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Labour unrest struck Ganges in February. A new fish plant opened on Rainbow Road by fisherman Johnny Christianson was picketed by members of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union, and pickets from the Canadian Union of Public Employees showed up at the public health office in Ganges to protest use of that building during strike action.

Jim Campbell of Saturna Island was reelected to his third one-year term as chair of the Capital Regional District Board by fellow CRD board members. Walter Blatter of Kangro Road made local bowling history by rolling the first perfect game at Leisure Lanes on Jan. 29. In March the provincial Pollution Control Board revoked a permit it had issued for a Ganges sewage scheme because of harbour pollution concerns raised by the Scientific Pollution and Environmental Control Society. The CRD first appealed the decision but later dropped the appeal. The home of 80-year-old Olive Auchterlonie on Port Washington Road on Pender burned to the ground on April 4. Auchterlonie was able to escape from the house at about midnight, but none of her possessions could be saved. A May 5 robbery at Mouat’s store saw some $2,000 stolen from the safe, which was destroyed with an axe in the process. A loaded gun was also left by the safe and a .22 had been fired inside the store. The Ganges fire hall had a new clock in the hose tower in the summer, thanks to clock maker Roy Cronin, who said he also had “generous help” from fire chief Kelly Hanke, Les Wagg and hall volunteers. The hall and clock tower were designed by Old Scott Road architect Henry Schubart. The South Galiano Fire Hall was opened on June 7 on land donated by Vic Zala. In July, the Saturna Island shale plant was closed after nearly 20 years in operation. The company owned by British Columbia Lightweight Aggregates Ltd. had bought 345 acres of the northwestern portion of the island after it incorporated in 1957, with further lands acquired later. A transfer of responsibility for ambulance services on Salt Spring that began in July of 1974 was completed when Bill’s Taxi owner Bill Simpkins finished the required training to become the only full-time employee of the ambulance service on the island. Ambulance services had previously been a project of the Salt Spring Island Lions Club. Salt Spring’s subdivision bylaw was passed in August by the CRD Board after months of community wrangling and bringing to an end a 10-acre-minimum island-wide parcel size that had been in place since 1969. Social Credit MLA Hugh Curtis was returned to the Victoria legislature in a Dec. 11 election, which saw the Socreds returned to power after three years of NDP government under Dave Barrett. Gulf Islands voters gave Curtis 49.5 per cent support, and voter turnout was 78 per cent among the 4,290 eligible voters.

Fire report

Above, historic photo of building known as Bittancourt’s Store, then the Vesuvius Lodge and Vesuvius Hotel. Below, the same building after the Jan. 12, 1975 fire.

The X-Kalay Foundation used the Vesuvius Hotel site as a hostelry, cafe, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. Built in the 1870s by the Bittancourt family, it was originally a residence and general store, and then a hotel and restaurant. (See the 1979 page for details about its Inn at Vesuvius phase.) Devastating house fires were more common in this era, due to the lack of in-home smoke alarms and various other factors. In the July 30 Driftwood, fire chief Kelly Hanke included in his annual report a plea to householders to eliminate fire hazards. “Please, for the sake of your family’s safety, be aware of and correct the fire hazards and potential hazards around your dwellings,” he wrote. At that same AGM he reported that in 1974 the department responded to 79 alarms (25 related to ambulance matters requiring an inhalator), with 620 man-hours expended and 730 vehicle-miles used. How much did fire protection service cost that year on Salt Spring? $82,687, up from $60,898 the previous year.

Proud local partner. We are pleased to work with many successful businesses that provide valuable services to our community, create new employment, and improve our Island. Whether you call Salt Spring home or are just visiting, we welcome you to stop in. Our Salt Spring Branch is located in downtown Ganges and is found near ArtSpring. Full Financial and Insurance Services available. Visit us at to learn more about the advantages of being an Island Savings member.

124 McPhillips Ave, Ganges, BC V8K 2T5 | 250-537-5587

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124 McPhillips Ave, Ganges, BC V8K 2T5 | 250-537-5587 Above, historic photo of building known as Bittan- court’s Store, then the Vesuvius Lo...

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