COLUMN: Expansion was on the horizon in 1967

Downtown Nelson was looking at a bold new plan

December 4, 1967

The first phase of a bold new plan for the over-all future development of the Central Kootenay region was unveiled Saturday in Nelson. The ambitious plan which takes a long penetrating look at some of the region’s present ills and ailments – and warns of future problems – proposes radical solutions. “Concept Central Kootenay” as the development plan is known, would create in the area a unified inter-related single course of development. The plan would direct land use, water and air use, transportation, economic and social development, communication and administration. The plan warns that the results of allowing the region to develop without any plan will be: “Chaos, malfunction, high costs, negative environment, clogged highways, no open space, severe air and water pollution”.

December 15, 1967

Within the next few years the 400 blocks of Victoria and Silica Streets in Nelson could be razed to the ground and used as a huge downtown parking area. This is what could happen if city council decided to act upon a two-part recommendation from Nelson Advisory Planning Commission designed to alleviate the present and future parking problems. The resolution recommended to zone that entire block for “downtown parking” purposes only; and that Council authorize the acquisition of all of the properties in the block as they become available at a reasonable price, with the exception of the Bevanne Apartments and its parking lot. It was reported that indications had been given that the Royal Canadian Legion premises would become available.

December 30, 1967

A mysterious, fiery object appeared suddenly from behind Nelson (Elephant) Mountain, Friday evening and set North Shore residents talking of “reconnaissance craft” from a distant planet. The UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) was spotted by 12-year-old Frank Schleiermacher while he was in the driveway of his parent’s house across the lake at about 5 p.m. “I saw a bright, whitish color with a small beam coming out of the top, he said. “ The beam was going back and forth and little particles were falling from the bottom of it.” The mystery object disappeared behind a cloud and when it became visible again through a gap, it was seen by three members of his family. “It seemed to come just over the top of the mountain and it was very low. There was no noise and it looked at first like a helicopter on fire, with sparks falling down from it.” Apart from the Scheiermachers, many other people spotted it and several drivers along the North Shore road halted their vehicles to get a better look. The object headed south across the lake, often being lost to sight behind the low cloud base, and finally disappeared from view. Air sea rescue official in Vancouver have received no repots of aircraft in difficulty or of any unusual sighting. RCMP said they had received no reports and have no knowledge of what the UFO might have been.

December 30, 1967

As the infant 1968 makes its entry on Monday the peoples of Nelson and the Kootenays look forward to a new and brighter future. There is a definite feeling prevailing of new and better things to come. In the case of the City of Nelson a year of progress and expansion……. An era of new thinking…… is fully expected. The year 1967 was one of levelling out and adapting to what amounts to a complete new approach to the city’s future development. During 1967 Nelson City Council laid the groundwork for the formation of an effective and working industrial commission and, at the same time, recognized the necessity of an area rather than localized approach to development problems. Its activities of 1967 will reach fruition during the new year. As can logically be expected, this city is faced with growing pains brought on by the “opening up” of the Kootenays to the outside world. Vast improvements in the communications ……. Air, land and water …… between the Kootenays and the rest of B.C., Canada, and the North American continent have already forced certain vital changes. As the communications improve….. as further highway developments occur…… the changes will be even more far-reaching. It is the coping with the changes anticipated from such developments that government agencies, especially Nelson City Council, must face in the new year. The process began in 1967. It will peak in 1968. We can all look forward to a brighter future if we are all prepared to work to that end. 1968 signals the end of an old era and the start of a new one. We welcome it with open arms.

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