Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1965
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1965

During a summer of significant growth and change, the province introduced the British Columbia Medical Plan, guaranteeing medical and surgical services (including diagnostic, lab and x-ray) at no cost to subscribers. Open to "all persons who ordinarily reside in the Province" monthly premiums were $5.00 per person or $12.50 for a family of three or more. Residents were encouraged to become registered over the summer for commencement of the plan at the beginning of September.

Hospital management consultants released details of a planned four-stage $7 million expansion for PGRH, which proposed doubling the hospital's size to 530 beds by 1972. The urgency came from anticipation of population growth that would reach 80,000 that year, and which didn't happen. The real significance of the study was recognition that the hospital should become the primary medical centre for both the interior and northern regions of the province.

Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill employed 1,200 men in building its $84 million mill. The influx of people being attracted by work at the new pulp mills was expected to overwhelm the school system. The school district warned that its five schools would likely require students to attend in shifts.

In June, just west of Prince George, the Endako molybdenum mine began producing the "grey gold" used to increase strength in steel production. Mine owners announced expansion plans which would make Endako one of the largest molybdenum mines in the world. Once the new rod and ball crushers were installed at a cost of $5 million, the total investment would reach $30 million. The payback would come quickly. Investors were informed that at full operation, the mine's product would be worth $1 million a month net income.

Carrier Lumber began operating in August. Located seventeen miles southwest of Prince George, the mill was housed in an insulated steel building alongside the Pacific Great Eastern railway tracks. A 14-ton gang saw, a barker, conveyer system, edger and trimmer represented some of the most modern equipment ever brought to interior mills.

Prince George College launched a fundraising drive, headed by Bob Borrie, to raise $250,000 over three years for expansion of its library and science facilities.

In the middle of the Cold War, Canada appeared to be pressing for major shifts in attitude toward international co-operation. Six Soviet Union experts in northern development and construction in cold climates were invited by the Government of Canada to visit its northern regions. They spent three days in Prince George. During the delegates' visit, a dinner was given in their honour at the old civic centre and they were taken on a tour of the new Prince George Pulp Mill. They were accompanied by the Russian Ambassador to Canada, interpreters, and the ever-present KGB agents.

The Prince George brewery contributed to a change in beer-drinking habits during the summer of 1965. Vancouver brewery workers went on strike, leaving only two independent breweries (Tartan Breweries in Prince George and Interior Brewery at Creston) with the challenge of keeping up with the province's summer beer demand. Tartan doubled its production and won new customers over during of the strike.

In the fall, a $450,000 addition to the Victoria Medical Building was opened. The first part of the five-storey building had been erected in 1962. Completion of the plan provided 6,000 square feet on each floor, the largest office block in the city. The project represented the first privately owned commercial building in Prince George to be constructed with reinforced concrete.

Christmas season excitement was heightened for city musicians and the congregation at Knox United Church when the city's first pipe organ was installed. The $9,000 Hallman organ had been assembled in Ontario with pipes manufactured in Holland.

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