In this picture from ‘The Lake News’ of 1993, we see Lake Cowichan’s Alice Pedersen greeting Gerhard Friedmann, as he escorts his sixth delegation from Ohtaki, Japan: Lake Cowichan’s sister village. They’ve developed a strong friendship over the years, as have many Lake Cowichan sponsors and their guests.

Lake Flashback: Tour de Rock nets $10K at Lake, library cost hike, and lots of IWA names in this week’s haul

History ebbs and flows in the pages of our local papers, you never know what’s coming next

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 front page of the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Oct. 8, 2008 was all about Cops for Cancer.

The Tour de Rock cyclers pedalled through Lake Cowichan Tuesday, with stops at Palsson Elementary and Lake Cowichan Secondary, and left with about $10,000 to help with cancer research.

Tour de Rock activities began at Palsson Elementary even before the cyclists arrived, with teacher Kim Walters and principal Fergus Horsburgh having their curly locks clipped. Eleven-year-old middle school student Matthew Kercher, a cancer survivor, did the honours on his grandmother Walters’s head.

Walters had made the commitment some time ago that, when Kercher no longer needed treatment for his leukemia, she would have her head shaved. Kercher, one of this year’s junior Tour de Rock riders, had undergone cancer treatment for close to four years.

“Oh, it’s wonderful,” said Walters. “I am so glad I got to do this because it means that Matthew is doing better.”

She raised $1,565 for the Tour de Rock. Horsburgh then got his head shaved by his sons from Maple Bay.

The Tour de Rock arrived at Palsson School just after 11:30 a.m., to a rousing, boisterous cheer from the students. Kercher and Horsburgh then presented Palsson School’s cheque for $1,069 to Tour de Rocker Sgt. Barrie.

25 years ago:

“Council may opt out of the V-I Regional Library system” screamed The Lake News of Oct. 3, 1993.

So, what was up?

“Shocked by yet another huge increase in the library assessment from the Vancouver Island Library board, council last week voted to look at alternatives to that system.

“Coun. Leon Portelance, council’s representative on the library board, said the increase this year has been set at 28.62 per cent, this following an increase last year of about 100 per cent.

“The 28.62 per cent increase is the largest percentage increase of any library of the 40-plus administered by the board.”

Portelance said the increase was being justified because the village assessment has risen sharply.

“But we can’t increase taxes 28 per cent,” said Portelance.

The library board released figures indicating that Lake Cowichan’s population increased 15.9 per cent from 2,017 in 1991 to an estimated 2,338 in 1994. It’s assessment rose 71.99 per cent from $6,058,768 to $10,420,350. Its contribution to the library system is to increase from $31,669 to $40,733 in the same years. (In 1992, the library assessment was about $16,000). The school district and the village pay towards the regional library system, a total of about $150K between them, council was told.

Mayor Earle Darling said the village was told, at the time the system was computerized, that this would result in one large increase in assessment. Then costs would level out.

Figures show, council was told, that the administration of the system costs too much.

Coun. Portelance said he has been told that the library system is on the point of collapse.”

40 years ago:

Here’s a story from the front page of The Lake News of Oct. 4, 1978, with a lot of information (and names) from the past.

“About 4,500 members of IWA Local 1-80 will troop to the polls early in November to decide whether they want to return Roger Stanyer to the presidency of the union [Cowichan Valley] local.”

“Stanyer, who was elected president by acclamation in Dec. 1976, will have to face Joe Lychak, a hooktender with T&D Carter in Chemainus for the Local 1-80 top position.

All other members of the union executive were returned by acclamation at the local’s annual meeting in Duncan Saturday. Included in the executive are first vice-president Jack Reiser, second vice-president Bob Rogers, third vice-president Ross Davies, financial secretary Jack Mumm, recording secretary Carl Stevens, warden Robert Bennett, and conductor Richard Tweedie.

Stanyer, 34, is a former longtime Caycuse resident. He served four years on the Caycuse camp committee and two on the joint safety committee. In 1973, he was hired as business agent and the following year was elected vice-president.

Lychak, 30, has eight years experience in the forest industry and spent three years as job steward and camp chairman at Nanaimo Lakes.

Meanwhile, Stanyer told the annual meeting that the local has increased the number of certifications by 18 in the past two years, including the new BCFP dry land sort at Crofton.

Now, consider that those 4,500 members were only the forestworkers centered in the Cowichan Valley and you can see how greatly the forest industry has declined from those booming days, and why oldtimers reminisce about that era. There was a lot going on in the woods here then.

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