This photo appeared in the Nelson Daily News of May 26, 1969, showing Mayor Louis Maglio among those walking from Castlegar to Nelson to raise money for an indoor swimming pool. The aquatic centre finally opened in 1975.

DATELINE 1969: Narcotics seminar hears call for drug law reform

Greg Scott digs into the Nelson Daily News archives

Dateline: May 1, 1969

“I personally wouldn’t like to see marijuana legalized, but I would like to see the laws changed, we are alarmed at the heavy penalties,” said Dr. Hugh Williams, addressing a group attending a narcotics seminar here Wednesday. Dr. Williams cautioned that not enough is known about marijuana and its effects.

Students from schools in the area addressed the gathering of 105 and indicated, among other things, that about 10 per cent of high school students have tried marijuana usually once or twice. All the students felt that drug education would be a big step in curing many of the problems of drug abuse. Many people took drugs because they were curious about what “the fuss is all about.”

Dr. John Symons, of the B.C. Narcotics Addiction Foundation, said drug use was not a disease, but a symptom of a larger problem with society. “We need marijuana, though, like a hole in the head,” he commented.

Dateline: May 1, 1969

City police have charged six Nelson juveniles aged 14 to 16 with offenses involving 10 break-ins at city businesses and public buildings and one car theft. Involved are break-ins at five businesses, three schools, the Civic Centre, and the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate. Most of the offences occurred during the last three months but that some school break-ins occurred up to a year ago.

Police advised that four of the six youths are known to be friends, who met frequently in the city. From one to three juveniles have been charged in connection with each offence. Several break-ins involved minor thefts such as cigarettes, coins, radios and liquor and in most cases, entry was gained through a window.

Dateline: May 9, 1969

A sewage treatment plant will be built at Grohman Narrows, but the exact design of the plant is still undecided. City council met with engineering consultants Wednesday and was told that the Grohman site would be the most economical in the long run. The outflow from a plant located at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, another possible site, would cause some pollution but moving the site downstream to Grohman would clear up any problems, although cost of building the plant would be slightly higher.

Council must decide between two types of treatment plants — a primary treatment plant, which could later be converted to secondary treatment, and an aerated lagoon, which would treat sewage at about the same efficiency as a plant midway between primary and secondary stages. Capital costs of the two types of plant would be about the same. However, the aerated lagoon plant cannot be feasibly converted to secondary treatment. The consulting engineers favour the primary plant because of the ease with which it can be adapted to future changes in pollution control policy or added sewage loads.

Dateline: May 26, 1969

When Nelson gets its indoor heated swimming pool it will have been built with blisters, guts and determination. And the hundreds of children, teenagers, parents and other citizens who took part in the Kinsmen-sponsored 28-mile walkathon from Castlegar to Nelson can proudly boast of their role in its construction.

Feet blistered, bruised and swollen; legs stiff and aching, the 350 walkers plodded along, and with every agonizing step this city moved closer to getting that new swimming pool. Some of them didn’t finish the grueling walk, but at least they participated — and that’s what counts. Kinsmen estimate some 300 walkers went the distance and, it is expected that the walk will raise at least $5,000.

Dateline: May 27, 1969

Eighteen forest fires broke out in Nelson Forest District last week, bringing to 31 the total number of fires in the district since the beginning of the fire season May 1. Hazard in the district is still rated as low to moderate with the cost of fighting fires to date standing at $15,000, as compared with the provincial total or $141,000. Last year the Nelson District had 59 fires during the same period and the provincial total stood at 218.

The B.C. Forest Service says a large number of fires this year have been caused by human carelessness with cigarettes and campfires. Caution is recommended in dealing with fire while camping or hiking in the woods. ($141,000 in 1969 is approximately $990,000 today.)

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