The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 3 Apr 1899

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A bill has been introduced into the House of Commons by B.M. Britton (Kingston) respecting certain works constructed in or over navigable waters. The old act of Canada, chap. 92, provides for getting the approval of the governor-in-council for the construction of any work in harbors or upon navigable waters. Plans have to be filed with the minister of public works and in the registry office of the district where work is to be done. That act also provided that like approval might be obtained for works then actually constructed, that is to say, constructed prior to 1886. In forgetfulness of that act, or supposing that approval might be obtained even after new works were constructed, there are several docks and piers in different harbors and upon navigable waters constructed since 1886, for which no approval has been obtained, nor can be under the present act. The object of the amendment is to permit any local authority, company or person to proceed either in the same way as is necessary to get approval of works to be constructed or in some other way to obtain such approval.

The explanation of the act is that the Montreal transportation company, through Capt. Gaskin's direction, has extended its wharves several times, after receiving permission from the city council, believing that was all that was necessary. Last year, after building the elevators on one of the extended wharves, the company learned that it had transgressed dominion laws. Applying to the minister of justice for approval of the extension, the company found that such an approval could only be obtained in advance; the department had no power of after approval. So the department has to be appealed to for a white-washing act.



Assurances Given The Local Deputation.

The joint board of trade and civic delegation from Kingston returned by Saturday night's train with some assurances of the success of their trip. The mayor and alderman Elliott represented the city council, and John Gaskin, Allen Chadwick and E.J.H. Pense went on behalf of the board of trade. In company with a delegation of ten from Montreal, headed by president McPhee, of the Corn exchange, they had an interview with Sir Wilfred Laurier, premier, Sir Louis Davies and Hon. Messrs. Tarte, Blair and Dobell.

The first question discussed was that of the early opening of the canals. Addresses were made by Messrs. McPhee, Pense, Elliott and Gaskin. They represented that the canals for ten years had not been opened later than the 22nd April, that this year discouraging word had been received by the board officials and unusual advertisements had appeared indicating that the opening would be delayed till May 1st. This meant serious loss to the large boats in Kingston and at other Lake Ontario ports, because the early trips of the year were usually the most renumerative. If Lake Ontario boats could not get the grain it would go to Buffalo. Kingston winters more boats than all the other ports of Lake Ontario combined, and if these boats were forced to lay up west of the Welland canal, because of delay in its opening, this would mean a serious loss to our chief merchantile interest. The city had done a great deal to help capture the grain transportation trade which went to Buffalo in such vast volumes. The city gave $60,000 in bonuses and private enterprise has put $250,000 more in elevator property, in addition to the vast investment in tugs and barges. This was not alone a local investment, but it was a matter of such national importance that the Hon. J.I. Tarte had accepted Kingston's action as an important step in promoting the Canadian route and had done the most effective work yet performed for the harbor, the dredging operations of last summer. The government had annually met the petitions of the marine interests for the early opening of the canal in the best spirit and the delegation hoped that this year the same spirit would prevail. They had no doubt whatever of the good intentions of the ministers, but officials as a rule were loath to show their desire to please the public and very often create unnecessary alarm.

Hon. A.G. Blair said that the alarm on this occasion was unnecessary, that there was a decided misapprehension. He had given orders for the canals to be opened at the earliest possible moment and if the necessary repairs were not serious he had no doubt that passage would be possible on or near the 22nd inst. The official notice that had gone out fixing the opening for May 1st, was not sent forth with his knowledge but it was the usual annual notice, though the delegation must here explain that this notice had never been promulgated to the same extent in former years as has been done this year, this probably is responsible for much of the alarm. The delegation are quite satisfied that Mr. Blair's intention is to hurry up the opening....

Hon. Mr. Tarte was seen regarding the dredging of the harbor. He stated it was impossible to retain the dredge here this summer. There was such a demand for it that he had to do dredging by piece-meal, and this year he required one for important operations on the Saguenay, but he assured the delegation that he was pleased with the work he was able to do in Kingston harbor, and having now provided a channel 200 feet wide, he hoped this would do as a temporary provision for an eighteen-foot channel. He intended to complete the work and did not make any hesitation in that announcement. The delegation retired perfectly satisfied that next season the dredge will be brought back to widen the channel. Mayor Ryan, on behalf of the citizens of Kingston thanked the government for this work of dredging. It was undoubtedly a great boon to the port, just as it would be a great help to the Canadian national route. The assurances of Mr. Tarte that he would complete the original plan of dredging to its full extent was gratifying to the delegation, and they were not so unreasonable as to urge him to break a pledge he had made of placing the dredge elsewhere this year.....

p.5 Customs Officer's Death - St. Thomas, April 3rd - collector of customs W.Y. Emery; resided in Port Burwell for thirty-five years, where he was interested in mercantile and shipping business; built the sailing vessel W.Y. Emery, now owned in Toronto.

p.8 The Lake Is Open - as far down as Nine Mile Point.

General Paragraphs - The steamer Chicora will be dry-docked here as soon as accommodation can be furnished her. Her owners have asked for the 20th inst.

All Ready To Leave - Capt. D. Bates has the schooner Fabiola, wintering at Fairhaven, all ready to run over to Kingston as soon as word is received that the harbor is open. The schooner is coal-laden for Anglin & Son.

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3 Apr 1899
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 3 Apr 1899