Hon. WM. PUGSLEY (Minister of Public Works).
I ask leave to lay on the table the report of the chief engineer of the Department of Public Works, the chief engineer of the Department of Railways and Canals, and the chief engineer of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, upon the original petitions and plans submitted by the -St. Lawrence Power Company. This is dated Ottawa, December 15, 1908. I lay this on the table at the suggestion of the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Em-merson) and, as there is 'great interest taken in this matter, and as the original report of the amended plans has been placed on record in 'Hansard', I will read the present report that it may appear in 'Hansard' also:
Department of Public Works of Canada, Chief Engineer's Office,
Ottawa, December 15, 1908.
Sir,-We have the honour to report in regard to the petition of the St. Lawrence Power Company, Limited, to His Excellency 178
the Governor General in Council, for permission to erect certain dams on the St. Lawrence river, as follows:-
No detail plans are before us and our report is predicated upon the information submitted.
First. A rough computation shows that it is possible to develop, approximately, 800,000 effective horse-power by the proposed dams; and that the creation of such an enormous quantity of power would be of great importance to the district in question, as experience has shown that in the proximity of such large developments of power, great industries are created; towns and cities grow up. The objections which arise, however, are somewhat serious.
First. The plans as submitted, contemplate interfering with the present Cornwall canal, and this, we take it, cannot be tolerated. The integrity of the Cornwall canal must be preserved, without any alteration whatever, and consequently, the plans submitted would have to be modified so as to preserve intact this most important navigation channel. It is true that the company contemplate the building of a separate lock above lock 20 to enter into the proposed new level, but such a lock requires navigation to pass along parallel with an over-flow weir darn which, necessarily, must take care of the great bulk of the discharge of the river; in consequence thereof, the side currents would be so great as to render navigation exceedingly dangerous. Furthermore, an accident to any of the dams would throw the whole system of navigation out of gear for a long time. .
Second. The plans contemplate a single lift-lock on the American side, in the south channel, to take the place of the Cornwall canal. The channel from this proposed lock to the foot of Cornwall island has such a swift current and is so crooked as to render such a route dangerous; and it is not, therefore, in our opinion, a suitably located lock, having regard to the difficulties named. It does not seem needful at this stage to point out a more suitable site where a lock might be had, and where the difficulties of navigation would be lessened.
Third. The upper dam provided for in the proposed plans, running from the Long Sault island to the upper end of Barnhart island, is practically parallel with the thread of the stream, and is intended to be an over-flow weir, with ten stony sluices at each end of it. There can be no doubt whatever that this dam will, of necessity, have to take care of the regulation of the level of the river above it. The lower dam at the easterly end, which is in the form of a letter ' A,' connecting the mainland on the Ontario' side with the lower end of Barnhart island, would not, in our opinion, be of material assistance for regulation.
Every advantage has been taken of the natural channels for the purpose of providing an economical development of the power, practically closing up the entire Canadian channel by this means and throwing the whole of the discharge into the American channel on the south of Barnhart island, the
water to the north of Barnhart island being thrown into a pool.
The discharge over the upper dam in conjunction with the stony sluices would be of such volume, and the cross current so great, as to make it risky for a steamer to attempt to pass parallel with this dam, through the channel south of Sheik's island.
Fourth. The effect of ice and frazil on the up-stream end of the river is one upon which it would be most difficult to express any decided opinion. There is no doubt that frazil forms in the Galops rapids, and the Rapide du Plat; and that a large mass of more or less broken ice floats down the river continuously. The channel in the vicinity of Broekville is usually kept open for the ferry; but after the dam in question has been built, a field of board ice would be formed above its crest), and it will be difficult to say where the small cakes of ice, frazil, and anchor ice would go, if it did not fill up the space above the dam. The report of the Montreal Flood Commission of 1889, states that on the 8th of April two or three feet of board ice and from ten to twenty-four feet of frazil were found; that between the Lachine rapids and Var-ennes, in March, 1S87, a distance of twenty miles, there were 99,216,000 cubic yards of field ice, and 252,601,000 cubic yards of frazil, and water amounting to 467,212,000 cubic yards, or a total of 819,029,000 cubic yards; which gives some little idea of the relative proportions.
The conditions for the creation of frazil were greater in the district just above described, than in the one we are considering. Nevertheless, there is ample opportunity for the creation of great quantities of frazil and broken fragments of solid ice at the points named, so that the up-stream eflect likely to be created is something that no one could very well predict, but would, no doubt, be approximately similar to that found by the commission, with resulting damage at the foot of the Rapide du Plat and the Galops.
Fifth. The Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company run a daily line of steamers from Kingston to Montreal, and do a fairly large tourist business, which, we understand, is increasing. One of the features of the trip is running the Long Sault rapids, which, of course, would be destroyed by the proposed dam. Aside from this we question if a boat could make the trip from Kingston to Montreal, in a day, provided she had to be locked through the Cornwall canal or the proposed lock on the American side. Strenuous objections have been raised by the interests in question against the project.
Sixth. The possible destruction of the proposed dam by natural forces, or by the malice of any evil-intentioned person; (an earthquake might be the means of destroying the dam) certainly a very few pounds of dynamite in the hands of an intelligent man would be most disastrous. The volume of water which the dam would contain would be sufficiently great, if liberated in the form of a wave to at any rate destroy the greater portion of the town of Cornwall; certainly the canal, or that portion of it below the dam; and without doubt, the means of flooding Lake St. Francis and a large section of the land Mr. PUGSLEY.
on the river bank protected by the Hungry bay dyke; besides unquestionably the Soulan-ges canal, as well as the villages fronting the river between Lake St. Francis and Lake St. Louis. Whether the effect of such a sudden break would be taken care of in Lake St. Francis and Lake St. Louis, is a question. Experience had on a very much smaller scale would lead one to expect that the damage would be continued on through the lower portion of Montreal, with the possible destruction of the Lachine canal as well.
Seventh. The plans show a very small percentage of development on the Canadian side; we should judge that over eighty per cent (80 per cent) is contemplated to be developed in the United States; and of course, this would be a very unfair distribution of the power in question. In any event, should the project receive consideration, considerable revision of the plans would have to be made, so as to secure a more equitable division of the power development.
Eighth. A vital point in connection with the whole scheme would be that all the plans of the dams, locks, Ac., on the proposed works must be approved in advance by engineers responsible to Canada and to the United States, respectively, and upon which they must agree; the detail of the works in question should be passed upon by the joint approval of engineers from both countries. Whether this is a practical thing to secure we are unable to say, but it is obvious that the interest of Canada is such that no portion of the work in question could be allowed to be gone on with unless it received a most strict examination and inspection by engineers acting for this country. No doubt the Undid States authorities would take a similar attitude with regard to the question, although their interests are trivial compared with ours, on account of the fact that they have so little land on the St. Lawrence below the power in question.
Ninth. No private corporation should be permitted to have under its control the regulation of the height of water in such an important river as the St. Lawrence.
We are, sir,
Your obedient servants,
(Sgd.) EUGENE D. LAFLEUR, Chief Engineer, Department of Public Works, Canada.
(Sgd.) M. J. BUTLER,
Chief Engineer, Department of Railways and Canals.
(Sgd.) WM. P. ANDERSON,
Chief Engineer, Department of Marine and Fisheries.