Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1922
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1922

The year-old province-wide depression continued into 1922. While all businesses struggled to survive, the Prince George mill owners organized a protest against the provincial government. That spring, they sought some redress from Victoria because they were required to pay heavier royalties than did owners in other forest districts. They believed they were being discriminated against by out-of-date legislation which had been enacted before they were in business. Arguing that the imposition of a higher fee handicapped their businesses, they cited charges such as higher freight and logging costs which, in combination with royalty fees, made it nearly impossible for northern mills to do business. The cost of doing business for Prince George millmen involved an extra obligation. They had to log on government timber sales rather than on timber leases or licenses which were available for mill owners in southern British Columbia.

Agriculture did not fare so well in this region in 1922. The weather had been bad and, with low crop production, there was a shortage of cattle feed. The industry also suffered from the lack of a substantial local market for agricultural products. Agriculture was expected to develop when the lumber and mining industries flourished. That would attract population in numbers sufficient to form a solid customer base for agriculture.

A serious problem in the early decades of the twentieth century was the frequency of forest fires. One weekend fire in the spring caused by careless burning seriously affected the timber supply for the forest industry. On that weekend, an intentionally-set fire by a settler intending to burn slash got out of hand. This had been used as an easy way to clear land, but normally required a permit. The granting of a permit to do slash burning occurred after prevailing winds and weather conditions were considered. On this occasion, no permit had been obtained and the fire which raged out of control was beyond the ability of the fire fighting capability of the day. Although the crew worked through the night to control the fire at Otway, it moved along the south side of the Nechako River towards prince George. It finally burned out by the time it reached the old Fort George sawmill site. About 200,000 feet of logs and 200 cords of wood were lost.

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway inaugurated daily train service in 1922. The train schedule dictated postal service bringing parcels and letters from points east of Prince George on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mail from points west arrived on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Daily mail service was a long way off yet.



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