June 26, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)


I do not think there is room for much argument as to whether it applies to this berth or not. I notice the memorandum on the file of December 21, 1917 to the deputy minister. It comes from the Timber and Grazing Lands branch, and I think the history is given here fairly well. I read the following:
As you may recollect in 1910 a reserve was made by order in council of certain timber on Coquitlam lake, with the object of protecting the waters of the lake, from which the city of New Westminster take their water supply. Through an oversight on the part of the branch which handled this reservation, the reserve included a portion of berth No. 507, which had

previously been granted to Messrs. R. R. Hall and William Irwin of Peterborough. Some time ago it was rumoured that this berth was going to be operated and the city officials of New Westminster protested against the berth holders being allowed to operate that portion of their berth which lay within the reserve. The matter was referred to the Department of Justice, and, as anticipated, they held that the berth holders had the right to cut the timber covered by their license if they so desired.
I may say that apparently in the ten-year period between 1907, when the lease was given down to 1917, the right seems to have been left with the holders of the license to cut and sell that timber if they so desired. This memorandum continues:
As a preventive to the contamination of the waters of this lake, and any other waters which might in future be similarly affected, the timber regulations were amended so as to place certain restrictions on operators.
A joint inspection of the portion of the berth affected was made in October, 1916, by an official of the Timber and Grazing Lands branch and an official of the Water Power branch.
This is an inspection, not of ithe other part as suggested by my hon. friend, but of the part covered by these restrictions put on in connection with the water supply of New Westminster. That is, unless the file is absolutely wrong. It goes on:
Our inspector reported that the examination of the berth convinced him that there was no likelihood of the portion of the berth affected being logged in the near future, as the ground was rough and at the price which then prevailed the timber could not be removed at a profit. The inspector was of the opinion that the agitation regarding the logging of the berth had been aroused for the purpose of inducing the government or the city of New Westminster to purchase the licensees' interest in the tract affected, and he recommended that matter be allowed to stand in abeyance until some definite move was made by the interested parties.
If my hon. friend desires to interject anything at that point, I shall be glad if he does. I am pointing out from the report of the department of December 21, 1917, what the -result of the inspection was of the portion of the berth affected. We are -told that the land is just what I said at the -commencement, of such a character that, during the w-ar period, when lumber was high-and we all kno-w it was high then-it wo-uld not pay -to -co-nducit logging operations. Then -the memorandum goes on:
In July last Mr. Irwin who was then in Briti.h Columbia, wrote our agent at New Westminster that, the licensees proposed operating the berth in the near future and that they were prepared to consider a proposition of compensation for the timber affected.
Later on Mr. Hall wrote along the same lines, pointing out that the owners were prepared to consider the selling of the timber on the tract affected to the department or the city of New Westminster, or making an exchange for other timber; and has recently been urging the department to make a survey in order to ascertain just what portion of the tract is within the watershed of Coquitlam lake, I may here say that the w'hole of the portion of the berth included in the reserve does not drain into the lake. A portion drains

into Gold creek, and any operations conducted on the tract within the watershed of Gold creek would not, of course, affect the water in the lake.
In view of the nature of the report made by our inspector as to the feasibility of the licensees operating that portion of the berth referred to, the probability is, as pointed out by the inspector, that the licensees have not any intention of operating the tract in question, but are endeavouring to sell to either the government or the oity of New Westminster timber which is practically of no value to them. I have discussed the whole matter with Mr. Weld, of the Water Power branch, and he is of the opinion that even if the licensees did operate that portion of the berth which drains into the lake, the interests of the city of New Westminster would be reasonably well protected if the licensees carried out the conditions of their license which pertain to the pollution of waters.
He goes on:
Should the tract be operated, and it is found that compfliance with the conditions of the license is not a proper protection against the contamination of the waters of the lake, it appears to me that it would be a matter for the city of New Westminster and not for the department to arrange with the licensees.
I recommend that the licensees be advised that the department does not propose to take any steps towards purchasing their interest in the timber on the tract in quesion or granting them other timber in lieu thereof.
As I say, I do not know whether that report made by appasently an official of the- department in good standing, the gentleman in whose charge the matter is, Mr. York, is or is not correct. But if it be correct, the situation is that we are paying for timber which, according to him, is useless to those gentlemen owing to the fact that it will erst them so much to get it out. That may or may not bs correct. There is in the files so far nothing *which shows it to be incorrect. The first reference made to this question as to the territory being of such a character that there is n-o money in it is, I have noted, in th.e report of October 18, 1916, and that report, I think, must be referred to in part in the summation made by Mr. York which I have just read to the House. Eight down to the time when what appears to be the first report was made on October 18, 1916, as to the character of the land, absolutely no attempt was made to do anything with this property.
Again, if the information we
10 p.m. gather from the report 19 correct-[DOT] -and I assume the government's position is that it is correct-the first thing that we see as to any suggestion of working this lease is, so far as my reading goes, to be found in a letter of July 12, 1917. I admit at once that it is a very hurried reading, and I have not covered anything like all that is in the file. I simply have not had the time. The suggestion was made in the report of October 18, 1916, that if anything was said at all about working this berth, it would be only for the purpose of getting

either the government or the city to buy the licensees out. The first evidence that I find of their wanting to work it comes, of course, after that suggestion by this letter from Mr. Irwin of July 12. He writes in that letter which is to the Dominion crown timber agent at New Westminster:
The owners of Dominion timber berth 507 have decided to institute logging operations to take the timber off this timber berth, and I am attending to the matter while at the coast. We understand a portion of this timber berth is within the boundaries of the conservation of water area of the city of New Westminster, and that the city desires to keep the timber in this area intact. We regret the conflict but are situated so that it is of necessity for us to get the matter of taking off the timber under way at once.
My only object in writing you is that I understand the city has made some representations to the Dominion government with reference to the preservation of the timber within the area mentioned and to say that the owners of the timber berth would be quite reasonable in considering any proposition of compensation for the timber upon that portion of T.B. 507 within the conservation area, or of any alternative proposition which might be made The matter, however, will have to be attended to at once as we are desirous of making arrangements with one of several parties with whom we are now negotiating, looking to cleaning up the timber berth. The only method of logging the timber berth which could be considered would be that of putting the logs in the lake and driving the river.
Kindly let me hear from you within the next few days as to what position, if any, the city of New Westminster desires to take in the matter.
Thus the question of the working of this limit was brought up, so far as I have been able to find out, for the first time. Matters rested there. The next thing that struck me as very important is the memorandum of January 30, 1919, to Mr. Challies. From that memorandum it appears the brief was prepared by Mr. H. W. Grunsky, who seems to have to do with the legal issues in the department. In his view the department is under no liability in the case. I do not want to hold up the committee by discussing the whole of this lengthy memorandum, and I will content myself with reading this short extract:
If Mr. Grunsky's view is the correct one, it does not appear to me that the department is interested in the case, it being one between the berth holders and the power company.
That, I think, is where the question of the dam referred to by my hon. friend comes in. There is a big dam-put in by the power company, I think, not by New Westminster -and this constitutes an additional difficulty, for I suppose it makes logging operations impossible. My hon. friend says it is 88 feet. I accept his statement at once. With that dam there it is quite clear that these berth holders cannot log that district very well through the lake, they would have to go down 320
the other way and either use the railroad or the other water which I have already referred to. But I would point out to the House-and my hon. friend will tell me whether this is right or not

that if the difficulty be, as pointed out by him, the building of this dam, there can be no possible liability in the Dominion.

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