C26 | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2010 | GULF ISLANDS DRIFTWOOD
1981 | 50 YEARS OF COMMUNITY
Plans for improved parking at the Fulford Harbour ferry terminal were announced by the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. The plan, which initially hinged on a purchase agreement for two properties in the area, was later cancelled due to public opposition.
Ganges RCMP arrested 23 people, ranging in age from 14 to early 20s, following investigation of a three-month crime spree. The five adults and and 18 youths were arrested and charged with breaking into various island businesses and residences. The provincial highways ministry was receptive to a bypass around Ganges, according to Salt Spring islands trustee David Lott. A special team from Colwood RCMP joined local forces in a man hunt for an assailant in the stabbing and sexual assault of well-known singer Shari Ulrich. The incident occurred on Churchill Road. A health centre on Pender Island was opened in memory of Bishop Coleman. The centre, a long-time dream of the bishop, was built with government grants and local contributions. Pacific Mobile Homes of Victoria announced plans to expand a mobile home park on Salt Spring with the addition of 100 units. The park, located near Lower Ganges Road, would have a total of 123 units upon completion. An arsonist struck a barge loaded with plastic sewer pipes moored in Welbury Bay. Once the flames had been extinguished, the cost of replacing the destroyed pipes amounted to over $250,000. Salt Spring Parks and Rec announced plans to seek voter approval the following February for a proposed swimming pool to be located in Mouat Park. The project would cost upwards of $1 million. However, a provincial government announcement in November — cancellation of the recreational facilities program — likely spelled the end of the project. The move meant Parks and Rec had lost a major source of funding for the proposed pool. Excavation for footings for an 8,400-squarefoot building on the Farmers’ Institute grounds began. When completed, the building would house the annual fall fair as well as other events. A dog guarding the Ganges sewer outfall project was shot and wounded. Local elections returned Yvette Valcourt to the position of Capital Regional District director for Salt Spring, while Vern Roddick would represent the Outer Gulf Islands. Strick Aust, Charles Hingston and Jack Albhouse were named Salt Spring Island school trustees. Metric measurement came to food stores in the Gulf Islands as Metric Canada decreed Jan. 4, 1982 as the date in which foodstuffs would be measured in metric. Owners and operators of various island establishments said the cost of the new weighing devices would be expensive.
Sewer debate The Ganges sewer debate came to a head in 1981, when an arsonist set fire to a barge containing plastic pipes for the sewer. The Driftwood ran a twopage summary of the 20-yearplus debate, and here are some excerpts of that summary: May 28-31, 1962: Health Inspectors L.E. Benham and N.L. Lewis undertake a survey of septic tank systems in Ganges. They list 29 inoperative and one which was formerly offensive but is now working. It was reported that some discharged into the creek, others into the sea and yet others on to the streets. 1964: A canvass of Ganges property owners undertaken by the sewer committee of Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce. Members pledge $1,000 for an engineering survey of the community. Initial report shows 84 in favour of the formation of a sewer improvement district and 36 opposed. Dec. 22, 1965: Ganges sewer committee reports to the Comptroller of Water Rights on progress. Engineering study undertaken by W. Allen Ker and Associates. Provincial health reports quoted: “nearly every business, a great many residences and every institution in the area were in drastic need of proper sewer facilities.” 1966: The proposal to form a sewer district was abandoned and incorporation of Ganges as a village municipality was proposed in order to enjoy more extensive government aid. 1967: Village vote attracts a 45 per cent support and the project fails. Sewer cost is estimated at $168,000. Dec. 1970: Engineer Bill Gerry reports Ganges sewer system would cost $331,000. This would be raised by a levy against each taxpayer of $200 per year. It was deemed “not economically feasible.” July 1972: Gulf Islands School Boards calls a public meeting to debate the needs for a community sewer. October: Property owners give the green light to a further investigation of sewers at an estimated user cost of $108 to $276, according to the use of the property. A new three-man committee is formed, of George Heinekey, regional director, Tom Toynbee and Frank Richards. November: The Capital Regional board votes $6,600 to a sewer study.
March 1974: Mike Larmour, re-elected to SPEC, states two objections to plan: the sewer system would allow dense development in the area served and an overall plan for Ganges should be developed before such development occurs and secondly he is fearful for the harbour. 1977: Health inspectors give Ganges school complex 60 days to clean up sewage discharge. Islands Trust refuses change to community plan to allow apartments without sewers. September: Ganges Hill residents strongly protest inclusion to sewer plan and charge they have been misled by petitioners. October: Petition is accepted by regional district with 250 signatures from a total of 365 potential. “It is the end of a fantastic nine-year project,” says Heinekey. Committee of Concerned Citizens challenges petition validity. November: Dennis Young reports a 68 per cent majority in the sewer petition and it is certified. Regional board agrees to suspend further activity on the sewer until the validity is settled. Yvette Valcourt emphasizes that she is not against the downtown area getting a sewer but it must be at their own cost. Phase two is phased out and only phase one is to be considered. Yvette Valcourt asserts only 61 per cent were in favour of sewers. 1978: Tim Stafford refutes his signature on the petition
when Yvette Valcourt charges it is forged. Director Jim Bryce reports that between 75 and 80 per cent of property owners in phase one supported the sewer project. Pollution Control director William Venables issues his order to the regional district to proceed immediately with the installation of a sewer system. May: Charges of falsifying documents and imposing the will of outsiders on the islands are heard at a public meeting in Ganges. July: Phil and Yvette Valcourt announce appeal to Supreme Court against the legality of the order to install the sewers in Ganges. October: Mr. Justice Callaghan denies injunction against the region to stop work on the sewer on the grounds that the director of pollution control has the authority to take such measurements as he sees fit. February 1979: Lady Minto Hospital and the Gulf Islands School Board sound urgent for sewer system. March: 150 people hear a report on the sewer system at regional board meeting in Ganges. Sewers to be operating by summer, 1981, using a bio-disc. Lady Minto Hospital faces acute disposal problems as two septic fields are malfunctioning. Greenwoods system seeping sewage on to the ground. September: Permit issued for Ganges sewer with 1.5 miles of outfall pipe.
October: Twelve people appeal sewer permit. November 1979: About 350 attend a hearing in Central Hall before Dr. C.J.G. Mackenzie as the Pollution Control Board sits for 38 hours of presentations. January 1980: CRD orders no new permits where sewage disposal is not possible. February: Pollution Control Board revokes discharge permit and calls for extension of outfall by 2,000 meters. March: CRD estimates cost of extension to increase total cost from $3,094,000 to $4,017,000. December: The CRD approves sewer plan as province allocates final federal grant of $800,000 to Ganges. April 1981: Sewer Alternatives Committee wins as Judge John Gould rejects Venables’ order for installation of sewers. Region asserts that sewer project is now based on amended letters patent and that Gould’s decision will not affect the project. Director Valcourt protests, but finds no board support for motion to halt work on the project. July: About 75 take part in a demonstration in Victoria protesting the pending legislation to validate the sewer project. Sewer Alternatives Committee launches appeal against the sewer on grounds that residents were not properly advised of an amendment to the pollution permit. August: Judge Tom Berger rejects appeal against sewer order.
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