April 3, 1924

PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

It is not only a timber country but there is a large agricultural district behind it as well.

Topic:   COWICHAN BAY-VANCOUVER ISLAND
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CON

Charles Herbert Dickie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DICKIE:

I am thoroughly familiar

with all the conditions relating to this particular line and I can inform the committee that it is one that is entirely justifiable. There is no motor service in this locality; what the hon. member (Sir Henry Drayton) is referring to is another line going into Sidney. Logs are already hauled on the line in question, 55 miles into Victoria and the railway is losing money on every carload of logs it carries. In the first place the line was badly conceived. The project was undertaken at the time that

C.N.R. Branch Lines

Mackenzie and Mann came to the British Columbia government for assistance for the line from Yellow Head pass to Vancouver. The people of Vancouver island and particularly of Victoria thought that if money was to be granted to these people some consideration should be shown Vancouver island, and the government of Sir Richard McBride, behind whom were all the people of the island, said to Mackenzie and Mann that they would have to build the island section or the government would not guarantee the bonds of the mainland section. Sir William Mackenzie however objected strongly but finally he gave way and this line was projected from Victoria to the Alberni canal, the district represented by my hon. friend (Mr. Neill). I do not know how much was expended on it, but it runs for some 50 or 60 miles and is more or less graded through to Alberni canal. It was'a mistake in the first instance to have started the line from Victoria; it should have been started from Cowichan bay. Had they built the line from Cowichan bay to Cowichan lake this 8 miles would have carried the line to Cowichan lake, with the additional assistance asked for in a subsequent resolution, and they would have had the best paying line in Canada. The Canadian Pacific Railway with splendid business sense, while we were dallying with the matter and had not enough money to complete the line to Cowichan lake, ran a line from their main line into Cowichan lake, a distance of 20 miles. I am safe in saying that that 20 miles is the best paying piece of line in the whole Canadian Pacific system. There are logging trains every hour of the day. This 8 mile spur which connects with the Canadian Northern system is not a competitor of the Canadian Pacific Railway, because it opens up an immense body of timber long before it gets into the country where the Canadian Pacific Railway operates on the slope of the mountainside across the river. This line, with the spur, and with the line that is asked for in the next resolution, will pay the interest on the sinking fund on the total amount of money expended on the road. Forty or fifty miles of that road should never have been built. There is little traffic originating on it for fully forty miles. I know the conditions in this part of the country perhaps better than the engineers who have so strongly recommended the line proposed in this and the following resolution and I think it is fully justified. It runs through a dense forest until it gets to Alberni canal, a distance of 50 or 60 miles. Any one familiar with the forests of British Columbia knows what. I mean when I say that the forests in this locality are dense; a cut of two hun-died thousand feet per acre is not unusual.

Now, I rather hesitate to say anything in support of the resolution for fear that I shall arouse the criticism of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George, but there is no question whatever that this proposed line is absolutely necessary. There is no railway more justified than this, and it seems to me that the information that has been given by the engineers is quite adequate. Three members in this House, all hon. gentlemen, who know the conditions in the West, get up and say that a line-the Vernon line-is amply justified and is necessary, and still there seemed doubt in the matter. What more information do hon. gentlemen want than has been submitted? I am only one member advocating this but I know that what I say cannot be contradicted. Only a trivial amount is involved in comparison with what is spent on other lines and I do not think that there should be any objection whatever to the bill.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Graham thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 34, respecting the construction of a Canadian National Railway line to Cowichan bay, on Vancouver island.

Topic:   COWICHAN BAY-VANCOUVER ISLAND
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MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND


Motion agreed to and bill read the first time. Hon. G. P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways) moved that the House go into committee to consider the following proposed resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide for the construction of a Canadian National Railway line, being an extension of the Vancouver island main line of the Canadian Northern Pacific railway from mile 74 to mile 100, in the province of British Columbia; mileage already graded, 55 miles; estimated mileage including existing grading, 26 miles; estimated cost, $348,300. Motion agreed to and the House went into committee, Mr. Gordon in the chair.


LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I insist on putting on Hansard the estimates and explanations in connection with these resolutions so that hon. gentlemen will have the information before them. The memorandum from the Canadian National Railways in regard to this resolution is as follows:

Vancouver island, Mile 74-100- Cost

Grade now ahead of track, 55 miles-

Proposed in 1924,-9 miles track and ballast.. $155,000 Proposed in 1925,-17 miles track and ballast.. 193300

It is proposed in 1924 to lay 9 miles of track from the foot of Cowichan lake to Cottonwood, and repair 17 further miles of grade, at an estimated cost of $155,000. In 1925 to lay the track from Cottonwood, Mile 83, to Mile 100, at a cost of $193,300 for the year.

Prior to 1914 the grade on this line had been opened

C.N.R. Branch Lines

up to Mile 135.7 and had been completed continuously to Mile 109, with certain patches incomplete from there to Mile 135.7. [DOT] , ,

By 1921 the bridges and track had been completed to Mile 74.0, at the foot of the Cowichan lake, and subsequently nothing further has been done on this

The character of the country for the first 16 or 17 miles out of Victoria is partly agricultural and partly timber area of a light and scattered character of fir timber, of which a good deal has already been logged off. From Mile 20.0 to Mile 50.0 is fully timbered country, but the timber is not as thick nor as heavy as further ahead on the line. From Mile 50.0 through to the Alberni canal the line runs through an exceptionally heavy stand of timber on which, up to the present, there has been practically no development, except along the Cowichan lake where considerable logging operations have been and are going on during the working seasons. The only business of any consequence that can be expected from this line for a great many years to come will be timber and its products until the timber has been cleared and the stumps taken up to permit of agricultural development.

The justification for construction of this line is to handle the timber and its products. As the haul from Cowichan lake on the line to Victoria is 74 miles over a line of 1.5 per cent grades and 12 degrees curves, rates that would pay the railway would be excessive. To shorten this distance an alternative has been looked for and found by the proposed construction of what is known as the Cowichan bay cut-off, which would be a branch 10 miles in length from a point on the line about 124 miles south of the foot of Cowichan lake-

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

That is the last one you dealt with.

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

This line in connection with the other will complete the line to tidewater-

-Mile 62.0 to tidewater at Cowichan bay, thus reducing the haul from the foot of Cowichan lake to tidewater from 74.5 miles to 22.5 miles. This cut-off being constructed will warrant the extension of the main line to Mile 100.0 which would tap an area of exceedingly fine timber and bring it within reasonable Tail haul to tidewater and should produce a big traffic.

SIR HENRY DRAYTON: Will the hon. gentleman show us the situation on the map?

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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LIB
CON
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I will try to get a better map. These are not very good.

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

This is not a

map at all. There is a red line which shows you think of doing something.

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It shows where the roads are going to run.

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

It is simply

an advertising map without scale or anything. If the hon. minister thinks he can build railways on that kind of a map, it is

a queer proposition. I asked for information in connection with the other line. I suppose we can hope to get that information. I want similar information to that which I got about the former line.

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I think the hon. gentleman behind my hon. friend gave the information in detail beyond anything I could secure for him.

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Perhaps the

hon. gentleman behind me knows a little more about the country than the engineers reporting, judging from the character of the reports we have, as he has gone into it more carefully, but we have a right to get it from the engineers, and I am going to ask my hon. friend to bring down particulars in connection with this matter as well as the other matter. The particulars will show what is being done, and we will have information, I presume, in connection with the logging area that is now being cleared. There will be no difficulty in getting pretty accurate information assuming these reports are correct, because, following the hon. minister as best I could, it seemed to me that what he read indicates that the whole of this destroyed area was once a forest, that you have a certain amount of it now cleared, and that you have the clearing back to such a point that it is no longer profitable to haul from where the timber now stands to the end. Is that right?

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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LIB
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Is your information different from that?

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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LIB
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I can assume

that is correct. If that is correct we will know what timber was hauled by that line from that area which is now exhausted, and we ought to be put in a position to know whether the National Railway system would be justified in making this investment or not, and of course my hon. friend will not forget the map.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Graham thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 35 respecting the construction of a Canadian National Railway line to Mile 100 on Vancouver island.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King, the House adjourned at 10.45 p.m.

End of Yol. I.

Topic:   MILE 100, VANCOUVER ISLAND
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April 3, 1924