”.

The story unfolds.

“It appears a joy ride in a boat went bad early Sunday morning. A 24-foot boat police believe was stolen crashed into the side of Bald Mountain just after 4 a.m. Police say witnesses heard what sounded like a boat doing high speed donuts on Cowichan Lake, followed by a loud crash and people screaming for help.

The Honeymoon Bay Fire Department responded with its rescue boat, but found no one on or near the stolen boat. Witnesses told police they believe another boat may have picked up the people who crashed the boat. Const. Jeff Haney said the front windshield was smashed out and there was blood on the boat.

25 years ago:

Politics reared its head in the May 26, 1993 edition of The Lake News as the Reform Party was taking aim at Lake Cowichan.

“The first and so far the only candidate nominated for this fall’s federal election, Bob Ringma, of the Reform Party, romped into Lake Cowichan last week, knocking on doors and holding a town meeting at the Elks Hall.

“This town is not an NDP stronghold anymore,” he said. “It’s changing. New people are moving in and some NDPers are changing their minds. I got a great reception.”

“His town meeting was thinly attended, with 16 present, but the audience was receptive and enthusiastic. Ringma noted that he was in competition with a hockey game. The Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club were also holding meetings.

While all parties agree that the huge federal deficit is hurting the economy, the Reform Party is the only one with a clear platform on how to reduce it, he said.

Questions from the floor included such subjects as gun control, capital punishment, and treatment of minorities, according to the story.

40 years ago:

In the May, 1978 edition of The Lake News, the Cowichan Lake area learned that “Bus department wins accolades”.

What: you ask. It’s even stranger than you’d think at first sight, too.

“The Lake Cowichan School District bus department operates so efficiently it is held up as an example to the rest of the province by ministry of education officials, secretary-treasurer Terry Kirk told [Lake Cowichan] school board members last week.

“Kirk was commenting on the bus department statement of costs for 1977, which reflected an increas of costs of only 4.3 per cent, despite the fact that wage costs increased 10 per cent and fuel costs 18.6 per cent. The seven buses used by the district to transport students travelled almost 100,000 miles last year at a cost per mile of $1.21. In 1976, the buses cost $$1.61 per mile to operate.

“The operating cost of the buses excluding wages, depreciation, and benefits, was 22 cents per mile. Total expenses of the bus department for 1977 were $116,694, of which $85,384 went to salaries, $9,915 to benefits, $9,861 to repairs, $8,193 to fuel, and about $3,300 to miscellaneous costs. The buses averaged 6.1 miles per gallon but the three diesel buses in use were 72 per cent more efficient, averaging 10.5 miles per gallon.”

When you think about it, you realize a lot of time has gone by since then. Imagine driving seven buses a total of 100,000 miles for only $8,193. And now, you’re ready for that pop quiz.