Bill Smith, better known as “Smithy”, was the local Manager of the Northern B.C. Power Co. from 1932 until 1942.
The International Power Co. Ltd. originally supplied the electric power from a plant utilizing water from the Silverado slide. During the 1931-32 winter a snow slide forgot to turn, in it’s normal route, and destroyed the power plant.
The power source became the Barney Gulch hydro plant or the Dunwell Mill diesel plant. Shortly after the Silverado plant was destroyed the International Power was purchased by the Power Corporation of Canada and it’s subsidiary, the Northern BC Power Co with headquarters in Prince Rupert, took over the operation. Smithy was appointed Manager of the Stewart operation.
Smithy looked after the power plants operations and was the lineman who ensured the power lines delivered the electricity to the customers in both Stewart and Hyder.
In the early days of radio Smithy spent many hours checking electrical transmission lines and transformer to see that did not cause radio interference.
During the cold winter he found time to flood the area at Barney Gulch power plant to make a skating rink for the kids and he provided free electricity to light the area so the parents could skate in the evenings.
Smithy, a veteran and Legion member, was instrumental in seeing those major functions such as Victoria Day, July 1st, and other functions ran smoothly. He can often be seen in picture as the escort of the local May Queen.
He could also be counted on to add his singing voice to the entertainment. Smithy was one of those local personalities who could be counted on to make the community a fun place to live.
Smithy left Stewart for Prince Rupert during the war and continued to work for the Northern B.C. Power Company. Soon after his arrival in Prince Rupert he married Kay. Later he took up politics and was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Victoria.