Dateline Cowichan: Golf clubs traded for shovels near Duncan
Hard to believe that golfers once swung their clubs where the Duncan Mall and stores like Superstore, Safeway and London Drugs now seduce our wallets.
“The slogan today could be ‘From Golf to Industry,’” announced Duncan Mayor Jack Dobson in May 1965 after Cowichan Indian Band (sic) chief Michael Underwood and he turned the first sod to open 55 acres of industrial land south of Trunk Road and east of the E&N. After two years of meetings and negotiation, Cowichan Way opened to provide access to what was hoped would be 50 sites zoned for industry. “This means future prosperity for all residents of the Duncan-Cowichan district,” Dobson said.
Bulldozing had been completed for Cowichan Way and curbing installed at its two entrances on Trunk Road and on the Trans-Canada Highway. The band would issue long-term leases to acceptable applicants, while the city would handle services and assessments and collect tax revenues.
First out of the block was Doman Industries president Herb Doman who announced his company’s plans to build a batch plant that would turn out 60 to 70 yards of read-mix concrete daily at the first four-acre site to be taken up on Cowichan Way.
The BCFP pulp and paper plant at Crofton was BC Hydro’s third largest industrial customer. Hydro said residential population had grown only 5.5% since 1958 with total electrical consumption up 15.1 per cent.
Duncan City Council’s budget of $660,880 included $184,326 for education. The previous year’s budget of $626,229 showed expenses of $159,648 for schools.
Over at North Cowichan, several major capital expenditures were awaiting owner-elector approval. These included the Chemainus sewer, $385,000; and the Sherman Road-Mary Street-Gibbins Road sewer project.