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RETURN To an Order of the House for copies of all correspondence relating to the appointing of Messrs.… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1902

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 2 Ed. 7 Commission re Dyking Matters. 865
RETURN
To an Order of the House for copies of all correspondence relating to the appointing
of Messrs. Gamble, Hope and Higginson as Commissioners, re certain dyking
matters on the Lower Fraser River, together with copies of instructions given to
the said Commissioners, and copies of the report (if any) of the said Commissioners, and of all letters and papers in any way connected with the said
Commission of Enquiry; and also a statement in detail showing all the expenses
in connection with the said Commission.
W. C. WELLS,
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Lands and Works Department,
23rd April, 1902.
Victoria, 17th October, 1901.
Sir,—I have the honour to acquaint you of your appointment, conjointly with Messrs.
Thomas S. Higginson and Charles E. Hope, as a member of a Commission to inquire into the
matters set forth in the accompanying extract from an approved Report of the Executive
Council dated the 17th day of October, 1901, and to report thereon for the information of His
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.
I am, etc.,
F. C. Gamble, Esq., C. E., (Signed)        J. D. Prentice,
Victoria. Acting Provincial Secretary.
Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive  Council, approved by His
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 17th day of October, A. D. 1901.
Whereas there will be due on the first of November, 1901, of annual accumulated assessments since 1898 in connection with the various dyking works in the districts of Coquitlam,
Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Matsqui and Sumas, the sum of $95,572.86; and
Whereas the owners, with one or two exceptions, have failed to pay their assessments,
alleging that they are unable to do so; and
Whereas the defaulting owners have expressed their willingness to relinquish a portion
of their lands to the Government on a fair and reasonable valuation, provided they will be
relieved of all future annual assessments, with the exception of the annual charge for maintenance, chargeable to the land remaining in their hands; and
Whereas it is desirable, in the public interest, that some equitable settlement in this
regard should be come to with as little delay as possible :—
On the recommendation of the Honourable the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works,
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, by and with the advice of the
Executive Council, doth order as follows:
That for the purposes of arriving at the valuation of the lands in question, and the area
which shall be relinquished by the owners to the Government to meet the annual assessments
now overdue and due up to the 1st proximo, a Commission, consisting of Francis C. Gamble,
of the city of Victoria, C. E., Thomas S. Higginson, of the city of New Westminster, and
Charles E. Hope, of the city of Vancouver, be and are hereby appointed to examine into the
questions involved, namely: (1) the classification of the lands affected; and (2) the valuation
thereof, and to report thereon fully.
That the Commission thus appointed shall proceed at once to carry out the intention of
this order with as little delay as possible. (Approved 17th October, 1901.)
Recommendation for appointment of Messrs. Gamble, Higginson and Hope as a Commission to examine into the questions involved consequent upon non-payment of assessment
on lands in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, &c, &c., Dyking Districts.
(Signed) A. C. R.
D. C. E. E.
[Telegram.]
The Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works,
Victoria, B. G.
Vancouver, B. C, October 31st, 1901.
Have been waiting instructions.    Shall we go to Victoria?
Chas. E. Hope,
T. S. Higginson.
Victoria, B. C, October 31st, 1901.
Sir,—Will you please be good enough to consult with Mr. T. S. Higginson, who has been
appointed in conjunction with you and myself to inquire into the matters connected with the
assessment of lands for the cost of dyking works, as set forth in an approved report of the
Executive Council, dated the 17th October, 1901, and arrange for preliminary meeting in
connection with the above. I will be in Vancouver on Wednesday next and will be glad if
you can arrange for that day.
I have, ozc,
C. E. Hope, Esq., C. E., (Signed)        F. C. Gamble,
Vancouver, B. C. Inspector of Dykes.
Victoria, B. C, 31st October, 1901.
Sir, —Will you please be good enough to consult with Mr. C. E. Hope, who has been
appointed in conjunction with you and myself to inquire into the matters connected with the
assessment of lands for the cost of the dyking works, as set forth in an approved report of the
Executive Council, dated the 17th October, 1901, and arrange for a preliminary meeting in
connection with the above. I will be in Vancouver on Wednesday next and will be glad if
you can arrange for that day.
I have, &c,
T. S. Higginson, Esq., (Signed)        F. C. Gamble,
New Westminster, B.  G. Inspector of Dykes.
[Telegrams.]
Chas. E. Hope, C. E.,
Vancouver, B. C.
Letter of yesterday re Dykes cancelled.
Victoria, B. C, November 1st, 1901.
F. C. Gamble.
Victoria, B. C, November 1st, 1901.
F. 0. Gamble.
Victoria, B. C, November 1st, 1901.
Chas. E. Hope and T. S. Higginson,
Vancouver, B. C.
Do not come to Victoria.    Chief Commissioner absent.    My letter of yesterday suggesting meeting you will please consider cancelled.
F. C. Gamble.
Thos. S. Higginson,
New Westminster, B. C.
Letter of yesterday re Dykes cancelled. 2 Ed. 7 Commission re Dyking Matters. 867
Vancouver, B. C, November 1st, 1901.
Dear Sir,—I received your message left at the office last Friday or Saturday and have
been waiting to hear from you since Tuesday. I have received your letter dated 31st October,
this morning, also two telegrams of to-day's elate.
As apparently it will be some few days before we can meet, and as I have a little business
which will take me from town for a few days, I will take this opportunity of attending to it
so as to be able to devote my time continuously to the business of the Dyking Commission as
soon as you are ready.
Yours faithfully,
(Signed)        Chas. E. Hope.
F. C. Gamble, Esq.,
Government Buildings, Victoria, B. C.
[Telegrams.]
New Westminster, November 12th, 1901.
T. S. Higginson,
Coquitlam P. 0.,
New Westminster Junction.
Kindly arrange with Hope to come Victoria Thursday boat.    Answer.
F. C. Gamble.
Vancouver, B. C, November 13th.
F. C. Gamble,
Victoria.
Replying to your telegram we will go to Victoria on Thursday boat.
Hope and Higginson.
Vancouver, B. C, November 27th, 1901.
Dear Sir,—Will you kindly send us, at your earliest convenience, two (2) blue prints of
Maple Ridge Dyking District, also one cloth tracing of Coquitlam, the blue prints we have
being so dim as to be almost illegible.
Yours faithfully,
(Signed) Charles E. Hope.
Sloughs and different high water marks particularly wanted.
W. S. Gore, Esq.,
Assistant Commissioner of Lands and Works Dept.,
Victoria, B. C.
C.  E.  Hope,   Vancouver, B. C.
[Telegram.]
Vancouver, December 4th, 1901.
Will be in Vancouver to-morrow morning, and go Pitt River at 2 p.m.
F. C. Gamble.
Victoria, B. C, 16th January, 1902.
Sir,—I am instructed by the Hon. the Chief Commissioner to inform you that he desires
no steps shall be taken, for the present, towards the classification of the land in Matsqui
Dyking District by yourself and Mr. Higginson. 868 Commission re Dyking Matters. 1902
He also directs me to request that you will send in to him, with as little delay as possible,
your report in conjunction with Mr. Higginson regarding the classification of lands within the
Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Dyking Districts.
A similar letter has been sent to Mr. Higginson.
Yours obediently,
(Signed)        F. C. Gamble,
Inspector of Dykes.
C. E. Hope, Esq., Vancouver, B. C.
Vancouver, B. C. January 18th, 1902.
Dear Sir,—Will you please give me the acreages, separately, of the land assessed to
Cunningham and Morton; (1) area flooded by ordinary high water; (2) area flooded by
extreme high water.
Also please send us two blue prints of the No. 1 and No. 2 Pitt River sections. Your
letter re Matsqui duly received.    The other valuations are progressing fast.
The areas given of Cunningham and Morton in the block of assessments are evidently
copied wrongly.
Yours faithfully,
(Signed)        Charles Hope.
F. C. Gamble, Esq.,
Inspector of Dykes,
Victoria, B. C.
Victoria, B. C, 21st January, 1902.
Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, requesting the
separate acreage of extreme high water and mean high water of the property assessed to
Messrs. Cunningham and Morton, and to state in reply as follows :—
Sec. 25, Range 1 East, Block 5 North, M. H. W. 112.19, E. H. W. 21.35. There has
evidently been some error in the assessment roll, as they are assessed for only 108.15 M.H.W.
I herewith enclose 2 blue prints of Nos. 1 and 2, Pitt River Section, as per your request.
Yours obediently,
(Signed) F.  C.  Gamble,
C. E. Hope, Esq., Inspector of Dykes.
Vancouver, B. C. (Per H. N. Howard).
Victoria, B. C, February 18th, 1902.
To the Hon. W. C.  Wells,
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, Victoria, B. G.
Sir,—We, the undersigned, Dyking Commissioners appointed by Order in Council on the
15th day of October last, to classify and value the lands embraced in the Maple Ridge,
Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows (north of Lillooet), Matsqui and Sumas Dyking Districts, have the
honour to report as follows :—
Following your subsequent instructions, we confined ourselves to the Maple Ridge,
Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows (north of Lillooet). We went over all the boundaries of each
quarter-section, or parts thereof, included in the Maple Ridge and Coquitlam District. If
boundary posts were not to be found, we, with the assistance of one chainman, ran the lines
and established sufficiently accurate boundaries for the purpose of this valuation. We then
examined both the surface and sub-soil; in fact, made a thorough and very careful inspection.
In this classification and valuation we took into consideration quality of soil, situation and
facilities of drainage, water, roads, improvements, cost of clearing, etc., etc. We have classified the lands into four grades, as follows :—
1st Class, Grade A.—Land of good quality, with little or no clearing to be done.
1st Class, Grade B.—Land of good quality, with medium to comparatively heavy timber.
2nd Class, Grade A.—Land of poorer quality, with little or no clearing to be done.
2nd Class, Grade B.—Land of poorer quality, with medium to comparatively heavy timber. 2 Ed. 7. Commission re Dyking Matters. 869
This system we adopted throughout, as being an equitable one, but we have adjusted the
class under which certain lands would come, where situation or other special conditions
warranted any particular block being placed in the class higher or lower than the one under
which it would naturally come.
In this connection we may say that in the Maple Ridge Districts there is a fairly well
defined line of demarcation between lands of different grade, but in the Coquitlam District
this line is not by any means so well defined, the gradation from the highest grade of land to
that of a poorer quality being in many cases very gradual, and without a close examination
of the sub-soil it would in several instances be impossible to tell any difference.
We wish to place on record our thanks to many of the settlers, in both the Maple Ridge
and Coquitlam Districts, for the assistance and time which they gave us, and which was of
great help in connection with this classification.
With reference to the valuations, we would say that values are at all times largely a
question of individual opinion, and at the present time, owing to the exceptional circumstances
in which these lands are placed, it is impossible to sell any of them at prices at all commensurate with what we consider is their real value. We refer more particularly to the uncertainty as to the title, owing to the large accumulated arrears of interest, and to the uncertainty
as to what course the Government is going to take.
We have accordingly been guided by the Assessment Act, chapter 179, section 40, where
it says that " Property shall be estimated at its actual cash value, as it would be appraised in
payment of a just debt from a solvent debtor"; the basis value of first-class lands being estimated at a figure which we consider it is worth (assuming this question of title was settled),
cleared and ready for the plough, except draining, allowances and deductions being made for
exceptionally good or bad situation, as regards roads, water front,, etc., and facilities for
drainage. The cost of clearing has also been carefully gone into and deductions made in
accordance with the amount of timber on each separate parcel of land.
Each of these several things has been allowed for, item by item, as regards each parcel of
land separately; and this system has been adopted throughout with reference to all classes of
land, as being the only equitable one to follow.
Values are based on the assumption that there is no indebtedness, and are values of the
land, not of equities. The values are also based on the condition of the dyking works as they
are to-day, assuming that should it be found that further expenditure is necessary to put the
works in a thorough state of efficiency, that this would be done, and that any further costs
will be borne by the lands affected. If any arrangement is carried out by which the owners
retain any portion of their lands, as these portions would be clear of any indebtedness, they
would easily be able to carry such small additional expenditure as might from time to time be
required.
In the Maple Ridge District there is an area of 1,899 acres included in the dyked district,
which is held by the B. C. Dyking and Drainage Co., under an agreement with the Dominion
Government. These lands have not yet been deeded to the Company, and are not included in
the assessed area. We have, however, classified and valued them on the same basis as the rest
of the Maple Ridge lands, as there is no doubt that in the near future these lands will be deeded
and will then become liable for assessment.
All our figures and estimates are based on the idea that this will shortly be done, and we
would point out that when it is done it will materially reduce the annual maintenance charges
per acre on the lands in this District (Maple Ridge).
As regards the Pitt Meadows (north of Lillooet) District, we inspected these lands as a
whole, but did not classify or value them in detail, for the reason that, on account of their
present almost inaccessible position, we could not value them, at the most, higher than the
dyking charges against them; we therefore, as we wrote you, decided to await further instructions before going into what seemed useless expense in making these valuations.
Almost all of these lands, comprising 2,240 acres, are first-class lands, with little if any
clearing to be done.
We have attached hereto the schedule of our classification and valuations of the Maple
Ridge and Coquitlam lands; all of which is respectfully submitted.
We have, etc.,
(Signed)        T. S. Higginson,
ii Chas. E. Hope,
Dyking Commissioners. 870
Commission re Dyking Matters.
1902
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Commission re Dyking Matters.
875
This land is of second quality, but
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