The headframe of the Bluebell mine at Riondel is seen in the Nelson Daily News of Jan. 13, 1970. The mine closed that decade, but the community survived.

GREG SCOTT: Lack of snow threatens Nelson’s winter carnival

In 1970, the Winter Carnival Society was fretting over whether the third annual event would go ahead

News from January, 1970, in the Nelson Daily News, compiled by Greg Scott

Dateline Jan. 5, 1970

Sunday sports came to Nelson yesterday and the Western International Hockey League Maple Leafs made it a victorious start. The first ever Sunday game played here – the Sunday bylaw was passed by the voters during the Dec. 6 municipal election – saw the Leafs completely demolish Cranbrook Royals 13-2.

A crowd of about 1,000 attended the game. Forward Corky Agar led the Leafs in scoring as he banged in his first hat trick of the year. The Maple Leafs exploded for five goals in the first period and went into the dressing room at the end of the frame protecting a 5-0 lead. They lengthened the lead to 9-1 in the middle frame and added four more insurance goals in the final period to round out the scoring.

Dateline Jan. 8, 1970

The projected closing of the Bluebell mine in 1971 has once again sparked grave concern for the survival of the small community of Riondel. The mining settlement – virtually a Cominco company town – has passed through several mining booms since the 1800s and now the end of a 17-year run of prosperity from the Bluebell mine is in sight. Cominco officials in Trail said that the future of the mine is indefinite.

However, an official at Bluebell admitted that the current cutbacks in production will possibly result in closure in 1971. There are about 200 employed at the Bluebell mine and concentrator, most of whom live at the Riondel townsite and own their own homes.

Dateline Jan. 8, 1970

The Winter Carnival Society is beginning to worry about the lack of snow in the area with the Winter Carnival less than two weeks away. Not since 1963 has Nelson experienced a winter like the current one. A “banana belt” atmosphere was shattered on Jan. 11, 1963 when the temperature plunged to below zero (F). This year it was much the same. Warm weather has prevailed most of the 1969 section of the winter but the 1970 portion has brought freezing cold, reminiscent of 1963.

Last winter, while Nelson was uncovering itself from snow, a record low of 21 below (F) was recorded, although some Uphill thermometers hit 25 below. The cold spell hit on Dec. 28 when the mercury fell to four below (F) and continued downwards to Jan. 30 when it hit minus 21 and then began climbing.

The month of December 1968 the city experienced 46 inches of snowfall, 43 inches in January and 13 inches in February. December 1969? 4.5 inches. Snow attempted to come down Wednesday morning but failed in its bid to cover the ground but there still remains hope that the snow will come and the Winter Carnival will again prove a success.

Dateline Jan. 19, 1970

A beautiful snow queen, the best snowmobile races ever run in Nelson and three wintry days of fun-packed events marked the city’s third annual Winter Carnival. The three day extravaganza kicked off on Friday night with a spectacular aerial fireworks display from Pulpit Rock and climaxed Sunday afternoon with a hilarious women’s snowshoe race at the Civic Centre grounds.

Summing up the Carnival, City Police Cst. Bob Hall of the Winter Carnival society executive praised the work of the group and the skill; of the group of the more than 200 snowmobile racers who attended.

“These boys are the best in B.C. and the races are the best I’ve ever seen in a long time. We battled the weather all the way and we were disappointed in the small crowd, but a lot of things made up for it, especially the skill of these snowmobile drivers and the show they put on for the fans.”

Dateline Jan. 20, 1970

A $60,000 Student Union Building at Notre Dame University paid for by students “Should be completed by September” says the Student Union president. The Student Union now has about $10,000 for the project and plans are being completed for a $50,000 bank mortgage.

The mortgage would be paid back during a five year period. The Student Union will raise the money for the building through student union enterprises and a $10 building fee assessed every NDU student. This fall the $10 fee was assessed every NDU student and raised $6,150.

The Student Union already had about $4,000 from previous years. The board of governors of NDU has given a plot of land on the west side of 10th Street north of Elwyn Street across from the university. The land is about 110 feet by 150 feet.

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