A New North River Bridge

The following article was found in the Morning Guardian on Wednesday Februrary 13, 1901 on page 4


Bridge Across North River
The Meeting in The Market Hall Well Attended and Great Interest Displayed:
Commercial Radius Will Be Increased
And The People who Live 3 1 2 Miles Further West Will Come to Charlottetown to do Business Instead of Going Elsewhere – Representatives Present from Bonshaw and Hampton – Important Resolution Passed Unanimously

The public meeting of the citizens of Charlottetown and others interested in the proposed new bridge across the North River from Brighton Shore to Dockendors, held in the Market Hall last night was well attended, and notwithstanding the stormy weather and the bad condition of the roads representatives were present from Hampton and Bonshaw.
Mr. P. Blake as chairman regretted that unfavorable weather which decreased the audience to a large extent.  He then stated the object of the meeting and said that anything that will benefit a large community will benefit the city as well.  Anyone who travels between Kingston, Crapaud or Tryon will save a distance of seven miles.  The main idea is to shorten the road and to reduce the distance for a very large number of people.  He was sure that the business men of the city would look forward to the construction of the bride and would like to see it on the Brighton site.
Mr. Jacob Bain said he wanted the bridge located on the lower site because it is a good deal handier to the city.  Roughly estimated 7,000 people will be benefited.  The section of the country which he represented did not drive any benefit from the railways now constructed and the one in course of construction.  The proposed bridge, according to estimate will cost the Government about $80,000.  He then submitted the following figures.

Cost of P.E.Island Railway - $3,250,00
Interest at 3% - 97,500
Average Deficit per year (low estimate) – 42,500

Proposed Murray Harbour Railway and Hillsboro Bridge - $2,000,000
Interest at $3 – 60,000
Cost of proposed Bridge - $80,000
Interest at 3% - 2,400
Total yearly cost of P.E.I. Railway and Murray Harbor Railway combined – 200,000
Cost for each inhabitant per head – 2
Total yearly cost of the proposed bridge – 2,400
Total cost per inhabitant of Province – 24 10 of one cent

He contented that it was the duty of the Local Government to construct the bridge and that 21 c per head was a small matter.
Mr. Matthew Smith of Hampton expressed himself in favor of the bridge and considered the proposed site a natural one.  The only question now to be considered is the cost.  He considered that when a large section of the community is interested a judicious expenditure is guaranteed.  The construction of the proposed bridge, benefited the country not only miles in length but miles wide.  Farmers as far west as Cape Traverse heartily approve of the project.  He believed the bridge should be of steel and the more spans the better.  The number of people benefitted would lessen the feeling of any who are against it.
Mr. W.S. Stewart congratulated the people of North River upon having such a man at Mr. Bain.  Since coming to the meeting he had learned that 7000 people would be benefited by the construction of the bridge on the lower site.  He wondered why the people of Crapaud, Victoria, Bonshaw, New Haven, Cornwall and North River had not agitated for it before.  He was pleased to hear from Mr. Smith of Hampton, and thought that as he representative of a progressive people who received the benefit of very little of the public moneys expended on railroads and breakwaters in this , he should do all possible to the successful promotion of the project now before the meeting.  He hoped all the business men would assist and said that $80,000 for the construction was a moderate sum.  He advised all to go about it in a determined manner.  The bridge must be constructed somewhere.  Liberals and Conservatives should stand united for the construction of the work.
Mr. F.L. Haszard said he had been asked to move a resolution.  He thought there could only be one opinion and that is the bridge should be constructed at Brighton.  A careful survey of the map would indicate that the greatest number would be benefitted by the lower site.  If the bridge can be built for $80,000 it would be within the scope of the Local Government.  He believed that it all cases business people would willingly submit to increased taxation for improved public works.  The construction of the proposed bridge is of a particularly local character.  Now is the time to say we want the bridge and we are prepared to pay for it.  He agreed with Mr. Smith in reference to the increased number of spans and contended that all bridges of importance should be built of steel.  He then moved the following resolution and in doing so said that those present in oppositions to the Brighton site would be heard:
Whereas it is the intention of the Government to construct a new steel bridge over the North River and
Whereas it is desirable that the location of the said bridge should be placed as conveniently as possible for those who require its use, and
Whereas the proposed location of the said bridge from Brighton shore to Dockendorfs would bring large sections of the country many miles nearer Charlottetown without in any way inconveniencing other parts of the country.
Therefore Resolved that in the opinion of this meeting the proposed new bridge should be constructed across the said North River from the shore at Brighton to Dockendorffs if the cost thereof be fairly within the means of the Province and this meeting earnestly urges upon the Government to adopt this location.
Mr. John Newson said that if the bridge at the lower site will shorten seven miles on a round trip to Bonshaw it is a matter of business.  He contended that if a farmer came to market once a week he lost 4 days in the run of a year, besides wear and tear.  The people on this side of the river will also be benefited.
Mrs. Jas. Paton in seconding the resolution expressed himself in favor of the proposed site and contended that anything that benefited the farmer benefited the merchant.  In the construction of the bridge perhaps the steamer up the west river could be done away with.
Mr. Joseph Wise agreed with all that had been said.  The lower site will avoid the steep hills which are so annoying in hauling heavy loads and when the work is completed the boat on the West River could be done away with.  The bridge should be constructed by the Local Government.  In days gone by a liberal subcription list it was opened and he believed a larger amount would be subscribed today towards which he would help.
Mr. Cyrus Crosby, Bonshaw read a telephone message from Mr. G. W. Simpson regretting his absence owing to bad condition of roads.  Mr. Crosby said that he had driven in from Bonshaw to attend the meeting.  If  the raveling had been good others from his locality would have availed themselves of the opportunity.  If the bridge is constructed Bonshaw will be 3 ½ miles nearer Charlottetown.  By the construction of the bridge the commercial radius will be extended 3 ½ miles further West.  There is a line drawn where the tide turns and goes to the estern capital.  Bonshaw will be as near as New Haven and Hampton will be as near as Bonshaw.  He believed that by a united effort the bridge can be secured at the lower site.
Mr. Geo E. Hughes considered .....  lower site the proper one.  About .... years ago $20,000 was subscribed for the bridge on the proposed site.  He was sorry more data had not been presented to the meeting in order that that cost of the bridge on the upper site might be compared with the lower.  Now that the contractor is here with his machinery the bridge could be constructed more cheaply.
Mr. Bain regretted the absence of the Engineer and stated that the width of River is 2900 feet.  The width of channel 600 feet.  Flats the west side of river 1000 feet.  Flats on east side of river 1300 ft.  Depth of water east flats 8 feet and depth of water in channel 20 to 40 feet.
Mr. Mellish and Mr. Dugald Currie spoke in favor of the lower site after which the resolution passed unanimously, and the meeting adjourned.

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