Fonds - New Westminster Engineering Department fonds

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New Westminster Engineering Department fonds

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  • 1907-1952 (Creation)
    New Westminster (B.C.). Engineering Dept.

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183 plans and drawings

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The Engineering Department is responsible for the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of city infrastructure, sanitation, and related services.;Functions include infrastructure design and maintenance such as: street design, improvement, and maintenance; street lighting and traffic signals; parking regulations and towing; mapping and surveying; sewer and water connections; drainage system; water quality monitoring; cemetery; public property maintenance.;Other functions include: animal control; garbage collection and recycling; building and plumbing inspections and permits; fleet services for the City.;Sewers, Water, and Streets;The earliest engineering activities were undertaken by the Royal Engineers in the late 1850s. This group conducted extensive surveys to establish the boundaries of the City of New Westminster and began clearing the area of forest and building roads.;When City Council was set up in 1860, it was empowered to use its revenue for the construction and maintenance of streets and bridges, for drainage and sewerage,improvement of sanitary conditions, and clearing of lots. To oversee these activities, Council established a Board of Works. Most of the early construction of bridges and roads was contracted out; in some cases, the Board used prison labour from Victoria. Initial priorities were clearing and grading streets, beginning with Columbia and Mary (now Sixth) Streets. By 1864, most of the streets from Front St. to Queens Ave. and from the eastern limits of the city to Ellice St. (now 10th St.) had been cleared.;Mayor John Hendrys inaugural address of 1889 stressed the desirability of establishing a complete system of water works and sewerage. Water and Sewerage became a standing committee of council that year, and a City Engineer is first mentioned in the minutes, reporting to the Board of Works. The committee selected Coquitlam Lake as its water supply source. E.A. Wilmot was appointed Waterworks Engineer and A.E. Hill Hydraulic Engineer, to prepare the design for the Coquitlam Water Works System. Water pipes were laid, hydrants installed on the streets, and rates for water use set. With the citys boundaries expanding that year to include the eastern tip of Lulu Island (now known as Queensborough), responsibility for the Lulu Island Bridge, drinking water services, and road and sidewalk construction in that part of the city gradually fell to the Engineer.;Until 1909, Columbia Street was served by a wooden box sewer. Many of the engineering services during this time were carried out by private firms. Raw sewage was discharged into the river. Cesspools served the rest of the city. From 1906 to 1908, two small sewage systems were installed from Fourth Street to Sixth Street, extending from Columbia Street to Sixth Avenue. These were separate systems in the sense that they handled sanitary and storm sewers separately. (For a complete list of sewer by-laws, see Appendix 2.);In 1909, John Blackman was appointed to the permanent post of City Engineer. This position was responsible for roads, sidewalks, sewers, bridges, water services, and building inspection. During his tenure, Blackman conducted a re-survey of the city, and the sewer infrastructure was greatly expanded and updated. This included the First Street, Eighth St., West End, Queens Park, Sapperton, and Front Street systems. Outfalls were established at seven different points along the Fraser River, and the City Council decided that the best method of disposal for crude sewage was by dilution into the river.;With the construction in 1914 of the New Westminster and Burnaby joint trunk sewer, known as Glen Brook sewer, a combined system was established whereby sanitary and storm sewer systems were integrated. Remaining portions of the city were also given combined sewer systems. The City replaced its wooden box sewers with reinforced concrete, and converted its separate systems to combined systems.;Beginning in 1912, the City began large-scale improvements of its streets and sidewalks, including replacement of its mostly wooden sidewalks with concrete sidewalks. It also began laying permanent pavement on roadways and establishing permanent gradients.;During the 1920s, the Water Committee saw a great increase in the number of service installations, construction of mains, and pipeline repairs. As well, a new method of sidewalk construction was introduced. Each new sidewalk now required a separate by-law, and costs of construction were split between the City and the benefiting parties.;The 1930s and 40s saw the expansion of Sapperton and West End sewer systems, as well as a widening of many of the main thoroughfares. The Board of Works collaborated with the Citys Health Committee in improving sanitary conditions on the Brunette River. The City also began chlorinating its water supply in 1943.;In 1953, the Greater Vancouver Joint Sewerage and Drainage Board commissioned a report on sewage and drainage of the Greater Vancouver area (the Rawn Report). The report included a plan for improved sewage disposal. However, these recommendations were not acted upon until 1972, when the function of solid waste disposal for the region was absorbed by the Greater Vancouver Regional District. It was then that the GVRD constructed the Annacis Island sewage treatment plant. A large main was constructed along Columbia St. and Brunette Ave. to intercept the sewers; a pumping station was also built near the Brunette River. Later, during the 1990s, secondary sewage treatment commenced, in compliance with new provincial legislation.

Custodial history

These records were transferred to the New Westminster Museum and Archives by the City at an undocumented date.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of one record series: sewer plans (1909-1952). Series consists of plans relating to the development of New Westminsters sewer system infrastructure. Includes plans for the following sewer systems:;Columbia St., First St., West End, Fourth St., Front St., Sapperton, Braid St., College Court, Glen Brook, Victory Heights, Lulu Island.;Most drawings were created by the office of Chief Engineer for the City; some were created by external sources, such as the Canadian Pacific Railway, for the Citys use. Drawings show water mains, reservoirs, connections, grades, storm sewers, manholes, outfalls, and material specifications. Includes plans, profiles, technical drawings, details, and specifications.

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BCAUL control number: NWM-3771

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