Lake Cowichan Gazette Year In Review – Part II

Many put some effort into dressing festive to attend the Mesachie Lake Canada Day celebrations hosted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District on July 1. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
Legendary rocker Tom Cochrane performs Friday night, July 22, 2022 at Laketown Rock. (Robert Porter/RMS Media photo)Legendary rocker Tom Cochrane performs Friday night, July 22, 2022 at Laketown Rock. (Robert Porter/RMS Media photo)
The Lake Cowichan Fire Department and the Keith Nelson Countrywide Realty U18 Lakers faced off at the Cowichan Lake Arena on April 9 in their annual benefit game for the Lake Cowichan Food Bank. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)The Lake Cowichan Fire Department and the Keith Nelson Countrywide Realty U18 Lakers faced off at the Cowichan Lake Arena on April 9 in their annual benefit game for the Lake Cowichan Food Bank. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gas prices too high? Freya and Hero out for a carriage ride in Lake Cowichan. (Mary Hunt photo)Gas prices too high? Freya and Hero out for a carriage ride in Lake Cowichan. (Mary Hunt photo)
Andrew White and Kyler Smith break out and look up the ice during play against the Peninsula Panthers Sept. 18. (Courtesy of Kevin Rothbauer)
Andrew White and Kyler Smith break out and look up the ice during play against the Peninsula Panthers Sept. 18. (Courtesy of Kevin Rothbauer)Andrew White and Kyler Smith break out and look up the ice during play against the Peninsula Panthers Sept. 18. (Courtesy of Kevin Rothbauer) Andrew White and Kyler Smith break out and look up the ice during play against the Peninsula Panthers Sept. 18. (Courtesy of Kevin Rothbauer)
Karley Blair from Calgary, who was visiting her parents in Youbou, decided to give the quarter mile swim a try and wound up the winner, finishing in approximately six minutes. (Kathryn Swan photo)Karley Blair from Calgary, who was visiting her parents in Youbou, decided to give the quarter mile swim a try and wound up the winner, finishing in approximately six minutes. (Kathryn Swan photo)
The new playground at Kin Park - The Duck Pond gets the thumbs up from area children, who have been happy to play on it since its completion. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)The new playground at Kin Park - The Duck Pond gets the thumbs up from area children, who have been happy to play on it since its completion. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
MacKenzie Porter interacts with fans from the stage at Sunfest 2022. (Robert Porter/RMS Media)MacKenzie Porter interacts with fans from the stage at Sunfest 2022. (Robert Porter/RMS Media)
Children visiting their grandparents, the Callsens of Lake Cowichan, get a chance to touch a bear’s open mouth while learning about being safe around bears at the wildlife safety booth during the Youbou Regatta on Aug. 13, 2022. (Kathryn Swan photo)Children visiting their grandparents, the Callsens of Lake Cowichan, get a chance to touch a bear’s open mouth while learning about being safe around bears at the wildlife safety booth during the Youbou Regatta on Aug. 13, 2022. (Kathryn Swan photo)
Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s Tender 2, here crewed by Chief Doug Knott and firefighter Tyler Bergen, saw action in the Penticton/Keremeos area in August. (Submitted)Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s Tender 2, here crewed by Chief Doug Knott and firefighter Tyler Bergen, saw action in the Penticton/Keremeos area in August. (Submitted)
Cowichan ‘Lake Bloomers’ Garden Club members spent the evening of Sept. 1 touring three area gardens. (Submitted by Ginny Saboe)Cowichan ‘Lake Bloomers’ Garden Club members spent the evening of Sept. 1 touring three area gardens. (Submitted by Ginny Saboe)
The first youth out of the water in the quarter mile swim, Quinn Switzer, 11. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)The first youth out of the water in the quarter mile swim, Quinn Switzer, 11. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Wayne Atkinson says speeding is a major issue on South Shore Road just west of the Honeymoon Bay townsite and he’s determined to do something about it. (Cristine MacKenzie photo)Wayne Atkinson says speeding is a major issue on South Shore Road just west of the Honeymoon Bay townsite and he’s determined to do something about it. (Cristine MacKenzie photo)
Rick Harris and Wayne Winters know a thing or two about being fishing derby winners. (Gazette file)Rick Harris and Wayne Winters know a thing or two about being fishing derby winners. (Gazette file)
Wu-Tang Clan performs at Laketown Shakedown in Youbou over the 2022 Canada Day long weekend. (Robert Porter/RMS Media photo)Wu-Tang Clan performs at Laketown Shakedown in Youbou over the 2022 Canada Day long weekend. (Robert Porter/RMS Media photo)
Island Silks’s Kayle Smith, 11, of Lake Cowichan, shows off her moves at Central Park on July 1 as part of the Canada 155 celebrations. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)Island Silks’s Kayle Smith, 11, of Lake Cowichan, shows off her moves at Central Park on July 1 as part of the Canada 155 celebrations. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
Lake Cowichan School recently held its graduation ceremonies for the grad class of 2022. Here they are, decked out in their finery. (Bob Day photo)Lake Cowichan School recently held its graduation ceremonies for the grad class of 2022. Here they are, decked out in their finery. (Bob Day photo)
Many put some effort into dressing festive to attend the Mesachie Lake Canada Day celebrations hosted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District on July 1. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)Many put some effort into dressing festive to attend the Mesachie Lake Canada Day celebrations hosted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District on July 1. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
Heritage Days a hit: Stella, two, has her helmet ready to go, in case her big brother decides to ask her to take over for him in the bicycle parade during Heritage Days in Lake Cowichan. (Kathryn Swan photo)Heritage Days a hit: Stella, two, has her helmet ready to go, in case her big brother decides to ask her to take over for him in the bicycle parade during Heritage Days in Lake Cowichan. (Kathryn Swan photo)
Second princess Elise Nelson, Lady of the Lake Jenae Weir and first princess Danielle Bissett make up the 2022 Cowichan Lake Ambassador team. (Cowichan Lady of the Lake photo)Second princess Elise Nelson, Lady of the Lake Jenae Weir and first princess Danielle Bissett make up the 2022 Cowichan Lake Ambassador team. (Cowichan Lady of the Lake photo)
Vera Crane, right, with Pat Weaver in front of Crane’s People’s Choice award winning painting at the Kaatza Art Show in Lake Cowichan over the May long weekend in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Kaatza Art Group)Vera Crane, right, with Pat Weaver in front of Crane’s People’s Choice award winning painting at the Kaatza Art Show in Lake Cowichan over the May long weekend in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Kaatza Art Group)
Members of the Cowichan Lake & River Stewardship Society work on riparian areas in the Lake Cowichan area. (Picture courtesy of the Cowichan Lake & River Stewardship Society)Members of the Cowichan Lake & River Stewardship Society work on riparian areas in the Lake Cowichan area. (Picture courtesy of the Cowichan Lake & River Stewardship Society)
Members of the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative donated $5,000 to each of the Cowichan Lake area fire halls’s fire chiefs on June 3 to thank them for their service. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Members of the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative donated $5,000 to each of the Cowichan Lake area fire halls’s fire chiefs on June 3 to thank them for their service. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
This five foot by 24 foot acrylic canvas mural now hangs at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea and students have been given free admission to go view their work in June. (Rebecca Scheer photo)This five foot by 24 foot acrylic canvas mural now hangs at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea and students have been given free admission to go view their work in June. (Rebecca Scheer photo)
The Kinsmen Club of Lake Cowichan’s Duck Pond Revitalization Project is one of 13 projects that have received a portion of $1 million as a 2022 recipient of Co-op Community Spaces. (Submitted by Co-op Community Spaces)The Kinsmen Club of Lake Cowichan’s Duck Pond Revitalization Project is one of 13 projects that have received a portion of $1 million as a 2022 recipient of Co-op Community Spaces. (Submitted by Co-op Community Spaces)
With the support of former Mayors Rod Peters and Ross Forrest, Tim McGonigle has been elected to be Lake Cowichan’s next mayor. (Submitted)With the support of former Mayors Rod Peters and Ross Forrest, Tim McGonigle has been elected to be Lake Cowichan’s next mayor. (Submitted)
Most of the trustee candidates for the Cowichan Valley’s school board showed up for an all-candidates meeting in Lake Cowichan on Sept. 30. Pictured is 13 of the 18 candidates waiting their turn to address the audience. (Robert Barron/Citizen)Most of the trustee candidates for the Cowichan Valley’s school board showed up for an all-candidates meeting in Lake Cowichan on Sept. 30. Pictured is 13 of the 18 candidates waiting their turn to address the audience. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Lake Cowichan’s Wesley Blanchette follows puck carrier Carter Pehota up the ice. The Lake Cowichan Lakers were playing eventual tournament winners, Campbell River, on Saturday, Nov. 26. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)Lake Cowichan’s Wesley Blanchette follows puck carrier Carter Pehota up the ice. The Lake Cowichan Lakers were playing eventual tournament winners, Campbell River, on Saturday, Nov. 26. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
Author Larry Amstutz, formerly from Lake Cowichan, has released his personal memoir “Finding my Groove”. (Submitted photo)Author Larry Amstutz, formerly from Lake Cowichan, has released his personal memoir “Finding my Groove”. (Submitted photo)
Pictured are all the award winners at the 22nd annual Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Community Excellence Awards that was held on Oct. 29. From left, Andrew Braye (Citizen of the Year); Katie St. Onge, owner Lake Mercantile (Excellence in Customer Service Award); Jocelyn Lundberg on behalf of Kinsmen/Kinette volunteer community service; Gillian Longbottom and Sue Marchant on behalf of The Tube Shack (Business of the Year); Pat Weaver from the Forest Co- Op and Julia Martinusen, from Trail Blazers (Above & Beyond Award). (Lauri Meanley photo)Pictured are all the award winners at the 22nd annual Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Community Excellence Awards that was held on Oct. 29. From left, Andrew Braye (Citizen of the Year); Katie St. Onge, owner Lake Mercantile (Excellence in Customer Service Award); Jocelyn Lundberg on behalf of Kinsmen/Kinette volunteer community service; Gillian Longbottom and Sue Marchant on behalf of The Tube Shack (Business of the Year); Pat Weaver from the Forest Co- Op and Julia Martinusen, from Trail Blazers (Above & Beyond Award). (Lauri Meanley photo)
Piping the lament is an important part of every Remembrance Day service at Lake Cowichan on Nov. 11, 2022. (Lexi Bainas photo)Piping the lament is an important part of every Remembrance Day service at Lake Cowichan on Nov. 11, 2022. (Lexi Bainas photo)
A veteran carries the Lake Cowichan Legion wreath to the cenotaph during Remembrance Day ceremonies on Nov. 11, 2022. (Lexi Bainas photo)A veteran carries the Lake Cowichan Legion wreath to the cenotaph during Remembrance Day ceremonies on Nov. 11, 2022. (Lexi Bainas photo)
Lois Atchison won the door prize basket which included many handcrafted items made by CLAC members. (Submitted by CLAC)Lois Atchison won the door prize basket which included many handcrafted items made by CLAC members. (Submitted by CLAC)
Rose and Kerry participated in carving jack-o-lanterns, one of the activities at the 50+ Activity Centre during karaoke day, Thursday, Oct. 27. (Kathryn Swan photo)Rose and Kerry participated in carving jack-o-lanterns, one of the activities at the 50+ Activity Centre during karaoke day, Thursday, Oct. 27. (Kathryn Swan photo)
Cobble Hill’s Randy Link (left) and Nick Colabella spent one of the last days of warm and sunny weather for the season on Oct. 18 by riding their Harley Davidsons to Lake Cowichan and having lunch in the picnic area in front of Kaatza Station Museum. (Robert Barron/Citizen)Cobble Hill’s Randy Link (left) and Nick Colabella spent one of the last days of warm and sunny weather for the season on Oct. 18 by riding their Harley Davidsons to Lake Cowichan and having lunch in the picnic area in front of Kaatza Station Museum. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Youbou is renowned for it’s spooky haunted house, but it doesn’t happen without the can-do spirit of volunteers. (Courtesy of the Youbou Community Association)Youbou is renowned for it’s spooky haunted house, but it doesn’t happen without the can-do spirit of volunteers. (Courtesy of the Youbou Community Association)
On Oct. 24 Lake Cowichan Kraken players visited Palsson Elementary to participate in The Drop Everything and Read Challenge. By all accounts it was a great time. (Kraken Images photo)On Oct. 24 Lake Cowichan Kraken players visited Palsson Elementary to participate in The Drop Everything and Read Challenge. By all accounts it was a great time. (Kraken Images photo)
Oliver Blair Finlayson, an 11-year-old Grade 4 student at Lake Cowichan School who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, sits in his wheelchair in front of the playground equipment at Lake Cowichan School, which is not accessible to many students with physical challenges. (Robert Barron/Citizen)Oliver Blair Finlayson, an 11-year-old Grade 4 student at Lake Cowichan School who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, sits in his wheelchair in front of the playground equipment at Lake Cowichan School, which is not accessible to many students with physical challenges. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Surrounded by Lake Cowichan council, Pat Weaver was bestowed the honour of Freeman of the Town on Sept. 27. (Town of Lake Cowichan photo)Surrounded by Lake Cowichan council, Pat Weaver was bestowed the honour of Freeman of the Town on Sept. 27. (Town of Lake Cowichan photo)
Lake Cowichan recreation programmer Kyle Laberge answers questions from a visitor about the new gym and its features on opening day, Monday, Oct. 3. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)Lake Cowichan recreation programmer Kyle Laberge answers questions from a visitor about the new gym and its features on opening day, Monday, Oct. 3. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
With Mom watching from on high, sisters Brylee Apted, 11, Maylin Apted, 8, and Everly Apted, 5, offer freezies for sale for those headed to and from the marina on Point Ideal Drive on a particularly warm Friday, July 22. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)With Mom watching from on high, sisters Brylee Apted, 11, Maylin Apted, 8, and Everly Apted, 5, offer freezies for sale for those headed to and from the marina on Point Ideal Drive on a particularly warm Friday, July 22. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
Little Town Pizza in Lake Cowichan is hailing their first ever Easter egg hunt a “total success.” Dozens of children and their families turned out for the event, which raised $659.25 for the Lake Cowichan Food Bank. (Photo courtesy of Liam Murray)Little Town Pizza in Lake Cowichan is hailing their first ever Easter egg hunt a “total success.” Dozens of children and their families turned out for the event, which raised $659.25 for the Lake Cowichan Food Bank. (Photo courtesy of Liam Murray)
The cycling Spooners take a break during their cross-B.C. trip in 2020. (Carla Spooner photo)The cycling Spooners take a break during their cross-B.C. trip in 2020. (Carla Spooner photo)
Students from Becky Olson’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School receive plastic cups containing coho salmon fry from Lindsay Hartshorn for release into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Students from Becky Olson’s Grade 4/5 class at Lake Cowichan School receive plastic cups containing coho salmon fry from Lindsay Hartshorn for release into Cowichan Lake on Tuesday, April 19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Staff and supporters at the Lake Cowichan branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library walk the picket line on April 7 as part of the BCGEU’s escalating job action. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)Staff and supporters at the Lake Cowichan branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library walk the picket line on April 7 as part of the BCGEU’s escalating job action. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
Valley artist Val Konig’s art will be on display at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council’s Portals Annex from March 15-29. (Courtesy of CVAC)Valley artist Val Konig’s art will be on display at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council’s Portals Annex from March 15-29. (Courtesy of CVAC)
An elk visited a home along Sa Seen Os Point Road in Youbou Sunday, Feb. 27. (Kathryn Swan photo)An elk visited a home along Sa Seen Os Point Road in Youbou Sunday, Feb. 27. (Kathryn Swan photo)
Josh Robins has stopped 72 of 77 shots over the Lake Cowichan Kraken’s last two games to contribute to the Kraken’s February playoff push. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Josh Robins has stopped 72 of 77 shots over the Lake Cowichan Kraken’s last two games to contribute to the Kraken’s February playoff push. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Students from Lake Cowichan Secondary School took to the streets in Lake Cowichan on March 3 to express their support for Ukraine as Russia’s brutal invasion of the European country continues. (File Photo/Robert Barron)Students from Lake Cowichan Secondary School took to the streets in Lake Cowichan on March 3 to express their support for Ukraine as Russia’s brutal invasion of the European country continues. (File Photo/Robert Barron)
From left: The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative’s Lorne Scheffer, Ed James and Pat Weaver (second from right), join Rod Peters (Kinsmen), deputy mayor Kristine Sandhu, councillor Carolyn Austin, and Kinsmen Dustin Mayo, and Kinsmen president Steve White for a special cheque presentation Friday April 22. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)From left: The Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative’s Lorne Scheffer, Ed James and Pat Weaver (second from right), join Rod Peters (Kinsmen), deputy mayor Kristine Sandhu, councillor Carolyn Austin, and Kinsmen Dustin Mayo, and Kinsmen president Steve White for a special cheque presentation Friday April 22. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)
Brock Dupont (right), who is in charge of sales and marketing at the new North Shore Estates in Lake Cowichan, and Aaron Hamilton, the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation’s operations manager, stand in front of a new housing project’s sign on North Shore Road in February. (Robert Barron/Gazette)Brock Dupont (right), who is in charge of sales and marketing at the new North Shore Estates in Lake Cowichan, and Aaron Hamilton, the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation’s operations manager, stand in front of a new housing project’s sign on North Shore Road in February. (Robert Barron/Gazette)
Wendy Stokes with her priceless gifts from Bob in March. (Courtesy of Wendy Stokes)Wendy Stokes with her priceless gifts from Bob in March. (Courtesy of Wendy Stokes)
Kate, Ryan and Mae Thompson in front of Jack’s General Store in Lake Cowichan. in February. (Robert Barron/Gazette)Kate, Ryan and Mae Thompson in front of Jack’s General Store in Lake Cowichan. in February. (Robert Barron/Gazette)
Janelle Hatch and dog Jupiter enjoy the view above the Cowichan River on a hike on the Cowichan River Footpath in January. (Andrea Rondeau/Gazette)Janelle Hatch and dog Jupiter enjoy the view above the Cowichan River on a hike on the Cowichan River Footpath in January. (Andrea Rondeau/Gazette)
All about friendship: These pooches enjoy a walk on the Friendship Trail in Lake Cowichan in January. (Kathryn Swan photo)All about friendship: These pooches enjoy a walk on the Friendship Trail in Lake Cowichan in January. (Kathryn Swan photo)
Lake Cowichan’s Kristal Mayo (right) died on New Year’s Eve after battling cancer for many months. Pictured with Kristal is husband Dustin and daughter Kourtlynn. (File photo)Lake Cowichan’s Kristal Mayo (right) died on New Year’s Eve after battling cancer for many months. Pictured with Kristal is husband Dustin and daughter Kourtlynn. (File photo)
A big snowfall in late December left fat pillows of snow on signs, fences, picnic tables lake and even covered the surface of Mayo Dam, as shown in the first edition of January, 2022. (Kathryn Swan photo)A big snowfall in late December left fat pillows of snow on signs, fences, picnic tables lake and even covered the surface of Mayo Dam, as shown in the first edition of January, 2022. (Kathryn Swan photo)
On Monday, May 2, 2022 Honeymoon Bay Fire Chief Raymond Wear received his 40 year Exemplary Service Bar, presented by CVRD board chair Lori Iannidinardo. (Dan Moeller photo)On Monday, May 2, 2022 Honeymoon Bay Fire Chief Raymond Wear received his 40 year Exemplary Service Bar, presented by CVRD board chair Lori Iannidinardo. (Dan Moeller photo)
“Canucks can do it to the Islanders, local hockey fan Peggy Forrest insists as she holds up famous white towel which Peggy had waved along with thousands of others in symbolic gesture bidding goodbye to Chicago Blackhawks during fourth game against the U.S. team played in Vancouver. Peggy’s towel was filmed by a Chicago film crew who selected it to show the folks back in the windy city exactly what was being said in print by Canucks fans.” (Lake News, May 12, 1982)“Canucks can do it to the Islanders, local hockey fan Peggy Forrest insists as she holds up famous white towel which Peggy had waved along with thousands of others in symbolic gesture bidding goodbye to Chicago Blackhawks during fourth game against the U.S. team played in Vancouver. Peggy’s towel was filmed by a Chicago film crew who selected it to show the folks back in the windy city exactly what was being said in print by Canucks fans.” (Lake News, May 12, 1982)
The Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society received $1,800 from the B.C. Community Gaming Grant program’s public safety sector. (Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society photo)The Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society received $1,800 from the B.C. Community Gaming Grant program’s public safety sector. (Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society photo)
Pickleball players compete in the 2022 Cowichan Lake Pickleball Open Tournament. (Kathryn Swan photo)Pickleball players compete in the 2022 Cowichan Lake Pickleball Open Tournament. (Kathryn Swan photo)
Chief Councillor Brian Tate (right) accepts a check from SAN Group president Kamal Sanghera, for work on an emergency bypass road. (San Group Inc. photo)Chief Councillor Brian Tate (right) accepts a check from SAN Group president Kamal Sanghera, for work on an emergency bypass road. (San Group Inc. photo)
June Student of the Month Isaac Burdge accepts his certificate from then-Duncan Rotary Club president Gregg Perry, flanked by then-Lake Cowichan School principal Jamie Doyle and Student of the Month program coordinator Kim Barnard. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)June Student of the Month Isaac Burdge accepts his certificate from then-Duncan Rotary Club president Gregg Perry, flanked by then-Lake Cowichan School principal Jamie Doyle and Student of the Month program coordinator Kim Barnard. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Hardy takes the stage, as fans pack close at Sunfest on Sunday, July 31, 2022. (Robert Porter/RMS Media)Hardy takes the stage, as fans pack close at Sunfest on Sunday, July 31, 2022. (Robert Porter/RMS Media)
Mayor Bob Day moonlights as a jr B hockey announcer for the Lake Cowichan Kraken. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)Mayor Bob Day moonlights as a jr B hockey announcer for the Lake Cowichan Kraken. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Members of three organizations that contributed a total of $161,000 towards the purchase of a parcel of land to help the Cowichan Lake Elder Care Society’s efforts to construct a new housing facility for seniors, as well as a number of local politicians, stand on the property that was bought. Holding a cheque from the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative are, from left, Co-op members Lorne Scheffer, Pat Weaver, and Ed James. (Robert Barron/Citizen)Members of three organizations that contributed a total of $161,000 towards the purchase of a parcel of land to help the Cowichan Lake Elder Care Society’s efforts to construct a new housing facility for seniors, as well as a number of local politicians, stand on the property that was bought. Holding a cheque from the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative are, from left, Co-op members Lorne Scheffer, Pat Weaver, and Ed James. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
With two vials of lake water already collected, Jim Deck pours a vial of regular water into an empty vial to measure the amount of sunscreen in the air. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)With two vials of lake water already collected, Jim Deck pours a vial of regular water into an empty vial to measure the amount of sunscreen in the air. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

Editor’s note: This past year has been a busy one around Cowichan Lake. Here’s a look back at some of our top stories from the Gazette for 2022.

July

Mounties cracked down on protesters at the Haddon Main and Carmanah Mainline Forest Service Roads near Lake Cowichan Wednesday, June 29. Enforcement operations began around 8:30 a.m. when officers began to dismantle a camp and blockade across a main logging road on Ditidaht Traditional Territory in Tree Farm Licence 44 on Vancouver Island. The removal of the camp came after discussions with Indigenous leaders from the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht Nations, following several peaceful but unsuccessful attempts by the First Nations to have the group leave the area to facilitate the resumption of lawful forest operations.

•••

Arkells was one of the headline acts at the triumphant return of Laketown Shakedown at Laketown Ranch in Youbou over the Canada Day long weekend. Thousands of fans packed the venue to see their favourites in the first big show to grace the venue since the COVID pandemic hit in 2020.

•••

Palsson’s population of pupils is growing. Over the last several years, the number of people moving to Lake Cowichan has grown and with it, the need for more space at the town’s K-3 school. For the last two years the school has seen a sharp increase to roughly 60 kindergarten students a year and that increase in student enrolment has meant the need for a physical expansion at the school. That means a portable classroom will be installed at Palsson over the summer.

•••

ICBC has released its most recent crash statistics for Vancouver Island, an online document showing where, and how many motor vehicle incidents resulting in injury, fatality, or property damage occurred in any given location between 2017 and 2021. As one would expect, as compared to larger Island centres, the Cowichan Lake area ranked low, with 21 crashes in 2021.

•••

The community was ready and willing to head outdoors for the Cowichan Lake area’s various Canada Day festivities this year. It was the first full-scale July 1 event since the pandemic began. Out at the Mesachie Lake Hall and the Skydome ball field, there was lots to see and do between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. including but not limited to an obstacle course, games, a misting station courtesy of the Mesachie Lake Volunteer Fire Department, music by Kent Ball and food served up from the First Lake Cowichan Scouts. Over in Lake Cowichan, the performers from Island Silks were on hand as well as a stand-out musical performance from Nathan Anderson, along with performances by Jesse Porter and the Good Time Boys.

•••

Residents of Youbou are frustrated with the lack of action being taken with respect to a sunken boat in Cowichan Lake. The motor vessel, Sassy Owl, has been on the southwest side of Saseenos Point near Youbou for two or three weeks now, according to residents. The boat was photographed above water June 25 and had been anchored there for two weeks at that time, though depending on the wind, the anchor did drag and move it around a bit. A query of Transport Canada’s vessel registration system yielded no results as to who owns the boat. Lake Cowichan RCMP have been called but now that it’s under water, the Canadian Coast Guard is the agency in charge, according to John Roe, spokesperson for the Dead Boats Disposal Society.

•••

It’s a vacation town through and through, but the laws still apply. In a press release issued June 11, the Lake Cowichan RCMP report receiving “numerous complaints” in the past few months about golf carts being driven unlawfully on public roads and even the highway. The complaints are being received from communities all around the lake.

•••

Even though it may not look like it just yet, work on the town’s new municipal headquarters is progressing. The third phase of the project is underway now, which is the addition and renovation, architect Brain Kapuscinski told council at its June 28 regular meeting held in a meeting room at the fire hall. The first phase of the renovation and addition project was the re-roofing of the building that is to remain part of the new hall. It was completed in 2019.

•••

The board at the Cowichan Valley Regional District has decided to reverse its earlier decision and will now provide a letter of concurrence to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to allow a 63-metre high cell tower to be built in Sahtlam. After a lengthy discussion at the board meeting on July 13, and with input from representatives from Telus Communications which is proposing to build the cell tower, the board decided to support the placing of the tower on private land on Tipperary Road. Only Alison Nicholson, director for Cowichan Station/Sahtlam/Glenora in which the tower is proposed, and North Cowichan director Kate Marsh voted against it.

•••

While there is a small dog park in Honeymoon Bay as well as plenty of unofficial parks people and their pooches frequent, there’s been demand for years to have an official dog park in the town proper as the town has no official dog park. That’s going to change. At a recent council meeting, mayor and council added a dog park into the town’s 2023 strategic plan.

•••

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the Cowichan Valley for Monday, July 25 to Saturday, July 30. The warning encompasses most of the province, as temperatures are set to soar, with temperatures from Duncan to Nanaimo forecast to hit daytime highs of 31 C to 35 C, which will feel even higher with humidity. Early morning temperatures will be from 15 C to 17 C.

•••

One of the headliners has pulled out of the Sunfest country music festival, and some ticketholders may be seeking refunds. “Due to circumstances beyond Billy Currington and Sunfest Country’s control, Billy will not be performing at #SunfestCountry2022,” said an announcement posted last week on the festival’s website and social media channels. Currington was set to play Day 2 of the event, the same night as Darius Rucker and Dallas Smith.

•••

Families living around Cowichan Lake, and even those who travel to the area for recreation take note: there are no lifeguards at Arbutus Park in Youbou this year. For years Arbutus Park has been the go-to spot for outdoor summer swimming lessons and general swimming fun. “Due to the unsuccessful recruitment of lifeguards and water safety instructors, Cowichan Lake Recreation will not be providing a lifeguard service this summer,” confirmed CVRD spokes-person Kris Schumacher. He said those using the park this summer do so at their own risk and they should take note of the posted signage.

•••

The family of Nathaniel Watters, a Central Saanich man last seen on July 8, is asking for privacy following the discovery of his body. The appeal is part of a message posted on social media Sunday morning updating the public on the search for the man. “On the evening of July 16, we were able to locate Nathaniel in the Nitinat Lake and we are saddened to share that he has passed away,” it reads.

•••

Seven different community organizations within the Town of Lake Cowichan infused $78,480 worth of provincial gaming grants into the community in the 2021/2022 fiscal year according to a government report. Community Gaming Grants were awarded to Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society, the Kaatza Historical Society, Lake Cowichan and District Minor Hockey Association, Lions Club of Cowichan Lake, and Royal Canadian Legion Branch #210 Lake Cowichan. PAC grants were awarded to Lake Cowichan School PAC and Palsson Parent Advisory Council.

August

After a lengthy delay due to COVID-19, the Cowichan Lake Pickleball Open Tournament returned to the courts on Cowichan Avenue on July 23 and 24. The tournament attracted 70 teams from across Vancouver Island, who competed in three events: women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. According to Cowichan Lake Pickleball Club spokesperson Debra Tatham, a wide range of skill levels and ages were represented.

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Cowichan Lake Marina staff have swapped out their old garbage bin lids for bear-proof lids following the euthanization of a bear by the BC Conservation Officers Service last week. “We’ve done everything we can,” said a marina spokesperson. In recent weeks residents nearby have been watching a particularly pesky bear rifle through the marina’s garbage bins. While the marina staff recognize it’s been a problem, they say there hasn’t been much they can do about it. “We’ve locked the bins but people keep dumping their garbage beside them,” said the spokesperson.

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A “general all-around great guy,” in the words of his principal, Isaac Burdge became a two-time winner of the Rotary Club of Duncan’s Student of the Month Award in June. Burdge was previously nominated for the award through Lake Cowichan School in February 2021. He received the award again in June 2022 through School District 79’s District Student Advisory Council.

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A small wildfire, suspected to be human caused, was reported west of Cowichan Lake last week. The fire started on Tuesday, July 26, and was near 12km on the Gordon Main. RCMP alerted the Coastal Fire Centre to the blaze at 10:30 p.m. It had started in an old abandoned logging camp. Three firefighters and a response officer were dispatched to the location and remained on the scene until Thursday, monitoring the fire, which is now classified as out, according to the Coastal Fire Centre. The exact cause of the fire isn’t known, and is under investigation.

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Thousands of country music fans descended on Laketown Ranch in Youbou over the long weekend for four days of non-stop entertainment. Despite sticky hot temperatures, fans flocked to the area in front of the big stage to see such country superstars as Darius Rucker, Dallas Smith, Orville Peck, Aaron Pritchett, Kip Moore, MacKenzie Porter, Hardy, Randy Houser, and local musical legend and last minute addition Randy Bachman. It was a triumphant return for the huge music festival, which had to be cancelled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Youbou Regatta is back on, this Aug. 13, after a bit of a hiatus and this year will feature all the popular events known and loved by the community.

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The RCMP charged almost two dozen people with impaired driving in the Lake Cowichan area during the B.C. Day long weekend. In response to heavier than normal traffic volume in the Lake Cowichan area over the long weekend, BC Highway Patrol worked with the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment to deploy resources to the area from its Chemainus and Parksville units to target high-risk driving offences, including excessive speed and impaired driving. As a result of this enforcement initiative, 23 impaired drivers were removed from the road and six drivers were ticketed for excessive speed. BCHP officers issued a total of 111 tickets over the weekend. In all, 21 vehicles were towed.

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Both RCMP and staff at Country Grocer in Lake Cowichan have confirmed a police incident Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the town’s largest grocery store, but both groups have declined to give details about exactly what occurred. According to a Facebook community group, there was “an apparent bomb scare” but B.C. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Alex Bérubé said, “it was not a bomb scare, it was more of a suspicious package.” Store owner Jo-Anne Pimlott declined to comment, instead directing questions to the RCMP. “Let’s leave it with them,” she said.

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There’s a standoff happening west of Honeymoon Bay and Wayne Atkinson says he isn’t backing down. Atkinson is fed up with motorists driving faster than the posted speed limits so he’s strategically placed a chair and a cone at Myers and South Shore Roads to ensure drivers slow down. “Speeding is a big no-no from me,” he explained. “Ten years ago my partner was killed on the Youbou Highway from speeding, so I am not a fan.”

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A paraglider walked out under their own power after being spotted crashing into the trees west of Christopher Rock in Youbou last weekend. Cowichan Search and Rescue had been called out to help find the paraglider but were eventually called off, according to CSAR’s Tina Phillips.“We were organizing a helicopter search to pinpoint the location before we sent ground teams in,” Phillips explained. “We did not have to assist the glider as he had met up with ambulance and fire before we reached the site.” Search and Rescue crews were called back to the Lake the evening of Sunday, Aug. 14 to assist in the rescue of seven inner tubers who had become stranded up river from Skutz Falls. “They made some bad choices, overestimated their ability and were brought out hypothermic but very lucky,” confirmed search manager Jamie Tudway-Cains.

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New owners have taken over the small motel formerly known as Uptown Lodge and are busy working to get it renovated and reopened as part of Cowichan Lake Cottages. Matt Blake said the 73 South Shore Rd. motel that sits along the river right next to Ed’s Coffee Shop and two doors down from the bridge to Duck Pond Park should be up and running again soon.

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September

Crews from the Lake Cowichan Fire Department that took turns helping with the fires in Penticton and Keremeos in August are now back home safe and sound. “We did about 18 days,” said Chief Doug Knott. “We had a tender up there and were in Apex Mountain Resort at different times, a lot of times in the community of Olalla (near Keremeos) on Highway 3a, and also the Green Mountain Road area; there was a lot of damage there,” Knott said. Lake Cowichan Fire Department sent three shifts of two firefighters who worked about seven days before switching out. Knott was on the first shift. He and Tyler Bergen were the first to go, followed by the teams of Elija Ellison and Bill Hieta, and Monroe Grobe and Jessica Knowles. Their main priority was structure protection, Knott said.

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This year’s upper Cowichan River clean up is set to take place on Sunday, Sept. 11. Organized annually by the Tube Shack, the goal is to give back to the river that’s given so much of itself to the community and tourists alike all summer long.

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Youbou’s Jerry Melissa won the elders A division at the Western Canada Classic horseshoes competition last month, then placed fourth in the Canadian Championships a week later. Both events were held in High Prairie, Alberta. The 80-year-old Melissa was playing against opponents 10 years or more younger than himself, but held his own, finishing both com-petitions with a 60 per cent ringer percentage.

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A 56-year-old Vancouver man has died while tubing on the Cowichan River. On Monday, Aug. 29 just after 6:30 p.m. the Lake Cowichan RCMP were called to help with an incident at Marie Canyon off of Riverbottom Road. According Sgt. Chris Manseau, acting senior media relations officer for the B.C. RCMP, witnesses reported the man had been tubing with friends and had planned to get out of the water before the Marie Canyon rapids but he was unable to do so.

“The friends of the deceased lost sight of him, but later located him approximately 500 metres down the river,” Manseau said. “When the man was found he was in immediate medical distress, and first aid measures were given immediately.” Paramedics and members of the Lake Cowichan Fire Department also assisted with life saving measures but the man died at the scene, police said.

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The playground at Kin Duck Pond in Lake Cowichan, which recently held its grand opening, has received a new rubberized surfacing made from 1,320 recycled scrap tires. The town’s Kinsmen Club received a $29,578 grant from Tire Stewardship BC last year to go towards the new surfacing for the playground, located on River Road off North Shore Road.

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The quick thinking of area regulars and the fast response from Lake Cowichan RCMP led to the apprehension of two thieves and the return of stolen boxes from the Cowichan Lake Visitor Centre recently. A Visitor Centre staff member, who wished not to be named, confirmed that some fellows who hang out behind the centre and “really keep an eye on things around here” saw “two people coming out from underneath the building with boxes.” The incident occurred before the visitor centre opened for the day so the bystanders jumped into action, confronting the alleged intruders and notifying police.

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It’s not a bear problem, but a people problem, say Lake Cowichan residents in response to the news that, effective immediately, Lakeview Park Campground and the public beach at Lakeview are closed until further notice as a result of a bear in the area. “The town has closed the park and public beach due to safety concerns,” said a notice from the Town of Lake Cowichan. “BC Conservation is on site and has requested the public to stay away so that they can work to address the bear problem.”

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Councillor Tim McGonigle says the J.H. Boyd property is posing a risk to life and limb. He talked about it at town council’s committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 6, saying they’ve “reached the last resort” on the derelict property.

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With the water level in Cowichan Lake higher than it has been at this time of year for some time, Catalyst Crofton increased the flow rate at the weir on the Cowichan River to 10 cubic metres per second on Sept. 16. Brian Houle, the environmental manager for Catalyst Crofton which operates the weir that regulates the flow of water from the lake to the river, said the water levels in the lake are very close to the maximum that is allowed. He said lake levels are not usually so high at this time of the year.

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Cowichan Lake’s Lady of the Lake program has a long and storied history. There’ve been ups and downs, and bright spots and challenges throughout the years but the program has triumphantly carried on. It’s time, once again, for the program to adapt to meet up with the changing times. Beginning next year, the program will no longer be known as the Lady of the Lake program but will be offered as the Cowichan Lake Ambassador Program — “a program aimed at promoting and supporting the growth, confidence, and education of all Cowichan Lake youth. An inclusive offering of the former Lady of the Lake program, our new program will now be open to all genders. It’s a move the program’s organizers have been wanting to make for a while, now,” said program coordinator Jocelyn Lundberg.

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It’s early days still in the Lake Cowichan Kraken’s sophomore season, but six games in, the junior B team is finding its legs. By the time the puck dropped at their home opener on Sept. 16, Lake Cowichan had already earned their first road win — a 4-1 victory over the Nanaimo Buccaneers — and their road first loss, a 12-0 loss to the Comox Valley Glacier Kings.

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October

Pat Weaver put her head in her hand as she watched Lake Cowichan Mayor Bob Day usher in her family, who’d been waiting outside of the regular town council meeting on Sept. 27. Weaver had been at the meeting with Pat Foster to present to council on the Kaatza Station Museum, but council had other ideas in store for the long-time community steward.

“What did I do now?” Weaver asked. It’s more like, what hasn’t she done over the years? “It’s an extreme honour to be here to present this to you tonight and it’s probably worthy of having a party so everybody could share the history,” began Day, while declaring Weaver Freeman of the Town. “I’ve had the honour of knowing Pat for almost 30 years now and know that she’s been involved in almost everything. I can only go back about 30 years and I know it’s been way longer than that.”

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It was a tough choice for many voters in the Town of Lake Cowichan Saturday as two of the community’s most committed public servants were both contending for the role of mayor. Residents had their choice of incumbent mayor Bob Day and long-time councillor Tim McGonigle, who was the only other one to challenge for the seat. Voters packed Centennial Hall throughout the day to cast their ballots and in the end, McGonigle edged out Day 498 votes to 444, according to the preliminary results.

“I’m doing OK now that it’s over,” the victor said with a laugh. “I’m thankful for the support that I’ve received from family, friends and especially my colleagues at the table but I also want to send a huge shout out to Bob Day,” McGonigle continued. “Mayor Day led us through two very difficult years and got us to where we are today and he’s a huge asset to the community.” McGonigle celebrated with family and friends and a few supporters Saturday night.

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Running for council were incumbents Carolyne Austin, Kristine Sandhu and Lorna Vomacka. Also running for seats were local businessman Aaron Frisby and bookkeeper Bill Garrett. With McGonigle leaving his councillor seat to run for mayor, there was room for a new councillor in the group. Tube Shack owner Aaron Frisby became that new councillor, having earned 516 votes, for 54.1 per cent of the votes.

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Amie Finlayson is becoming increasingly frustrated as she tries to have accessible playground equipment installed at her son’s school that the boy, who uses a wheelchair, can utilize. Oliver, an 11-year-old Grade 4 student at Lake Cowichan School, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a generic disorder characterized by the progressive loss of muscle, and uses a wheelchair to get around. Finlayson said not only is DMD a monster of a disease that will eventually leave Oliver paralyzed, it comes with a huge financial burden to her family.

She said she has a recommendation from BC Children’s Hospital that states Oliver requires an accessible playground to be able to participate with his friends in the school’s playground area, and she has advocated for it at the local and provincial levels for some time, but nothing has come from her efforts to date.

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November

More than 10,000 homes and businesses in the Cowichan Valley lost their power on the morning of Oct. 27, the result of high winds in the area bringing branches and trees down on power lines. Approximately 1,300 were plunged into the dark in the Youbou and Lake Cowichan areas at 10 a.m.

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The Lake Cowichan School Lakers were 11th overall at a recent 16-team senior girls volleyball tournament in Cowichan. Hosts Duncan Christian School and Cowichan Secondary came sixth and eighth overall respectively.

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The Tube Shack, the successful Lake Cowichan business that brings thousands of tubers to the community every summer, took home the prestigious 2021 Business of the Year Award at the 22nd annual Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Community Excellence Awards.

Keith Nelson, the owner of Countrywide Realty, was presented with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement award at the banquet.

Andrew Braye, who is the man behind Lake Cowichan’s weekly treasure hunts, was named Citizen of the Year. Other award winners at the banquet include: 2021 Volunteer Community Service Award: Kinsmen/Kinette Clubs of Lake Cowichan, 2021 Excellence in Customer Service Award: The Lake Mercantile, 2021 Above and Beyond Award: Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society & Cowichan Lake Community Forest Cooperative.

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A pair of friends from Abbotsford and Duncan are celebrating a Maxmillions prize of $1 million from the Oct. 18 Lotto Max draw. Douglas Snitchuk and James Walsh, from Abbotsford and Duncan respectively, have known each other since they were in Grade 8 and have played the Lotto 6/49 together for many years. Walsh purchased the winning ticket at Honeymoon Bay Food & General Store.

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The western section of the Cowichan Valley, which includes the Lake Cowichan area, has seen five deaths due to toxic drugs from January to September of this year. According to the BC Coroners Service and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the Cowichan West Local Health Area is among the local health areas in the province that had, proportional to the population, the most deaths related to toxic drugs in that time period.

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Organizers Donna and Dennis Jones are back at it again this year with their delightful Christmas village display at Cassy’s Coffee House in Youbou. “As we speak, we are unloading the truck full of pieces,” Donna said on the morning of Nov. 18. Once the truck was unloaded, she figured it would take about eight days at “about five or six hours a day” to complete the display. The village used to be in the Jones’s home, but eventually the event out-grew the space. “At Cassy’s I believe this would be year seven,” Donna noted. “We used to invite people over for a donation to the food bank. This way everyone can come and see.”

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December

It’s another step forward for the Cowichan Lake Elder Care Society’s affordable senior’s housing project, Lakewood Manor. At Tuesday’s town council meeting, council approved the Society’s application to change the zoning of three lots on Renfrew Avenue from multi-unit residential to public use, thus amalgamating the lots and paving the way to move forward and vie for provincial funding applications.

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The Lake Cowichan Food Bank Society has entered into a long-term lease with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria at the St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church on 62 Fern Rd. in Lake Cowichan.

“We would like to thank the many volunteers, community members, businesses and organizations that have helped to get us where we are today,” said food bank president Betty Sanddar. The new facility, which is on a bus route and is within walking distance of the town, offers more space to the food bank to store their provisions. A new tent will keep clients dry while waiting in line for their groceries. Parking is also available for those with vehicles.

Lake CowichanYear in Review