Opening ceremonies for the Peace Power Project
Sept. 29, 1968

G.S. Gordon Shrum
M.D. Mayor Dick
C.B. Cal Baker
H.F. Herb Fletcher
P.D. Pat OíDonnell
P.O. Pete Ottessen
U.A. Unknown Radio Announcer
W.B. W.A.C. Bennett
M.S. Mr. Svoboda

G.S. This mighty river (unintelligible) for Alexander Mackenzie on Eleven Mile Forty to 1793 has been harnessed for the first time. The water flowing through these turbines today will start on a 1700-mile journey to the Arctic Ocean. First into Alberta, then to Lake Athabasca, through the Slave River, to Great Slave Lake and then down the Mackenzie for 900 miles into the Arctic Ocean. When completed, the water dropping through the penstocks, which you will see this afternoon, will generate 3 million horsepower, worth at todayís prices 148 million dollars per year. Now thatís more than enough, ladies and gentlemen, to amortize all the costs of this project. And you should know that not one dollar from the provincial budget has been spent on this project. I think that in an economic sense, the highest service that we can render to mankind is to make something useful and beneficial from a wasted resource. Now, I want to introduce a few of those who have been actively engaged in the project to bring you greeting. But before doing that, I should like to introduce and have him say a word, His Worship, Mayor Dick, of Hudson Hope. Weíve had the utmost cooperation from the municipalities of Hudson Hope and weíre pleased to honour their representative here today, His Worship, Mayor Dick.

M.D. Mr. Premier, Dr. Shrum, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great, great pleasure today to welcome you to the municipal district of Hudsonís Hope. I trust that you will have an enjoyable stay here. Tell your friends about it and send Ďem down here. Now, this occasion of course, with all these people, who made all this possible, because of the great vision of great men. If not for our Premier here who told everybody it could be done, when everybody said it could not, we would not be here today. I would like to draw a parallel. Hudsonís Hope has had, as you have just heard, a tremendous number of people go through the town and this project. We have had engineers, labourers, technicians, all of them have contributed to make this possible. Now we need people with vision who will say that it can be done, rather than cannot be done. We need more of these people and Hudsonís Hope is looking for people who think that something can be done here in this municipality. Not just today, because we have a dwindling force and many people say that oh well, Hudsonís Hope is not going to be on the map in another year or so. I beg to differ. I feel that we have lots of people who are willing to come out to this north country and to work, and this is the secret, to build something for the future. Not only Hudsonís Hope, but the province as well. And I trust we will have many more people such as our worthy Premier, who will come back here and continue to work in this province. So once again, thank you and would you all have a good time here in this area.

G.S. Now then, I would wish to call upon the representatives of the contractors who built the central control building, which you will visit later this afternoon, the switchyard, and they have what is known as the completion contract. And that is Foundation (unintelligible) Company and I shall ask Mr. Cal Baker, the president of the Foundation Company, to speak on their behalf. Mr. Cal Baker.

C.B. Mr. Premier, Chairman, honoured guests, and fellow workers and guests, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to represent our joint venture Foundation (unintelligible). And on the behalf of the Foundation group of companies and Canadians, (unintelligible), I would like to just mention all the work we did, while this is not a real spectacular in size compared to other parts of this mammoth project, it was what we termed a completion contract. We tried to pick up all the loose ends and wire it in, and as I believe, our project manager, Mr. Shoette (phonetic spelling) said it was organized co-ordination. Well I think that describes it. To give you some idea well, on the overall project it doesnít look like the larger part. We just completed the Vancouver terminal, airport terminal, if youíve been there this little part weíre talking about is not that small, actually, quite actually, has cost more construction lives than the whole part of the airport. But we figure that was a big contract and this was only a part, so weíre proud of this part we have played here. Thinking back over the years that I have been working in this province, which is close to 20 and some, either worked on or been associated with many major developments, this by far the largest, most imaginative, and the most exciting. It must be very gratifying to the heads of the government of British Columbia to see the plans that they have the courage and foresight to bring in the (unintelligible). And I would like to pay tribute to the people that they have surrounded themselves to do this work, to actually carry out the work. I would like to also pay tribute to the people that we have had on this very, very should say difficult job that probably requires more diversified skills, specialized skills, and more pieces than any other one part of the whole project. And with that, I would like to thank the Chairman, the Government, who asked me to be here, as you can see, (unintelligible) whoís probably right. I had to speak off the cuff because I didnít, it all happen very shortly. And my friend Mr. Shoette didnít tell me what to say, so thank you very much.

G.S. Thank you Mr. Baker. I hope you and the architects win an award for that beautiful building you have up on top of the powerhouse here. Now the next man is a very special friend of ours. He is the president of the Allied Hydro Council. In other words, he is speaking for all the union men who have worked on this project. He speaks for 26 trade unions with 31 locals, representing a wide variety of skills. In 7 years, weíve had no strikes, no lockouts, no major work stoppage. I can remember back in the early days, we had a minor work stoppage on a Sunday morning. It only lasted a few hours and I assumed Reverend, sir, that they wanted to go to church instead of going to work, but the total man hours on this job has been 26,170,402 and weíve lost, due to argument, 5,234 man hours. Thatís one 50th of one percent and I donít suppose any other project on the continent has a better record than theirs. Itís an extraordinary achievement. John Gowe (phonetic spelling), whoís down in the audience (unintelligible) helped to supply the men, but Mr. Fletcher was the Chairman of the Allied Hydro Council, who smoothed out all the difficulties and to do that over a 7 year period with 26 trade unions and 31 locals is no mean task and I hope, I know youíll want to hear from Mr. Fletcher.

H.F. Mr. Premier, Mr. Chairman, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, and I see a sizable part to this meeting here is the children down here at the front. And I want to say to them that I take great pleasure in seeing them here. Once more, on behalf of the Allied Hydro Council, may I express to you all my thanks for the invitation to attend this ceremony. I say once more because it was just a year ago that I stood on the platform, similar to this at the opening of the mighty W.A.C. Bennett Dam. At that time, I expressed the pride that the unions I represent had in the construction of that part of this project. Needless to say, we are prouder still of the fact that this great project is finally reaching its fulfillment without significant problems caused by labour relations disagreements. As I look around this magnificent powerhouse, I cannot help feeling that all this cast tremendous credit on the union people I represent, as well as all the others involved and particularly, to the people that Dr. Shrum was just mentioned, the Peace Power representatives and we also connected with the Columbia River project, which Dr. (unintelligible) signed. And they in their wisdom have always appointed good people for us to deal with. (unintelligible) representation from their companies they have picked people with former union training and this has been a great help to us in reaching understanding in many matters which could cause considerable trouble. I have said before that the labour management relationship that has existed on this project represents an outstanding example of what can be done when both sides are determined to work together for the common good. When the electricity from this project flows to all parts of the province, itís effect on the welfare of this province will be limitless and I think that this will symbolize my feelings that the labour management relationships established here can likewise be limitless in their effect on the welfare of this province. Yes, we are indeed proud of our record and we thank you once more for the recognition you have given for the part that we have played in the construction of this tremendous project. I thank you all.

G.S. Thank you Mr. Herb Fletcher. Now that concludes the list here, but there are 1 or 2 people that have been omitted. Well before I mention their names, let me say that Mrs. Beattie has now arrived on the platform and I would like Mrs. Beattie, one of the early pioneers in this area to stand and for you to give her a welcome. Mrs. Beattie. Now you donít get a job done on time and within the cost limits unless you have a pretty good man on the job looking after it. And I think it would be quite unfair if you didnít have a chance today to meet the construction manager, the man who made all the decisions up here on this job for the last 4 years, I think it is. Mr. Pat OíDonnell. Come forward Pat.

P.D. I have a wife out in the audience that tells me I speak too much. Iím astonished that Dr. Shrum gave me this opportunity to even approach the podium here. But Iím very happy, very proud that I have had the opportunity to participate and lend my small part to the accomplishment of this wonderful project. Actually, Iím damn happy. Thank you.

G.S. Now, as well as having a top man up here, we also had to have a top man down in Vancouver looking after this project and heís a project manager and Iíd like Pete Ottessen (phonetic spelling) to come forward, be introduced, and say hello to him too, come on. He came to this job from Turkey and down in Ontario and various places.

P.O. Hello. I canít follow anybodyís act thatís been up here, but just let me say, I with a lot of other people, are very proud of what weíve accomplished here in the Peace River country. Thank you.

G.S. Is Mr. Ward here? The chief engineer up here, for I.P.E.C., is he in the audience here? Would he stand up? Here he is down here. Heís a southerner, give him a great hand. Now ladies and gentlemen, I let these people speak to you because I want you to know that this project has been built by people. Competent, dedicated people. Not by a committee and thatís the reason itís on schedule and within the estimated cost. Now, I should say a special word about the press. I know theyíre nervous, but Iím really not going to criticize them for all the nasty things theyíve said about it for about 5 years because Iíve never been in politics, but Iím somewhat of a politician. You know one of the most successful, I would say the second most successful politician in the history of British Columbia, the first man I wonít mention who that is, but the second, he used to say so far as a politicianís concerned, any publicity is good publicity as long as they donít ignore us. Well the newspapers certainly didnít ignore us at any time and weíre in debt to them for the wonderful publicity theyíre giving to us now, I emphasize the now, and Iím modest enough to say that Iím going to ask Patty Sherman to stand up, Iím in debt to him, no one ever said such nice things about me as he did in the paper this morning. Mr. Patty Sherman. Youíll probably lose your job as an objective newspaper reporter, Patty, but I would say this so back in the time when the going was very rough, when we couldnít get anybody to present the facts about the Peace and the Columbia project, Patty Sherman ran an article in his paper, he was a cub reporter then, now he runs the paper, I guess this is the reason he got promoted, and really gave the facts on both sides. And that was the first objective report on hydro development, two river policy in this province. In any case, weíre in debt to all the press, all the radio, TV people and we know youíre going to be treated well, weíre going to be treated well by them. Now finally I want to call upon the man responsible for this project. It has been his vision, courage, and determination from the very earliest inception, to the dayís crowning achievements, that has made this project possible. And itís been said today, no other man would have had the courage that this man had to go ahead with this project in the face of this bitter criticism. I suppose the final analysis is everything worthwhile in human life comes out of the iniciative of individual men and women out of their self-sacrifice, idealism, public spirit, resourcefulness, imagination, and courage. In the case of this project, that individual is the Honourable W.A.C. Bennett, Prime Minister of British Columbia.

U.A. Premier W.A.C. Bennettís getting a tremendous hand after being introduced by Dr. Gordon Shrum. A tremendous crowd here of approximately 3,000. Hereís the Premier.

W.B. Dr. Shrum, platform guests, and all the rest, Iím sure distinguished guests as well, and boys and girls, especially from our school, this is indeed a bright day for the province of British Columbia and a bright day for a great united Canada because from this great powerhouse will come great development which will benefit every Canadian. Dr. Shrum was right when he said not one single tax dollar has been used in this great capital development, but I think I will go a little further. The government, Dr. Shrum, did raise all the money for this great development and the man responsible, mostly responsible for raising that money is the best looking young man in the audience today, my Deputy Minister, Mr. (unintelligible). Will you please stand please? Iím happy that Dr. Shrum introduced so many people here today and we have them in front of us and on the platform. Representatives of organized labour, representatives of industry, the hydro; both chairman and director, the government of the province, especially those two good looking girls who are in the cabinet now and itís this type of cooperation of all groups working together is the only way to really get the thing done. This power will be used everywhere because weíll fit in with the national grid across our nation. It will fit in with the Coolie, the Bonneville power with an international grid, and so the great powers of the Peace and the waters of the Peace that went unused for millions of years will be now used to help the housewives, to help the worker, and to help everybody have a better life in this great country of ours. And of course we shall not forget, especially the people of the Peace River block and now the (unintelligible) have authorized the construction of high voltage transmission lines, from Portage Mountain, to Fort St. John and on to Dawson Creek. Clearing the way to (unintelligible) is now in progress, the (unintelligible) substation will be constructed in Ď69 and so they will always have the first (unintelligible) on the Peace River Power. The benefits of this great development are the jobs in the industry, and it will reach into every home and every line of endeavor and Dr. Shrum, your great university, the Simon Fraser University, will be about the first to receive a dividend because Iím happy to announce, on behalf of the government of the province of British Columbia, that weíve authorized the next phase of complex of the construction on the Simon Fraser University, one which will be a classroom block, costing $3, 630, 000, the other, for the science complex, $4, 630, 000, for a total of $8, 260, 000. This will allow 2100 more students to benefit from this great Peace River Power development and thatís the reason why weíre easing even in this tight money market, to build more school rooms in the province of British Columbia, Mr. Minister, thatís the reason why when other governments cut back, weíre going to allow all essential hospital building and hospital beds being constructed as well and thatís the reason why in the next budget in British Columbia, will be the most dynamic budget ever in the Dominion of Canada, all because of this great power development to join throughout this great province of ours. I am happy to see the co-chairman of the hydro on the platform, Dr. (unintelligible) whoís especially in charge of the great second or first, whatever you with to call it, part of this Two River Policy, the great Columbia River. They finished the Duncan Dam ahead of time. We got millions because of that earlier completion. We got millions of dollars extra from our good friends, the Americans, and now (unintelligible), we finished most likely within 2 months and will be 6 months ahead and Iím not going to say how many millions more that that will benefit that we didnít figure out before and I want to thank you, Dr. (unintelligible). Will you stand up? I am not here today to make a speech, but I am here to say that here is the largest, and best underground powerhouse in the free world and today, I name this powerhouse, Dr. Gordon Shrum Powerhouse, of the people of British Columbia. Youíre about 10 years too early doing that and here this beautiful lake youíre seeing, which has some trees in it now, but the Minister of Forests is doing a wonderful job and Iím not going to tell you all the millions and millions of feet of lumber already taken out of it and because of that great feat, weíre honoured today to have H.R. Macmillan with us, the great industrialist and our first forester, chief forester and he tells me everyday when he sees me what a great man this man Williston is, our Minister of Forests, and your Minister of Forests and today I name this new lake, the largest lake in British Columbia, the Ray Williston Lake. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a great day for our province, but itís only the beginning of the beginning, I wish you all well. Thank you very much.

U.A. Premier Bennettís speech is now over, heís said 2 or 3 significant things, and one major announcement we can recap here, heís authorized the next phase of the complex at Simon Fraser University, cost of construction totaling 3.6 million dollars, the science complex is 4.6 million, for over 8 million dollars in construction. This will allow 2400 more students, he says. Another announcement, a high voltage power line will be constructed from Portage Mountains to Fort St. John, to be constructed next year. And the powerhouse, where weíre standing now, will be named Dr. Gordon Shrum Powerhouse, Minister of the B.C. Hydro co-chairman and the reservoir which will be positioned behind the dam, a huge lake, the biggest in B.C., 225 miles long, will be named the Ray Williston Lake in honour of the forestry minister and now weíll go back to Dr. Gordon Shrum.

G.S. And that qualified and I believe, for, a membership in the Teamsters union. Ed Lawson was supposed to be here today, but he wasnít able to come at the last minute. Now today heís going to become an electrical worker and closing switches and heíll qualify, I suppose, for the I.B.E.W. Is Mr. Watterson here, the business agent, the I.B.E.W.? There he is, over there, Mr. Premier thereís your business agent after you become in the electrical workers union.

W.B. Have I permission to do the job? Thank you very much.

G.S. Now then unfortunately, the acoustics are very bad in this auditorium, but I warn you that when the generator starts, nine hundred horsepower, the noise is almost going to be almost intolerable. So that anything more I have to say, I have to say it before Mr. Prime Minister pulls the switch and I want to say this, that after I stop speaking, Mr. Svoboda, is Mr. Svoboda here? Over there, yeah. He spells his name the same way as the president of Czechoslovakia, heís a great man. Heís going to tell you about the various steps that will take place when the turbine starts moving in the generator. And ladies and gentlemen, when the power comes on, it will be transmitted to Vancouver and when the short wave indicates that itís connected, the trumpets on the Hydro building will sound twice, O Canada. That will be picked up by microphone and weíll here it here in the auditorium in about 2 seconds after the generator get up to full speed. And Iíll let you in on a little secret. You know everything here is planned. We even planned for mistakes and bad luck and so forth and just to prove this to you, Iím going to, we had those trumpets taped and if they donít come on, the tape will play. Now, Iíll let you in on a secret, Iím sure theyíll come on, but any case, weíre going to play this tape just to prove that we had it stand by and we couldíve fooled you if we wanted to. Now, the, I have one other message here I think Iím supposed to give you. I want to thank all the many citizens of British Columbia witness to this ceremony today. These are the things I should say afterwards, but I canít because of the noise, and to say thank you and to invite you to join the tour of the powerhouse. Following the tour, you are cordially invited to follow the car directional signs and drive across the dam, visit the spillway, this is a 48 million-dollar spillway and we expect it will never be used. Itís a safety precaution. Visit the spillway, the lookout, tour the central control building and the traffic directors will insure that you are on the right road. In closing, I ask of you in the tour of the powerhouse, you keep moving and donít jam the rather narrow passageways. I really donít understand how weíre going to get these people through this powerhouse, but you can try in any case. I think youíll have to come back some other day, Iím afraid. Now then, ladies and gentlemen when you hear the trumpets sound, Mr. Mayor, you will know that the lights have gone on in Vancouver. Now Iím going to ask Mr. Svoboda to take charge and give you a few words of explanation and then the Premier will throw the switch.

M.S. Ladies and gentlemen, you are standing on the generating units, which are among the largest in the world. These units are connected to the reservoir through large pipes called penstocks, which are already filled with water. When the switch is closed, the turbines will start and the red lamp will show behind the platform. You will hear water entering the turbines together with the noise from auxiliaries such as the fans and pumps. Turbines, which drive the generators, will pick up speed rapidly and when they reach the normal speed of 150 revolutions per minute, the amber light will come on. Next, the generators must be connected to the switchyard 500 ft above this powerhouse and finally to the transmission line. The green line will mark the moment when the Portage Mountain generating station is switched into the B.C. Hydro system. When this happens, the trumpets will sound on the roof of our head office in Vancouver, and you will hear them transmit back by microwave to the loudspeakers in this powerhouse.

U.A. Everybody is standing and watching very intently as he triggers the symbolic switch which will turn on this giant hydro project. There it is. Away from the Premier and a great deal of applause. (unintelligible) must be very proud here in the powerhouse, about 3,000 on hand to watch this ceremony. The powerhouse itself is a huge thing, itís kind of hard to describe, itís 890 ft long with 67 ft wide and a total of 153 ft high.

M.S. Weíre cooling the water through the units right now, there the waterís now entering the turbine and the turbine will shortly start to roll. The generators will gradually come up to a speed of 150 rpm. Weíre at 50 rpm. 75 revolutions per minute. 100 rpm. 125 rpm. 140. 150 rpm. 150 revolutions per minute. The units will now be synchronized together.

G.S Ladies and gentlemen, O Canada.

U.A. Peace River Power, once a remote possibility, is now a reality. History has been made here at the Peace River Dam site this afternoon. As you have heard in the ceremonies broadcast direct from the Portage Mountain generating station, deep beneath the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, Peace River Power, as you can hear, is now flowing to Prince George and Vancouver. About 3, 000 people have been on hand for the ceremonies. For B.C. Hydro and the province itís a momentous occasion, but only a start with 3 huge turbines now kicking into operation, the fourth and fifth are already being installed and go into operation in about a year. The sixth unit is scheduled to start up 3 years from now, the seventh and eighth in 1972 and 2 more when required. This concludes our broadcast first throughout British Columbia and then parts of Alberta on over 2, 000 private radio stations. This is (unintelligible) wishing you a good afternoon and a good evening.