The proposed design of the new provincial government building, now city hall, appeared in the Nelson Daily News on Aug. 22, 1969. The finished product was not too far off, except that it lacked the wraparound ground-level canopy. The sketch also seems to be missing windows.

1969: Design for new Nelson government building, and a new vision for the waterfront

From the Nelson Daily News fifty years ago

Excerpts from the Nelson Daily News 50 years ago, curated by Greg Scott

Dateline: Aug. 9, 1969

With a little landfill imagination, Nelson’s waterfront should become a canal and island-dotted parkland instead of the “gob of area as interesting as a football field” that it threatens to become.

For the past three years, the waterfront landfill area between Park and Poplar streets has been filled in a straight line along the shoreline. Ron Sawyer, city architect and president of the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, told council that the area could be made more attractive as a tourist and marine area by filling it in to develop contours, islands and canals.

“Anyone who visited Expo 67 in Montreal cannot help but see the tremendous advantages that a landfill program on the basis of several islands separated by pleasant waterways has over a simple ‘pushing out’ of the shoreline,” he said. In the 3½ years since the project was started, about 3½ acres of new land has been created and it is expected to take about 25 years to complete the project as far as Lakeside Park.

Dateline: Aug. 15, 1969

Woodstock took place between August 15 and 17, 1969 and the 50th anniversary should not pass without mention in this column. However, the Nelson Daily News did not see fit to mention it, either leading up to or after the event, which goes to prove even one of the seminal events of a generation can fall beneath the daily radar of the times.

Dateline: Aug. 22, 1969

An artist’s rendition of the proposed design of Nelson district’s new provincial government building was made today. The announcement that a new building would house all provincial departments was made last April by Provincial Secretary Wesley Black, who also stated that the courthouse, where many departments are now located, will be retained and the courtroom and offices modernized.

The design pictures the building on Ward Street on the site of the city jail and police station, which will be removed, and shows the present courthouse building on its site at the corner of Ward and Vernon streets. The courthouse will be used for court functions only. At the time of the announcement, Mr. Black speculated that the Cenotaph could be erected on the front lawn of the new building. Estimated cost of the new building has not been stated.

Dateline: Aug. 28, 1969

Premier W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Crediters routed the opposition parties Wednesday in a British Columbia election blitz that could result in the second-biggest majority in the 17-year history of the Bennett government. A jubilant Premier Bennett said at his home in Kelowna the surging Social Credit win was “another vote of confidence in free enterprise” that “stopped socialism dead in its tracks.”

At 11 p.m., 38 Social Creditors had been elected in the 55-member B.C. Legislature which would be one seat less than the premier’s record majority of 39 in the 1956 election. The Socreds made a clean sweep in the Kootenays with Wesley Black elected in Nelson Creston; Don Brothers, Rossland-Trail; James Chabot; Columbia Valley; Burt Campbell, Revelstoke-Slocan and Harry Broadhurst in Kootenay.

Dateline: Aug. 29, 1969

The Civic Centre and Recreation Department August “Learn to Swim” campaign completed its program with over 400 swimmers participating in the program at Lakeside and Gyro under the direction of Mrs. Wilma Turner, head guard. Lessons at Gyro included children from three years of age to 14 in the shrimp through to the Red Cross Beginner level, and instruction lasted for three weeks finishing up with tests and a fun day for all classes.

Candidates at Lakeside were instructed in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Red Cross levels finishing up on Aug. 22 with tests and on Aug. 23 a competitive swim meet was held. The Royal Life Saving Society program received instruction for four weeks in the Intermediate, Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross levels, terminating with theory and practical exams on Aug. 15.

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