Series S373 - Board of Works minutes

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Board of Works minutes

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title taken from records schedule.

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1.75 m of textual records (36 bound vol.)

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Administrative history

One of the standing committees of City Council, the Board of Works was established in 1886 and existed until 1955 at which time it was dissolved and its functions and responsibilities were taken over by the newly established Board of Administration. While active, the Board of Works was the supervising body for the Engineering Department, and primarily reported to Council on matters related to the planning, development, construction, maintenance and repair of public works. The Board of Works also shared responsibility with the Engineering Department for the water works with the Water Works Committee (also known as the Board of Water). This latter committee was abolished in 1936; its functions were then taken over by the Board of Works.
Though usually referred to as the Board of Works, the committee’s official name changed a number of times:
• Board of Works (1886)
• Committee on Works and Property (1887)
• Committee on Works (1916)
• Committee on Works and Water (1937)
The membership of the Board of Works consisted of a number of aldermen appointed annually by City Council. There was also a Secretary to the Board, hired by the City Engineer, who acted as the administrating link between the Board of Works, the City Engineer, and the Engineering Department.


The duties of the Board, which did not change substantially over time, were:
a) to direct and control the work of the City Engineer and the Engineering Department;
b) to advise City Council on matters regarding the work and functions of the Engineering Department;
c) to prepare and introduce to Council all by-laws necessary for the execution of the work of the Engineering Department;
d) to ensure that all by-laws and resolutions of Council regarding the Engineering Department were put into effect;
e) to report to Council on the work and finances of the Engineering Department;
f) and to confer with other committees of Council and other bodies as necessary.

Sources of Authority

The duties and functions of the Board of works can be found in a succession of procedural bylaws (#32 in 1887; #220 in 1894; #516 in 1894; #960 in 1916; #1953 in 1929; #2439 in 1937; and #2462, also in 1937).

Custodial history

Scope and content

Series consists of 27 minute books and 9 index books kept by the City Engineer. These are the minutes of the regular weekly and special meetings of the Board of Works, a standing committee of Council. They indicate the date and place of meetings as well as names of committee members, staff and delegations present. Included in the minutes are: reports to the Board of Works by the Engineering Department regarding matters pertaining to the operation, activities, and mandate of the department; Board consideration and approval of work by the Water Works Department; recommendations to City Council by the Board; statements of tenders received and recommendations for acceptance; correspondence regarding requests for work from individuals and companies and decisions by the Board; communications with other bodies and committees; and statements of accounts and recommendations for payment. Also recorded are references to employee relations, wages, pensions, conditions of work, and employee grievances and petitions. Beginning with the January 12, 1937 meeting, the minutes contain a separate water section report. Minute books from 1 to 25 are indexed, but volumes 26 and 27 are without indexes. Volumes 4 to 12 and 15 to 18 have indexes attached to the inside of their back covers, while the indexes for the other volumes (13, 14 and 19 to 24) are in separate volumes (28 to 36). On the microfilm, the index for each volume precedes it. Arranged chronologically with index volumes at end.

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Physical condition

Minutes are handwritten to 5 Sept. 1911, after that typescript, pasted into bound books.

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred by Engineering Department's Administration Division in 1991 and 1994.


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Use microfilm at MCR 36

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