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Series S547 - Engineering Department annual correspondence

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Engineering Department annual correspondence

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  • Textual record

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

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  • Microfilmed 1997-2002 (originally created 1905-1974) (Creation)
    Vancouver (B.C.). Engineering Services

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269 microfilm reels

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Administrative history

Since its foundation, Engineering Services (or, as it was referred to until 1995, the Engineering Department) has been the largest department in the City administration, providing many of the City's mandated functions for developing and maintaining the City's infrastructure of roads and bridges, waterworks, sewers and sanitation.

The Vancouver Incorporation Act required the appointment of an engineer, and the City did so under Bylaw #1 (1886). Despite technological changes, the department has remained remarkably consistent in functional responsibilities: over the years, the Engineering Department/Engineering Services has been responsible for the construction and maintenance of streets, lanes, sewers, water works, and bridges, as well as for traffic management, sanitation, garbage collection, and parking. With the rapid growth of the city, the Department’s role changed from a supervisory role (overseeing and inspecting the work of contractors) to having full-scale operations divisions.

The City Engineer first reported to the Board of Works (1886-1956), then to the Board of Administration (1956-1974), and subsequently to the City Manager (1974-).

There were a few instances of major reorganization in the history of the Engineering Department. Following a departmental review by external consultants in 1954, the department underwent a major restructuring of its organizational framework. Formerly, divisions had been based on the type of operation each performed. The review called for three basic divisions. One major division was for administration and design and the other for operations. Each of these divisions would oversee the different functions as they related to design or operation. A third division for traffic management continued to exist in the same fashion as before the rearrangement. This structure remained in place for only a few years.
Another major reorganization occurred in 1966 when the Electrical Department was incorporated as a division within the Engineering Department (impetus for this change came from the formation of the Permits and Licenses Department which took over inspection activities while Engineering took over engineering and works aspects.)

The following individuals have served as City Engineer (from 1995, the City Engineer was also referred to as “General Manager” of the then renamed Engineering Services):
• John P. Lawson, 1886-1890;
• Henry B. Warren, 1890-1891;
• Thomas H. Tracy, 1891-1905;
• William A. Clement, 1905-1911;
• Frederick L. Fellowes, 1911-1924;
• Charles Brakenridge, 1924-1946;
• Charles A. Battershill, 1946-1949;
• John C. Oliver, 1949-1956;
• Randolph M. Martin, 1956-1971;
• Gordon H. Lawson, 1971-1974;
• William H. Curtis, 1974-1991;
• David Rudberg, 1991-[2004]
• Tom Timm, [2004]–2010
• Peter Judd 2010–2015

Functions, occupations and activities:

The broad range of functions of the Department has included:

  1. Streets and bridges design and maintenance, including snow/ice removal and sanding;
  2. Sewerage and drainage planning and maintenance,
  3. Water supply and distribution,
  4. Refuse collection and disposal,
  5. Transportation planning and traffic management, including accommodating for special events,
  6. Street lighting and utilities,
  7. Inspection responsibilities (until the creation of the Permits and Licenses Department),
  8. City planning responsibilities (under the direction of the Town Planning Commission) until the creation of the Planning Department in 1954,
  9. Street Decoration (in conjunction with the Street Decoration Committee) since 1954.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Series consists of registry copies of correspondence and associated records, including reports, memoranda, hand-written notes, maps and other materials, emanating from all functional areas of Engineering between 1905 and 1974.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Forwarded by Engineering Services (Administration) in 1997-2002.


Files arranged in numeric order within each year. The following is a partial list of file numbers and titles. Note that not all files are present for each year, and that there may be files on the reels that are not included on this list.
2 City Clerk
2.1 Standing Committees, miscellaneous
2.1A Standing Committee on Finance and Administration
2.1B Standing Committee on General Purposes
2.1C Standing Committee on Health and Welfare
2.1D Standing Committee on Planning and Development
2.1E Standing Committee on Transportation
2.1F Standing Committee on Civic Development
2.1G Standing Committee on Environment Waterfront
2.1H Standing Committee on Social Services
2.1I Standing Committee on Community Development
2.1J Standing Committee on Housing
3 Traffic Division, miscellaneous
3.14 Parades and temporary street closures
3.16 O.T.C. minutes (Official Traffic Commission)
3.16A O.T.C. minutes - Official Traffic Commission
4 Yards
5 Deputy City Engineer
7 Mayor
9 CORS - Canadian Operational Research Society
9 IIPS Inter-Institutional Policy Simulation CORS
9.106 IIPS Solid-Waste Group
13 Utilities Branch
15 Government, miscellaneous (federal and provincial)
15.1 Department of Highways
15.2 Department of Lands, Forests, etc.
15.3 Dominion Bureau of Statistics
16 Projects Engineer
18 Surveys Branch & Surveys
19 City Engineer - miscellaneous
20 False Creek - miscellaneous
23 National Harbours Board
24 Sewers Branch
25 Sanitation - miscellaneous
25A Sanitation refuse pick-up complaints
25A Sanitation street cleaning report
26 Assistant City Engineer, Sewer Water & Sanitation Division
28 Structures branch
29 Administrative Assistant, Engineering
30 Street Operations Branch
33 Electrical Division - miscellaneous
35 Property and insurance - miscellaneous
35.19.102 Strathcona Rehabilitation Committee Meetings
35.64 Neighbourhood Improvement Program local area planning
35.65 Kitsilano local area improvement
36 Snow clearing
37 Dept. Pub. Wrks Fed. Prov. Bldgs. In Vancouver
37.1 Federal sales tax
39 Data Processing Division
40 Planning Department - social planning, community development
40.01 Reports for consideration of the Technical Planning Board
44 Greater Vancouver Regional District
44A Greater Vancouver Regional District - minutes
44A Greater Vancouver Regional District - press releases
44A Greater Vancouver Regional Hospital District - minutes
46 Parks Board (Board of Parks & Pub Recreation)
46.01 Trees, general
54 Board-of-Works accountant
57 Building department
57.1 Building lines
58 Department of Permits and Licenses
58.2 Department of Permits and Licenses form letter re D.P.A.'s
62 Vancouver School Board
62.1 Van. School Board - crossings
63 City Treasurer collections
64.1 Accounting Department - Comptroller of Accounts - refunds
64.2 Director of Finance
64.3 Telephones
64.4 Water - 5 and 20 year plans
64.402 Water mains - 5 and 20 year plans
65 Vancouver Police Department
65A Board of Police Commissioners
66 Board of Administration Commissioner Ryan
66.1 Summary of projects priority list and schedule of departmental projects
67 Assistant City Engineer - street and structures
67.1 Chief Draftsman
68 Purchasing Department
68.1 Purchasing - tenders
68.101 Purchasing offers
69 Law Department
71 Assessment Commissioner
72 Scows
75 Pacific National Exhibition PNE
79 Fire Department
83 Health Department - Medical Health Officer
87 Pipes, underground cuts, tunnels, overhead bridges
89 Building grades
99 Equipment, supplies, etc.
100T0125 Local improvements
100T0125 Streets and sidewalks
112 Streets and sidewalks - miscellaneous
112.1 Lanes - local improvements
112.4 By-laws miscellaneous
112.9 Paving programme
129 Crossings - boulevard sidewalks both private and commercial
129.2 Crossing liability release forms
129.3 Crossings - comm. releases - cancellations of bonds or agreement
129.4 Crossings - private releases - cancellations bonds & agreements
130 Lanes miscellaneous A-Z
130.2 Lane petitions
130.3 Lanes - local improvements
130.4 Lane improvement by applicant
131 Subdivisions - miscellaneous
135-160 Local improvements "A" - "Z"
161-186 Claims "A" - "Z"
173.1 Claims and accident reports (outside workers)
188 City Hall - miscellaneous
189 B.C. District Telegraph
190 Pavement surface treatment - seal coating
190.1 Tenders for curbs, pavements & sidewalks
190.101 Tabulations for pavement tenders
191 British Columbia electric Railway, Ltd.
191 B.C. Hydro and Power Authority - miscellaneous
191.4 B.C. Hydro - gas mains and services
191.5 B.C. Hydro - pavement repairs
191.6 B.C. Hydro - damage to gas services
191.8 B.C. Hydro - U.G. conduits K8800
191.10 B.C. Hydro - crossings
192 B.C. Telephone Co. - miscellaneous
192.1 B.C. Telephone Co - plans
192.2 B.C. Telephone Co. - poles
193 Canadian Pacific Railway
193.4 Windermere Street underpass plans and drawings
193.401 Windermere Street underpass
194 Burlington Northern was Grt. Northern Railroad
195 Canadian National Railway
195.1 Canadian National Telegraph
196 Applications for employment work-positions
197 Bridges, wharves, viaducts, cloverleafs, miscellaneous
197.1 Burrard Bridge
197.2 Connaught Bridge Cambie Bridge
197.3 Lions Gate Bridge First Narrows
197.4 Georgia Viaduct
197.5 Granville Bridge
197.6 Hastings viaduct
197.7 Oak Street Bridge
197.8 Second Narrows Bridge
197.9 Fraser St. Bridge
198-203 Miscellaneous "A" - "F"
203 Miscellaneous - False Creek
204-205 Miscellaneous "G" and "H"
206-209 Miscellaneous "I" - "L"
210 Air survey microfilming maps
211-217 Miscellaneous "M" - "R"
217.1 Release of indemnity agreements, miscellaneous
218 Miscellaneous "S"
219-221 Miscellaneous "T" to "V"
222 Miscellaneous "W"
223 Miscellaneous "X", "Y" and "Z"
224 Encroachments - miscellaneous
224A Encroachment agreements cancellations
233 Winter works program
233.1 Winter works : press clippings
233.2 Winter works : project applications
233.2A Federal provincial employment loan - application acknowledged
233.201 Winter works : "approved" project applications
233.202 Winter works : under federal L.I.P. employees hired
233.3 Summer employment - student step sweep O.F.Y.
238 Auditor
243 Truck budget & equipment plant account
245 Dust-laying - oiling dust nuisance
259 Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District
259A Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District: minutes
260-284 Sewers "A" to "Z"
272 Sewers - miscellaneous
285-309 Water "A" to "Z" miscellaneous
297 Water - miscellaneous correspondence
297.606 Electrolysis
317.1 Hired trucks
317.3 Auto allowance
319 Areaways, coal chutes, etc. - miscellaneous
320 Staff-miscellaneous
320A Signing authority
320A Superintendent's meetings - minutes
320.1 Staff-individual
320.2 Personnel Department
320.2A Directive circular
320.3 Gratuity leave
320.6 Staff leaves
320.7 Accident prevention - industrial accident reports
320.7.102 Accident Prevention Committee : Streets Branch
320.7.104 Accident Prevention Committee : Sewer Branch
320.7.105 Accident Prevention Committee : Water Branch
320.7.105 Sanitation staff personnel
320.7.106 Accident Prevention Committee : Sanitation Branch
320.8 Unions - miscellaneous
320.9 Attendance report
320.10 Union - outside workers
320.14 Physically unfit personnel (outside staff)
320.15 I.B.E.W. - annual from 1970
320.15.1 I.B.E.W. strike file 1965
320.16 Dismissals, suspensions, absenteeism (outside staff)
320.17 Personal folders of staff personnel
320.201 Conferences and courses
320.202 Parking-Eng staff typist authority for positions
400 Assistant City Engineer, Planning and Control
401 Research branch
402 Budgets - Engineering
404 Materials Engineer
405 Equipment Engineer
410 Encroachments
410 Encroachments bulkheads retaining walls agreements
411.1 Spur tracks & crossings
411.2 B.C.H. & C.P.R. spur tracks & crossings V. & L. I.
439 Easements

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Originals are destroyed 2 years after microfilming.

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Files restricted. Please consult the archivist.
Restriction details: Personnel files are scattered throughout this series. Researchers should be cautioned not to release information pertaining to an individual's employment history without prior approval by an archivist.
Act reference: FOIPPA sec. 22(3)(d)
Access form required: Yes
Academic approval required: No

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See the printed finding aid in the reading room for a list of file titles arranged by subject heading.

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