I find from the report of my officers that the complaint is not reasonable under the circumstances so that really the hon. gentleman is not going to ask me to search for complaints. If the lights are not sufficient it is for the marine men to say they are not.
Yes. There is another matter which has been brought up and which I might dispose of now. That is the Parry Sound buoy contract.
Previous to 1898 the buoys in the vicinity of Parry Sound were all spar buoys, with the exception of one bell buoy, and the work was carried out by contract.
In 189S three gas buoys were established in the vicinity of Parry Sound and tenders were asked for the maintenance of these buoys, and the following tenders were received, which were solely for the maintenance of the proposed new gas buoys:
James Playfair, vessel owner,
Midland $ 300 00
Galna & Danter, contractors
Parry Sound 900 00
A. W. Clarke, mariner, Parry
Sound 1,000 00
And later the tender of James Playfair was withdrawn as he informed the department that he had made a mistake.
The chief engineer, Colonel Anderson, reported on these tenders as follows :
I strongly recommend that none of these tenders he accepted, but that the service he done on the basis of payment for actual work until we are in a better position to judge of its actual cost. Mr. Playfair's offer, which was withdrawn, was not a desirable one to accept under any circumstances, because Midland, where Mr. Playfair's plant is, is about forty miles away from the nearest buoy and I believed the price was less than the work could be properly done for. I cannot recommend the acceptance of either of the other tenders, because I think they are higher than the work is worth, and I think we can do the work by the day very much less per annum. The buoys (spar) have heretofore been handled by Captains A. W. Clarke and E. S. Pratt, the contractors for the other buoy service at Parry Sound. These men own four steamers ferrying and towing in Parry Sound, and are themselves local pilots and directly interested in maintaining an efficient buoy service. They are also in close touch with the masters of all the large vessels coming into the Sound. It was they who put the buoys out, and the way they handled the work was particularly satisfactory. Therefore to maintain the service on the basis of a charge of $25 per day for tug and scow, work on shore to be charged according to the time occupied by the men employed, would, I believe, result in work being done for less than the tenders, and I am certain that it would be done in a more thorough manner. I would impress upon the department the necessity for prompt and efficient service in connection with this gas buoy service, and it is because I believe Captain Clarke is in the best position to do satisfactory work that I so strongly recommend that it be left in his hands.
Accordingly, from 1898 to 1900 the Parry Sound spar and gas buoy service -was carried out by contract for the spar buoys, and
by clays' work for the gas buoys at the following cost:
In 1898 $1,143 00In 1899
1.441 25In 1900
In December, 1900, Captain Clarke made an offer to enter into a contract with the department for three years to perform its buoy service for the sum of $1,400.
The chief engineer stated that Captain Clarke was building a new tug equipped with derrick for handling the moorings and strongly recommended that his offer be accepted. An allowance was made later to Captain Clarke of $75 per annum for the maintenance of one iron buoy at Three Star Shoal.
On the termination of Captain Clarke's contract in March, 1904, it was renewed for the sum of $1,600, being an increase of $125 per annum for substantially the same reasons as advanced by the chief engineer in recommending the acceptance of Captain Clarke's tender in the first instance.
The addition of three gas buoys and a gas beacon at Kilbear Point, being added to the contract, Captain Clarke was allowed the sum of $1,000 per annum additional, the additional price being based on the cost of the contract held by him and because it was efficiently performed.
The establishment of a buoy depot at Parry Sound will lead the department to undertake the buoy service in Georgian bay with its own steamers and under its own officers and will eventually lead to the cancelling of all buoy contracts in Georgian bay.
Reference has been made to the proposed establishment of a buoy depot by the depot at Parry Sound. I thought I had made myself fairly understood by the committee the last time. I thought I had explained completely that the government had entered into negotiations with the Ottawa Bank or its representatives to purchase a property at Parry Sound for $5,500, that the property consisted of about three acres of land on the shore, with a wharf constructed which would accommodate our department and with a large stone building which had been used for some time as a manufacturing establishment and that there was a boiler, engines and other machinery on the property.
The negotiations were suspended because some one had intervened and tried to get an option on the property for $7,500 or $2,000 more than we offered. We dropped the matter at the time, but I have since learned that our bargain is a good one and that it is in the interest of the House and the country that we should pay $5,500 for this property. There is some little difficulty as to the right to a passageway which can be settled with the Ontario government. I believe that the purchase of this property for $5,500 including costs, commissions &c., is
a good purchase. We could not get any property in the neighbourhood at any such reasonable price, and then we would have to erect the buildings and buy the machinery.
The misapprehension that existed the other evening as to this matter was caused by the ignorance of the official of the department who visited the place, and who assured the minister that the premises were at Parry harbour while as a matter of fact they are not. I have made inquiries since, and I now know the site. It is known as the old bobbin factory, but it is not located where the official of the department said it was. Knowing something about the matter now, I do not think that the price mentioned is out of the way. It is due to the minister that I should compliment him for discovering that some party friend had attempted to put up a job on the government and make $2,000 out of the deal. It is to the credit of the minister or his officials that they discovered this trick and succeeded in stopping it. As to the buoys, the minister has given this contract to Mr. Clarke apparently without tender for $2,600. It is only fair that there should be tenders called for that service. Mr. Clarke is not the only man who owns a boat there, nor is he the only man who is competent to do the work. I do not know that Mr. Clarke is deserving of. any great solicitude from the government, because he is the very man who interposed and tried to make the department pay $2,000 more for this site ; the minister knows that.
I am sorry I was not here the other day to explain the misunderstanding which arose with reference to the purchase of this Parry Sound property from the Bank of Ottawa. This property was taken over by the Bank of Ottawa some years ago, it having been used as a factory. The buildings and boilers were then valued at $5,000 and the Bank is now getting $5,000 net; the other $500 going for the usual commissions and costs. The committee may be satisfied that the price is a reasonable one, and I mayr mention that the town of Parry Sound thought of buying the property last fall at exactly the same price.
The other night the Minister of Marine intimated that it was his intention to ask a considerable additional amount for the perfection of the aids to navigation in the Gulf and River St. Eawrence. Will the minister tell us if this present vote is intended to complete existing work, or whether it is to be applied to new work. The minister promised that he would at some convenient date give a full statement of the new work which is about to be done during the coming year in the river and gulf, and we would like to have that statement from him either now or on the supplemen-
tary estimates, whichever is more convenient to him. The minister has of course taken cognizance of the resolution of the Montreal Board of Trade, passed on the 31st of January, 1905, which has been forwarded to him, and which for the information of the committee I shall read :
That whereas the aids to navigation in the Gult and River St. Lawrence are still inadequate to the requirements ot the St. Lawrence route and the safety of shipping and passengers, and
Whereas the aids to navigation, so far provided, have been recognized by underwriters, some of whom have made slight reductions in their rates to the advantage of the whole Dominion, and
Whereas an additional reduction can he confidently looked forward to on the completion of the required aids to navigation.
Be it resolved, that the government he urged to provide in the estimates a sufficient sum of money to complete the absolutely required improvements to the lighthouses, fog signals and ether appliances, which required improvements were submitted by the Shipping Federation of Canada to the Commissioner of Lights, and understood to have been afterwards approved by the Lighthouse Board, and
Be it further resolved, that the government be asked to carry out these improvements in their entirety this year.
This resolution refers to a series of recommendations submitted by the Shipping Federation of Canada, which the minister lias also in his possession and a copy of which was forwarded to me on the 24th of February by Thomas Robb, the manager. It would be very acceptable to the commercial and shipping interests of Montreal, if the minister should give us in detail the improvements in the aids to navigation which [DOT]in consonance with that report, will be initiated or completed during the coming season. The minister will remember that this report refers to Belle Isle high light, Belle Isle low light, Cape Bauld, Cape Norman, Point Amour, Flower Island, Greenly Island, Point Rich, Cape Race, Cape Ray, St. Paul's Island, northeast point, St. Paul's Island, southwest point, Bird Rocks, Bryon Island, rictou Island, Heath Point, West Point, Anticosti. Cape Rosier. Matane, Fame Point, Father Point, Maughers Beach, Gan-net Rock.
The reason I call attention to all these items is, that the minister may bring to his mind the report of the shipping federation, which I understand has been submitted to and approved by the lighthouse board, and which I trust will in due time receive his concurrence. We should like to have a statement from the minister as to what he intends to accomplish this year.