|Crowds see Bridge Opened
Premier Bennett Cuts Ribbon to Start Bridge Traffic Rolling
The new West Arm bridge at Nelson was opened Thursday, (Nov.7,) as a beaming Premier Bennett cut a broad green ribbon in front of toll gates at the southern approach. Hundreds of people stood on the sidelines in the frost-tinged sunshine to watch the ceremonies.
Then the cavalcade carrying the premier, three of his Cabinet ministers, city Council members, private cars ancient and new crawled across the span, led by brightly tartaned pipers and drummers of the Kootenay Kiltie Band.
Highways minister P.A. Gaglardi, who conducted ceremonies from the official platform adjacent to the gates, called the bridge "an imposing and important structure". He said, "The government, without promises and fanfare has recognized the importance of this part of the country by building this bridge." Main speaker Premier W.A.C. Bennett said, "This is a happy and great day for Nelson... for the whole province ... for your MLA (Hon. W.D. Black, provincial secretary) who is ill and for Mr. Gaglardi our amazing highways minister." He then received a pair of scissors from long-time (44 years) cable ferry operator, George Clerihew, and said "I take great pleasure as Premier in cutting this ribbon and declaring this bridge open."
Of the building of the bridge he said, "People at first said it couldn't be done, but we've shown it can, even if it costs a bit. Nobody wants toll bridges, but there's one thing we hate more, and that's no bridge." He then promised that $100,000 a year would go onto the bridge account, combined with the toll revenue to make the bridge free as soon as possible.
Prominent on the opening scene were representatives of the firms involved in design, engineering and construction of the bridge, and local officials. Many district people came out for Nelson's event of the year. Canon W.J. Silverwood dedicated the bridge "in the spirit of thanks- giving to the peace and glory of all mankind," and Mayor Joseph Kary expressed citizens' pride in their new $4,000,000 bridge. Even before the cavalcade moved across the span, pedestrians swarmed over the bridge, Vehicles, some of them held up by the hour-long proceeding, others waiting to be among the first to cross, lined Nelson Avenue and intersecting streets for blocks.