A wild crash on South Shore Road involving this Camino ended up killing its 18-year-old driver in September 1978.

A wild crash on South Shore Road involving this Camino ended up killing its 18-year-old driver in September 1978.

Lake Flashback: Deadly crash, arena upgrade, Youbou stalwart retires

There’s lots of detail in this week’s stories

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:

“If we renovate it, will they come?” was the intriguing headline on a story in the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Sep. 24, 2008.

“An upgraded sports arena would be an attraction for people considering moving to the Cowichan Lake area, some members of the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday night.

“Others at the chamber’s monthly meeting in the Honey Pot Pub in Honeymoon Bay were more cautious, wanting to know what it will cost with their business tax rate.”

John Elzinga, then manager of Cowichan Lake Recreation, talked to them about the huge project, which would require borrowing $7.5 million.

Jim Humphrey, president of the chamber, said people who are considering moving here want to know if there are schools and recreation facilities.

“I firmly believe we need such facilities,” said Humphrey. Realtor Wendy Klyne agreed. “What happens if we don’t do it?” she asked.

She learned from Elzinga that the roof leaks and would have to be replaced [at least] or the arena would be closed.

Youbou area director Brooke Hodson pointed out that the dressing rooms also need a significant upgrade, since the amount of hockey gear players bring with them has increased.

Other main concerns, the meeting heard, include small washrooms, handicap accessibility, inadequate administration areas, meeting rooms that don’t meet the needs of organizations, a licensed curling lounge that doubles as a play school, the concession, and catering facililties…[and a concrete floor for the curling rink.]

25 years ago:

A front page story in The Lake News of Sept. 22, 1993 told the world that Marlene Long was about to retire.

That might not seem so important to newcomers but for those who remember her work, it was a big deal.

“Marlene Long, the manager of Youbou Parks and Recreation — in fact the only manager the Youbou Hall has ever had — has announced her retirement at the end of the year. She has worked for the Youbou Parks and Rec Commission for the past 13 years and feels it is time to retire.

‘My husband is a logger and it will mean we have more time to spend together during the winter months when he is not working,” she said.

After the Longs moved to Youbou, Long joined the Parks and Recreation Commission. The Hall had [previously] been run by the Hall Benefit Association. BCFP owned the hall and wanted the community to take it over. An interim Commission was set up in 1977 following a referendum. In 1980, the commission decided that once the hall was usable it would require a manager. A regular Recreation Commission was set up in 1980.

“No one applied for the position, so I said I would do it,” said Long. She had, as a volunteer, run the Youbou swim program for three years.

To equip her for her role as manager, Long took a leisure course, followed by various workshops on recreation and leisure over the years.

“The hall has been continuously upgraded,” says Long. She has also been responsible for Youbou’s three parks: Arbutus, Little League park, and, coming onstream, the community park at Lakeside Estates.

40 years ago:

On Sept. 20, 1978, The Lake News screamed “South Shore crash kills man”.

Here are the stunning details from eye witnesses.

An 18-year-old Duncan man was killed Saturday night when the car he was driving went out of control and plowed into a parked truck on South Shore Road.

Kenneth George Johnson was the driver of a 1971 GMC El Camino that smashed into a truck parked in front of Western Drug Mart…He was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. Gerry Egan. The sole passenger, David Edwin Geier, 18, of Duncan, suffered only minor cuts in the accident, which occurred about 10:30 p.m.

Police said the pair were in the area to attend a teen dance at Mesachie Lake. The pair has been at the dance earlier but were apparently ‘cruising’ through town when the accident occurred.

The Johnson vehicle was westbound on South Shore at the time of the accident and an eye witness who was driving towards the vehicle told police the vehicle veered into the oncoming lane under the railway trestle, then began to fishtail. The vehicle then spun in the middle of the road and smashed into a 4×4 crew cab owned by John Clark. The main force of the impact was on the driver’s side and Johnson was crushed in the car. The damage was so massive ambulance attendants did not attempt to remove the accident victim until the car was towed to a garage where cutting torches were used.

The back bumper of Clark’s truck was damaged but a 500-pound logging cable was thrown out of the truck on impact. The truck was then thrown into neutral in the crash and travelled more than 400 feet before jumping the curb near Metronomes Music Shop.

Police estimates place Johnson’s speed at the moment of impact in excess of 60 miles per hour.