Dust to Bust (1970-1982)

After the prosperity and optimism of the 60s the 70s brought a downward turn and Bamberton’s demise began.

Beale’s Quarry on Texada Island had been for sale and the logical buyer was Ocean Cement. But the company’s managers felt the price was too high and decided to sit tight. However, the Lafarge Co. of Paris purchased the quarry and built a $12 ½ million cement plant in Richmond BC.

By 1975 competition from La Farge was beginning to be felt. To combat this, Genstar, now the owner of Ocean Cement, decided to build a new ultra-modern plant in Delta, BC. The new plant would have fewer employees than Bamberton, be more efficient and less expensive to operate. Production at Bamberton was cut way back due to a reduced demand for cement and rumors of the plant closure begin to circulate.

In 1977 a company press release said Bamberton was scheduled to close in the spring of 1978. However, at the eleventh hour, Bamberton received a reprieve, and continued to operate through 1979 and 1980. As 1980 drew to a close, the United Cement, Lime and Gypsum workers Union called a strike at the Delta plant and the next day it spread to Bamberton.

In December 1980 Bamberton’s closure was officially announced and workers received their lay off notices. Although the company finally settled with the union in July, it was too late for Bamberton. Under the terms of the new contract, only six employees would remain at the site, to run a cement distribution terminal.

So ended 75 years of cement production in the area. They had been good years and in that time Bamberton cement had traveled the world. Because of its low radioactive content it was used to build nuclear facilities at Chalk River, Ontario, Long Island, New York and Berkley, California. It had also been shipped to Alaska, the Yukon. Washington State, Mexico, South America, Ceylon, Saudi Arabia, and San Marcus Island in the Far East. After the plant was closed RCMP and armed forces personal used the buildings for simulated hostage taking situations and high explosives practice.

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News of reprieve
News of reprieve
News of final closure
News of final closure
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