Pressure for a road: The 8th Annual Cavalcade drew the support of Valley mayors and one MLA. Left to right, Mayor Earle Darling, Lake Cowichan, Gerard Janssen, Alberni MLA, Mayor Gillian Trumper, Port Alberni; and Mayor Harvey Brown of Cumberland. About 200 people rallied for the event. The speakers all agreed that it was imperative to continue focusing on the Valley Link Highway. (Lake News, June 7, 1995)

Lake Flashback: Camping, drinking, harassment and more

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

School was a bit different this week 10 years ago. Given there was no pandemic, students were out there getting their hands dirty learning, and in this case literally, as a young man from Honeymoon Bay flexed his automotive muscles.

“The best high school automotive mechanic in the province lives in Honeymoon Bay. Student David Hind’s first-place position was made official during the provincial Skills Canada competition in Abbotsford, April 21. ‘I was actually pretty shocked,’ Hind, 18, said of his accomplishment.” That was the first part of the Lake Cowichan Gazette’s front page story of June 2, 2010.

The story continued:

“The long driveway and expansive garage leading up to the house in Honeymoon Bay that he shares with his parents Christine and Terry Hind, and older brother John, reveals an automotive mechanic’s paradise. Auto parts and vehicles in need of repairs line the driveway and fill the garage, providing countless practice opportunities for David. Having grown up in these surroundings, it seems natural that an interest in automotive mechanics would develop. ‘This is the first year I’ve done any competition, so it’s been interesting,’ he said.”

Also this week a decade ago, “accusations that two Town of Lake Cowichan employees vandalized a fence on Point Ideal Road with spray paint have been proved untrue by the RCMP. ‘I believed them all along,’ Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest said of the two employees, after hearing the good news. ‘I was saying all along that the employees were just doing their job.’ Their job, Forrest said, was to mark, with blue spray paint on the ground, where the town’s water shut-offs were. When Point Ideal Road resident Bill Hanson found a derogatory term in blue spray-paint on his fence some time in March, he consulted his video cameras, which showed that the town employees spent some time in front of the fence around the time the vandalism was discovered. The results of a subsequent RCMP investigation, released last week, has finally cleared the two employees of wrongdoing.”

The big headline that week, though, had to do with the time of year: “Drunken visitors keep the RCMP busy during the May long weekend.”

25 years ago

An 18-year-old Lake Cowichan man faced charges following two car chases, after which police recovered stolen goods. That was more interesting than the politicians gathering to fight for a new highway in the June 7, 1995 edition of the Lake News so I’m going to go with that one.

“The man has appeared in court and has been released into his parents” custody, said Sgt. Ron Merchant, RCMP. He faced five charges in connection with the chases but more may be pending, he said.

Constable Mike Cain chased a car out the Youbou Road but broke off the chase because he feared someone would get hurt. Later, the same car passed police heading out the Cowichan Lake Road, said Sgt. Merchant. A second chase ensued and the car went into a ditch.

Break-ins had happened around town and “acting on a hunch…police found three fax machines, an answering machine and a telephone at Heather Campsite. A second suspect is being sought.”

What’s shocking isn’t that this kind of thing happened, it’s that people were still using answering machines back then.

Also that week 25 years ago, a Lake Cowichan woman could finally breathe again.

“A man who consistently harassed Kathy Edwards of Lake Cowichan, has been jailed for a year, reports Sgt. Ron Merchant, RCMP. Robert Dean Jago, 24, pleaded guilty to criminal harassment and escaping lawful custody. It was the first time that the new so-called ‘stalker’ law had been invoked here.”

Yikes.

“The man made more than 25 phone calls to Edwards after being jailed, said police. ‘We had to ask the jail to stop it,’ said Merchant. The man had already been jailed for three months and four months respectively for similar incidents.” After a string of break-ins and phone calls to Edwards and her home, the man was arrested.

“Police said that Edwards had received between 800 and 1,000 phone calls altogether.”

40 years ago

Work where you live? It was an idea thrown about but ultimately thrown out in Lake Cowichan 40 years ago this week, according to the Lake News of June 4, 1980.

“Village council Tuesday gave the bum’s rush to a suggestion that the municipality in future hire only those executives willing to live in Lake Cowichan. In addition, aldermen rejected a request by Mayor Ken Douglas that the village hire a lawyer to find out if such a requirement were legal.”

Whose idea was it?

“The suggestion had come in a letter from chamber president Ted Forrest expressing the chamber’s concern that several executive positions in the village were held by non-residents, including that of the village administrator, who lives in the Duncan area,” said the story.

“Staff defended at ‘rowdy’ camp” was also a headline on the front page of the June 4, 1980 Lake News. The story was about folks having a little too much fun camping.

“Loud parties at public campsites — the subject of RCMP round-ups at both Gordon Bay and Skutz Falls recently — are a constant problem, especially on long holiday weekends, according to a provincial Parks Branch official.

“At the Gordon Bay campsite near Honeymoon Bay over the Victoria Day weekend… the campers were all ‘being crazy or stupid.’”

“The drunken carousing at all hours does get out of hand at Gordon Bay…because it is such a popular spot.”

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