The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 23, 1887

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p.4 (editorial) At the meeting of the dry-dock committee last night the enquiry was made, Why not complete the dock which Mr. Power commenced some years ago, and upon which he spent several thousand dollars? Capt. Gaskin dropped immediately into a very confidential mood and observed that he knew something about the dock, but he did not desire to say what it was. And such a remark, reflective as it was, passed without criticism. Mr. Power has assured us that the dock is a good one so far as it has been built; that the bottom of it is good; and that the work on the sides of it is first-class. Why should it be abandoned, especially when the labour of completing it would cost the city nothing? A government engineer examined it some time ago - at a certain election - and the expectation was that the dock would be carried to completion, and that towards that end a liberal grant would be made. Did that engineer report that there were fissures in the rock that could not be closed? If so the owner of the dock has not been apprised of the fact, and he ought to have been the first one acquainted with it. There are some who do not take as much stock in the building of a dock near the penitentiary and by convict labour as the M.T. Co., but they are not so much indebted to the government for past favors, nor have they such a lively sense of favours to come.



Bid For the Building Of A Dry Dock In The City.

In the mayor's office last evening the aldermen, composing a special committee, and several members of the board of trade, discussed the building of a dry dock. There were present Alds. McIntyre (chairman) and Muckleston, Messrs. Minnes, G. Richardson, Gaskin, Calvin, Chown and Spencer. It was considered by Messrs. Spencer, Calvin and Gaskin that a wooden dock would be the most modern and answer all purposes. It was also pointed out that there were dry docks at Collingwood, Montreal, Port Dalhousie and Owen Sound. Mr. Calvin stated that in the building of the dock it was important to secure a good hard bottom. Mr. Richardson asked if the dock which Mr. Powers had partially built had not a good bottom. Capt. Gaskin knew something about this work but did not want to say anything about other people's property. Ald. Muckleston stated that if it was intended to take any action in the construction of a dock, the government should be interviewed at once relative to the convict labour. Mr. Chown was of the opinion that the building of an esplanade on King street was as important as the building of a dry dock and should be taken into consideration. Capt. Gaskin thought the city was more in need of a dry-dock than an esplanade. The dock would be the most profitable undertaking. It would cost in the neighborhood of $75,000, and would need to be about 300 feet long and 75 feet wide. He was sure the government, which had assisted in building the docks in Halifax, Columbia and other places, would allow the convicts to build the Kingston dock. Mr. Spencer knew that Sir John was willing to allow the convicts of the penitentiary to cut the stone for an examining warehouse, if such were built, provided outside labour was secured in the erection of the building. He would no doubt allow the convicts to build the dry-dock if he were asked about it. Men could be spared from the penitentiary to do the work. Mr. McIntyre asked for a scheme to lay before the government with reference to the dock. Mr. Minnes thought a site should be chosen. Captain Gaskin said several sites could be secured and referred to available property in the village of Portsmouth. The land could be got on the east side of the penitentiary, in Peter Mitchell's shipyard, and on Hugh Allan's estate now occupied by the K. & M. Forwarding company. If it were intended to build the dock in the city, land near Tete du Pont could be got. Mr. Spencer contended that the land on the east side of the penitentiary, which Captain Gaskin referred to would not be given up by the authorities of the penitentiary. They needed it for other purposes. A site in Portsmouth would be the most suitable, if convict labor was to be utilized. With reference to the time necessary to build the dock the architect of the penitentiary had said it could be accomplished in two years. Mr. Minnes wanted to know how many men could be spared from the penitentiary upon the work? Mr. Spencer said about 250. Captain Gaskin thought fifty men would be sufficient to do the work. It was decided that the committee, augmented by Messrs. Calvin and Gaskin, should visit Ottawa and interview Sir John Macdonald and the ministers of justice and public works on the matter. Mr. McIntyre said he would write to the premier and have a date appointed on which to meet him. Mr. Spencer wished the delegates to impress upon the minds of the ministers that convicts could be spared to do the work of the dock. The meeting then adjourned.

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April 23, 1887
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 23, 1887