Mystery solved: Old pilings remnants of water intake

A few weeks ago, our Readers Reporter department attempted, with little success, to track down the origins of old river pilings behind Riverbend Seniors complex in Brocklehurst.

Our search seemed doomed to drown in a Department of Fisheries and Oceans tide pool of unsolved mysteries when Daily News readers started coming to the rescue.

Those old pilings, it turns out, are remnants of a former water intake system.

Longtime Brocklehurst resident George McGillivray was one of the first readers to help solve this mystery. He said the system was installed in the late 1950s or early 1960s, either by the B.C. Fruitlands Company or the municipality of Brocklehurst.

"Prior to this system, each home had its own well," said McGillivray.

McGillivray knows a lot about the history of Brocklehurst. His father began farming in the area in the 1920s before subdividing his land in the mid-1950s and donating part of it to create McGillivray Street, which is a stone's throw south of those river pilings.

"I moved to Brock in 1952 and grew up roaming the wide open farmlands," said McGillivray. "In 1958, at age 13, I had a Province newspaper route that delivered to almost every house from Windbreak Road west to and including the airport . . . . It was a great time and wonderful place to grow up. There were hop fields, fruit orchards and truck (market) gardens. The giant Lombardy poplars formed windbreaks down many streets. The most notable was, of course, Windbreak Road. Few Lombardies now remain, just a handful near Parkcrest school."

Daily News reader Andy Philpot has confirmed McGillivray's assertion about the water-intake pipe and shed further light on what happened to it.

"One problem with this water intake location was that it drew watercoming from the North Thompson Riverand was sometimes very cloudy due to theamount of suspended silt in the river," said Philpot.

"Once Brocklehurst amalgamated with the City of Kamloops in the early '70's,a new water main was run under the Overlanders Bridge from the waterintake on the South Thompson Riverand water treatment plant located on River Street, allowing for better quality water supply. The old Brocklehurst water intake system was shut down."

This was around the same time Brocklehurst went from septic tanksto a sewer system that tied North Kamloopsand Brocklehurst with the City's sewer lagoons across the river from the Kamloops Airport, said Philpot.

"The old Village of North Kamloops' sewer lagoons on McArthur Island were drained and later became the soccer and baseball fields that we use today on the island."

As for the Brocklehurst pilings, they aren't the only "ghosts of past structures in the river," said Philpot.

The remains of the original wooden bridge to North Kamloops (west of the Overlanders Bridge) are also visible at this time of year.

As well, the remains of the first bridge to the Tk'emlups Indian Reserve can be seen upstream from the CN bridge near Interior Savings Centre.

Philpot sent us aerial photos for all three, which can be viewed on The Daily News website or via Layar on this page.

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