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1976 | 50 YEARS OF COMMUNITY TOP STORIES The body of RCMP Const. Garry Van Zant was found on the beach after the officer fell from the top of a bank near St. George’s Church in Ganges on Jan. 9. Representatives from all seven regional districts told Municipal Affairs Minister Hugh Curtis they believed the Islands Trust had become superfluous and should be dissolved. CRD Board chairman Jim Campbell from Saturna was among the Trust’s biggest critics. In February, land clearing began for the Galiano senior citizens’ housing project. Its doors were opened in August. Rising fuel costs closed the water taxi service operated by Nigel Phillips of Phillips Marine Service on May 1. Salt Spring-based Stacey Charter Service agreed the business was a tight one but Mike Stacey said he and his brother David expected to be operating for years to come.

Women outnumbered the men on the Gulf Islands School Board when it met for the first time in 1976, but the Driftwood pointed out the gender balance was appropriate since 1975 had been International Women’s Year. Sitting around the table from the left side in this photo are Nonie Guthrie, Roma Sturdy, Beth Beach, Tom Davidson, Bob Huestis, Ann Foerster, Larry Holbrook, June Knowles, Charles Baltzer, Don Fairweather, Sheila Fraser and Pearl Brau. Trustees were Foerster, Guthrie, Sturdy, Fraser and Baltzer from Salt Spring, Davidson from Saturna, Beach of Galiano, Fairweather of Pender and Brau of Mayne. The other people in the photo were school district administrators/employees. And, thanks to current school board chair May McKenzie of Mayne Island, we have a chance to correct a 34-year-old error. In the original photo cutline of Jan. 28, 1976, Larry Holbrook, supervisor of instruction at the time, was misidentified as “Len” Holbrook. Larry Holbrook was principal of Mayne school for a short time in the 1980s and later an islands trustee for that island.

An April 10 referendum to develop recreation facilities at Central passed by a narrow 456 to 414 margin. The Lions Club had spearheaded the proposal, which called for a one-shot levy of 2.5 mills to acquire the 10-acre property and provide tennis courts, a soccer field, track and other facilities. Tennis courts were opened in July. The area was named Portlock Park in September, following the death of Lion Tom Portlock. The Salt Spring Recreation Commission was eliminated as a function of the provincial government and brought under the authority of the CRD, with commission members to be elected by community members. Islanders were stunned when Transport Minister Jack Davis announced a 360 per cent rate increase for Salt Spring residents travelling to Victoria and 350 per cent for Outer Islanders travelling to Victoria with withdrawal of commuter ticket savings and a fare increase. After much protest, a residents’ fare system came into being in the fall, involving the issuance of cards with the bearer’s photograph. The Mayne Island Health Centre opened its doors in May, with an official opening event held on July 20. Mrs. Kay Adams, Dr. Peter Rowell and Helen Buckland took part in the first service offered there. Newest member of the Ganges RCMP detachment was Cst. Eric (Ace) Mainwaring, who replaced Cst. David Lindsay. Mainwaring remained on the island for several years. Corp. Ray Stelter was the NCO. Cost to mail a letter within Canada rose from eight to 10 cents on Sept. 1. GISS students and community members rallied to raise funds so Ricky Andrews could receive bone cancer treatment at the Mayo clinic in the U.S. The JB Co-op Food Centre opened in the Community Centre on Ganges Hill, later moving to Central Hall. In October, spokesman Colin Drummond said the new concept in food buying was catching on “remarkably well.”

Always pleased to encourage ‘new’ businesses on Salt Spring!

Congratulations to 50 years, Driftwood, from all of us here at Patterson’s. Proudly serving Salt Spring for 95 years...(but who’s counting)!


Sheep Island Fuel 2925 FULFORD-GANGES RD.,



Newest member of the Ganges RCMP detachment was Cst. Eric (Ace) Mainwaring, who replaced Cst. David Lindsay. Mainwaring remained on the isla...

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