Over the last 86 years the Kelowna Capital News has served the Central Okanagan – and over the last 86 years it has printed a whole lot of papers. A conservative estimate puts it at around 8,000 editions.
Each Thursday we will present Cap News Throwback Thursday at kelownacapnews.com for a fun little peak into the past, and we will re-visit those editions here in print on Fridays.
Today we present the Kelowna Capital News – Wednesday May 25, 1977 edition.
An Inland natural gas pipeline was set to be installed across Okanagan Lake, residents were concerned about the uptick in drinking, boating and subsequent drownings and herbicide 2,4-D was a hot topic of debate.
In the picture below you can see large buoys that were brought in to show the placement of the natural gas pipeline in the lake. The buoys would be removed from the lake once the installation was complete.
The pipeline was put in the lake just north of the floating bridge. It was set to span the lake 200 feet, buried underground until the lake was at least 30 feet deep and then sitting along the bottom of the lake after that.
Reaction and opposition was swift to a proposal to use herbicide 2,4-D in Okanagan Lake to battle the Eurasian milfoil invasion. Health officials, nurses and dozens of community members came out against the plan due to health concerns. Those concerned won their battle.
According to the Okanagan Basin Water Board, due to citizen concern and ineffectiveness, 2,4-D was not used in Okanagan Lake.
“In the late 1970s test plots of Eurasian water milfoil were treated with 2,4-D in granular form. Although 2,4-D is a systemic herbicide, taken up by the plant and capable of killing the root, repeat applications are needed, usually on an annual basis. This chemical is the same active ingredient that is found in many lawn weed killers,” reads the OBWB website. “It is the chemical equivalent of mowing the top growth of the plant and does not affect root viability.
“All the Okanagan lakes are used as drinking water reservoirs. Aside from citizen concern about chemicals in our water supplies, neither of these herbicides provides long term control. Many other herbicides have been developed for aquatic weed control, but very few are licensed for use in Canada.”
Reporter Charlie Hodge’s (now City Councillor Hodge) coverage of drowning and carelessness in Okanagan Lake was an ongoing hot topic.
“With the coming of summer it is only natural that Okanagan Lake will once again take on the appearance of a New York subway during rush hour. That the lake will be crowded is a foregone conclusion,” reads the 1977 lede.
“The question is how many people will drown and how many of those that do die this summer will do so in a way that could have been prevented.”
According to Hodge’s article about 100 people drowned in B.C. each year in 1977. Despite population increases, improvements in boat safety and education, among other factors, has dropped the annual drowning number to about 75 people provincially.
Statistics from the provincial government show an average of two to three people die on Okanagan Lake each year, many of which are the result of drinking or carelessness as was the concern in 1977.
On the big screen: A film that started a movie empire and one that became a cult classic – Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.It was the first of the Star Wars series starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Star Wars was released theatrically in the United States on May 25, 1977. It earned $461 million in the U.S. and $314 million overseas, totalling $775 million. It surpassed Jaws (1975) to become the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
Fun fact: A letter to the editor saw a resident fuming about male politicians and their wives. “Skirt hiding: Why is it so many politicians insist on thrusting their wives into the public limelight? We’ve had a few successful women politicians in this country but those few have rarely trotted their husbands in front of the lights. A politician who hides behind his wife’s skirts on the public platform probably wears them at home.”
The Capital News is now owned by Black Press Community Media. Founded in 1975, Black Press now publishes more than 170 titles in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington state, Hawaii, Ohio and California.
Do you have an important date or piece of history you hope we can find in our historical editions?! Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.