Flash Back Fridays


1977 A story by David Boulding

The barn was built for the same reason the Haig Brown and the outdoor centre were built. Jim wanted a maintenance shop. His plans for a shop on the far northern side of the property were changed by the fire in May 1973 and the Haig Brown building soon after construction began morphed in an accommodation building.

The barn was going to be different.

It began as a residence for Adrian Koeleman the mechanic. Originally there were to be eight-foot foundation walls as the building’s basement was to be Adrian’s residence, but when Jim found out the cost of cement it was decided they would be much shorter.

The government had a program called NEEDS which was designed to give employment to those workers had had no more UIC (Unemployment Insurance, now referred to as EI) eligibility. Local Campbell River businesses could apply for various NEED grants, and get work at UIC rates and the weeks on the program were counted as “insurable weeks” for purposes of claiming more UIC. Jim applied for a grant and employed over 75 people through this program, a few of which were Vietnamese fishermen.
Jim had a vague plan to create his own hydro power. He wanted to take the water from Baikie ‘s swamp up beside Percy Dewar’s land and run it over the hill down 900 feet to the lake and install a pelton wheel and make his own electricity.

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