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Series S376 - Water Works Committee minutes

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Water Works Committee minutes

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  • Textual record

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  • 1906-1936 (Creation)
    Vancouver (B.C.). Water Works Committee

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Physical description

0.08 m of textual records (3 bound vol.)

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Administrative history

The Water Works Committee (also referred to as the Water Board, the Water Committee, and the Waterworks Committee) was a standing committee of City Council which acted as the supervising body for the City’s waterworks system. As with other standing committees, its membership consisted of a number of aldermen appointed by City Council. The Secretary to the Committee, a paid staff member, acted as the administrator and the administrative link between the Committee and the Water Works Department. The Superintendent of Water Works reported directly to the Water Works Committee until 1912, when Bylaw #920 put the engineering division of the Water Works under the control of the City Engineer.

At its first meeting in 1886, City Council established a number of standing committees, one of which was the Fire, Water and Light Committee. Though the major function of this committee was to oversee the City Fire Brigade, it was also instructed to inquire into and report on the construction and maintenance of the water system, then operated by the Vancouver Waterworks Company. The functions were stated formally in the procedural Bylaw #32 of 1887. In 1890, City Council set up a Water Works Committee whose purpose was to negotiate the purchase of the waterworks system and to handle the transition to public ownership. The sale was completed by the end of 1891, and the Water Works Department was instituted under the control of the City Engineer who reported to the Fire, Water, and Light Committee. In 1893, through Bylaw #190, Council attempted to set up an elected Water Commission to oversee the water works, only to replace it with Bylaw #195 in February of 1894. On February 26, 1894, five aldermen were appointed to the first Water Works Standing Committee, whose functions were outlined in Bylaw #200, passed March 12, 1894.

At the end of 1936 the Water Works Department was absorbed by the Engineering Department and the Water Works Committee was dissolved. Its functions were taken over by the Board of Works as set out in Bylaw #2439.


According to procedural Bylaw #200, the purposes of the Water Committee were:
a) to manage the waterworks system of the city;
b) to consider and report on all matters relating to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the water system;
c) to report and recommend to Council regulations for the supply of water for domestic and commercial use;
d) to prepare and introduce to Council all by-laws necessary for the execution of the work of the Water Works Department;
e) to ensure that all by-laws and regulations of Council regarding the Water Works Department were put into effect;
f) to control and direct the City Engineer and staff in connection with the water system;
g) to confer with other committees, commissions and companies as necessary, in particular the Engineering Department; and
h) to make an annual report to City Council on the work and finances of the Water Works Department and water system.

These functions were confirmed in Bylaw #516 in 1905, with the addition of overseeing and reporting annually on the work and finances of the lighting plant. This latter function was removed in 1916 through Bylaw #960. In 1929 Bylaw #1953 added the function of conferring with the Administration Board, and the Commissioner of the Greater Vancouver Water District, in matters regarding the waterworks system of the Greater Vancouver Water District.

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Scope and content

Series consists of minutes of the regular and special meetings of the Water Works Committee kept by the City Engineer. Included are Water Works Department reports, department requests for approval (and a record of the decision), Committee recommendations to Council, incoming correspondence from the public, copies of related by-laws, incoming correspondence from the public, copies of related by-laws, documentation of relations with contractors and employees, and with adjoining municipalities. Each bound volume has an index attached to the back cover. Arranged chronologically.

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Physical condition

Handwritten to Sept. 1911, then typescript.

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from Engineering Dept. in 1991.


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Use microfilm at MCR 37

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File list available.

Associated materials

For earlier minutes of Council's standing committee on water see series 33 (City Council's Standing committee minutes, vol. 26-28). Board of Works minutes on water matters from 1937 are series 373 (Engineering fonds).

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