The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Dec. 19, 1876

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A letter appears in another column signed "A Citizen" adverse to the proposed Dry Dock By-law, not criticising it, however, upon its merits, but rather upon the alleged inability of the city to pay the proposed contribution. As the matter is one of some importance to the ratepayers, whose votes will be necessary to pass the By-law, we are desirous of opening our columns to the discussion of the subject. We think the promoters of the By-law would do well to enlighten the public on the merits of the subject and particularly as to the names of the stockholders in the "Power Dry Dock Company," with the amount of stock subscribed for and paid, the nature and extent of the work executed and to be executed, and its probable cost, etc. Many of the citizens who are at present disposed to look upon the matter unfavourably might have their objections removed by satisfactory explanations, and it is with this view that we now invite attention to the matter.


To the Editor of the Daily News.

Dear Sir; - You certainly have conferred a favour on the city generally in opening your columns to discuss the merits of the proposed grant of $15,000 to the Power Dry Dock. Apart from the merits of the same, the question arises - Is the city in a position to make the grant? We are already under a very heavy debt, perhaps not so much as Ottawa, Hamilton or Toronto, but considering our ability to pay, quite as much. Ottawa has a fine system of water works to show for its debt, which we have not. Toronto is a large, growing city, and can afford to do many things which Kingston cannot. Very lately we have granted a very large bonus to the Kingston and Pembroke Railroad, which we hope may not be quite so bad an investment as sometime ago it appeared; but, all things considered, we certainly should not think of increasing our debt at present. One thing about this dry dock matter looks very bad - to see an Alderman of the city sitting in his place at the Board and pressing this matter so much as he does. It certainly is not right. We have heard a good deal of bribery and corruption in days past, but this matter seems to attract very little attention, and to my view should not be tolerated. As to the dry dock itself we cannot see what claim it can have on the city as a whole. It was got up by certain gentlemen, whom I need not name, and they have gone on with the matter and expended a certain amount; to help them they got an Act of Parliament passed allowing the city to grant them the use of the street. The city has done so, expecting that they had done their share in the way of assistance, and now when they find that the matter has been and is going to be unprofitable, they ask the city to be their partner in this doubtful speculation. If it had turned out a profitable operation they would never have asked the city to be partners with them. Therefore the best thing we can do is to allow them to work the matter out as best they can, and if they go on expending as profitably as heretofore the less the city has to do with it the better.

There are a great many things we require to have done in and around the city, if we had the means to do it, which would benefit us far more than the said dry dock, but our present duty is to husband our resources and pay off some of our present debt, and when the time comes that we are in the position we can find many things far more beneficial than this dry dock.

Dec. 18th A Citizen

p.4 City Council - The Dry Dock

Ald. Metcalfe rose to ask Ald. Gaskin how he reconciled his opposition to the Power Dry Dock in the Council with his saying outside that he would vote for it ?

Ald. Gaskin, in reply, said that whether the Dry Dock was a paying concern or not, the Company he represented would be benefitted by it, and thus it was that after thinking the matter over he concluded at last that it would pay him to vote for it. It did not alter his opinion, however, that the Dry Dock would never pay the city for spending the money on it, and he believed that ultimately some private firm would take it and the shipyard in hand and run them both together. The question asked by Ald. Metcalfe looked to him (Ald. Gaskin) to be a "put up" job, and he was not afraid to answer it.

Ald. Power said that he was entirely innocent in this matter, as he neither inspired nor wished the question to be put, considering that the matter had been settled last week.

Ald. Metcalfe was also in the act of exonerating Ald. Power, when the Council adjourned at 11:30 p.m.

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Dec. 19, 1876
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Dec. 19, 1876