Vancouver Favours Kootenay Railway, Fraser River Flood Protection – August 24, 1896

City Council passed a motion of support to be sent to both the Dominion and Provincial Parliaments in favour of building a railway to “the great mining districts of Similkeem, Rock Creek, Battle River, Boundary Creek and Kootenay.” Two more motions asked the Dominion (federal) Parliament to hire a “competent hydraulic engineer” to look into the Fraser River floods, and the Provincial Parliament to seek out financing for further dyking, “wherever practicable.”

This transcript was made in 2022 by Transcribimus volunteer Gerald Soon.


Original handwritten minutes: COV Archives Series 31
Volume 8 pages 283-293

To see or download photos of the original handwritten pages click on the buttons below (3 parts)

[Volume 7 page] 283

Vancouver August 24th 1896

The Council met on Monday August 24th 1896

Present – His Worship, the Mayor and Aldermen Painter, Banfield, Schou, McPhaiden, Clandenning, Brown, and MacDonald.

The Minutes of last meeting were read and adopted.


From the City Solicitor stating that there was no necessity to amend the By-Law to exempt the B.C. Iron Works as passed in the Second reading.

From the Chief of Police reporting on the electric lights.

From the Secretary of the Carnival Committee stating that the names of the Mayor and Council had been placed on the Reception Committee for Carnival Week and asking that they consent to act;

Resolved that the Secretary be informed that the Mayor and Council will consent to act on the Carnival Committee and that the Council will hold a meeting on Friday next at 7:30 P.M. to arrange details and that the other members of the Carnival Committee be invited to such meeting.

From Norman McLean, Secretary to the Promoters of the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway and Navigation Company stating that they had applied for a Charter to the Dominion and Provincial Governments and asking for the Council’s approval and endorsation.
Laid over for motions.

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From the Secretary of the Carnival Committee asking that Monday the 31st not be declared a civic holiday.
Resolved that his request be granted.

From the Secretary of the Carnival Committee asking for the use of the Market Hall free of Charge on Friday Sept 4th for the purpose of giving an exhibition by the Boys’ Brigade.

Moved by Alderman Clandenning
Seconded by “ MacDonald
That the Market Hall be given to the Boys Brigade free of charge for the night asked for by the same.

From the City Solicitor enclosing copy of letter received from Dr. Watt re the buildings on Dupont Street
Referred to the Health Committee

From the Rev E.D. McLaren asking the Council to use their influence to prevent a license to sell liquors being granted in Stanley Park during Carnival Week.

Moved by Alderman Brown
Seconded by “ Clandenning
That the Committee of the Brockton Point Grounds be asked not to permit during Carnival week the sale of Spirits or liquors on their grounds.

From W. Hepburn Secretary of the Trades and Labor Council drawing attention to violation of the 9 hour clause.
Referred to the Board of Works

From J.J. Dougan etal asking for a sidewalk on Harris St
Referred to the Board of Works.

From C.J. Marani asking the Council to pass a resolution regarding the deepening of the Fraser River.
Laid over for motions

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From Lee & Stewart etal Hackmen asking that outside Hackmen be not allowed to ply their trade in the City during Carnival Week
Referred to the Finance Committee.

From the Dominion Express Co enclosing an account for $5.50 express charges on Firemen’s Caps.

Moved by Alderman Banfield
Seconded by “ McPhaiden
That the account be paid.

From Alex Calley asking the Council to return a good dollar for a bogus dollar taken from him
Referred to the Police Committee

The following Reports were received and read.

Market and Police Committee

The Market and Police Committee met on Tuesday August 18th 1896
Present – Aldermen Caldwell, Painter and MacDonald

A communication was received from the Chief of Police reporting Special Officer J. A. Monteith as being under the influence of intoxicating liquor and unfit for duty at on about 1:15 Am on the 17th inst when on duty

The charge having been proven it was resolved that he be notified that his services are no longer required.

The following accounts were recommended for payment:-

J. Dodson Supplies $16.85

J. Stott “ .35

sgd Chas A. Coldwell. Chairman

[Volume 7 page] 286

Moved by Alderman Banfield

Seconded by “ McPhaiden

That the Report be adopted.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee met on Friday August 21st 1896
Present – Aldermen Banfield, Brown and Painter

The following account was recommended for payment:-

Clarke & Stuart Supplies $15.90

A deputation waited upon the Committee and asked that they recommend that a By-Law be introduced to provide for the licensing of properly conducted Music Halls.
The Committee promised to give the matter their consideration


From the City Solicitor advising that if there were no charges of incompetency or other reason urged against C. Tetley as for the reduction of his salary that the question of liability should be argued before the Court on a case stated.
Resolved that the City Solicitor be authorized to have the case tried in the manner suggested by him.

From the Hon J.H. Turner, Minister of Finance asking for a statement of the receipts and expenditures of all institutions in the City aided by the Provincial Government.
Resolved that his request be granted.

It was resolved that the Mayor, Aldermen and City Officials attend the funeral of the late Wm Brown in a body.

sgd J.J. Banfield

Moved by Alderman Banfield
Seconded by “ Painter
That the Report be adopted.

[Volume 7 page] 287

Health Committee

The Health Committee met on Wednesday August 19th 1896.
Present – the full Board

The following accounts were recommended for payment:-

McLennan & McFeely Supplies $2.40

Hopkirk & Spencer “ 8.

F. Ellison “ 58.16

W.J. McGuigan Inquest 10.

Alfred Poole Post-Mortem 10.

Crowder & Penzer Supplies 23.39

C. Anderson “ 6.95

C. S. Philp “ 22.38


From the Coroner enclosing a copy of the Verdict on the Inquest of Lee Sam, recommending that Dupont Street be put into a Sanitary condition and asking that the law in regard to the reporting of the sick be strictly enforced.

Resolved that the attention of the Medical Council be called to the fact that the Chinese Doctors are practising among their countrymen on Dupont Street and that they be asked to take steps to put an end to it in the interest of public health.

From G. W. Thomas asking for assistance in deepening the well at the Cemetery.

Resolved that he be allowed to engage assistance to outlay not to exceed $10.00

From C.A. Lett complaining about odors arising from shacks being rebuilt on the corner of Dunsmuir and Hamilton Streets

Matter left in the hands of the Health Inspector to attend to.

From the Milk Inspector furnishing Report.

From R. Marrion Health Inspector furnishing Report and advising that the lanes in

[Volume 7 page] 288

Block 58.D.L. 541 and Block 49 D.L. 196 be provided with box drains to keep them in Sanitary Condition
Referred to the Board of Works

Resolved that the Chinese be permitted to erect a furnace in their portion of the Cemetery grounds to enable them to carry out their funeral rites.

Communications were received from Alderman Schou and the Rev Mr. Haddon drawing attention to the fact that assistance was needed for Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Pollard respectively

The former wished to get a pass to Rossland B.C. and the latter to Montreal where she could secure a passage to England.

The Board resolved as follows:-

“That the Managers of the Alexandra orphanage be requested to admit the children of Mrs. Howard into the Home to give her an opportunity to provide for herself.”

The Committee having taken fully into consideration the case of Mrs Pollard who is old and destitute and without friends in the City; and as it has been represented that she is able to reach Montreal that she will procure a passage to England be it therefore resolved that while the Committee do not believe in paying out money in this manner they feel assured that it will be a saving in the end and would recommend that a ticket be purchased for her to Montreal at the reduced rate.

sgd D. McPhaiden

Moved by Alderman McPhaiden
Seconded by “ MacDonald
That the Report be adopted.

[Volume 7 page] 289

Board of Works

The Board of Works met on the 28th of August
Present – the full Board


From J. W. Horne submitting plans etc of a brick building to be erected in Lots 16 & 18 Block 7 D.L. 196. Cordova Street East for approval.

Resolved that the plans etc be approved subject to the foundation walls being made satisfactory to the City Engineer

From T.A. Fee asking for a continuation of the new sidewalk to be put down on Broughton Street as he is about to build.

Resolved that Mr. Fee be informed that the matter will be taken up as soon as he gets his house built.

Resolved that the communication from J. H. Roberts re Clark Drive be referred to next year’s Council.

Resolved that the Agents of the Thomson [Ogle] Block Hastings Street be notified by the Chief of Police about the necessity of removing the loose brick on the parapet wass as the present state of it is considered to be dangerous.

The following tenders were recommended for acceptance:-

Comox St: Sidewalk S. Sheridan 14¢ per pt

Broughton “ “ G. Wright 14¢ “ “

Hornby “ “ W.G. Fraser 14¢ “ “

The following accounts were recommended for payment:-

News.Advertiser Ads $2.43

Evans.Coleman & Evans Supplies 1.60

S. Sheridan West Min Bridge 93.73

J.D. Fraser Granville St. Walk 192.12

sgd H.J. Painter

[Volume 7 page] 290

Moved by Alderman Painter
Seconded by “ McPhaiden
That the Report be adopted.


Moved by Alderman Banfield
Seconded by “ McPhaiden
That all salaries falling due on the 1st of September be paid on the 29th of August.

Moved by Alderman Brown
Seconded by “ Clandenning
That the Clerk be and is hereby instructed to notify the Consolidated Ry Co that the part of the Agreement between the Company and the City respecting the percentage of the fares for passengers to and from the City limits on the Westminster Branch takes effect on and after the 24th day of August 1896.

Moved by Alderman Banfield
Seconded by “ Clandenning
Having carefully considered the route of the proposed Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway and Navigation Company and being fully aware of the great benefit the said railway will be to the people of this City in giving them direct communication with a trade that is already established in the great mining districts of Similkeem, Rock Creek, Battle River, Boundary Creek and Kootenay, a trade which is now one of the greatest in Canada and will increase every year as the mines are developed and the Country is opened up under the present conditions the merchants of this City cannot compete with the merchants of Spokane owing to the lack of direct railway, communication consequently this trade is lost to Canada and is monopolized by the people of the United States.

Be it therefore resolved that we fully approve

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of the construction of the said railway and respectfully ask that a charter be granted and every encouragement possible be given to the said Company so that the said road may be built at the earliest possible date.

That a copy of this resolution be sent to our representatives in the Dominion and Provincial Parliaments requesting them to assist in having the wishes of the petitioners carried out.


Moved by Alderman Banfield
Seconded by “ Brown

Whereas it is a fact that the waters of the lower Fraser River are becoming annually more widespread and divided into numerous small channels and as a consequence thereof wash into, destroy, and overflow large quantities of valuable land and improved farms on both sides of the river,

And whereas in and along the main channel of the river, logdrifts, snags and jams are allowed to form nothing being done to remove the same and by reason of such logs and jams stopping and forming in the main channel as also by reason of the existence of these numerous small channels and the fortuous nature of their courses, gravel silt and sand collect around such obstructions and form islands in a very short space of time

And whereas by reason of such formation of islands, or sand bars, the channel of the river is filling up and becoming shallower and the current of the river is thus made to flow on either side of such islands and sand bars thus infringing on the opposite banks and causing erosions of the same,

And whereas by reason of the channel of the river being so silted up, the adjacent lands have to a large extent been rendered valueless for farming purposes crops being

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Destroyed by overflow, fences carried away fruit trees damaged and ruin brought to the farmers.

And whereas the evidence of the captains of the river steamers, who have for a long time past been navigating the Fraser shows that the river in the center is of much less depth than it formerly was and that in consequence the navigation of the river is impeded and that after August of each year the Fraser above Chilliwack is not navigable for steamers whilst a few years ago it was navigable for larger steamers up as far as Yale during the whole year when free from ice.

And whereas by reason of the loss thus sustained and the hopeless outlook, many farmers have already left their farms and if matters are allowed to remain as they are others must do the same and this section of the country become depopulated.

Be it therefore resolved that the Dominion Government be respectfully requested to approve as soon as possible a competent hydraulic engineer and instruct him to take such steps as he shall deem advisable to remedy the evils complained of and with the least possible delay.

Moved by Alderman Banfield
Seconded by “ Brown,

Whereas in consequence of the disastrous floods of 1894 followed by extreme high water in 1895 and by another disastrous flood in 1896, many farmers and residents of lands living near the Fraser River have abandoned the homes and farms and many are preparing to do so unless some steps be taken to protect the lands from such floods.

Whereas unless protective dykes are erected in certain localities a large portion of the Valley of the Lower Fraser will become depopulated and ruin brought on many settlers and farmers.

And whereas in consequence of

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The magnitude of the work necessary to protect the said lands it is not within the scope of individual effort but must be undertaken by the country as a whole.

Be it therefore resolved that the Provincial Government be respectfully requested to in abate and give support at the ensuing session of Parliament to legislation that will enable the Government to furnish money at as cheap a rate as it can be obtained on Provincial Credit such money to be expended in dyking lands against the overflow of the Fraser in such localities as it shall be found practicable to dyke; and in view of the fact that many farmers have already left their farms and others are preparing to leave them, unless assured that some remedy for the evil will be provided; the government be urgently requested to carry into effect this resolution at as early a date as possible.


Reconsideration of By-Law

Moved by Alderman Banfield
Seconded by “ McPhaiden
That the By-Law to fix polling places etc on the BC Iron Works Exemption By-Law be reconsidered and finally passed and the Corporate seal affixed thereto.

The Council then adjourned

Henry Collins

Thomas McGuigan
City Clerk