PUBLIC WORKS REPORT
The report of the Commissioner of Public Works for the past year has been laid before Parliament. The following is an extract of the more interesting portions:
With regard to the St. Lawrence and Welland Canals, the statement is made that the returns show an increase in the business of the St. Lawrence canals of at least 100 per cent upon grain, 20 per cent upon flour, and 8 per cent on other freight, over that of last year; while the number of vessels which passed through the Welland Canal exceeded by 13 1/4 per cent that of 1860. But although the Canadian route already possesses great facilities for the safe and expeditious transport of merchandise, attention is drawn to important improvements yet remaining to be effected. First, the enlargement of the Welland Canal is insisted on as a matter of vital moment towards effecting the objects contemplated in its construction; next, the deepening of the St. Lawrence Canals to the same draught as the Welland, at the same time increasing the length of the locks; and thirdly, the removal of impediments to the navigation of the river itself, caused by the shallowness of the water in many places. The cost of increasing the draught of water in the St. Lawrence Canals to 10 1/2 feet on the mitre sills of the locks, had been estimated by the Chief Engineer of the Department at $1,028,000. Two ways had been suggested of removing the obstacles in the river. The first was by raising the water in the rapids where the obstructions occur, by the construction of piers and dams, the cost of which has been estimated at 30,000 pounds; and the second consisted in deepening the channel by blasting and dredging to a depth of 12 feet generally, and to 13 feet in the most turbulent parts, which had been estimated to cost 180,000 pounds. The cost of repairs on the Welland Canal in the year 1861 amounted to $16,932, and of management, to $39,807. The expenditures on construction account, within the same period, were - widening canal, building guard gates, raising banks, etc., $82,322; superintendent's and other salaries, $5,100. The total revenue collected represented $241,029.
The performance of the tug service, between Lachine and Kingston, is being continued for $20,000 per annum. The following statement shows the number of towages and the amount collected on each division in 1861:
Upwards No. of towages Am't
Lachine to Beauharnois Canal 1,187 $9.610.57
Beauharnois Canal to Cornwall 975 15,963.57
Dickenson's Landing to Kingston 1,287 35,881.53
Kingston to Dickenson's Landing 1,028 20,550,86
Cornwall to Beauharnois Canal 797 7,972.57
Beauharnois Canal to Lachine 961 4,572.65
Showing an increase in the number of towages in 1861 of 82 1/2 per cent over those of 1860, and of 225 per cent over that of 1859; and an increase in the amount collected in 1861 of about 86 per cent over that of 1860, and 291 1/2 per cent over that of 1859. The maintenance of the 50 light houses between Lachine and Lake Huron involved expenditures in 1861 of $42,560.29.