Speaker in Qualicum Beach on Tuesday to talk about the history of the Inland Highway

Morgan Ostler said the politics of the day were a real challenge, with a Social Credit party she believes was more focused on the Interior

  • Feb. 25, 2016 5:00 p.m.

In the early 1960s, a group of 40 Campbell River women founded SMASH — the Society for Making a Safer Highway.

Morgan Ostler, a young mother at the time who co-founded the group with Sandra Baikie, is speaking about the history of the Inland Highway and ongoing safety concerns this Tuesday.

At that time the highway was a network of twisting logging roads that had been paved over. In 1965, thirteen deaths in one year motivated the women to lobby the government to build a new inland highway from Victoria to Campbell River.

“We were pole-vaulted into publicity from our usual daily lives at home with our children” Ostler said. “It was definitely a women’s movement.”

They struggled for 37 years, being accused of grandstanding and told it couldn’t be done, but their safety concerns compelled them on.

Ostler said the politics of the day were a real challenge, with a Social Credit party that she believes was more focused on the Interior.

People from the Parksville Qualicum Beach area became active in the movement, Ostler said, and the bus carrying lobbyists to Victoria would often stop and pick up a group here.

As a result of the longest lobby in B.C. history, the highway was finally built and Morgan Ostler, by now one of the “SMASHing Grannies” was there to cut the ribbon in 2001.

Ostler is speaking as part of the regular speakers series hosted by the Qualicum Beach Historical and Museum Society, along with the Qualicum Beach Family History Society, and is open to everyone by donation.

The meeting is this Tuesday, March 1, at 7 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.

— By Lorraine Bell, Office Administrator, Qualicum Beach Museum

Just Posted

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

Qualicum man sentenced for tying up, robbing another man

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in 2017

Parksville man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says city official

Parksville roundtable highlights need for affordable housing, recreation

Mayor Ed Mayne held facilitated event in January to hear visions for city, council

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Okanagan man, Yorkshire terrier chased by coyote

Animal sightings have been reported around West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Pot industry welcomes decreased edibles tax, but unhappy medical tax remains

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per ceny

‘It has to send a message:’ Broncos families await sentencing for truck driver

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and apologized in court

MPs continue voting marathon as Tories protest shutdown of Wilson-Raybould motion

Multiple MPs have resigned from Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Most Read