Predictions from 1976: Checking in on how accurate they were for the West Shore

Highway 1 widening, pollution, development all highlights from 1976 crystal ball

A lot has happened on the West Shore in the last 43 years.

Cities were incorporated, developments have popped up and more residents have chosen to call the Western Communities home.

In an old issue of the Goldstream News Gazette, dated Dec. 29, 1976, a cartoon predicting what lies ahead for the West Shore was printed.

“In a further effort to inform and enlighten our readers, the management of the Gazette has retained, at unmentionable expense, the services of ‘noslen the munificent’ door-to-door fortune-teller, soothsayer and crystal ball gazer, to offer a brief look into the future,” a paragraph above the cartoon reads.

The cartoon features five predictions for the Western Communities.

Prediction number one says “The ‘Langford downtown centre’ complex planned for Jacklin Road will be built” but will be “enclosed in a Jules Verne-designed, water-tight dome and anyone wishing to do business there will be issued an aqualung and a pair of hip-waiders.”

While the watertight dome has yet to make its way to Langford, the new Belmont Market development featuring residences, shops and restaurants has opened up just off Jacklin Road.

The next frame of the cartoon predicts the “Trans-Canada Highway will be expanded to six lanes.” It also predicts the volume of traffic will expand to seven-and-a-half lanes within 20 minutes of its opening.

READ ALSO: Expect delays as Highway 1 widening in Langford begins Sunday night

In September of this year, a year-long project to widen Highway 1 between Leigh Road and West Shore Parkway and add meridians to the same section of the highway began.

Prediction number three says “William Head Correctional Institute will be turned into a national park…use of the park will be limited, though, to campers selected by the Canadian Penitentiary Service and hiking will be discouraged through the use of balls and chains.”

William Head Institution is still functioning as a prison today and the Canadian Penitentiary Service now goes by Correctional Service of Canada.

The next prediction says “Esquimalt Lagoon pollution problems will be solved by a sewer outfall” but notes the problem will come back “when the City of Port Angeles retaliates by extending its own sewer outfall into Royal Roads.”

The capital regional district still lists pollution, along with habitat loss and invasive species, as concerns in the Esquimalt Lagoon area. According to The Swim Guide, an online resource to monitor water quality, the Lagoon has passed water quality tests at least 95 per cent of the time.

READ ALSO: From 1983 to 2018: The evolution of Victoria General Hospital

The final prediction in the cartoon says “the new hospital planned for Helmcken Road will be built and put into service…but due to influences of Victoria pressure groups, the admitting desk, gift shoppe, doctors’ lounge and parking lot will be built near the intersection of Douglas and McKenzie streets.”

Victoria General Hospital, located just off Helmcken Road, was constructed on March 22, 1983 and was the same day the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary formed. It has since transformed into one of the busiest hospitals on Vancouver Island.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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An issue of the Goldstream News Gazette, dated Dec. 29, 1976, features predictions of what lies ahead for the West Shore. (Black Press Media files)

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