Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1937
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1937

The area's first ever automobile theft took place in Prince George on October 5. A Chevrolet sedan was taken from the garage at a residence on Ontario Street. As soon as the theft was discovered, the owner informed the B.C. Police and reported that two rifles had been left in the car. Due to evidence provided by citizens, the case was soon solved. It turned out that two other cars had been tampered with that night. The youthful suspects were arrested and charged with the theft of two cars, as well as attempts to steal others. Appearing before Magistrate Moran, the 18-year old pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in the penitentiary. The 16-year old also admitted his guilt but, because he was a juvenile, his sentencing was deferred until it could be considered by the Attorney-General. The sense of peace and order in the community was sadly shaken.

Air mail service was inaugurated at the Prince George Airport on June 2. Flying a seaplane, pilot Grant McConachie (whose company became the forerunner of Canadian Pacific Airlines) landed on the Fraser River near the steel bridge. He carried fifteen sacks of mail on that first delivery flight. Accompanying him were his wife and the postal inspector. McConachie's bush-freighting business, the United Air Transportation Company, had won the contract to carry mail in Northern British Columbia. He made Prince George his base, and flew out to Manson Creek, Takla Landing and Fort St. James.

Prince George planners made the decision to service the community's water requirements by drilling for ground water, rather than relying on surface water from rivers. Ground water was considered preferable because it is more reliable clear, cold, colourless, and had better taste. Tests conducted in 1937 revealed high levels of manganese. This caused concern that the City's well had been contaminated by fuel oil. That theory was quickly abandoned because there was no oil film or odour. The engineer conducted an analysis of trace elements found in the water. That confirmed his suspicion: Prince George water naturally had high levels of manganese. The 58.52 per cent manganese dioxide reading was the largest the water engineer had ever encountered in his career. The consequence was not a threat to health; manganese carbonate is actually essential for bone building in the human body. The problem was that it coated pipes and kettles, discoloured sinks and made laundry a challenge because manganese could cause brown and black stains that were impossible to remove. The City solved the problem by digging a new well, at a cost of $8,000.

Photographic History of Prince George
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