Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson 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
“Nanaimo man allegedly shoots family member dead, west of Nitinat Lake” was the top story in the Lake Cowichan Gazette this week a decade ago.
“A fatal shooting west of Nitinat Lake led to a flurry of police and ambulance activity in the Cowichan Lake area during the afternoon of Sunday, July 4. The response came after a 911 call indicating that a 52- year-old man had been shot multiple times, with the caller unable to provide the exact location of the shooting. The man, part of a group of five people, was found five hours later in the Sommerset Mountain Range, following a large-scale search of wilderness from Sooke to Port Alberni. The gunshot-wounded man was found dead of his injuries.
“A 22-year-old Nanaimo man, who was part of the group, was arrested at the scene on Sunday for homicide. Preliminary information indicates that the group of five people, all men from the same Nanaimo family, were traveling through the area, reportedly target shooting at the time of the fatal shooting.”
It wasn’t all horrid news back then, however. The paper also covered the annual community Canada Day celebrations as well as a bunch of young academics who were recognized with year-end awards.
“It wasn’t just graduating Grade 12 students who were honoured at the end of the school year, but Grade 6 to 11 students as well, with a slew of awards handed out during Lake Cowichan Secondary School’s Year End Awards Day, Tuesday, June 29.
“I do feel that we are one as a school, and I think these younger students should be involved,” principal Peter Jory said, during his introductory speech.
“After a number of all year subject and merit awards were handed out to students, all year Principal’s List medals were awarded to Grade 6 to 8 students.”
20 years ago
If you’ll recall, 20 years ago at this time Lake Cowichan was dealing with a large spate of break and enters and according to the Lake News of July 5, 1995, senior RCMP were in town to talk about it.
“Following last week’s alarming 12 break-ins, mostly of main street stores, senior members of the RCMP arrived for talks with Sgt. Ron Merchant. Two more constables started work here this week and more are expected, he said.
“Sup. Stan Wilcox, Victoria, in charge of the RCMP in the area, was here along with an inspector to talk about beefed up police protection following the break-ins. Sgt. Merchant told the Lake News that two constables reported for duty in Lake Cowichan Tuesday.”
One was on loan from the Victoria Highway Patrol while the other was then Const. Larry Olsen, who’d been transferred from Port McNeil.
In other news from the same Lake News edition from 20 years ago this week, Mayor for the Day Celina White had no idea that before the day was done “she would have met the Premier, and her name would be in Hansard, as she was introduced by Jan Pullinger, MLA, in the BC Legislature.”
It was all thanks to Mayor Earle Darling who planned quite the day for the young woman who’d won the honour of being Mayor for the Day.
40 years ago
The Lake News of July 2, 1980 front page story confirmed that it was indeed arson that took down Island Shake and Shingle on May 16. The update came along with a notice from the RCMP of a $25,000 reward for information leading towards the conviction of the arsonist.
“The reward is offered by Coast Claim Ltd., an insurance adjuster handling the insurance claims for Island Shake and Shingle Ltd. on behalf of several insurance companies involved.”
Police did warn, though, that should somebody come forward with information, and it lead to a conviction, the whistle-blower would be named.
“The police spokesperson pointed out that the identity of the person who received the reward would have to be made public along with the information which was crucial to conviction. However, he added, such disclosure would be made only after a thorough investigation leading to a court case.”
Also this time 40 years ago, a Youbou man died as a result of an early morning crash on Youbou Road.
“Donald Lawrence Leakey, 20, was taken to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria in serious condition. He died there about mid-day Monday,” June 30.
“He was the only occupant of a truck that ‘seemed to go out of control and flipped over while travelling on the Youbou Road,” according to Lake Cowichan RCMP. Police were called to the scene at 1 a.m.