Victoria has not forgotten its colourful past
Then Premier Frank Moores was on hand to cut the ribbon, declare the building officially open and speak at a banquet at the Station Lounge.
The structure has undergone a considerable facelift in recent years. Besides the council chambers, it houses the administrative offices and a large meeting room on the ground floor. A library, town archives and supply room and office for the Victoria Army Cadets can be found on the second floor.
Work on water and sewer infrastructure was also started in 1974 when the original water transmission line was installed from the brook at Rocky Pond to the main road via Powerhouse Road.
Today Mayor Art Burke estimates “some 98 per cent of the town’s households are serviced with municipal water and sewer.”
The main road through town (Route 70), now called Main Street and Church Road were the only two paved roads in the town in the early 1970s.
Now, Mayor Burke estimates, “about 75 per cent of the town’s roads are paved. Our goal in the next few years is to get all our roads paved,” he added.
“ Since 1975, I see a lot of difference,” Vivian Hiscock said.
Council appointed Hiscock the town’s first fire chief on Sept. 30, 1975. The town had received its first fire truck on Sept. 12 of that year. The vehicle was housed at the town hall until the fire hall was built in 1977. The 50-member volunteer fire department first met Oct. 4, 1975.
Signs of growth
Another positive sign of growth in any town is the number of housing starts.
Pointing out “a lot of new homes are going up,” Mayor Burke noted, “so far this year (2011) alone we’ve had 10-12 new housing starts.”
He said they’ve had an average of 6-10 new housing starts every year for a good many years.
Aside from the town hall and fire hall, the town also operates the former Lions Den as a Community Centre.
While Victoria has evolved into a modern town looking forward to a bright and prosperous future, it has not forgotten its colourful past. It has embraced its heritage as something to be celebrated and shared with all those who come to visit.
Nowhere is this more evident than at the Heritage Village on Powerhouse Road.
Surrounded by a boardwalk, the compact village includes a general store, saltbox style dwelling house, forge, museum, Newfoundland Pony barn, and waterwheel, not unlike those once used to power sawmills. It is located on Powerhouse Road next door to the hydroelectric station museum.
Meanwhile, Mayor Burke also noted people continue to buy up land in the town to develop subdivisions.
Besides those, which are underway or have already been developed, he said “two more subdivisions are currently under construction.
The mayor noted council has also been speaking with a resident interested in starting low rental housing developments.
Council has also had an application on file for some time from a developer who wants to build a golf course.
“ The developer has purchased some private land and the town has approved some crown land for the development,” Burke explained. It is to be located in the west end of town towards Heart’s Content with the main entrance from the Heart’s Content barrens road.
While no major celebrations are planned to mark the town’s 40th anniversary - Victoria celebrated its silver anniversary of incorporation in 1996, and looks forward to marking its golden anniversary in 2021 with a big bang.
By that time it hopes to have another solid decade of growth and progress to celebrate.
HERITAGE VILLAGE - The centrepiece of Victoria’s colourful past is this Heritage Village on Powerhouse Road. Surrounded by a boardwalk, the village includes a general store, saltbox style dwelling house, forge, Newfoundland Pony barn, museum and water wheel. WATER WHEEL - This water wheel is a replica of the type once used to power sawmills in Victoria. Located near the old hydroelectric station, it now forms part of the town’s Heritage Village.
FIRE HALL - Built in 1977, the Victoria Fire Hall houses the department’s 2006 pumper and 1990 equipment van along with a meeting room for the department’s 21 volunteer firefighters. The fire hall is located next to the town’s Municipal Centre on Main Street.
COMMUNITY CENTRE - The former Victoria Lions Den has been taken over by the town council and now serves as a community centre.