The city of Sydney, N. S., has an interesting history, and from the date of its incorporation it enjoyed an exceptionally good record for municipal government. Since 1885 it has had only eleven mayors, although they are elected every year. Two of the incumbents served four years and one of them six years, which shows that their services must have been appreciated by the good people of this ancient and unique place. The city of Sydney is situated on the southwest arm of Sydney Harbor, Nova Scotia. It was founded in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists. While Cape Breton Island remained a separate colony, Sydney was the seat of government and the residence of the governor. In the early years a small garrison of British troops was maintained here, but at the outbreak of the Crimean war the soldiers were finally removed. Sydney was incorporated in 1886, and during the winter of 1903, a city charter was granted to it by an act of the Nova Scotia Legislature. This act went into force on the first day of January, 1904, making Sydney a city. Within the county are the incorporated towns of North Sydney. Glace Bay, Sydney Mines, Louisburg and Dominion. Syd ney Harbor covers 25 square miles, is sheltered from the open sea, and affords secure enchorage ground. The waterfront of the city is four and three-quarter miles in extent. There are two ports of entry in Sydney Harbor—North Sydney, which is the shipping port of the Nova Scotia Steel & Coal Co., and Sydney (including the out-port of International Pier, which is within the limits of Sydney), which is the chief shipping port of the Dominion Coal Co. For the year ending December 31, 1909, there were reported inwards at the Port of Sydney, including; the International Pier, 1,585 steamers and sailing vessels, manned by 22,561 seamen, with a total tonnage aggregating 1,054,216 tons. The city had a population of 9,901 in 1901 and its present estimated population is 15,902.


It has a good waterworks system, constructed in 1892-3, and additional works were added in 1902. The plant is owned and operated by the city. When water was first introduced the supply was taken from a storage reservoir artificially formed by constructing a dam across the valley of Sullivan’s brook, one mile south of the town. This reservoir was 410 feet above tide and impounded 5,500,000 gallons. The reservoir was enlarged in 1900, making the capacity 8,000,000 gallons.

In 1902 a new storage reservoir was formed in the same way further up the brook and 2 1/4 miles south of the town. The new reservoir contains 200,000,000 gallons, and is 212 feet above the tide. The system is gravity from storage reservoir. The estimated population supplied at date is 11,500, and the total number of gallons consumed for year was 600,206.350: of this there passed through meters 53,397,651 gallons. The percentage of consumption metered is 9.2 per cent. and the average daily consumption is 1,644.000 gallons, or 100 gallons per day to each inhabitant. Gallons per day to each consumer, 143: per day to each ta_____ consumer, 865. The total cost of the plant to December 31, 1909, was $382,431.78.


In the distribution system there are 27 miles of cast iron pipe from 4 to 24 inches diameter. There are 148 hydrants in use and 210 stop gates. The pressure in the center of the city for day and night is 68 to 87 pounds. Thre are 9.52 miles of services of lead, galvanized iron and cast iron pipe, from 1/2 to 6 inches diameter The average cost of installing each service is $13.79. There are 23 meters in use and the percentage of receipts from metered water is 16. During the past year 4,130 ft. of new mains were laid and 93 new service connections made The revenue from water for 1909 was $33,156.98. being higher than in any previous year. The reservoir fluctuated in depth from slightly below the wasteway on June 4 to 28 inches below on August 9. but with this latter exception it remained well filled the entire year. D. McD. Campbell, city engineer, reports that “most of the complaints regarding water of poor quality were received from residents whose premises are supplied from dead ends in the system On account of the large area covered by the city, there are many such dead ends. At these points there is no circulation and the very best water will deteriorate in quality. The water supplied this city containing much organic matter is particularly liable to do so. Many of the dead ends which it is impossible to eliminate entirely have been fitted with valves so that they can be blown off, thus getting rid of the stagnant water and allow fresh, clean water to replace it. This, at present, seems to be the only remedy.


The personnel of the fire department consists of 70 officers and men, seven of whom are full paid. There are 15 pieces of apparatus, 5 horses housed in 1 main fire hall and 6 sub-stations. Owing to the good gravity pressure system there are no engines. Chief R. Menzies, in recommending improvements, says that at present the wagon stored in Ward Five is half a mile from the station, which does not speak very well for the service, when seconds count in getting to a fire. He says that owing to weather conditions, which are so changeable in the winter months, that it is necessary to have both the wagon and sleigh near at hand, so that a quick change could be made. This is certainly poor management, and the change suggested ought to be made at once. The chief also urges the setting of more hydrants at important points. The operation of the department for the past year were responding to 37 general and bell alarms, 1,8 chemical calls by telephone and four “still.” The losses were the largest since the big fire in 1901, reaching $85,000, one fire alone in the Carlin and Bates block amounted to $75,000. The curious statement is made that fire alarm fiends cause much trouble. No less than four false alarms have been rung in during the month of October. It is bad judgment to consider “changing these boxes from their present positions, in the congested district, to other points where detection would be easier.” It ought to be no difficult matter to stop this nuisance if some detective activity were displayed. The chief also considers that better protection be furnished the south end, as the territory is too large for one set of fire apparatus to handle and more fire escapes on large buildings and lodging houses is advocated. On the whole the city is to be congratulated on escaping with such a small fire loss for the year, but it is evident more apparatus and improvements are needed to bring the department up to an efficient condition. The fire alarm system consists of 32 street boxes, 20 miles of wire, a steam fire whistle and tower bell, the whole being valued at $3,594.

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