Council Denies Secret Amendments to Charter – December 24, 1894

Several citizens complained to the Legislative Assembly in Victoria that Vancouver City Council had made hasty and secret amendments to the City Charter in a meeting without quorum. Council completely refuted these accusations and called them “a slander”. Shown above are the first purpose-built Legislative Buildings in Victoria, the “Birdcages,” to whom the citizens sent their complaint. By late 1894 the Birdcages were being replaced by today’s buildings.

This transcript was made in 2021 by Transcribimus volunteer Anonymous.

Illustration: detail from City of Victoria Archives
reference number Item M09620 –
The “Birdcages”, the first Legislative Buildings

Original handwritten minutes: City of Vancouver Archives
COV S 31 Volume 6 pages 353 – 361

to see the original handwritten minutes, click on the buttons below (two parts)

Vancouver December 24th 1894

The Council met on Monday December 24th 1894 at 8 p.m.
Present His Worship the Mayor and Aldermen Salsbury, Shaw, Queen, McDowell, McCraney, McPhaiden, Wm Brown and C. L. Brown

The minutes of last meeting were read and adopted.


From Mc Phillips + Williams, asking on behalf of Messrs Purdy + Williams for another payment on the Reservor.
Referred to the Water Committee

From Robert Barker asking for a surface drain through Lot 7.Block 16.196.
Referred to the Board of Works.

From the School Board, asking that the School Teachers be paid their salaries.

Moved by Alderman McCraney
Seconded by “ C. L. Brown
That the salaries of the School Teachers and City Officer including H. Henderson be paid on the 29th Dec 1894 in order to close the accounts for the year.

From W. H. Kendall submitting the names of Thos Dunn + W. A. Mc Intosh as his sureties.
Referred to the Board of Works

From the board of Works asking the Council to fix the amount of Dr. Kendall’s bond.
Referred to the Finance Committee

From H. Lee etal labourers on the Reservoir…

[Volume 6 page] 354

…asking for another payment.
Referred to the City Solicitor.

From W. H. Gallagher etal asking the Mayor to call a Public Meeting in the Market Hall on Monday Thursday the 27th inst for the purpose of considering the amendments to the Charter.
Request granted

From A. A. Board + co + R. B. Ellis, asking if the Council will accept Policies on the Policemen from unlicensed companies.
Referred to the Police Committee

From Lucy R. Johnson etal subscribing 10.00 towards assisting Mr. Williams a shackite.
Referred to the Finance Committee

From the Chief of Police reporting on the electric lights.

From D. McRae etal, asking the council to donate $600.00 towards the support of the Children’s Home.
Referred to the Health Committee.

The following Reports were received.

Board of Works

The board of Works met on Thursday December 20th 1894.
Present Aldermen McCraney, Wm Brown, C. L. Brown and Queen.


From Thos. Dunn + co. enclosing an order from D. McGillivray and asking for payment of cost of rails delivered on Hastings Street, amounting to $2100.
Referred to the Finance committee

From M. Wolf, Secretary, Nanaimo W. W. Co. asking if the City can supply them with 1200 feet 6” black cast iron pipe.
City Engineer to reply.

[Volume 6 page] 355

From E. Odlum, Alex Bate, James How and J. Z. Hall asking for improvements.
Laid over.

From Bridge + Hunter asking that the lane between Hastings + Cordova Streets and Seymour and Richards Streets be made passable and the water drained off.
Referred to the City Engineer.

From W. A. Mace, asking to be released from his bond for use of the Street adjoining the “Arcade”.
City Engineer to see that the sidewalk +c is in order, then the bond to be released.

From W. B. Battison, asking for a way in, and out of his premises on Lansdowne street and the water drained off.
Referred to the chain Gang

Resolved that D. McGillivray be requested to reinsure the cement stored for the street paving.

The City Solicitor submitted a draft contract for Dr. Kendall to sign which with certain alterations was approved subject to the proper assignment of A. E. E. Clark’s contract.

That as there is no Street Inspector at

[Volume 6 page] 356

present, that the Chief of police be instructed to prevent any infractions of City By-Laws in the way of obstructions to streets lanes and sidewalks and also to report all broken planks or dangerous places to the City Engineer’s Office.

The following accounts were recommended for payment:-
D. McGillavray Paving $1486.46
R. A. Dickie Supplies 23.79
W. G. Harris “ 18.30
J. G. Duffie “ 4.88
W. C. Marshall 1.25
G. Prastley 13.00
Champion + White 74.00
Thos. Dunn + co. 12.90
Evans, Coleman + Evans 2.40
James foster 4.85
B. C. Iron Works 24.28
Clarke + Stuart 2.15
W. L. Tait 47.84
Morgan etal 485.80

That the account of A. W. Sullivan for rebate for cement sidewalk opposite the Sullivan Block amounting to $57.12 be passed subject to the usual bond being executed.

Sgd H. P. McCraney

Moved by Alderman Queen
Seconded by “ C. L. Brown
That the Report be adopted

Moved in amendment by Alderman McDowell
Seconded by Alderman Salsbury

[Volume 6 page] 357

That the clause in reference to the rock crushing contract be referred to the Finance Committee.
Amendment carried.

Moved by Alderman McDowell
Seconded by “ Salsbury
That the Report as amended be adopted.

Finance Committee

The Finance committee met on Friday December 21st 1894.
Present Aldermen Wm Brown (in the Chair) Bethune and Mcphaiden.


From C. D. Rand, Secretary of Vancouver Improvement Co agreeing to pay $800 for the ends of Lots 1.2.3. 7 + 8. Block 48. D. L. 181.

From Joseph B. Rovas asking that he be paid for work performed on the Capilano.

From W. H. DeBou asking for the payment of his milk account.

From Edward Winter Smith asking for the refund of a license paid by him as a private hawker.
Referred to the City Solicitor

From Thos. Dun submitting an assignment from D. McGillivray.
Laid over.

The following accounts were recommended for payment:-
E. Meachin Balance of Library Grant $1000.00

[Volume 6 page] 358

B. C. Gazette Advertising $623.50
F. Filion Supplies 7.76
News Advertiser “ 46.95

sgd. W. F. Salsbury

Moved by Alderman Salsbury
Seconded by “ McPhaiden
that the Report be adopted.

Police Committee

The Police committee met on Wednesday December 19th 1894.
Present Aldermen C. L. Brown, Wm brown and McPhaiden.

The following accounts were recommended for payment:-

John McLaren Fares $12.75
McLennan + McFeely, Supplies 4.95
Wm Ralph “ 2.75
G. R Gordon “ 1.50
Nelson + Martin “ 21.85
McIntosh + co “ 30.70
Dunn + co “ 3.55
W. G. Warren “ 1.00
J. G. Campbell “ 327.00
Russell, McDonald + co “ 2.10
C. S. Philp “ 5.51
C. Nelson “ 1.05

sgd C. L. Brown

Moved by Alderman Salsbury
Seconded by “ McCraney
That the report be adopted.

[Volume 6 page] 359

Water Committee

The Water Committee met on Tuesday December 18th 1894.
Present Aldermen Wm Brown, McPhaiden and Queen.


From H. Robson Jones offering three diving suits for sale.

From Purdy + Williams enclosing account for extras on reservoir contact:-
Referred to the City Solicitor and City Engineer

From Wilson + Campbell enclosing an assignment from Purdy + Williams to B. C. Mills T + T Co for $391.50.
Referred to the City Solicitor

The foreman’s report of work done from Dec 4 to date was received and filed.

From the Municipality of North Vancouver enclosing an account enclosing an account for taxes etc.
Referred to the City Solicitor

The following accounts were recommended for payment:-
S. Madison, Supplies $4.80
W. L. Tait “ 46.62
City Printing Works “ 3.00
J. Rouse Labor 6.00
Geo Wright “ 10.00
News Advertiser Supplies 2.10
Clark + Stuart “ 1.65
Columbia Carriage Works “ 1.35
Thurston + Sons “ 3.83
Thos. Dunn + co “ 15.40
McLennan + McFeely “ 12.99
W. H. Sim + co “ 8.00
Thos. Dunn + co “ 9.03
B. C. Iron Works “ 678.24
Diplock + co “ 6.00

[Volume 6 page] 360

J. Miller Supplies $30.00
W. Hooper etal Labor 415.35

sgd Wm Brown

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


Moved by Alderman McDowell
Seconded by “ Brown
That we the aldermen of the City Council appreciate the right of our citizens to criticize our civic conduct on behalf of the City but while we recognize and court such criticism we regret that certain citizens should in a petition to the Hon the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province praying that amendments to the City Charter be refused have charged us with having proposed amendments formulated in closed and secret meetings of the Council, that a quorum was not present at special meetings called to decide on proposed amendments, that the amendments were hurriedly prepared in secret conclave.
That we declare those statements to be altogether false and their appearance in said petition a slander on this Council and a detriment to our City.

[Volume 6 page] 361

Notice of Motion

Alderman C L. Brown gave notice that at next meeting he would move the following resolution:-
That Mr. Wiffin be notified to put his lot on Dupont Street in a proper condition as regards health in as short a time a possible.

R. A. Anderson

Thos. F. McGuigan
City Clerk