The only “Gas Town” in B.C. at the present time is Dawson Creek, the “hub” of the current search for oil and gas in the province. On October 31 last year a flare was lighted at the Mile Zero post in the centre of Dawson Creek indicating that natural gas was then an actual fact in B.C. The gas had been brought from the Alberta side 17 miles away as the heavier producing wells had not been brought in on the B.C. side of the boundary at that time.
This year two producers with an estimated capacity of 500,000 and 10,000,000 cu. ft. daily have been brought in, in the Sunrise Valley district within twenty miles west of Dawson Creek.
The village of Dawson Creek with a population of 4,000 had several honors. Besides being the first community in the province to use natural gas it is also the starting point of the Alaska Highway and hopes some day to be the terminus of the John Hart Highway giving direct road connection with the rest of British Columbia. During the 1949-50 shipping season over 3½ million bushels of grain was shipped through the Dawson Creek elevators, the largest quantity from any initial shipping point in the British Commonwealth.
It was on January 15, 1931 that the Northern Alberta Railways brought the first train into Dawson Creek. At that time the population was about 200. On May 26, 1936 the village was incorporated with Geo M. Bisset, W. O. Harper and A. S. Chamberlain as first Commissioners. The population was then 750. The 1937 village assessment roll showed land valued at $20,535, improvements $161,407 and 70 trade licenses with receipts from all sources $1,813. In 1950 assessments were land $599,957, improvements $3,065,541, trade licenses 222. Total revenue (excluding waterworks) $134,314. The credit balance at end of the year was $31,828,83. Assets, including waterworks, are listed as $821,967,83 and debentures debt is $171,914. The village owns its own water system; over 12 miles of gravel roads; 4½ miles of earth roads; 7¾ miles of sewer; 29 miles of water mains. Building permits in 1950 were for $631,000.
Public elementary and high schools in use or under construction are valued at well over $1,000,000 and will accommodate 1,2000 pupils. In addition to these, work has
started on a new Catholic school estimated to cost over $300,000 and accommodate 250. The present school attendance at all schools in the village is 1,350 and it is estimated that the opening of the fall term will see all schools filled.
The B.C. Power Commission supplies light and power. The present capacity of the power plant is 2,350 K.V.A. Two of the five engines have been converted to use natural gas and a new gas engine with a rating of 750 K.V.A. is being installed this summer. Peak output last January was approximately a half million Kilowatt-hours. Applications for power already on file will absorb all the additional power of the new unit. During 1950, 45 farms were connected and many more districts are applying for service.
Dawson Creek is looking forward to the day when natural gas from this district will be piped to all parts of the province so that all may enjoy the pleasure of a cheap, clean and convenient fuel.