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Dateline Cowichan: Entrepreneur starts push for air strip

This picture surfaced from Ann Andersen’s files recently with no information other than a photo credit and the date  — 1963. We’re speculating these bathing beauties may have been taking part in one of that era’s beauty pageants, but anyone with any information is encouraged to forward it to editor@cowichannewsleader.com. - Jay Powley
This picture surfaced from Ann Andersen’s files recently with no information other than a photo credit and the date — 1963. We’re speculating these bathing beauties may have been taking part in one of that era’s beauty pageants, but anyone with any information is encouraged to forward it to editor@cowichannewsleader.com.
— image credit: Jay Powley

In the 1970s, I recall traipsing through bush, reporter’s camera in hand, listening to an enthusiastic group explain that this little piece of Glenora outback would be the site of the Cowichan Valley’s first commercial airport.

Wrong. We have the Langtry Road airstrip — home to Duncan Flying Club — and a couple of docks for seaplanes. Most of us still travel to Cassidy, Sidney or Vancouver for our flights.

In January 1947, Thomas L. Garner operated freight and passenger service for his contracting and logging operations from a landing strip on his home property on the (old) Island Highway.

He owned two planes and was preparing to construct a float on Somenos Lake at the east end of Drinkwater Road. for seaplanes. He held a U.S. private pilot’s licence and expected to sit soon for his Canadian licence.

Garner told Duncan Chamber of Commerce that there was a need for landing strips and seaplane bases in the valley. Air travel and freight transport were increasing, and the time to act was now, he declared.

The Chamber agreed and named Fred Earthy and Hector Stone to work with him on a committee to investigate the possibility of a local airport.

1947: racoons

Youbou’s 14-year-old Jackie Adams caught a raccoon with his bare hands by knocking it from a tree, grabbing it as it bit through his finger and choking the animal until he could tuck it under his arm. He caused a sensation as he walked home, the Leader reported.

1947: labour

At a meeting of Cowichan branch, B.C. Provincial Government Employees’ Association, members declared employees of the public works department deserved better than being dismissed at age 65 with no provision for their social security.

1947: development

Two large subdivisions registered by Mrs. S. A. Clements and Mrs. A. Lovel on the Evans’ Estate east of Duncan Street were among 60 registered the previous year. Those ranged in size from two to 19 lots, and most of the lots had been sold.

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