West Shore NEWS THROUGH THE DECADES

Devastating fires and local political intrigue among the interesting stories discovered

Devastating fires and local political intrigue were among the interesting stories discovered in a look through back copies of the Goldstream Gazette this week.

10 Years Ago

West Shore RCMP’s major crimes department takes over the file of the Happy Valley elementary fire from the Langford Fire Department on a request from Fire Chief Bob Beckett, whose crew had completed its investigation into the Oct. 14 blaze that destroyed the school. While firefighters found no evidence of accelerants in their investigation, police aren’t ruling out the possibility that the fire was deliberately set. Displaced students have been temporarily set up at Metchosin elementary.

Also making headlines the week of Oct. 24, 2004: Esquimalt Lagoon homeowners are closely watching the application by two neighbours to subdivide their Colwood properties. The city wants the applicants to hook up to the sewer system, but other homeowners are being turned down for connection over concerns about capacity. And, a wild end to the race season at Western Speedway sees new champions crowned in all four classes: demo cars and trucks, claimers and figure 8s.

20 Years Ago

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns voices concerns that the spiralling Canadian dollar will deplete the district’s capital reserves. He asks municipal clerk Gerry Mellott at a finance committee meeting whether the municipality can look at transferring some of its cash reserves into foreign accounts or foreign currency. Ranns later tells the Gazette that the loss of one-third of the value of the reserves due to currency devaluation could devastate a small municipality such as Metchosin.

Also making headlines the week of Oct. 24, 1994: Residents of Bexhill Place in Colwood want the city to erect a gate blocking off a common area controlled by two strata councils, to keep out “young people partying and smoking pot.” The intent of the request is to have a gate installed at the corner of Bexhill and Cualta Crescent to prevent non-residents from driving into the area and using it. And, residents of Six Mile Road may be able to sell their homes to the province once the View Royal roadway becomes a link to the Island Highway.

30 Years Ago

RCMP Const. John Hasiuk, 37, dies in a fire at his waterfront residence on Parry Cross Road in Metchosin. The early morning blaze completely levels the home, which Hasiuk rented with fellow RCMP Const. Barry Milewski. Milewski, sleeping in a downstairs room, discovered the fire first and ran next door to call the fire department, but Hasiuk was trapped in his room upstairs and was unable to get out safely. According to Colwood RCMP Sgt. Don Andrews, the cause of the fire may have been an unextinguished cigarette.

Also making headlines the week of Oct. 24, 1984: View Royal Fire Chief Frank Bell, a vocal opponent of View Royal incorporation, is in hot water after a complaint is made about him allegedly using fire department facilities and his duty time “to further a political cause.” The accusation is levelled by View Royal Capital Regional District director Ernie Beland, who supports incorporation. And, referee Dave Horton walks off the field in disgust with 13 minutes to go after fights break out in a Division 2 rugby match between Juan de Fuca Vampires and Cowichan.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com