Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to table the report on the problem of crossing the strait of Canso.
On September 15, 1950, a meeting was held in my office for the purpose of considering the plans and specifications of the low-level bridge prepared by the consulting engineer, Dr. P. L. Pratley. This meeting was attended by the members of the board of engineers of the strait of Canso and by representatives of both the Canadian National Railways and the department of highways and public works of the province of Nova Scotia. At this meeting it was disclosed that engineers of both the railway and the province were of the opinion that the low-level bridge as designed was not practicable, and that they could not approve such a project.
As a result I immediately reconvened the Canso board of engineers with instructions that, in the light of the discussions, they review their previous findings and recommend the best method of improving the present rail and highway facilities across the strait. I am now in receipt of the report of the reconvened board.
The report indicates that further studies were made of two projects, one of which involved improvements to the existing ferry service, and the other the construction of a causeway and lock structure. The board advise that their estimate of cost of replacing the existing railway ferry service at
present capacity would be $9 million, which figure would be increased to $13,400,000 if present capacity were to be increased by provision of larger vessels and wider ferry slips. The estimate of cost of replacement of the highway ferry service amounts to $1,287,000, or a total estimated capital expenditure for combined services of $14,687,-
000. As to the annual operating costs as estimated for these services, the board states that the operation of the railway ferry service would require $1,587,000 and the highway ferry service $370,000, making a combined total annual operating cost of $1,957,000.
The board also reports that, in reviewing their previous findings on the causeway and lock structure, their chief object was to search for ways and mqans to reduce the probable cost. They are now of the opinion that the best site is that of the low-level bridge at Balache point as proposed in the March, 1949, report. They propose a causeway which would be entirely built of rock placed by dump-trucks working from west to east. The slopes on this causeway would be finished at about the proportion of 1 vertical to 1J horizontal, and a lock of Welland ship canal dimensions but with sliding gates would be located on the Cape Breton end of the causeway. The railway and highway diversions would be similar to those as originally proposed for the low-level bridge.
In conclusion the board reports that in view of the elimination of the bridge projects and the high cost of improving the ferry services, the causeway scheme remains as the only practical solution to the problem. The capital cost of the causeway and lock is estimated by the board at $22,760,000 and the annual operating charge at $1,130,000.
I now table the report.
Subtopic: REPORT OF BOARD OF ENGINEERS ON TRANSPORT
Sub-subtopic: FACILITIES-STATEMENT AS TO CAUSEWAY AND LOCK STRUCTURE