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From Switzerland to a home in the Hart

Take a step back in time to 1924 when Art Stauble's uncle, George Stauble, lived and worked at sawmills n the Prince George area. George Stauble made a trip back to his home country of Switzerland just after the war in 1949.
Art and Yvonne Stauble are longtime Prince George residents. They have been active in the community

Take a step back in time to 1924 when Art Stauble's uncle, George Stauble, lived and worked at sawmills n the Prince George area. George Stauble made a trip back to his home country of Switzerland just after the war in 1949. That is when he invited his young nephew Art Stauble to return to Canada to work with him.

Art said, "That was the start of a completely new life for me, I had just finished my studies in Switzerland. I had just received my doctorate in law and I was ready to get started in my law career. Instead I decided to check out this place called Prince George. I came over on a visitor's visa which I managed to extend twice. After that the government agent said, 'No more extensions for you young man - you must go back to Switzerland and immigrate properly.' Prince George was completely different from what I was used to in Switzerland but it was a good transition for me, so that is what I did."

While on a trip back home to Switzerland to visit his family, Art happened to meet up with an old school friend Yvonne Zumsteg. Art said, "We got married in 1956 and raised two sons Andre (Laura) and Christopher. We have three wonderful grandchildren."

Art worked in the sawmill business and they lived in the camp until 1963 when they moved into their home in the Hart Highway area. They have lived there ever since.

The business had expanded and now included a planer mill in town. His uncle kept the sawmill and Art took over the planer mill. Fort George Lumber Sales Ltd. was located near where the brewery is located today.

In the 1960s and 70s, the Department of Highways purchased parts of the planer mill site in order to build and connect the brand new Nechako River Bridge (Highway 97) with the Hart Highway and North Nechako Road. Soon more land was needed for drainage in the area so he sold the entire planer mill site to the Department of Highways.

It was a time when things were changing quite fast in the development of Prince George and in the forest industry. Art knew that he would have to decide to go bigger or get out of the business. Going bigger meant investing in more modern and efficient equipment and procurement of more timber harvesting rights so he just sold the land and got out of the lumber business.

There have been many highlights in Art's life. He was elected Alderman (City Councilor) for the City of Prince George in 1974 and went on to serve on council for many years.

He was a big part of the referendum that amalgamated the Hart Highway, College Heights, Haldi Road, Blackburn, Western Acres, Van Way, North Nechako and South Fort George areas officially as a part of the City of Prince George in 1975. Art recalls the days of the sometimes heated negotiations and the many meetings under the leadership of then Mayor Harold Moffat and the not so easy decisions that had to be made to make Prince George the great city that it is today.

In the 1960s, and prior to the amalgamation, Art volunteered his time working with the Nechako Improvement District, which operated a water system and supported a volunteer fire department for the Hart area where he lived. It was a quiet and happy community.

In the 1980s and 90s, Art served as a director on the board of the Nature Trust of British Columbia, a non-profit organization that was established in 1971. The Trust is involved in the conservation of the province's biological diversity and maintenance of adequate land for endangered plants and wildlife.

Art said, "I enjoyed the experience and I got the opportunity to travel and see many parts of our beautiful province."

Yvonne worked in the family home and always kept a big garden. She said, "Raising the children, as well as Art, were always my priorities."

She was a long time and dedicated volunteer at the Prince George Art Gallery and for many years she took part in the fundraising drives at the Salvation Army and the Diabetes Association.

She was a skiing enthusiast and a ski instructor at the 100 Steps Ski Hill, which used to be located on Foothills where the road now ascends to the University of Northern BC. She also instructed at Tabor Mountain, the Purden Ski Hill and in Jasper.

During the summer she rode and trained horses for friends and neighbors who were always glad when somebody looked after their animals when they were busy.

Art has served Prince George by giving back to the community. He served as chairman of the Regional District, chairman of the Hospital Board and 13 years as an Alderman. Art said, "I have seen many changes in the region and the city: expansion of the transportation infrastructure (railroad, roads and bridges), major improvement in the supply of electric power and natural gas and big changes in the forest industry. The city grew with the addition of shopping malls and the fabulous University of Northern British Columbia, all of which put Prince George on the map."

Art remains interested and informed about municipal politics and he says, "Prince George is a great place to live."

Art is now 91 years old and the couple recently celebrated 60 years of marriage. Yvonne said, "Art was always a good husband and a good father."