‘Have a cuppa’ it said under the photo on the front page of the Feb. 27, 1980 edition of The Lake News. ‘Oscar and Lucille Palsson receive anniversary cupcakes from Daphne Walker and Cory Schapansky at the Palsson School’s third birthday party Feb. 21. The 160 cupcakes needed for the occasion were baked by Marilyn Traer’s Grade 5 class. School principal Amato Fantillo said he thinks the school will hold a birthday party every year. The elementary school was named after pioneer Oscar Palsson.’

LAKE FLASHBACK: Police, fire, layoffs, and Citizen of the Year

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

It was all about emergency services needing CVRD funding on the front pages of the Feb. 24 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

Tax breaks for volunteer firefighters was first up with the page 2 headline reading just that: “CVRD board endorses tax breaks for Cowichan volunteer firefighters”.

It read as follows:

There’s no question the Cowichan Valley Regional District board supports our volunteer firefighters. That was evident Wednesday night when it unanimously endorsed a recommendation to give the unpaid blaze battlers a tax break.

“That’s great news,” said Mill Bay Volunteer fire hall Chief Terry Culp. “Fire departments all around North America are hurting for volunteers and anything we can get will help.”

Dan Derby, general manager of public safety for the CVRD said the tax break is long overdue.

“The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the B.C. Association of Fire Chiefs have chased this issue for years and they got it onto a bill just before the dissolution of the government before the last election” he said. “Now we have to start over again.”

Next up, it was the RCMP.

The valley’s waterways will be a priority this year, vowed top ranking RCMP officers who spoke to Cowichan Valley Regional District directors. Lake Cowichan’s Sgt. Dave Voller joined Insp. Kevin Hewco to present to the CVRD board.

Voller said his members see at least one major incident per year on the lake.

“Last year we checked in excess of 75 boats and there was one injury accident,” he said, referring to a single incident where nine people were injured. Added Hewco: “Rafts on the river will be a priority for us to deal with. The rafters on the river last year became quite an issue for everybody and that without a doubt will be a local priority for us to deal with.”

Hewco said $13,000 given to the RCMP by the CVRD [in 2009] helped police put more officers on the waterways more often. Hewco said the extra cash made a definite difference and the RCMP would like to see more funding from the district next years, as well.

25 years ago

This one could just as easily be a headline today.

The Feb. 27, 1980 edition of The Lake News’s top story was “WFI back in full production March 3”

“The Western Forest industry sawmill at Honeymoon Bay will be back into full operation Monday, March 3 after a month long shutdown, plant supervisor Bill Fraser said Monday. The mill was entirely shut down this week following a progression of layoffs.

“Beginning Feb. 1, 40 per cent of the crew was laid off for four weeks on a seniority basis. The remaining 160 men were laid off as soon as they were no longer needed to run the parts of the plant they were still operating.

“All union employees will be returning to their regular shifts March 3, Fraser said.

“Fraser indicated that there were no additional layoffs planned for the future. The shortage of logs, given as a reason for the layoff, is still a factor, Fraser said, but with the WFI Gordon River river logging operations starting up this week, the log supply is expected to increase rapidly.”

40 years ago

The Feb. 22, 1995 Lake News featured a stunned Pat Foster on the cover.

For once, she was speechless. Pat Foster came to the Chamber of Commerce meeting last week expected to be sworn in as the new president. She had no idea she was also to be the Chamber’s citizen of the year and a blush mounted her cheeks and she stayed silent, then blurted “I’m at a loss for words.”

“Pat always works hard for Cowichan Lake,” Coun. Jean Brown said as she presented the award. She outlined Foster’s commitments as both a trustee and member of village council.

Foster wasn’t the only one winning awards, however.

“The Junior Competitive Precision Skating Team out of Lake Cowichan placed first in both their short and long programs earning the gold medal at the B.C. Championship held in Victoria, B.C. over the weekend,” was a small story on the bottom left hand corner of the front page. “This qualifies the team to go on to the Canadian National Championships in Calgary in April.”

Does anyone remember who was on that team?


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