Vancouver Objects to Federal Government Cuts to Leper Colony Funding – August 23, 1897

Chinese leper, D'arcy Island

[Vancouver] Council can see no just reason why the Dominion Government should not make an annual grant in support of the [D’arcy Island leper colony. Committee approved the Finance & Health Committee’s joint recommendation that Mr. James Wilkinson, a chronic patient, be sent to England at the Charity rate viz $75.35.

This transcription was made in 2022 by Transcribimus volunteer Lynn Shane

Illustration Source: BCA Item F-05162 – Chinese man affected with leprosy, D’Arcy Island

Text Source: COVA Series 31
Volume 7 pages 675 – 681

August 23 1897 Vancouver City Council minutes – part oneAugust 23 1897 Vancouver City Council minutes – part two
To read or download the original handwritten minutes from August 23 1897, click on the boxes above (two parts)

[Volume 7 page] 675

Vancouver City Council Minutes

Vancouver August 23rd 1897

The Council met on Monday August 23rd 1897.

Present: His Worship, the Mayor and Aldermen Painter, Townley, McQueen, Neelands, McPhaiden, Clandenning, Brown, W.S. MacDonald and D.G. McDonald.

The Minutes of last meeting were read and adopted.


From Archie Robinson etal asking for the opening up of Raymur Avenue between Hastings and Harris Streets.
Referred to the Board of Works.

From J. Buntzen acknowledging receipt of communication re fenders to cars.

From the Chief of Police reporting on the electric lights.

The following Reports were received and read:

Health Committee

The Health Committee met on Wednesday August 18th 1897.
Present: Aldermen Painter, Neelands, W.S. MacDonald and D.G. McDonald.

The following accounts were recommended for payment:
Mrs. Robinson. Goods destroyed $3.50
St. Luke’s Home Boarding Mrs. Crook 20.00
McDowell & Co. Supplies 55.39
J.C. Woodrow “ 40.50
C.S. Philp “ 28.76
F. Ellison “ 59.30
News. Advertiser “ 17.20
McLennan & McFeely” 36.85
A. Derrocherr Labor 20.00

[Volume 7 page] 676

James Carnahan Scavengering $6.75
Hopkirk & Spence Supplies 5.75
J. Dodson “ 13.90
J.W. Mallory Wages 54.00
J.M. Maclean Attendance on Mrs. Crook 10.00
Champion & White Scavengering .50
C. Clark Supplies 4.30

The following tenders were received for plumbing the new addition to the City Hospital:
Knowdell, Hodgson & Brown $371.
McIntyre & Barr 475

Resolved that the tender of Knowdell, Hodgson & Brown be recommended for acceptance.

A communication was received from Miss Macfie, asking that James Wilkinson, a former inmate of the City Hospital, an incurable be sent to Liverpool, England.

Resolved that we recommend that James Wilkinson be sent to England and that the City Clerk be authorized to purchase a ticket for him at the Charity rate.

Resolved that the City provide board at St. Luke’s Home for Mrs. Crook for three weeks longer as recommended by the Medical Health officer.

Sgd W.S. MacDonald
Acting Chairman

Moved by Alderman Neelands.
Seconded by “ McQueen.
That the item of $3.50 recommended to be paid Mrs. Robinson be struck out and that the balance of the Report be adopted as read.

[Volume 7 page] 677

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee met on Friday August 20th 1897.
Present: Aldermen McQueen, Townley, Brown and D.G. McDonald.

The following accounts were recommended for payment:
Bank of B.N.A. Interest $634.55
News. Advertiser Supplies 1.80

The following contract was approved and authorized to be signed by the Mayor and City Clerk and the Corporate Seal affixed thereto.
Smead, Dowd & Co. Heating Hospital.

The City Clerk reported that the Health Committee had recommended that James Wilkinson, a chronic patient, be sent to England at the Charity rate viz $75.35.
Resolved that the action of the Health Committee be confirmed by this Board.

From the City Clerk of Victoria enclosing a resolution passed by the Council of Victoria praying the Dominion Government to continue the grant for the Leper Station on Darcy Island and requesting the Council of Vancouver to endorse same.
Referred to the Chairman and the City Solicitor to draft a suitable resolution.

From W.A. Purdy & Co. Advertising Agents Toronto asking for City advertising.
Filed for reference.

Resolved that the Insurance on the Grand Stand and Stables on the Race Course at Hastings be renewed and that the premium $23.00 be collected from the Jockey Club as per agreement.

Resolved that the buildings on the Keefer launch be reinsured for three years for $100, such insurance to be placed with the

[Volume 7 page] 678

Pacific Coast Insurance Company.

A deputation from the Board of Trade waited upon the Committee and asked that a sum of money be voted by Council to advertise Vancouver in the east.

Resolved that a Committee of the Council be appointed to interview Mr. Shaughnessy, Vice President of the C.P.R. Co. on his arrival here in reference to trade matters and that the Board of Trade be asked to cooperate.

Sgd Jas McQueen

Moved by Alderman Brown.
Seconded by “ McQueen.
That the Report be adopted.


Moved by Alderman McQueen.
Seconded by “ Painter.
That the Mayor and full Council be a Committee to act in conjunction with the Board of Trade to interview Mr. Shaughnessy in relation to trade matters.

Moved by Alderman McQueen.
Seconded by “ McPhaiden.
That Alderman Clandenning be granted one month’s leave of absence.

Moved by Alderman Townley.
Seconded by Alderman Painter.
That the attention of our member be called to nuisance from the fish offal deposited on our shores, and asking him to bring the matter to the Notice of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries with a view of having same abated.

[Volume 7 page] 679

Moved by Alderman McQueen.
Seconded by “ Neelands
Whereas subsequent to the establishment of the Darcy Island Leper Station the Dominion Government appropriated the sum of $1000 annually towards the maintenance of the Institution until the 30th day of June 1894.

For additional information on the D’arcy Island leper Colony, please see this article from reporter Stephan Ruttan, Victoria Times Colonist, Nov 4, 2012 – Lynn Shane

And whereas after repeated and urgent applications to the Government requesting that the said grant be continued a definite reply has been received from the Department of Agriculture by the City of Victoria, dated the 22nd of July 1897 informing the Council that the Minister has decided that he cannot see his way to make any grant.

And whereas by the refusal on the part of the Government to renew the grant, the unfortunate people now confined on the Station will be left unprovided for unless the cities of Nanaimo, Vancouver and Victoria voluntarily undertake to make provision for them.

And whereas (it is respectfully suggested) the responsibility of making proper provision for the care and isolation of lepers rests with the Government of the Dominion and not with either of the cities, the lepers not being citizens of either of the cities nor do the class from which the lepers come contribute to the funds of the cities but to the revenue of the Dominion by a payment of a per capita tax.

And whereas the cost of the maintenance of the Leper Station at Tracadie, N.B. is borne by the Dominion Government.

And whereas the disease of leprosy so far as British Columbia is concerned has been confined exclusively to the Chinese immigrants upon which class of immigrant the Government levies a head tax of $50.00, the greater portion of which goes into the Dominion Treasury.

And whereas in the Estimates for 1895 and 1896 provision was made by the Government for the continuance of the paid grant.

[Volume 7 page] 680

Therefore be it resolved:

(1) That this Council can see no just reason why the Dominion Government should not make an annual grant in support of the said Institution.

2. That they can and do see that a grave and palpable injustice may be inflicted on the unfortunate lepers by the refusal of the Government to provide for their maintenance.

3. That in the opinion of this Council the large amount of revenue received annually by the Dominion Government from the tax upon Chinese immigrants must be much more than sufficient to defray all charges and claims caused by such immigration, including the maintenance of the lepers.

4. That the obligation of the Dominion Government to maintain the institution is demonstrated by all the facts of the case, and has been practically admitted by the Government itself by the consecutive payments by it annually of $1000 prior to the 30th of June 1894 in support of the institution.

5. That this Council feeling certain that the Department has not given the subject the consideration to which it is entitled requests respectfully that the whole matter may be reconsidered by the Department once more, in the hope that the manifest justice of the application upon this matter may impress itself upon the Department and induce consent to making a grant in support of the Leper Station at Darcy Island.

And that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Dominion Government through our Member and that said Member be asked to endorse same.

Notice of Motion

Alderman Townley gave notice that at next meeting of Council he would introduce a By-Law

[Volume 7 page] 681

to amend By-Law No. 177.

The Council then adjourned.

W. Templeton

Thos F. McGuigan
City Clerk