Ice Build-up on the Power Plant in Winter

Ken Dimond tells a story about an event that took place one beautifully mild day in February 1938 when he and Garnet Jeffrey were assigned to remove the ice build-up using crowbars, hammers and chisels. They tied on safety ropes as best they could and lowered themselves over the handrail above the tail race. Ken admits they were both teenagers at the time who didn't know how to tie a proper knot.

As they chopping away, the boss, Duke Duquette, a rigger, came by to see how they were doing. He took one look at the boys, saw how poorly they were tied to the safety ropes, shook his fist at them and signaled for them to climb up to the deck, toute de suite. He warned that if they ever fell into the water, they would go under and never come back. After scolding them, he re-rigged their harnesses with proper knots.

The boys returned to the job, standing on the ice as they worked, a couple of feet above the water. Ken was chopping and Garnet was rolling a cigarette when, without warning, the huge slab of ice broke loose and sent them flying. Hanging by the ropes in icy water up to their chests, Ken was paralyzed, but Garnet started screaming for help at the top of his lungs. They were soon hauled to safety.

Afterwards, when Ken had a chance to thank Duke for his advice, Duke said to him, “You were dumb, but now you are a little smarter than you used to be.”

Note: All but the last of these photos were taken by supervising engineer, M.H. Marshall, during initial construction in 1929-1930, several years before Ken Dimond's experience. Ken must have learned this lesson and many more along the way, because he has survived to the ripe old age of 85 and lives in New Westminster, BC at the time of this writing [2006-04-07].