Dateline Cowichan 1966: Land bought to build new muni hall

Salmon caught in Cowichan Bay by Mrs. Guy Herbert, and Mrs. J. K. Stewart, right in 1950 - Courtesy: Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre
Salmon caught in Cowichan Bay by Mrs. Guy Herbert, and Mrs. J. K. Stewart, right in 1950
— image credit: Courtesy: Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre

Last fall's hullabaloo around the obvious need for a larger municipal hall and the recent call for tenders sent me scurrying to the Cowichan Leader archives.

In April 1966 Reeve Don Morton announced council would buy 13 acres next to the municipal workshops three miles north of Duncan. The land would cost $26,000 and a new municipal hall $240,000, both well within what council had set aside for the purchase, land development and construction.

Councillor Elaine Dobbyn said the present municipal hall was totally inadequate, and the construction of a new one should not be delayed.

"The time has come when the council has to show courage, that's what we were elected for," she said.

Councillors George Whittaker and Dennis Hogan were less enthusiastic.  Said Whittaker: "I've no objection to us buying the land, but I don't think we have studied this enough. I think we're being a bit hasty in committing ourselves to building a municipal hall there."

There's no commitment to build the new hall there, but the intention exists, Morton said. He later estimated the hall would be built that year. In the end, all councillors except Whittaker voted to buy the land.


1966 in brief

Rudy Wince and Al Lamont asked North Cowichan council to purchase two lots in the George, Falaise and Mary streets area as a public playground. The 70 to 75 children living there were forced to roam the streets, they said.

Bob Lewis was elected president of Duncan Kinsmen. Other officers included Tom Stanko, vice-president; Bob Young, secretary; Brian Sole, treasurer; Bill Taylor, registrar; and Don Linsay, Bulletin editor.

Speakers at a Duncan meeting were hopeful  government would act on the recommendations of the Marsh Report, whose $18,000 cost was paid for by nine island school boards, to establish a regional college north of the Malahat.

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