Monday, April 02, 2012

150 years ago today the Vancouver Island Roads budget was passed

The Daily Colonist for April 2nd 1862 reported on the road budget for the year for Vancouver Island.   The budget was 4000 pounds, which was $20,000 at the time.   There had been a pledge by Attorney General George Hunter Cary in 1861 that a road would be built to Metchosin and another to Sooke but they did not start on them.  In 1862 the legislative council said these roads were not a priority.

Meanwhile on the front page of the same edition there is an add for tenders for ditching, grading and partly metalling the first section of the Victoria and Saanich road from Douglas street to Section 2 beyond the intersection of the New and Old Saanich roads.  I am not sure which road this is today.

Meanwhile in BC, aka the mainland colony, there is a call for 500 men to work on the wagon road from Lillooet to Mud Lake and 300 men to work on the wagon road from Boston Bar to Lytton.   800 men to work on roads is a huge project for the time.   There were about 45,000 non-aboriginal people in BC at the time though the population was disproportionally  male.  Even keeping that in mind, 800 men is around 4-5% of the available adult male workforce, this call is for around one in 20 of the men in BC.  

The non aboriginal population was falling at the time as many men were leaving BC because they did not do well in the gold rush.
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