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Letters Unsung heroes of Cedar Community Hall This is to state my appreciation for the article by Justine Saunders on the “Unsung Heroes of the Cedar Community Hall.” It is also to thank the past and current board for their work. Their efforts are appreciated, and I hope that the hall continues in good health for another 100 years. - David Haley

Bench disrespect When walking Holland Creek Trail, one will see a number of memorials family members have had placed in memory of loved ones. However, despite taking money for these memorials, the current Ladysmith Council does not believe that they should stand in the way of corporate greed. One such memorial is a bench paid for by a Barnes family, which unfortunately for them was placed in the path of a developer’s greed. So how did the developer deal with it? Tossed it over an embankment, leaving it lying upside down. If this were artifacts, construction would have halted immediately, and rightly so. I guess this is the difference between

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construction and destruction. - R. Davis.

Reflections from a Friend of Holland Creek Recently I was “quoted” out of context and without consultation in an article called “Trailing Out” written for Take 5. The writers “quote” was constructed from a post I had made to the new Community for Holland Creek Park Facebook group and lent a very different intent to my words there. I would like to clarify here my own intent and give better representation for my fellow Friends of Holland Creek around an issue so important to us all: Nature. In my original post, I had thanked the group for their passion for the Holland Creek trail and for their work to bring attention to the ravage the clear-cut of trees and coming road and bridge would make to the natural beauty of the trail and to the disruption these developments would make to the wildlife corridor it is. I offered the new group the records of what was done in the past by both earlier phases of Friends of Holland Creek: how we (the second phase) worked, what we learned, and whom we learned from and worked with. I said there had been, and remains, amazingly strong, though quiet, community support once awareness grew and connection points were made, and that I sensed this could build again with the fresh energy, which seemed to be coming forth. I clarified in a second post that the Friends of Holland Creek had been two successive groups — the first being the original trail builders; and the second group, ours — who had worked to try protect as much natural habitat as possible on the south side of the trail, which

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was then threatened by logging and development. It was “spearheaded” not by me, as the Take 5 article said, but by 16 or so of us together, all working unbelievably hard under time pressure for a solid year and a half, each in his or her best strength, to buy and covenant a key piece of land and generally raise awareness about the beauty and importance of the nature corridor. We were supported by private donors, artists, musicians and concert goers, and donors and buyers in the silent auction; by the businesses, credit unions and service clubs of our community and surrounds; by its journalists, newspapers, and TV; its schools, teachers and school children; and by countless citizens who, when canvassed door-to-door, signed petitions of support. Incredible support and mentoring was also given by our neighbouring Land Trusts TLC, NALT, and CCLT; by TD Friends of the Environment of both Duncan and Nanaimo branches; and by the Ladysmith Sportsman Club and related fisheries enhancement and protection people. In my posts, I tried to give an impassioned plea that, though the bridge had been signed off some 20 years ago despite much public outcry, in our current and very real grief, we should not now give up on the two-kilometres from Dogwood to the falls. That we should work together as a community, with the Town, to protect that corridor from the human erosion that could come from the density of development building up behind it and the covenanted piece of land that Friends of Holland Creek and the community bought. That south side of Holland Creek is, and can still be protected as, a beauti-

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ful wildlife corridor where barred owls and woodpeckers nest and the tiny Pacific wren sings up the whole forest and quietly nests in hanging tufts of moss. It is, in conservation terms, an important “gateway piece” of nature where seniors, school children, families and hikers can experience in wonder the reciprocity and beauty of the natural world. A place where one can see with reverence how every windfall, stump or snag supports whole colonies of new life — young trees, berry bushes, ferns, mosses, lichens — while feeding and sheltering wildlife. It is a place where wild flowers bloom in their season, liquorice ferns grow on mossy maple trees, and bears come down in fall to eat spawning salmon, whose fry will, in turn, be fed in spring by hatching mayflies. It is where tree roots hold the soil’s intricate web of connected and nourishing life, their falling leaves and seeds nourish and replant the earth, their blossoms feed humming birds and a multitude of native pollinators, and the trees themselves clear carbons from our air and give us breath. There are still several kilometres or more here where one can walk (or run) in quiet refreshing contemplation, or with a small child or friend, and be grounded, nourished and feel a part of something larger than oneself. I am not sure Council is aware of the numbers who choose to walk or run this south side of the trail daily, especially for its nature, or of how attractive this nature is to hiking groups from neighbouring communities, or to other outof-town or province visitors. But I thank them for maintaining the south side of the trail these 20 years in its natural


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state and urge them now to continue to protect it as an important nature trail and natural habitat in every sense of the word. There is much we can do together and of which could use whole community involvement. The things suggested to me over the years are to: encourage reforestation of the boundary of the nature corridor where it edges against the development (a NALT strategy); work with property owners and developers to covenant the edges of their properties and keep these edges in native plantings (CCLT strategy); work for strong bylaws to protect the existing woodlands, wildlife and waterways from lawn chemicals, silt, litter and other pollutants, damage and erosions that could come with neighbouring development; and limit access points and trails (and thus erosion) entering the nature corridor from new developments. If you are interested in supporting and protecting nature and nature trails in our community, please join the discussion on the Community for Holland Creek Park Facebook page. Our Official Community Plan is also due for review again, and there are channels through which established groups, and hopefully individuals, can make input. Our Parks and Recreation Department has an incredibly responsive team of dedicated nature trail workers that maintains our trails and welcomes our input around day-to-day concerns. Our Town counsellors have also always welcomed citizen input, so please approach and rally your favourite counsellors. Nature is essential to the quality of our lives and the lives of our future generations. - Gail Wiseman Reed

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Editors Note: The quote from Gail Wiseman Reed in the “Trailing Out” feature in March 2021 was not attributed to Wiseman Reed’s post on Facebook. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this has caused.

Error in Feb Letter to Editor Thanks to R. Johansen for pointing out that Jim Pattison does not own Western Forest Products. The JP Group owns Canfor.

Ladysmith Cedar Saltair 2021 Explore Guide hits the mark Awesome magazine. We’re very proud to have Wildwood represented. Thank you so much. - Kathy Code Letters to the editor on community topics and concerns are always welcome. Letters may be edited for length. Opinions represented here are not necessarily those of TAKE 5 or its agents. Please email editor@take5.ca or fax: 250-245-7099 or PO Box 59, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A1.

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Ladysmith Railway Station potential use option BY MARINA SACHT On February 18, 2021, the Ladysmith & District Historical Society and the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to give the LDHS a one-year option on the station to explore the potential uses of the Ladysmith Railway Station. The MOU gives the society a one-year option on the Ladysmith Railway Station. “This will permit the society to initiate a review of how best the building can serve the community non-profit sector. Once an acceptable use is defined, the ICF is willing to consider a longterm lease of its property for a nominal fee, this tenure being important for fundraising efforts to support required rehabilitation of the building,” says LDHS President Quentin Goodbody. “The Island Corridor Foundation believes these historic buildings are part of the communities where they are located, and it is the people of those communities, in concert and consultation with local and First Nations governments, who are in the best position to determine the future use of these buildings. We applaud the LDHS for taking on this initiative and look forward to working with them to bring the station back to life,” says Larry Stevenson, Chief Executive Officer of ICF. The ICF has undertaken to incur the cost of a new roof during the 2021 calendar year. The historical society is grateful to the ICF for this opportunity. “It gives us a full year to collaborate with stakeholder groups and community

Island Rail Corridor Foundation and Ladysmith & District Historical Society representatives at the Ladysmith Railway Station. (l-r) Andrea Thomas (ICF) Bill Drysdale, Larry Stevenson, (CEO ICF) Chuck Forrest, Quentin Goodbody. Photo: Marina Sacht

organizations to explore the opportunities associated with Ladysmith Railway Station building,” says Alex Stuart, who, along with Bill Drysdale, is co-chair of the LDHS Train Station Committee. The station’s strategic location, just above the proposed Arts & Heritage Hub and easily accessible by the Island Highway, could play an important role in attracting heritage tourism. Although the original E&N Railway Station burned down and was replaced with the current building in the 1940s, there is a lot of history there. Drysdale, Chuck Forrest and other volunteers have been clearing out the brush, picking up litter and painting the building for the past five years, recognizing the potential value of the vacant station. “We do intend to bring that building back to life,” says Drysdale. A new roof will go a long way towards it being resurrected. Stuart recalls visiting the station as a boy and recalls the pot belly stove and the beautiful oak benches that were in the entrance. The station once boasted beautiful gardens and was at the heart of a growing community.

Ladysmith and Courtney are the only vacant stations along the E&N rail line. The stations range in use but have one thing in common — they are not for profit. What are some of the uses that you would like to see the Ladysmith Railway Station available for? That’s a question the LDHS will be asking a lot this year. Email your suggestions to info@ ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca, visit ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca or phone 250-245-0423.

Ladysmith Annual Heritage Awards, $89K grant announced The Ladysmith and District Historical Society, with the Town of Ladysmith, presented the second Annual Ladysmith Heritage Awards Sunday, February 21, virtually using Zoom and streamed simultaneously on the Historical Society Facebook page. Along with recipients special guests were Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, MP Paul Manly and MLA Doug Routley who had some welcome news for the society. This year five


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awardees were selected from nominations received from the public. These include: Barrie McDonald, for researching and publishing an informative booklet on the Tyee Smelter; Pamela Anderson, for rehabilitation of the Arcady Auto Court, John Marston and Luke Marston, for sharing Coast Salish culture through their artwork and outreach programs; and the Ladysmith Maritime Society Heritage Vessel Restoration Group for the restoration of heritage wooden vessels of local importance. “The LDHS is thrilled to learn from our MLA Doug Routley speaking at the Annual Heritage Awards ceremony this evening that it has been granted $89,000 for repair and renovation of the Museum through the CERIP program,” says President Quentin Goodbody. The money will go toward repair of the

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leaking roof, improvement of perimeter drainage to fix flooding issues, and other repairs needed. Routley praised the society’s work for keeping history alive adding that “we must invest in our history so that we can build a better future.”

Derelict vessels The Town of Ladysmith and Stz’uminus First Nation have jointly applied for $3.5-million in federal funding to remove derelict and sunken vessels from the harbour. The grant application was submitted to Transport Canada’s Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund. Divers contracted by the Town recently completed a preliminary scan of District Water Lot 651 adjacent to Ladysmith


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Community Marina, commonly referred to as Dogpatch. The preliminary search, which involved only a small area of the water lot , turned up 24 sunken vessels. “Ladysmith Council remains committed to the ongoing environmental remediation of the harbour as we continue to explore opportunities to work together with Stz’uminus First Nation and our community partners,” said Mayor Aaron Stone. “The removal of dozens of derelict vessels polluting our coastal waters here in Ladysmith will breathe new life into our shared community vision for the waterfront as we support habitat restoration and the creation of new amenities that will drive economic development in our area.” A Transport Canada inventory of District Water Lot 651 completed in 2014 identified 43 ‘vessels of concern’ – vessels classified as derelict and/or abandoned. It’s currently unknown how many of these vessels remain afloat in the harbour since the collection of this data. In recent years, the Town of Ladysmith received funding through Transport Canada’s first round of the Abandoned Boats Program to remove several beached vessels from the shoreline.

Economic Recovery update BY PIP WHITE COVID-19 has had a large impact on the economy of Vancouver Island. It is most obviously seen in the tourism and hospitality sectors, as travel restrictions have greatly reduced the flow of tourists and limits on the size of gatherings have reduced capacity in restaurants, bars and pubs. Most of the support for the economy has come from government at all levels. Grant and loan programs have helped businesses continue to pay wages and rents, as well as provide funding to assist businesses to pivot to strategies to help them through COVID. Many of these strategies are designed to help enhance or start a digital presence and give guidance on how to cope with new requirements for managing during COVID-19, such as the provision of personal protective equipment for employees. In the Cowichan Valley, Community Futures has partnered with Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Associations and Tourism Cowichan to provide discounted access to Wait Queue Management Solution, created by a Burnabybased software company to help manage wait lines and contact tracing for customers and staff. The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance moved its annual summit online last year, and the Advanced Business Match has moved its entire business online and expanded its offerings are other examples of how businesses are adapting to digital technology. Businesses are transitioning to use remote working and enhanced safety protocols to resume operations. The Island is experiencing a K-shaped recovery, as some sectors, such as the real estate, construction, manufacturing and resource sectors have seen employment recover close to pre-pandemic levels. Hospitality, accommodation, recreation and entertainment sectors have continued to suffer while travel remains restricted and limitations on occupancy and gathering size are still in place. The hope is that as the vaccine program continues to roll out, some of these restrictions and limitations will ease and these sectors will recover.

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For more information email tanya@ lrca.ca, join Ladysmith Storybook Walk on Facebook or visit www.lrca.ca.

Call For Nanaimo Museum Sports Hall Of Fame

Storybook Walk The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) new Storybook Walk was launched on Family Day, February 15, 2021, in partnership with Town of Ladysmith, Ladysmith Rotary, Ladysmith & District Credit Union, Vancouver Island Regional Library — Ladysmith Branch and La Rosa Gardens residents. Children explore pages of a picture book mounted to storyboard signs along a trail or walkway a Brown Drive Park, then answer interactive questions or meet a fun physical challenge. The Storybook Walk will be in place at Brown Drive Park for a period of 24 weeks until July 31, with a new book installed every Tuesday. Tanya Reid coordinator and a facilitator for Adventures in Early Literacy at the Ladysmith Resources Center is the project manager for the Storybook Walk. With Adventures in Early Literacy program on hold due to COVID-19, Reid was inspired to bring reading to families outdoors. A Storybook Walk promotes physical literacy as children explore pages of a picture book mounted to 21 storyboard signs along a trail or walkway. Each storyboard sign will include interactive questions relative to the story or environment and give readers an opportunity to partake in fun, physical literacy activities. The walk starts by the playground and meanders through the forest, by the stream and field before coming back. The first Storybook Walk on Family Day was a big hit. “Families started to upload these pictures. And honestly it moved me to tears knowing that so much joy was being had,” says Reid.

Above: Eilish Johnson and Elowen with mom Stasia Johnson checking out the Storybook Walk. Photo: Jeremy Johnson Left: Tanya Reid at ribbon cutting

Reid has a special love of books that dates back to her own childhood. “I came from a family of avid readers, and having young parents, we didn’t have a lot of money.” She has fond memories of going to the library with her mom and being able to take out as many books as we wanted. “I would go to the children’s section, and I would get something like ten books. It was pretty much as many as I could carry, and I would come home with these books. I was so excited about the journey that I was about to embark on with these books, all the things that I was about to discover and the places that I was going to go. It just brought me so much joy and I continued to be a reader throughout my life.” By making books accessible for children and families, Ladysmith’s new Storyboard Walk may help foster a lifelong love of reading. “It’s brought me so much joy,” says Reid. A joy that Reid is happy to share. Every time families visit the Storybook Walk, they are encouraged to fill in their passport when they get home. At the end of the 24 weeks, families with children aged 0 to kindergarten can redeem the coupon on their passport for a literacy bag containing a book, as well as an assortment of early learning activities and materials for home. Pacific Care and Child Care Resources and Referral have provided the funding for these bags. Families with children over the age of six can obtain a separate passport containing an entry form making them eligible for a free book draw in July.

The Nanaimo Museum is accepting applications for induction into the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame. The Sports Hall of Fame is a tribute to outstanding Nanaimo athletes from the past and present. Past inductees include Michelle Stilwell, Harry Manson and the 1956 Timbermen team. Anyone can submit a nomination for consideration, except the Sports Hall of Fame committee and selection panel. This year, nominations are submitted via the online nomination portal at https://nanaimomuseum.ca/exhibitscollections/sports-hall-of-fame/. Nominations for the 2021 induction year must be submitted by April 30, 2021. The Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame is located in the lobby of the museum and the public can visit (with adjustments for COVID-19 protocols) free of charge during regular hours of operation, For more information, please visit www.nanaimomuseum.ca or call 250-753-1821.

Poverty Reduction Plan What are the factors contributing to poverty in Ladysmith and Stz’uminus First Nation? How does it affect us as individuals, families, in our neighbourhoods? What can we do about it? The Town of Ladysmith, in cooperation with Social Planning Cowichan and community partners, has launched CommUNITY Together to End Poverty — Hw-nuts’-ulwum (as one) — a project aimed at engaging area residents on the ways to work together to reduce poverty and lead to the creation of a Poverty Reduction Plan. Members of the working group include local representatives from the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA), Stz’uminus Health, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island, First Nations Health Authority, Stz’uminus Primary School, Island Health, Our Cowichan Health Network, Nutsumaat Lelum Child Care Centre, School District 68, the Town and Social Planning Cowichan. “A community-based Poverty Reduction Plan will help guide us towards a


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better understanding of the unique issues facing residents here in Ladysmith and area as we work towards creating lasting change for folks who may be struggling,” says Mayor Aaron Stone. “At the same time, the face of poverty is changing and we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic how families, seniors, neighbours and youth venturing out into the workforce are all struggling in different ways.” Community members are also invited to participate in one of three Poverty Challenges from March 29 to April 9, 2021. Can you live on a three-day food allowance that is based on social assistance? What would it be like to only have access to public or active transportation for three days? “There is no one solution to poverty,” says Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris. “I am excited for our leadership and community members to be involved in this project, especially with the poverty challenges. This will give the opportunity for people to have an experience that will help them come up with solutions collectively, together.” More information, the questionnaire and other ways to participate can be found at www.communitytogethertoendpoverty.ca.

Refugee Sponsorship Group Forms According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, there were 80 million displaced persons in the world in the middle of 2020. Roughly 26 million were refugees with no hope of returning to their homes. Each of those 26 million is somebody’s relative, and some of those relatives live on Vancouver Island. A small group of Ladysmith residents have banded together for the purpose of bringing one more family to the Island. Working under the auspices of St. Philip-by-the-Sea Anglican Church in Lantzville, committee members are Janice Patrick, Gail Holland, Morgan McGuigan, Ken Hiebert and Lloyd and Judy Wilson. Through their personal connections, they have chosen to sponsor the widowed father and unmarried adult sister and brother of a family from Syria already living and working in Nanaimo. Once the family arrives, the term of

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the sponsorship is one full year, which includes housing, transportation, medical and dental care, language classes, completed government documentation and social and emotional support. Some of these needs can be met through the donation of household goods, some through the gift of time, and some will require a substantial amount of cash. For now, there are two ways individuals can donate to the project. Donations can be sent directly to: St. Philip by-theSea Anglican Church, Attn: Tony Davis, 7113 Lantzville Rd, Lantzville, BC, V0R 2H0. Please write “Ayash3” on the memo line of your cheque. Committee members would also gladly accept your donation and forward it to Lantzville on your behalf. The church will issue a tax receipt. Second, an account has been opened at Junction Bottle Depot. Simply take your sorted bottles and cans to the counter and specify that you wish the refund to be applied to Account #499. For more information, and to help please contact Judy at Ayash3project@ shaw.ca.

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Little Valley Restorations Little Valley Restorations has been officially Certified by Certified Collision Care, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization for maintaining the right tools, equipment, training and facilities necessary to repair the participating Automaker brand vehicles according to the manufacturer’s specifications. In achieving their certification, Little Valley Restorations is now an integral part of the most advanced repair capable and efficient collision repair network in the world. Adding to their credentials, Little Valley Restorations is officially certified by Certified Collision Care, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Kia, Honda and Acura ProFirst. Little Valley Restorations owner, John Neil says, “We’ve worked hard to stay ahead of the curve in the collision repair industry. This official certification demonstrates that commitment to our customers. We take pride in our highly trained technicians, who use the latest tools and equipment to deliver a top quality repair and the best customer service.”


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Ladysmith Little Theatre’s New Radio Play Series Ladysmith Little Theatre (LLT) is hitting the airwaves. Their first series of four radio plays by Brian D’Eon is close to completion, and with positive feedback from the community, they are looking to expand their programming with another series by Greg Finnegan, who recently moved to Ladysmith. Playing now are Triple,Triple and The Chat, and launching March 1 is Sirens, followed by Black Out on April 5. To listen to the current radio plays series by D’Eon, visit their website ladysmiththeatre.com. The radio plays are connecting LLT with their audience at a time when live theatre is restricted due to the pandemic. All the productions have been completed via Zoom, following all BC health

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guidelines and regulations. According to Theatre Manager Bruce Ormond, in doing these radio plays, LLT is keeping it local and involving as many people as they can. When playwright Greg Finnegan was suggested by one of the board members, he fit the bill. Not only does Greg now live in Ladysmith, but he is an accomplished playwright with a love of vintage radio and lots of experience writing comedy. Finnegan’s first writing piece was produced as a skit in Cobble Hill’s junior high school. Finnegan was involved with January players in Duncan, went on to study theater arts and writing at Camosun college and the University of British Columbia, and wrote and performed with the Vancouver Comedy Company. Finnegan moved back to the Island from Toronto when he and his husband, who was in musical theatre, retired. “When David passed away, I wasn’t sure what the future looked like,” says Finnegan. But he soon found himself involved with theatre again. Finnegan was playwright in residence for the Monterey Senior Play and won awards

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Playwright Greg Finnegan and Ladysmith Little Theatre’s Bruce Ormond getting ready for another series of radio plays.

for best original play. A number of his plays have been produced in the Lower Mainland. Performing arts have been particularly hard hit during COVID-19, due to health


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restrictions, but LLT is determined that the show must go on. Stay tuned for more radio plays in the future, as LLT is hoping to release its next series in May. In the meantime, close your eyes, lean back, and enjoy the era of radio plays. Playing now: Triple Triple, a comedy about a witty and vicious no-holds-barred game of Scrabble, and The Chat, a sci-fi about two Australian radio-astronomers who make contact with an angel. Opening March 1: Sirens, a thriller about a drive over a mountain pass during a snowstorm and a strange encounter.

Ladysmith’s Art Williams, Drug Czar Join us from the comfort of your home for a peek behind the scenes of a little known drug empire headquartered in Ladysmith, Vancouver Island. Daryl Ashby, author of 85 Grams: Art Williams — Drug Czar, will share his knowledge of the circumstances that led a young Art Williams to challenge the authorities in a cunning game of cat and mouse that kept the RCMP off balance for the better part of a decade. For ten years, Daryl Ashby interviewed those

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connected with Art Williams, from lead investigators for the RCMP, informants living under witness protection, members of Williams’ inner circle, plus members of his family; they all helped unravel and set straight the story of notorious Ladysmith drug manufacturer. While 85 Grams: Art Williams — Drug Czar exposes a man who may challenge your moral code, he still represents part of our BC history, leaving the author no option but to record his illicit activities. Preregister at museum@ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca for this Zoom session streaming March 18 at 6:30 p.m. so you don’t miss out. Limited participants permitted. l-r: Daryl Ashby, author of 85 Grams Art Williams — Drug Czar, will present a talk on the legendery drug manufacturer. Secret escape from drug lab. Photo: Vancouver Sun


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Local Housing news BY KERITH WADDINGTON Many people are familiar with the adage that “home” isn’t so much a place as a feeling — it’s where you can slip off your shoes and your public persona and just be yourself. But finding a place in which to create that feeling has never been more challenging for Vancouver Islanders. Housing inventory — to either rent or purchase — is at an all-time low, and prices as a result are historically high. It’s not unusual to hear the term “housing crisis” used to describe the current situation, at least for those of low or moderate incomes looking to put a roof over their heads. Throw in a pandemic that not only requires social distancing but is changing the way a large segment of the population works — from home — and what was already a tough situation has become a perfect storm, at least for those looking to purchase, says Ian Mackay, President of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB). “The market died last spring when COVID first hit, but come summer and fall of 2020, it picked up and the only way to describe November, December and January would be chaotic,” says MacKay. “People are coming to the Island from the Lower Mainland and larger city centres. They figure that if they’re going to be stuck working from home it had better be the right home. And they are wanting more space.” Winter months are notoriously poor for home sales, but not so this year, says MacKay. Statistics indicate that singlefamily detached home sales were up 69 per cent this January, as compared to the same month last year. This is all the more remarkable given that available inventory was down 30 per cent from January of 2020. Condo sales were up 46 per cent year over and townhouse sales increased by 75 per cent. MacKay is confident that sales activity would have been much higher if the Island had had the inventory. Not surprisingly, the housing mar-

Admiring homes & gardens at a past Rotary Garden Tour. Photo: Marina Sacht

ket squeeze is resulting in sale price increases. The benchmark price of a single-family home in the area served by the VIREB — Duncan through the North Island — hit $596,500 in January, a 12 per cent increase from the previous year. The benchmark price of an apartment reached $316,400, an increase of 10 per cent. And the benchmark price of a townhouse rose by 12 per cent year over year, climbing to $459,800. With demand for housing so strong and multiple offers often coming in for each listing, MacKay says this would normally be considered a great time to sell. “But with so little inventory available, buyers and sellers are in a catch-22 situation. It’s hard to part with your home if you have nowhere to move.” The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) does not see the inventory situation improving until more supply comes online later this year. BCREA and local real estate boards are advocating with policy makers at the provincial and regional levels to encourage a streamlining of the development process, which would enable municipalities to expand their housing supply more quickly and meet what is an unprecedented demand. Of course, not being able to find the right kind of house to purchase at the right price is a different kind of stress than not being able to find or afford any kind of shelter. A quick look is all it takes to know there are far too many Islanders in just this position. Thankfully, there are a number of

non-profit provincial and local organizations, such as BC Housing, the Cowichan Housing Association (CHA) and the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA), which offer numerous financial and resource assistance programs to help British Columbians find and maintain housing. The help is needed. A recent Regional Housing Needs Assessment Report commissioned for the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) indicates that housing supply is not keeping up with demand in the Valley. Between 2019 and 2025, the CVRD is expected to grow to about 92,000 people, which would represent a population growth of 15 per cent in six years. It is predicted that 5,000 new housing units, whether rental or ownership, are needed in the district by 2025. Furthermore, data sources suggest that the CVRD is in a state of acute rental shortage, with almost no vacancies in the region. In most jurisdictions of the CVRD, the majority of renter households making less than approximately $45,000 per year spend more than 30 per cent of their annual income on housing expenses. Even more alarming, the majority of renter households making less than approximately $25,000 per year spend more than 50 per cent of their annual income on housing expenses, which doesn’t meet affordability standards. In a nutshell, the report identified a need for more purpose-built rental options for young families, youth, Indigenous people, those with mental health


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challenges, singles and seniors. In the fall of 2018, Cowichan residents voted in a referendum to increase property taxes to help address the region’s affordable housing crisis. The CVRD has requisitioned about $750,000 each of the last two budget years for the housing fund. Of the 1.5 million collected, $500,000 has gone to the CHA for administration of its housing loss prevention program, tenant and landlord education, data collection and emergency rental assistance. The remaining 1 million went to the Housing Trust Fund, a pot of money geared to getting brick-and-mortar projects off the ground. One such brick-and-mortar project has shovels going into the ground very soon. The Affordable Housing Project on Buller Street in Ladysmith is a $10-million project spearheaded by the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA). The CVRD’s Housing Trust Fund is contributing $317,000 towards the 36-unit residential development (www.lrca.ca/programs/ shelter/lrca-affordable-housing-project-under-construction/), which will provide homes to families with low- and moderatelevel incomes, seniors and those with developmental disabilities. The project also received funding from BC Housing, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the LRCA and the Town of Ladysmith. Construction is expected to begin this spring, with completion 12 to 18 months hence. There is more housing coming too for individuals experiencing homelessness in the Ladysmith area. On February 16, Ladysmith Town Council approved a proposal by BC Housing to use the first floor of the Island Hotel at 440 First Avenue as a temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shelter — to be run by the LRCA and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week — would support physical distancing and sheltering in place for up to ten individuals. (The occupancy permit for 15 allows five staff to come on site during the day.) Individuals at the shelter would receive two daily meals and access to showers, laundry, spare clothing, cleaning supplies and first aid. Doors are expected to open at this temporary shelter by the beginning of April 2021, if not before. The term of the Temporary Use Permit (TUP) for the Island Hotel is until February 16, 2022, or 90 days after the government of BC lifts the Provincial State of Emergency for COVID-19, whichever occurs first. Public submissions made to Council prior to the February 16 meeting indicated both strong support for and strong objection to the permit. Laura McLeod, Senior Communications Specialist with BC Housing, believes that together these two projects — emergency housing at the Island Hotel and affordable rental housing at 314 Buller Street — will help address two areas on the continuum of housing. There are several other CVRD-area project proposals currently before BC Housing, including developments in Duncan, Lake Cowichan, North Cowichan and Chemainus. John Horn, Executive Director of the CHA, is confident that these developments, in addition to those in Ladysmith, will help alleviate some of the housing shortage in the region. He acknowledges, however, that development isn’t quick, and that the timeline for these projects “aren’t a great answer if you’re driving around in your car looking for a place to live right now.”

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RDN Area A Cedar Budgeting always has a negative connotation, and the budget for the Regional District of Nanaimo is no exception. While at home, we don’t like budgeting because it may cramp our style or prevent us from spending money on spurof-the-moment purchases. For the RDN, the budget is not a favourite either because it determines how much our property taxes will be in the coming year. If you have ever tried to walk your way through the RDN budget, you will attest to how complicated and detailed it actually is. Unless you are a budget nerd, it is almost impossible to make sense of all of the numbers on all of the pages in the huge document. As a regional district, there are different rules in play than for a municipality or city. Of most significance, budgets must be created for each service offered by the regional district and accounted for in each service area. The bottom line on this procedure is that a surplus in one service area cannot be transferred to another service area if that area has a deficit. While this may seem odd, consider that the RDN provides 107 different services. Of these, thirty-four are shared among multiple member jurisdictions (solid waste handling and transit are two examples), and the rest are provided as single services to electoral areas outside of the municipalities. In Electoral Area

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A, we pay for community parks, noise control, planning services and a host of others. Then within the electoral area, local area services, like sewer or street lighting, are provided to specific parts of the area. The premise to single service budgeting becomes clear when it is understood that, with a few exceptions, a taxpayer only pays for the services that they receive. In other words, residents in one area of Cedar should not have to pay for sewer services if they don’t receive them. Moreover, Cedar residents should not have to pay for ice arenas in Parksville or swimming pools in Qualicum Beach. As a result of the number of services provided and other considerations, it is complex to calculate what a specific taxpayer might be asked to pay in the coming year. However, RDN finance staff have come up with an estimating process that gives some good guidance. They provide an average home tax change number as part of the budgeting process. This number takes the average home assessment value in an electoral area and distributes service costs for that area to it. In Electoral Area A, for example, the average assessment for a residential home is $534,766 — and the average tax change from last year’s tax level is up by $26. A large part of this is the increased transit service provided to the communities of Cedar, South Wellington and

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Cassidy. If you want to get into the details of the RDN’s 2021 to 2025 Financial Plan, you can view the details at rdn.bc.ca/ financial-reports. If you have concerns or questions about the plan, you can contribute to the process at getinvolved.rdn. ca/rdn-budget-talks.

CVRD Area H North Oyster/ Diamond Town Hall This year’s first quarter Area H Town Hall was a virtual event held on February 11, 2021. (See www.AreaH.ca for recording). At the Town Hall, it was explained that the harmonization of the Official Community Plan (OCP) is well under way and the modernization phase is beginning in the next few months. Although it is draft information, the next step of the modernization of the OCP was introduced, and the use of Community Circles was described as a way to generate ideas for the modernization project. Community Circles A Community Circle is a small group of people talking about the CVRD’s future. Some groups will be existing groups and associations, while others will be new groups. Each group will have help to get started and be provided support and guidance through the process. It is early days, and there will be some pilots before Community


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Circles are fully rolled out. However, this is the time to start thinking about getting groups of people together so, in a few months, you can share your ideas with the CVRD. The CVRD will have Community Circles orientation sessions and sign-up on PlaceSpeak. Please contact me if you have a group you would like to be involved, and I will help you with the process. Community Circles will be an important part of the OCP process. The plan is for Community Circle ideas and discussions to be published in a CVRD OCP Ideas book that will be available online following the process. These topic discussions and ideas will help shape the CVRD OCP objectives and policies. Each Community Circle can explore whatever they want, as long as it fits within planning for the future of the CVRD. The Community Circle can pursue a specific topic, general topic, or a specific idea like an issue or opportunity facing the future of planning in the CVRD. The potential topics are widespread from local food security to housing needs. Stay tuned, as more information becomes available it will be posted to www.cvrd. ca and will be linked to www.AreaH.ca. Budget Last month, a significant amount of focus and time for the CVRD was the completion of the 2021 budget. In general, the direction was no increase where possible, and for the most part, this has been achieved. However, there are two budget items that account for most of the increase and deserve some explanation. The most significant of these items is Solid Waste Management. Solid Waste Management provides solid waste planning and garbage disposal for the CVRD. This includes the operation of regional garbage and recycling depots. The main reason for the increase is that it has an ongoing contracts that that need to be honoured. The second is the Parkland Acquisition Fund, which provides for the acquisition of lands for regional park purposes. Bute Island in Area H is a recent example of a purchase by this fund. This fund was approved by referendum that took place on Nov 15, 2008. Currently, the fund has 2.2 million. This year a requisition of 750,000 was approved. This fund was a very discussed item, as parks are definitely important, perhaps doubly so during a pandemic (as evidenced by the increase in use) and as an action to take against climate change. However, to me, the recent economic downturn due to the pandemic, along with the lack of certainty of recovery, is equally a concern. During the election campaign, I heard from many on keeping taxes as low as possible. I also heard from many about the value of our parks and forests. Both sides have merit, and there is no right or wrong. Personally, I am of the opinion you save in good times and use that to help you through the tough times and that there are just too many unknowns right now. It was a close decision, but the fund was increased for 2021. However, it should be mentioned it was a compromise of sorts, as it is much lower than the maximum permitted. And so, I would like to end on the topic of compromise. We are experiencing a time that will be remembered for generations. The way through it is together. Be safe and look after each other.

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Announcements Volunteers needed: Parks Advisory Commission — two positions; Ladysmith Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee — one position. ben.maartman@cvrd.bc.ca, 250-5105930

CVRD Area G Saltair/Thetis Island A year ago, our lives changed. Area G residents have spent this past year meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, in 2021, vaccines will allow us to leave our bubbles. I miss the normal interactions: the hugs, snuggling, and just hanging out. Our parks continue to provide a space where we can find time to enjoy the amazing area we share. Saltair Water System The AAP response period for up to $3.7 million borrowing bylaw for Saltair’s mandated filtration system ends on February 10. The CVRD’s “Saltair Water System Customer” letter provides background and tells us how to obtain more information and elector response

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forms. I continue to support the bylaw because the loan repayment will be funded over 20 years. Those who will benefit from an improved water supply will share the cost. If you are in favour of the borrowing bylaw, no action is required. The CVRD’s grant application for our filtration system is still outstanding. The Province should make its decision by the end of January. If approved, the application will go to the federal government for final approval, which will be announced this spring. If the grant application is approved, a loan of about $1.6 million will be required. This reduced cost will be funded by the current borrowing bylaw if it passes. CVRD Draft 2021 Budget (see https://www.cvrd.ca/2016/2021Draft-Budget) The majority of CVRD budget functions have not been increased. At this point, solid waste has the largest increase. However, the assessed value of managed forest land in Area G has decreased by $1.2 million. This decrease causes a proportional taxation increase.

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Even if the cost of a budget function has not increased, it can cause a taxation increase. For example, the Area G Community Parks budget has not been increased, but the residential taxation amount will increase to offset the managed forest land value decrease. Saltair Community Parks The condition of the asphalt courts in Saltair Centennial Park have been assessed. The tennis practice area and upper sports court sub-surfaces have failed. The tennis practice court could be repaved for $25,000 or removed for $5,000. The upper sports court could be repaved for $40,000 or removed for $7,000. The Saltair Parks Commission recommends locking off the upper sports court and removing the tennis practice court (because it cannot be locked off) for public safety. Minor projects for 2021 include crack mitigation in the tennis courts, a crack repair in the lower sports court and Type 2 trail surface upgrades in excessively muddy areas of the main trail in Diana, Princess of Wales Wil-


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derness Park. As a major 2021 project, the southeast forest loop in Saltair Centennial Park will be upgraded to a Type 2 trail, providing a safe trail connection to other trails and Saltair’s commercial area. A group of local pickleball players has investigated adding lines for pickleball to the lower sports court in Saltair Centennial Park. Volunteers are willing to paint the lines and fund portable nets. Local tennis players also support using the lower sports court for pickleball. Thetis Island Wharf In June 2020, a conditional assessment of the Thetis Island Wharf was completed. The wharf was closed to vehicle traffic. The Thetis Island community and others rely on the wharf for medical and emergency transportation, etc. Through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS), a grant application for up to a maximum of $275,000 for upgrades to the wooden pier structure to enable vehicle access will be filed at the end of January 2021. Cowichan Valley Trail (CVT) At the December 9, 2020, Special Corporate Services meeting, I raised the issue of funding for construction of the undeveloped section of CVT from North Watts Road to the Ladysmith boundary. Only design had been included in the 2021 Budget. I asked to have funding for the project work also included. The other CVRD directors supported this. A five-year, $300,000 loan will now be used to fund the design and project work in 2021. With about 14,000 affected residents, this connection will significantly benefit our communities. This is exciting news. Saltair Davis Lagoon Bridge Our bridge is famous. E.J. Hughes produced a painting of it in 1966. This trestle bridge was built in 1958. It is unique. The deck is planking. In its early years, nearby residents complained about the noise of vehicles travelling over the surface. Eventually, an asphalt surface was installed over the planking. This addressed the noise, but the planks still move when vehicles travel over the surface. This creates cracks in the asphalt. Crews will be working on the bridge from January 18 until February 26, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Please drive safely. So far, 2021 is shaping up to a busy year. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at lynne.smith@cvrd.bc.ca or 250-701-1407. For more information visit SaltairNews.ca.

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Signs of Spring at Wildwood BY P. MURRAY - EIS NATURALIST We write the March Wildwood Ramble in February, and as I look out into nature right now I have to admit it seems pretty dreary. The days have been rainy, chilly, and grey, and the forest seems bare and quiet as deciduous plants are still dormant. After almost a full year of restrictions and stress brought on by COVID 19, I’m looking for any signs of hope and optimism that nature can give me, and perhaps you are too. And so, I have been searching for signs of spring. Just today, I noticed green

Skunk Cabbage.

Salmonberry. Photos submitted

buds on an Indian plum shrub along a trail. The sun has been rising earlier each day, and by the time you are reading this article, I expect signs of spring will be abundant if you know what to

look for. Here are a few of my favorite signs of spring. The Hul’q’umi’num’ names mentioned are courtesy of Dr. Luschiim Arvid Charlie and are included with gratitude.


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Local wetlands are home to western skunk cabbage, also known as swamp lantern. You may smell this sign of spring before you see it, but I find it quite beautiful despite the smell. There’s nothing quite like the bright yellow and green of a swamp full of skunk cabbage in the springtime. The bright yellow part of a skunk cabbage isn’t the flower though, but rather an adapted leaf which protects a tall spike of tiny flowers. It is these tiny flowers that are responsible for western skunk cabbage’s namesake fragrance. In the same wet areas where skunk cabbage is common, you can look for salmonberry blossoms, known as lila’ in Hul’q’umi’num’. These beautiful bright fuchsia flowers are a spectacular sight in the middle of March when not much else is happening, and they are especially welcome sights for Rufous hummingbirds who return from their winter vacations in Mexico right about now. A smaller sign of spring that’s common at Wildwood are bigleaf maple seedlings. You might not recognize these seedlings at first, because their leaves aren’t maple-shaped but rather long and narrow. Bigleaf maples will also start blossoming at this time of year. These dangling chartreuse clusters of blossoms are delicious! They taste a bit like broccoli and can be eaten raw. Stinging nettle shoots emerging in wetlands and along roadsides are another wonderful local sign of spring. Like bigleaf maple flowers, this sign of spring is edible, but be careful! It is named stinging nettle for a reason. The plant I saw with green buds today is Indian plum, or tth’uxwun’ in Hul’q’umi’num’. With clusters of hanging white blossoms framed by pairs of wing-shaped leaves, from a distance it can look like this shrub is covered in fairies, perhaps resting after having sprinkled their springtime magic throughout the forest. Springtime at Wildwood also sees migratory birds returning, warmer sunshine and the promise of brighter days ahead. Come check out more signs of spring at our family friendly Spring-Go event on March 21 at Wildwood Ecoforest. Pre-registration required. Visit www. ecoforestry.ca/event-listings to save your spot!

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We are Y.E.S.

President of Y.E.S. Guy Dauncey

BY GUY DAUNCEY In August 2017, a small group of us formed the Yellow Point Ecological Society. We were motivated by the need to prevent the destruction of sixty acres of gorgeous forest, just south of the Wildwood Ecoforest and Quennell Lake. We failed, and the forest was razed to the ground from corner to corner, with the exception of a small strip of riparian land along a creek, some of which then was blown down in a windstorm and ended up as firewood. Local people who loved that piece of forest were really distressed, as was all the wildlife that had to flee. That was the beginning of our learning — that most of the privately-owned forest on the east coast of Vancouver Island has no ecological protection at all, and that unless we develop new ways to protect it, more will fall to the chainsaw. We persisted, however, learning how local governance works — and doesn’t work — and seeking new ways to make people fall in love with Nature. For that which people love, they want to protect, just as they are doing right now with the threatened loss of the forest on either side of the Cable Bay Trail, where a group of Alberta investors want to cut down the forest and replace it with a golf course and RV lots. We are also looking at the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the need for local solutions, which are as close as the nearest forest. Over the past few years, we have offered many educational presentations. We have cleared invasive broom and ivy. We have distributed young fir and cedar saplings that are now growing into trees in people’s yards. We made a short film about ways to protect the forest. We established a regular blog. We ran a successful Nature Photo Contest. Our volunteers clear the roadside trash off many local roads. We have set up a

website full of features and stories. Our page on the Common Yard Birds of Yellow Point, based on birdsong, is popular all across North America. This year, we are researching and writing The Yellow Point and Cedar Landowner’s Handbook, full of information people will be able to use to nourish nature and wildlife on their land and to protect the forest. We hope it will be ready by summer. We are working to develop a multi-purpose trail alongside Yellow Point Road; volunteers are walking the entire route to determine what might — or might not — be possible. We are working with Carrie Robinson, a VIU student in Geographical Information Systems, on a project to map our local wetlands. And we are preparing to engage with the CVRD’s Modernized Official Community Plan, holding one or more Community Circles to enable people to think about the future and share ideas. So, are you free the first weekend in May? That is the date for our first Community BioBlitz. National Geographic says, “A BioBlitz is an opportunity to take a snapshot of the biodiversity in a specific place. In a BioBlitz event, students, scientists, naturalists, and community members join together to find and identify as many plants, animals, and other organisms as possible in a short period of time.” So if you live in Yellow Point, Cedar or Cassidy, or would like to visit one of our parks that weekend, we invite you to join the BioBlitz — the details will be on our website by March 25. In preparation, download the iNaturalist app on your phone and start practising. Find any plant, flower or wandering frog. Take a photo, and the app will tell you its likely name, based on four million observations by Canadian naturalists. See www.inaturalist.ca.


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Thomas Family in Cedar Part One

MANY THANKS TO MARGUERITE (THOMAS) GODWIN FOR HER MEMORIES. BRENDA YOSHIDA In the 1880s, William Morgan Thomas, born 1866, was a mine engineer living and farming in Harewood. His mine job was primarily running levels for the coal mines. After he and his wife, Mary Ann (Mottishaw) Thomas, and son, Billy (Robert William Thomas), moved to Cedar, he determined the levels for the dug outlets for Quennell Lake. This clever man was numerate but never learned to read with any facility. The outlets were dug to lower the lake level and expose the rich peat fields for farming. They were dug and maintained by local farmers, including the Bennie family. Above: William Morgan & Mary Ann Thomas, 1915. Photo submitted.

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William Thomas purchased the farm in Cedar in 1886 and moved his family in 1904. The farm consisted of two parcels of land, about 200 acres on the northeast shore of Quennell Lake and 300 acres on the ocean between Boat Harbour and where Juriet Road is today. Robert William (Bill), born in 1896, was an only child with much older half siblings from his mother’s first marriage. The Nanaimo schools and those in Cedar were not consolidated at the time. When asked what grade he was in, Billy quickly decided to skip a grade and jumped from Grade 3 to 4. The schoolmaster never caught on. So, although Bill Thomas had a Grade 8 education, he only went to school for seven years. To continue beyond Grade 8 would have required he travel to Nanaimo. The Thomas family had the horse, but a twenty-mile round trip each day was not appealing, so at age twelve, Bill began farming full-time with his father. Heavy farm work was done with a team of horses and two men: one to drive the team, the other to handle the plow or harrow or whatever was needed. The heavier work was guiding the plow, and so at first, Bill drove the horses while his father, William, handled the implement. As he grew older and stronger, Bill gradually took over the heavier work, and his father drove the team. One memorable spring day, Bill was sent to harness the team and wait for his father before they started plowing a field. Bill was pretty sure he could do both jobs at once, so before his father got to the field, he knotted the reins behind his back so they extended under his arms. He then called to his team and, with both hands on the plow, started the job. When his father arrived a few minutes later, he took one look at the situation and snorted, “Well, have it your own way then!” From that day forward, plowing was a one-man job on the Thomas farm. The farm wagon was practical and adjustable. The bed could be lengthened, and a hay rack attached for hauling hay. When fully loaded with loose hay, “brakes” had to be used on steep downward slopes. The only backward pressure the team could provide was by leaning back into the breeching strap on the harness. If the load was too heavy and got away on them, the wagon could crash with disastrous results. So a brake

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George and Sandy (horses) and Bill Thomas 1937

was attached to one of the wheels to cause it to skid down the hill and slow the wagon. Most of the farm equipment the horses pulled had wooden wheels. The wheels

Robert William Thomas & Maxine Thelma Case wedding Aug 9, 1923


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consisted of a wood and metal hub with wooden spokes, then a wooden circle clad with a flat band of metal in a circle to provide the tire. During disuse or hot dry summers, the wooden parts would shrink. The metal “tire” could twist sideways or come right off the wheel. To prevent this from happening, the wooden frame had to be soaked in water to enlarge it enough to tighten the wheel within the metal rim. This was usually accomplished by backing the wagon into the lake so the wheels could soak. During World War I, young men working on farms were encouraged to stay on the land to support the war effort through food production. Thus, it was that Bill was called to service later in the war and was on his way to the front lines when the Armistice was signed. He remained in Europe for several months but never saw active duty. Bill, and later his daughters, Maxine and Marguerite, attended East Cedar School. The property for the school was donated by William and consisted of one acre on Yellow Point Road, across from the end of Decourcy Drive. The concrete foundation can still be seen in this location. The school was a typical one-room school, with a single teacher teaching Grades 1 to 8. The building was one classroom with a cloakroom above a full-height basement. The basement was closed on three sides. There was no running water or electricity. Every morning, the Grade 8 boys carried water from the well across Yellow Point Road. A tin basin in the cloakroom was used for hand washing. Full-height windows in the classroom faced west, toward Quennell Lake, and wood for the wood stove was supplied by local farmers. There were two outhouses: girls to the north, and boys to the south. These were furnished with wooden seats and buckets, which were emptied periodically. In 1920, a new school teacher came to teach at East Cedar School. (Maxine) Thelma Case had grown up in Nanaimo and was boarding with William and Christina Wilkinson. As a new member of the community, she was invited to a party at Ivor and Margaret Thomas’s (Bill’s cousin), who lived at the north end of the west arm of Quennell Lake. The Wilkinsons, who lived on the southeast shore of the lake, travelled to the party by boat. Thelma was a fashion-


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able city girl and was dismayed that she would have to traverse a wet field between the dock and house. However would her dainty party shoes survive? Mrs. Wilkinson had a practical solution; she tied cotton flour sacks over Thelma’s feet. Thus, it was so and Bill Thomas met his future wife, handing her out of the Wilkinson boat with flour sacks covering her shoes, for the first time. Thelma had been known as “Carrots” in her teenage years, and her extravagantly curly hair was now a beautiful auburn. She was mortified by the flour sacks, but I’m sure the bachelor farmer was immediately intrigued. She certainly made an impression. Bill and Thelma were married in 1923, and Thelma and “her Billy” were a loving couple until the day Bill died, in 1977. During their marriage, they raised two daughters — Maxine Mary, born in 1925, and Marguerite Thelma, born in 1929 — and farmed the land until passing it on to their daughters. Bill and Thelma made their home in the house that Bill had grown up in, while his parents built a small retirement home just up the hill from the original house. Over the years, Bill and Thelma’s house was expanded from two rooms to a comfortable three-bedroom home over a dug, unheated basement. Water was pumped from the lake under Yellow Point Road into a raised redwood tank, which was set on a platform about fifteen feet above ground level. From there, the water flowed by gravity to a stand pipe near the back door. The home was heated by a kitchen wood range and a wood heater in the living room. Electricity did not arrive in this part of Cedar until about 1950. Both Bill and Thelma were involved in the community of Cedar. Bill was a member of the Army Reserve Patrol during the World War II, and Thelma was a founding member of the Cedar Women’s Institute. They both attended Cedar United Church, and Bill volunteered with the fire department and helped build Above: Early photo of Cedar Fire Hall with Auxiliary Fire Service

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the Cedar Community Hall. The Cedar Community Hall, or Speedway Hall as it was known after the straight stretch of Cedar Road it was built on, was supported by an annual Fall Sale. The Cedar Women’s Institute organized this sale, which included everything from secondhand clothes to plants and home baking. The Cedar WI also organized an annual New Year’s Eve whist drive at the hall. The Cedar Youth Group, later the Cedar 4H, sponsored weekly square dances at the Speedway. For many years during the 1930s and 1940s, the school teacher at East Cedar School was Margaret Clark. She boarded with Bill and Thelma Thomas and walked the short distance to and from the school each day. Margaret was a good amateur naturalist, and the children were taught about the local plants and animals in addition to their more academic studies. There was a bird feeder at the school, and Marguerite can remember feeding little chickadees from her hand held out the classroom window. “North, south, east, there is no west; we like East Cedar best!” was the school chant in the 1930s. To be continued...


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Car-happy Some guys baby their cars. I am not one of them, as confirmed by my habit of talking to my long-suffering Honda, or my wife if the car isn’t home. What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger. My Honda must be one of the strongest vehicles in town, as it rarely sees the dealership. I don’t know if the Honda thrives on this treatment, but it tolerates it. My wife’s Subaru is another story. We bought it because of all this snow we’ve been getting. My wife refuses to drive in snow but needs a four-wheel-drive vehicle anyway. If you can figure that one out, you qualify for the Rubik’s Cube Nationals. Subarus are different. For one thing, instead of having an in-line four-cylinder engine where the pistons are all lined up in a row like Boy Scouts, they have a flat-four engine with two cylinders going one way and two going the opposite way. This seems like a hard way to get anything done. Subaru assures me this configuration gives the car a lower centre of gravity, making it light on its wheels. It also makes my

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wallet light since changing spark plugs on a Subaru costs $100 in labour. On the Honda, it’s a five-minute job. There’s a snob factor as well. Where the other Japanese cars all attend public school, Subarus attend private academies. Or so the doctors who drive them would have us believe. For whatever reason, I don’t trust the Subaru. I envision expensive repairs unless we baby it. That’s why I take it to the dealership for servicing. Unfortunately, in our town, the Subaru and Mercedes dealers are one entity. This probably bumps the cost of shop labour up by $30 per hour. On the other hand, your lowly Subaru gets to rub fenders with a better class of automobile, for better and worse. You don’t get to see the mechanics at Subaru. They all hide in the back where they kibitz: “A hundred bucks an hour for us — what a joke!” The service technicians are very friendly but usually go blind early. When they’re not explaining why your bill is so high, they spend too much time hiding behind their computer screens where the complaining customers can’t get at them. But they have a nice waiting room stocked with bad coffee, cheap cookies and Mercedes magazines should you be tempted into a car with even higher service costs. Our first service on the Subaru, an oil change, was cheap. And they even washed the car. This gave me a false sense of security, so I took it in for the 24,000-km service where the checklist is as long as an NBA player’s arm but

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smells better. They even check for air in the tires. What do they expect to find? Propane? I was feeling pretty good about all the pampering until I got the bill — $400 — a lot of money to pay a guy who looks for propane in your tires. With the 48,000-km servicing coming up, I grew nervous. The checklist was even longer, and spark plugs needed replacing even though none were missing. The way things were going, I’d have to sell the Honda to raise money for the Subaru’s servicing. Not fair. That’s how the Subaru ended up far out in the countryside at Big Dwayne’s Auto, a converted two-car garage, with a lean-to off one side for housing parts, office and a waiting area that includes one bar stool with a ripped vinyl cover that’s more than a little greasy. Dwayne’s is the home of the donor car. Vehicles stripped of essential parts are hulking around the shop like large mechanical critters. You could say Dwayne’s shop is garden-like because there is no concrete, only a lot of dirt. This time of year, it’s all mud. “Don’t worry,” I reassured the Subaru, restraining a smile as I pulled in. “You’ve got all-wheel drive.” I had talked with Big Dwayne on the phone. He might be a little rough around the edges but seemed to know his cars. He’d probably started out at a dealership and felt the urge to work for himself so he could teach his son, Little Dwayne, the business. Little Dwayne might have been a good


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mechanic, but he was one of these boys who liked to talk. And talk. And talk. Not that he needed to communicate so much. His T-shirt, which looked like it had been washed in crankcase oil, provided all the communication we needed: “TWO DWAYNES AUTOMOTIVE. HOME OF THE BIG-TIRED, DIRT-THROWING, FLAME-BELCHING MUD SLUT.” Whether “mud slut” was his girlfriend or his truck, Dwayne didn’t say. “Please!” my Subaru begged. “Don’t let them touch me!” But all is well when all doesn’t end badly. My Honda and I had a good laugh at the prissy Subaru, and I got out of there for $150, one-quarter what the dealership would have charged. Little Dwayne suggested I take some T-shirts for the service

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people at Subaru. “No one complains when you got one of these suckers on,” he said. “They do, they get their brain Dwayned. Get it? Brain Dwayned.” I said I got it. The Subaru? The big sissy cried all the way home. A great wine to help you work up your nerve to work on your car or anything else is A Shot In the Dark, Shiraz Petite Sirah at $13.49, TAKE 5 staff recommended. You can follow Delbert at Slightlycorkedandmore.wordpress.com or pick up his book at Mahle House, Co-Co Cafe, TAKE 5 office or throughout the community for just $20.


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HEART LAKE ROOFING for all your roofing repairs 250-668-9195.

FOR SALE FISH FISH FISH Buy direct from the guy who caught It! High quality salmon, lingcod, rockfish. All Fish blast frozen at sea. Satisfaction guaranteed! Contact Jim at oceandancer. wallace@gmail.com or 250-245-5957/250-7391123. SOFA SECTIONAL, dk brown leather perfect for rec room. $200, 250-245-9165 WANTED Volunteer greeters, researchers and helpers. Ladysmith Museum 250-245-0423. musuem@ ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca BUSINESS EXPERIENCED HOUSESITTER Now offering senior companionship, respite care and concierge services. Peaceofmindcare. wordpress.com. Contact Kathleen email kgrcoaching@gmail.com or 250-619-0786. I CAN EDIT. Copy editing, proofreading, structural editing and more. Fiction or nonfiction, web content and eBook prep. For more information, email editican@gmail. com. VIDEO PRODUCTION services, from script to screen, edited and ready to post on YouTube, Facebook or your website. To discuss your project, and see if we can be of service, please call Marina at 250-756-8892 or email editor@take5.ca. HEALTH & WELLNESS TAI CHI for mental & physical health. Beginner classes start Sept. & Jan., Mondays; ongoing class Wednesdays. Both classes 10am-noon at the Cedar Hall, 2388 Cedar Road. More information: www.taichinanaimo.org or call Sara 250-245-1466.

MARCH 2021

PETS HOME & YARD PLUMBER FOR HIRE. Journeyman Red Seal Plumber with over 30 years experience for repairs, leaks, installations or renovations, free estimates, reasonable rates. Call Joe (leave message) or text 250-246-5883. CONCRETE RESULTS. Contracting, fullservice forming and finishing, walls, walks, patios, drives. 35 years experience. Call Gord 250-753-4024. KB HANDYMAN AND YARDWORKS SERVICES. Minor carpentry work, decks, fences, gutter cleaning, power washing, tree pruning, yard clean up, lawn fertilizing, mowing. Seniors discount. Contact Karl kbhandymanandyardworks@gmail.com or 250-714-2738. QUALITY RENOVATIONS. Big or small. Exp journeyman, affordable. for free estimate call Lars 250-616-1800. ALL ACRES TREE SERVICE providing all aspects of tree work. Pruning, falling, hedging, dangerous tree removal. Fully insured. Professional work at reasonable rates. Call 250-246-1265. DARRELL ESSAR RENOVATIONS. Over 30 years’ experience, certified journeyman carpenter. No Job is too small, from fences, decks, tile work, hardwood flooring, painting, drywall, etc. For free estimate, call Darrell 250-714-3823. ISLAND PRUNING. Professional tree care from large scale orchards to budding new trees. I can meet any pruning need. Shrubs, vines and ornamental. Large and small clean ups. Call Darcy Belcourt 250-323-1260.

PROFESSIONAL PET CARE SERVICE “leash ’em & walk ’em” with Marlena & Babs. I am bonded, have Animal First Aid and CPR. My service for all pet includes dog walking, home care visits, overnight in your home and much more. As my love is yours! Call 250-246-3394. SENIORS HIRED HAND for independent elder. Odd jobs, companionship, meal prep, etc! Valid First Aid/CPR, Clean Driver’s record, Level 2 FOODSAFE, Gardner and Handywoman. Call Marilyn at 250-606-7069. GRANNY’S ON THE GO COMPANION SERVICES covering Cedar, Ladysmith, Chemainus. Clean drivers abstract, FOODSAFE, First Aid/CPR Gerontology Based Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Kwantlen University, Osteo Fit, Pool Assist & JAVA programs certificates. Working with active seniors that are not quite ready to stop the adventures. COVID-19 guidelines in place when out and about in public. At your service, Janet Bowman at janetmb@shaw.ca or 250-924-1515. LEAVE A LEGACY. Memoirs, family cookbooks, personal histories, we can help get your project ready to press. Available in print and eBook format. Professional publishing services for corporate or individuals. editor@take5.ca or call 250-245-7015. SENIORS WANTED - There are many opportunities for seniors to get involved with their community. The Ladysmith & District Historical Society is looking for help on a number of community projects. If you have some free time, and would like to commit to a meaningful project, please call us to discuss volunteer options. Call the Ladysmith Museum at 250-245-0423 or the Ladysmith Archives at 250245-0100 museum@ladysmithhistoricalsociety.ca TAKE 5 CLASSIFIEDS WORK!


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Holland Creek Trail history Many people believe that the Holland Creek trail system that we have today, has always been around, but it has not. In the early days it was an area that mainly the local kids inhabited. In effect an adult free zone. A place only kids went to fish, swim or just to hang around. Very seldom would “adults” be spotted along the creek bed, they mostly walked the area behind the Public Works yard. The creek has always been a special place for the youth of Ladysmith. Robert Woods wrote in his book “The Creek, The Beach, and The Bush”, about growing up here in the early 30’s, he said “The Creek was a tremendous childhood and teenage world. It was mostly ours and was a great place to escape from the adult world but on the other hand prepare for it”. So too it was for me and my generation. When I was a teen or preteen in the early 60’s, me and my buddies would hike down to the creek via the former Town dump at what is now a bank of the creek where what is now known as the “Dogwood Dip”. As we scurried down the bank, we could see all the rats fleeing in all directions. Once we reached the water, we would work our way leaping from rock to rock stopping occasionally to drop a fishing line into the water to see if it was a good spot. If not we would continue jumping from rock to rock or wade in the water to find the next great spot. There were no trails other than an occasional deer trail going up the bank. If you traveled any distance from the creek bed, you were faced with high bank and thick jungle-like forest. Not like today where clear paths with graded walkways and steps have made more the trail so much more accessible. What we have now is the result of the vision of many people, a vision that

would allow everyone to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds Holland Creek. One of the first to promote this idea was Alex Johnson, son of one of the first citizens of Ladysmith, born here in 1900. Alex, and his two brothers, practically lived at either the creek or the beach. During the Depression, they would get up have breakfast, do their chores and head off for a day of adventure. Their days at the creek were filled with swimming and trying to catch lots of the smaller trout that inhabited the creek for dinner. Alex joined the Air Force as a teen and traveled to many parts of the world, but when it came to his retirement he knew he was drawn back to Ladysmith and the creek. In the mid 90’s he started working on a plan that

Holland Creek Photo: Cindy Damphousse

would eventually become the Holland Creek trail system. He began by placing red ribbons around trees that marked the easiest access for hikers. This helped establish a trail. He also studied other trail systems in the area, photographed bridges and searched for best practices for developing a trail system. He presented his ideas to the Ladysmith Parks, Recreation and Culture, who saw its potential. The Town of Ladysmith procured grants resulting in the hiring of some youth to make the trails more user-friendly. The Town has continued to work on the trail and we now have one of the finest trail systems on the island. And that’s as I see it.


Profile for Take 5 Print & Digital Media

TAKE 5 March 2021  

News and features from the central Vancouver Island communities of Ladysmith, Cedar, Yellow Point, Cinnebar Valley, South Nanaimo, Chase riv...

TAKE 5 March 2021  

News and features from the central Vancouver Island communities of Ladysmith, Cedar, Yellow Point, Cinnebar Valley, South Nanaimo, Chase riv...