Ruth M. Hallock, Editor, Catherine M. Fraser, Publisher
Government of the Day
Page 2 of 18
The current session (1966) of the Provincial Legislature proves beyond a doubt that politicians are just performers at heart, and that some press representatives are only anxious to pick up items that are sensational enough to sell newspapers.
The combination is dangerous, and the daily newsmongers are having a heyday.
We hear reports of an inattentive House, wherein the Premier, the Cabinet Ministers and the backbenchers are disorderly, unmannerly, loud-mouthed and lacking dignity and decorum. Our only means of proof is the diatribe that emanates from Vancouver News service.
The Provincial Legislature has not Hansard. There is no record kept of the addresses made by our representatives. There is no record of the response from other members. There is simply no record, and no method of recording other than the press gallery.
All we have is a carbon copy of our own (Skeena) Member's address during the Budget Debates. Mr. (Dudley George) Little has also fallen prey to the press gallery and the following quote indicates he too will resort to almost anything to attract the attention of fellow members of the House.
Aerial Views of Kitsumkalum 1950 - 1960
"Once a ferry was built on the Kalum River (Kitsumkalum River) to get a cow to her boyfriend. Prior to the ferry being built, the farmer had to swim the cow across the river's icy waters and by the time the swim was accomplished, the cow was no longer in the mood. If you think this was frustrating to the farmer, think of the poor cow's feelings! Twas rather expensive Government cooperation too --- but weren't the officials faces red --- when shortly after the ferry was put into use, the farmer sold the cow!"
It's likely Mr. Little's story got a big "HO HO" but it's doubtful it produced a movement within the Government to provide better access to the Kitwancool Valley. At least one very productive sawmill is operating there, even though timber has to be transported some 45 miles out of the way before it gets to the saws.
Had the House been recording for a Hansard, it's doubtful Mr. Little or any other member would even consider making such an undignified presentation.
Let's have a provincial Hansard
The snow mass was estimated at 400 ft. (120 m) long, 100 ft. (30 m) wide, and 30 ft. (9 m) deep. The avalanche traveled 500-600 ft. (150-180 m) down and 1,000-1,500 ft. (300-450 m) across. D.D. Godfrey, Highways Department regional engineer for Burnaby, estimated the speed at which it traveled to be over 100 mph (160 km/h). The estimated speed of the avalanche when it hit the buildings was 108 km/h (Stethem and Schaerer 1979).
The avalanche snow ranged from 1-8 m in depth and was strewn with housing debris and trees up to 0.5 m in diameter. The average depth was 1 m, but the snow in the area surrounding the buildings was up to 8 m deep. The avalanche ran out on the ice of the Skeena River, with the tip of the deposit 250 m past the service centre. On several trees between the railroad and the river, snow was plastered on the north side of the tree trunks up to 30 ft. (9 m) above the tracks. Snowfalls at the accident site are usually greater than those at the Terrace airport. At the North Route site, the snowfall was probably greater by one third (Stethem and Schaerer 1979).
Earlier that morning, a Canada Post mail truck driver and only survivor, heard “a bunch of noise rattling outside.” He was told not to worry as “it’s way up in the hills.” Just after 8 a.m., the slide hit. “I heard it – just like a cannon shot,” he said. It pushed him through the wall of the coffee shop and 50 ft. (15 m) beyond.
During the rescue operations, a smaller slide occurred about a mile (1.6 km) from the disaster site. At 2:45 p.m., almost seven hours later the first body was found under 3.6 m of snow. Zobel was the second victim found, and he would be the only survivor. It was nearly 20 hours after the slide hit that the last bodies were found. The only other survivor was a husky. The dog was under a building and crawled out a couple of days later.
The coroner’s inquiry found that logging carried out by the service station owner was a contributing factor to the slide. He had logged off an area above his property on Highway 16. Warmer temperatures loosened the heavy snowpack on the mountain above the highway triggering a fast moving powder snowslide. (The Vancouver Sun, March 21, 1974).