One of Ted Armstrong’s greatest accomplishments with the Cariboo Regional District started out with a five-year struggle.
In his electoral area of Red Bluff – Dragon Lake (now Red Bluff – South Quesnel) over-full septic tanks were flooding back yards and leaking into Dragon Lake.
Parents kept their children indoors, worried they might catch hepatitis or typhus if they accidentally played near the septic water building up in their backyards and ditches.
It was the early 80s, and Armstrong had already been trying to get sewers for Red Bluff for years. “In the spring with the runoff,” says Armstrong, “[Dragon Lake] would be green… It was bad.”
To gain provincial support, the B.C. government initially demanded they amalgamate with the City of Quesnel.
Armstrong wasn’t interested in amalgamating though; so instead, he requested the city’s support. But he never received it.
In the end, it was years of continued pressure on the provincial government that brought about the new sewer system.
In an October 1984 article in the Observer, Armstrong credits the paper with some of this pressure, saying “…because of their work, the lines of communication had opened up and we were talking about the possibility of an approval.”
Armstrong adds that it took “many, many calls to Victoria.”
The province ended up covering 75 per cent of the $13 million price tag for the new sewer system. “It’d probably cost close to $50 million now to replace it,” Armstrong contends.
Another of Armstrong’s proudest accomplishments is bringing fire protection to Red Bluff and Dragon Lake.
He’s responsible for getting the Fire Hall built in Red Bluff, and he contracted with the city to staff it.
Armstrong, who has acted as both Chair and Vice-Chair of the Cariboo Regional District, says there was a lot of pressure from the public to bring fire protection to Red Bluff.
“Some of them wanted a separate fire department from the City of Quesnel,” says Armstrong. “Then I think like – Delta and Richmond, they’re side by side but have a different fire department. That’s not really an efficient way of spending tax dollars.”
He says contracting with the city has worked out well in the 30-odd years since the program was started.
After 40 years with the CRD, Armstrong is set to retire once the new crop of electoral area directors are elected in October and sworn in in November.
“I enjoyed my time. You end up with lifelong friends too, with that kind of stuff,” he says.
At 78, he’s not quite sure what he wants to do next. But whatever it is, he knows he won’t be spending much time relaxing.
A journeyman mechanic by trade, he’s been fixing some water leaks in his motorhome. He says he wants to have the motorhome ready when he’s done in November so that if he and his wife decide they’d like to go somewhere, it’ll be ready.
“I don’t relax very well,” Armstrong laughs. “That’s not me. I’ll find something to do.”