Annual Report 1953

CITIZENS OF DARTMOUTH,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have the honour to submit my report and comments on the civic events of 1953. The year 1953 showed acceleration in the progress and expansion which has been evident in recent years.

The sale of Town owned land at Maynard’s Lake and on Boland Road opened the way for tremendous apartment developments, which as the year came to a close were well on their way to completion. A total of 638 apartments will be provided in these two projects which should do much to alleviate the housing shortage in the area. The opening of new subdivisions continued and many new homes have been built.

A block of Town owned land near the bridge head was also disposed of for the purpose of building a shopping centre. Upon completion this centre should add materially to the commercial assessment in the Town.

Road construction in new subdivisions continues to pose a problem. but with the expenditure of $30,000. out of revenue for this purpose we have been able to keep up fairly well with the demand. The Council has laid down more rigid restrictions in the matter of road construction applicable to the subdividers which we hope will help out the situation.

Legislation was obtained providing for the abolition of the household personal property tax. The effect of this legislation is reflected in the assessment notices for 1954.

Authority was given to the Fire Department for the purchase of an aerial ladder truck. A two—way radio was also provided in the Fire Department which has already proven its value. Another set of traffic lights was installed, this time at Five Comets. Special constables were appointed during the year to handle traffic in school areas.

Continued improvement in the street program was noted with the purchase of a patching machine which has speeded up the program very materially. Further widening of Windmill Road was carried out during the year and is scheduled for completion during 1954.

An arrangement whereby the Town Assessor, Mr. Symonds, could carry out the duties of Building Inspector, was entered into and has worked out very satisfactorily.

The Year 1953 saw the passing of an old landmark with the demolition of the old Park School. This was in line with the general program of improvements carried out in the park area during the past few years.

We are grateful to the Junior Board of Trade for the project started in 1953 to clear out the undergrowth on the Birch Cove property and improving this beautiful site as a picnic area.

Plans for two new elementary schools, one in the north end and one in the south end, were approved and are scheduled for completion in time for the 1954 school term.

With the completion of the new Work Shop building downtown, The Works Department building in the north end as well as the D.B.C. building were disposed of.

Work on the Harbour Bridge continued on schedule, drawing another year closer this long dreamed of improvement in our transportation.

Revenue at the Dartmouth Ferry again touched the highest point in its history and profit was satisfactory. The Commission are, however, faced with the problem of major dork repairs and anticipate some adjustments as the impact of the Harbour Bridge competition begins to make itself felt.

I should like to express my thanks to the members of Council and the various Committees and Commissions, and also to Town employees and citizens generally for the co-operation afforded me during the year.

I have the honour to be,

Yours faithfully, C. H. MORRIS, Mayor.

Newcastle Street
A view of Newcastle Street, perhaps from the water, as the railroad trestle is visible at bottom. A child at the bottom right is making their way across the trestle while two others can be seen along the shore. Johnstone Avenue is seen atop the hill with water tower.

FINANCIAL REVIEW Town of Dartmouth — 1953

While costs everywhere have been on the climb the Town by careful financing and by developing new sources of revenue made big news with the announcement in 1953 that it’s tax rate would be dropped by ten cents per $100. of assessment. The tax rate of $2.48 for that 12 months period was the lowest mark the rate had struck since 1918.

Net assessment for Dartmouth during the 1953 period was $21,602,000, which was a new high. This resulted largely from the reassessment survey_ of two years ago. Revenues from this source provided $535,725 for the town coffers with revenues from Poll Tax amounting to an additional $25,015. Revenues from other sources amounted to $328,940. making total revenues for the year of $889,680.

During the year however, total operating expenditures exceeded revenues by the amount of $25,780. This deficit was charged to the Revenue Fund Surplus account which at the end of the Town’s financial year stands at a deficit of $4,675. This amount will be rated for in the year 1954.

The deficit resulted from several of the departments exceeding their budgets. Most notable of these were Education. Police and Sanitation departments.

The over—expenditure in the education field is accountable by the fact that the Town was faced with considerably higher financial demands than originally expected to cover its share of operations and capital cost of the Halifax County Vocational High School in Halifax. It was felt when the 1953 budget was drafted that sufficient funds were in reserve to cover this account but unfortunately this was not the case.

During the year also, Town Council authorized the start of the School Safety patrol, involving the hiring of several additional Police officers on a part-time basis. The work of these officers has as a result released regular Police officers for routine Police work. An extensive program was also undertaken to replace and renew Traffic signs throughout the Town and these items together with the increased cost of operating Police equipment accounted for the over-expenditure in this department.

Town clerk's office

Main reason for the Sanitation budget exceeding its preliminary estimates was the cost of necessary repairs to the incinerator together with the purchase of a new truck for garbage collection, both of which had not been anticipated.

A big item on the credit side of the Town operations during the past year was the revenue arising from the sale of a number of Town owned properties. A total of $87,810 was realized by Dartmouth ratepayers from this source. Of this amount the sum of $30,000 was earmarked by Town Council for capital street construction work. Another $4,000 was voted by the Town for Park beautification. An amount of $17,000 was transferred to the Windmill Rd. widening account which enabled the continuation of this project also an amount of $15,000 was voted for the widening of Wyse Road and Windmill Road in conjunction with these arteries being used as main routes from the Halifax – Dartmouth Bridge. The sum of $2,500 from this money was used to purchase land from the Province of Nova Scotia at Maynard’s Lake, which was subsequently sold by the Town to Maxwell-Cummings and Son for the construction of one of the biggest housing projects ever undertaken in the metropolitan area, the Lakefront Garden Apartments.

With the rapid growth of this area, each year brings a new high in operational costs for the Town.

This past year operational costs showed an increase of some $53,000. over 1952, with the cost of Education being the leader in this increase.

The cost of providing adequate protection to persons and property in the Town also continues to grow as the Town expands. With an expanding Town like Dartmouth also goes the added costs of providing additional sewer and water facilities, street lighting and innumerable other items.

Some of this additional cost in providing services for the newly developing areas is offset by the additional revenue received in taxes and other ways from these new sections, however for the first few years these districts do not begin to carry the cost of providing many of the services they receive.

The Town received a grant from the Dartmouth Ferry Commission during the year. This grant represents the net profit or surplus of the Ferry operation and amounted to $8,710.21.

An amount of $157,000. in serial debentures was retired during the past year plus interest of $98,624.75. This was composed of the following amounts: Genera1—$76,000.; School —-$24,000.; Water— $41,500. and Ferry $15,500. No sinking funds retired during the year but an amount of $15,155.65. was paid into Sinking Fund accounts.

Ferry Purchases Debentures

The Town had only three small issues of debentures during the year and all were purchased by the Dartmouth Ferry Commission.

One of the debenture issues was for $40,000. for school work, bearing 4 percent interest. It was bought for par value by the Ferry. There was also an issue of $25,000. water debentures and $25,000. sewer debentures, which were sold together, at 4} percent interest. These were also purchased at par.

With the Town owned Dartmouth Ferry Commission purchasing these debenture issues out of its reserve fund it meant that the Town received par value for their debentures, and did not necessitate the Town going to the Bond market, which was decidedly low during the year.

At the end of the year the Town’s debenture debts amounted to $2,694,261.03 which is made up as follows: General-—$936,600.: Schools -$434,000.; Water –$999,000.; Ferry -—$215,500, and the Town’s share of the Vocational High School $109,161.03.

During the year a total of $44,671.45 was expended on capital expenditures from revenue, and this was divided as follows: Police Department [car] –$1,331.45: Fire Department (mobile radio)— $1,140.: Street construction $30,000. Park Commission $4,000.: and Water and Sewer construction $8,200.

There are still some ratepayers who are slow in paying their tax accounts as evidenced by the fact that at the end of 1953 the amount of $97,104.61 was outstanding as Taxes receivable. Of the $560,740.13 current tax levy an amount of $68,130.38 is still outstanding.

DARTMOUTH MEMORIAL RINK

Annual Report

Continuing a program aimed at encouraging minor hockey and developing the younger boys of the Town in hockey talents, the Dartmouth Memorial Rink Commission during the past year provided reduced rates for minor hockey so that more of the younger boys could participate. Through the assistance of interested citizens, such as Colenso Bowles, President of the minor hockey league, the Commission hopes to lay the groundwork for greatly increased hockey activity, and resulting increased revenue in the years to come.

Over the past year the Commission has also supported other minor activities in the skating field such as the work the Bluenose Figure Skating club is doing in developing skating talents in the young ladies of the Town. This groundwork is necessary in a Town that has been without a rink for the use of its young people for many years.

During the past year, according to the financial statement released by the Commission the operating profit before providing for Debenture Debt charges was $105.86.

The total revenue figures amounted to $31,201.84 including skating revenue of $11,340. ice rentals of $13,417., plus smaller amounts from dancing and wrestling events.

In the expenditure column salaries took up the biggest single item of $10,290. while light and power amounted to $5306. and maintenance costs on building and equipment totalled another $5,829.

The debenture debt charges, still very high on the initial borrowing for the rink, amounted to $18,240., resulting in a gross expenditure of $49,335.89 for the year. This amount less the revenue resulted in a deficit of $18,134.14 which has been provided by the Town from taxation.

One of the ways in which this deficit might be overcome in ‘ future years is the holding of a brand of senior hockey competitions in the Town which would develop a good following. Currently a proposal is being considered for the new year which would give a number of big league games per month to the Dartmouth Rink, and might be the first step to place the rink on a paying basis. Eventually the development of Allan Cup hockey or something similar might be the boost that is needed.

The Rink was sold out on several occasions last year, breaking records on two occasions, for playoff matches in the semi-finals of the Big Four league when Halifax came over here to play. Such support on an increased basis would solve all financial problems.

PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT

With a budget of $70,000. the Works Department concentrated on several big projects, and on other work did mainly maintenance and repairs during the past year. Biggest job of the year, and one which will have far reaching results on the development of the South end of Dartmouth was the installation of what can best be described as the Brook street sewer.

This is a thirty inch sewer, and extends parallel with Portland street draining the area in the valley between Portland and the hill sloping down from Rodney Road. Originally considered in the 1920’s when the late Mayor Vidito was in office, the big installation was finally undertaken and completed in 1953 at cost of $40,000.

This sewer drains much valuable property including a large block of about thirty town owned lots in what is known as the Prince Arthur Park sub—division. Completion of the storm sewer makes these lots available for development. It is in this same area that the new 16 room elementary grade school is to be constructed, and is just across the street from the Lakefront Garden Apartment project.

In all $50,000 worth of sewer and water extensions were handled during the year by the Works Department to assist in development of new subdivisions. Some work was done in the Wyndholme sub-division, also on Mount Pleasant Avenue. Crichton Park Road and the south end of Hershey Road.

Sewer and water extensions went to Scott Street. McNeil Street, Fenwick Street, Hillside Avenue and on a portion of Thistle Street between Beech and Mayflower Streets.

No permanent paving projects were undertaken during the year, and the street program was confined mainly to maintenance work. The Department purchased a mobile patch unit at a cost of $4,000. which while not elaborate. proved very efficient in quick patch work. It has been in use almost steadily since being purchased.

No other new equipment was purchased during the year excepting a vehicle for the garbage department. No curb and gutter work was done during the year due to the fact that the ratepayers of the Town turned down a plebiscite authorizing money for this purpose.

One big job undertaken and finished during the past year was the moving of Teasdale‘s grocery store back from Windmill Road at the corner of jamieson Street to make way for a general straightening and paving of this section which was quite hazardous. This project had been proposed as far back as 1920.

In the north-end of the Town the three Notting Park prefab Streets of Symonds, Russell and Chappell came in for considerable discussion by the Works Committee which laid out an overall plan whereby each year for three years one of the streets would be rebuilt and resurfaced with the aim of putting all in good shape. Last year a big job was done on Symonds Street. It was graded and levelled, and given a coating of penetration asphalt. It will be given a further coating this year and grading work will move on probably to Russell Street.

A similar type of program was undertaken on Crichton Park Road. This was a major job, costing close to $10,000. and involved grading of the street, installing storm sewers and catchpits, and coating the street with penetration asphalt. A storm drain was also installed up Forrest Road in addition to the sewer.

Slayter Street came in for some repairs and the Town made a start on construction work on streets in the newly developing Wyndholme sub-division.

The winter turned out to be generally light and the snow removal program was not too expensive, although motorists are now demanding more special attention each year with the result that snow removal and street maintenance in the winter is becoming an expensive problem. The Department now uses only salt on the streets because of the big saving in labour costs in cleaning up after, and also in the saving on catchpits and sewers which formerly became clogged with the sand and ashes used on the streets.

A better program of street cleaning was inaugerated and was especially followed out in the downtown area. Plans are to increase this service in the coming year.

WATER COMMITTEE

With the new high pressure water system having now been in service for a complete operational year, many of the operational wrinkles have been ironed out and the installation is providing the Town and its customers with a water service of the PUMP HOUSE highest standards.

With this new service come additional costs and these expenses, coupled with the natural annual expansion of the water utility has made it necessary for the Utility to make application for a new rate structure. (This application will be heard by the Public Utilities Board early in 1954).

A misunderstanding over terms of an agreement between the Town of Dartmouth and the Municipality of the County of Halifax for the supplying of water to Halifax County was settled out of court by legal counsel for the two bodies, on December 31, 1953.

During the past twelve month period the utility had a gross surplus of $82,905.18 after providing for operation costs, taxes and depreciation. Out of this gross surplus the Debenture debt charges had to be paid and these amounted to $81,074.50, leaving the utility with a net surplus of $1,830.68.

Sinking fund payments during the year amounted to $2,542. Serial debentures retired amounted to $41,500. and interest payments were $37,032.50. The Tax payment to the Town of Dartmouth was $23,534.99.

Revenues for the Water Utility during the past year showed an increase of approximately $34,000. This actually represents a payment by the Municipality of the County of Halifax for water supplied during a three year period, and billed for under terms of an agreement. These accounts were not paid until December 31. as previously mentioned.

The Water Utility continues to make capital expenditures from revenue, using the depreciation funds to pay for these expenditures.These expenditures include new services, the cost of installing hydrants, etc.

To get a clear picture of what the Water Utility represents as an investment to the Dartmouth ratepayer it is well to realize that the Total Fixed assets of the Utility amount to $1,900,462.93. The total debenture debt of the Utility stands at $999,000.

The Utility continues to expand as the Town grows and every year Water service is being supplied to new developments and areas.

FERRY COMMISSION REPORT

It is with profound regret as we prepare the annual report of the Dartmouth Ferry Commission that we must record the sudden death of the Ferry Superintendent, the late Captain Charles H. MacDonald. The late Superintendent passed away just shortly after giving his final report on the Ferry operations. He had served as Superintendent of the Ferries since the end of the Second World war.

With assets of over one and a quarter million dollars, and outstanding debenture debt of $215,500, the Dartmouth Ferry Commission faces the year 1954 in excellent financial standing, an aim which has been foresightedly sought by members of the Commission with a view towards being financially fluent in case of unfavourable developments with the opening of the Halifax—Dartmouth bridge.

Ratepayers of the Town again in 1953 benefitted as the owners of the Ferry service with the amount of $8.10.21 being turned over to the Town coffers, being the net profit for the 12 month period. An amount of $50,000. which also could be considered by any standards to be profits for the same period was transferred by the Commission to the Ferries contingency Reserve Fund to bolster even further its sound financial status.

Whether future years prove either prosperous or disasterous financially for the Ferry service, the Commission by making it financially fluent, has guarded against it becoming a burden to the owners, the ratepayers of Dartmouth.

According to the audited financial statements of the Ferry operations, revenues reached an all time high in 1953 of $597,565., making it one of the Town’s three top industries.

Expenses also reached an all time high in 1953 of $534,062., an increase of $7,000. over 1952. Salaries showed an increase of $20,000. reflecting the increases granted late in 1952 as well as the extra remuneration granted in December 1953.

A substantial decrease was noted during the past twelve months in the cost of maintaining the boats due to the extensive program of repairs carried out during the two previous years.

With the exception of the main dock in Halifax, which has been giving considerable trouble, the plant and equipment of the Ferry Commission are in good shape as the result of repairs and renovations carried out during the year.

Current assets in cash and investments at the Ferry have now reached an all time high of $340,000. While the debenture debt now stands at $215,500. In other words every cent of indebtedness could be paid off by the Commission and the plant and boats turned over completely paid for, to the Town at any time.

To increase even more solidly its standing, the Ferry, with some of its cash assets purchased two issues of Town of Dartmouth debentures during the past year, including 540,000. in July and $50,000. in December. In other words the Town of Dartmouth is in the situation that it is just borrowing money from itself for these two debenture issues, which is an excellent situation from the point of view of the ratepayers.

As previously mentioned, ferriage revenues for the past twelve months were the highest ever recorded in the Commission’s history. They amounted to a grand total of $597,565. as compared with $584,191. the previous year, which had been a previous high. It marked a two percent increase in revenue over the year.

Big reason for this increase was the tremendous jump in vehicular traffic on the ferries, with 592,473 being carried across the Harbour during the 12 months as compared with 568,841 in 1952 and 551,423 in 1951. This phase of the ferry operations has shown a steady climb.

The number of passengers, including all fares, showed a drop in numbers carried in 1953. During that period 4,03?,324 crossed on the Ferries as compared with 4,821,443 in 1952.

Cost of repairs on ferries during the year, together with maintenance of machinery. amounted to $18,937 for the S.S. “Scotian”, $l2.0?1 for the S.S. “Dartmouth” and $7,379 for the S.S. “Halifax.”

The capital fund balance sheet shows the general fixed assets of $1,228,092. are made up as follows:

Land and buildings -$87,818.; Ferryboats—$630,921.; Docks, wharves and bridges—–$413,432.; Machinery and equipment—~ $12,920.; Office furniture and equipment—$1,976. and Due from revenue fund -$81,021.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE COMMITTEE

PUBLIC HEALTH

The Town’s Medical Health Officer, Dr. L. A. Rosere, in conjunction with the Victorian Order of Nurses provided Dartmouth with a sound Public Health setup during the past year. The school nursing service, carried out on a part time basis by the V.O.N. was an important phase of this program. Dr. Rosere and the nurses reported on the program carried out explaining that rapid classroom inspections were carried out three times a year in six Dartmouth schools. Records Show that Harbour Town students are almost 100 percent innoculated, and 100 percent vaccinated. In addition to this regular preschool immunization clinics were held.

Every new student in the schools was given a medical examination and in addition students in Grades 1, 3 and 5 were given special physical examinations. It was noted that in these examinations over 50 percent of the school children had dental defects. It was pointed out that no prophylactic dental program was in force in Dartmouth and the few dental clinics held were providing parents with a false sense of security about work being done which was incorrect. Only extractions were made at dental clinics, it was pointed out.

Proposals concerning fluoridation of the water supply were under way by the Water committee when the year came to a close.

During the year a very close check was kept on the Town water supply, and the condition of Town water, and schools were also rigidly inspected for health conditions by the Medical Health officer, and generally they were reported in good condition. Several minor health hazards in private residences were noted and the Board of Health took appropriate action.

The Health program by the V.0.N. was also extended outside the classroom with a total of 28 immunization clinics being held for infants, pre—school and school age children. A total. of 191 children were vaccinated against small pox, 553 children were immunized against diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus and 306 children were given reinforcing doses of toxoid. Arrangements were made during the year for patch testing and x-rays of students making use of the Province‘s mobile x-ray unit.

There were some changes on the V.O.N. staff during the year. Miss Daphne Harnett and Miss Louise Gillis resigned in the Fall, and were replaced by Miss Isobel Patterson and Mrs. Violet Orton (Mrs. Orton later resigned in January).

WELFARE DEPARTMENT

There was a certain amount of good news from the Public Welfare department in 1953 as the year end budget total revealed that the cost to the Town for services provided through this source had taken a drop during the year.

The total costs of hospital and medical debts incurred by residents in the Town of Dartmouth during the year in hospitals throughout the Halifax area amounted to $15,950.97, of which a portion is recoverable by the Town.

Total net expenses of the Public Welfare committee during 1953 amounted to $28,931.21 as compared with $30,888.22 in 1952

Under Provincial laws the Town is responsible for debts at hospitals in the Province incurred by residents of the Town, and that body must make its own arrangements for collection of these debts.

Charities and miscellaneous welfare costs were quite low during the year. They amounted to only $63.83 for groceries and coal, reflecting on the general prosperity of the area. Burials and sundries faced the Town with an additional $402.

Child Welfare costs included payments to the Department of Child Welfare. and the Children’s Aid Societies of Cape Breton, Lunenburg, and Halifax. Three institutions the St. Joseph’:-; Orphanage, St. Patrick’s Home and Maritime Home for Girls also cost the Town nominal amounts.

Maintenance of inmates in the Halifax County Home and other charitable institutions during the year amounted to $5,781., slightly more than the $4,733. cost last year.

Grants made by the Town to charity organizations in 1953 included V.O.N. $1,000., Halifax Visiting Dispensary $200., Canadian National Institute for the Blind $200., Children’s Hospital, $250., and Salvation Army, $300.

TOWN PLANNING

Like a giant mushrooming on every side, the development of the Town of Dartmouth reached an all—time high in the year 1953 with approved building permits totalling almost seven million dollars. Not even the total assessment of the Town stood at this high a mark a quarter of a century ago.

This big problem of providing adequate direction for this unprecedented growth fell to the capable hands of the Town Planning Board and its newly ap pointed Building Inspector Welsford Symonds.

The appointment of a building inspector to study all applications for building permits, and to . handle all preliminary details, ‘- – l leaving only major decisions for WELSFORD smouos Planning Board discussion, resulted in considerable additional time being made available to Board members for important discussions on zoning plans and other over—all building details.

With the building by-laws finally approved, and published in a booklet form, available to contractors and other builders, the Board finally saw one of its aims reach completion. A great deal of study was placed during the year on the Zoning by—laws and these will be placed before the Town Council for consideration in the immediate future.

Lakefront Apartments under construction at Maynard's Lake
Lakefront Apartments under construction

One big step was taken by the Board during the year, and it is one which will result in considerable criticism from builders, but must be faced with the rapid growth of this area, and with a view to keeping building under control, The Board asked Town Council to instruct the Building Inspector not to issue any permits to build, until sewer and water facilities were first installed, and streets graded to Town specifications. Council approved this step and placed it in the hands of the Town Solicitor to draft the necessary by-law.

During the past twelve months the total value of building permits issued was placed at $6,975,600. by the Building Inspector. The most amazing thing about this is that this figure did not include the permanent buildings being constructed at the Naval Armament Depot at a cost of $1,600,000. including a gun mounting and electrical shop. Nor did it include the millions being expended by the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission on the Dartmouth approaches of the Bridge.

A total of 152 single unit new buildings at a cost of $1,460,500 were constructed during the year, along with 5 duplexes amounting to $68,850. plus 55 new apartment buildings totalling 660 units, a tremendous development adding $5,125,000. to the building figure, also residential alterations and additions placing 56 more units available for the rapidly increasing population at a cost of $130,000. New commercial and industrial buildings added $41,800 to the total, while commercial alterations totalled $92,300.. and 42 private garages resulted in another $17,950. Completing the figure was another $39,200. resulting from small additions and repairs.

To climax the building year in Dartmouth for 1953 a total of 394 permits were issued adding a total of 880 units to the Town’s housing accommodations.

PRE-FAB HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

The sale of one house, the last of 214 prefabricated houses purchased by the Town from the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 1952, completed the final sale of these housing units by the Town to private ownership.

The amount of $2,800. received by the Town for the sale of the small four room pre-fab, together with mortgage interest received for the year amounting to $10,293.75. gave the Town of Dartmouth a gross income during the past year from the pre-fab houses of $13,093.75. From this amount a slight deduction for repairs was made, leaving net income over expenditures for the period of $13,048.81.

The balance sheet shows assets on hand in the Prefabricated Housing fund of $12,429.06 on deposit in the Royal Bank of Canada. together with $1 1 7,2 26. in mortgages receivable through the Eastern Canada Savings and Loan Company, and $84,079. in mortgages receivable from the Nova Scotia Savings, Loan and Building Society gives the Town total assets of $213,735.56, after all expenditures of permanizing these units have been taken care of.

This will represent a profit to the Town of close to a quarter of a million dollars on the transaction. The funds have to be paid into a special fund. which can only be dispersed by council with the consent of the Minister of Municipal Affairs

BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMISSIONERS

Board of school commissioners

Two new schools were born in the minds of School Board members during the past year, and tentative plans were considered for a third.

The year 1953 was another period of growth. Keeping pace with the tremendous development, both residential and commercial, throughout this area the population has been climbing steadily, and with it the student population in the Dartmouth schools has been increasing out of all proportions and facing local school authorities with dozens of problems.

Faced with part time classes in several cases during the year 1953, school authorities laid preliminary plans for a ten room school to be constructed in the south end of the Town to handle the rapid increase in population resulting from new subdivision developing. Suddenly these plans were all thrown out as the Lakefront Garden Apartments started work on a tremendous housing development which meant another 450 families, and an approximate increase in the number of elementary grade students. Finally plans were being drafted by architect D. A. Webber on a sixteen room school. which it was hoped would accommodate the new student body. The school is to be constructed in the Prince Arthur Park sub-division.

Meanwhile in the Northend of the Town a similar situation was developing. Here several new housing projects were underway and in addition another apartment project, with accommodation for 250 families was being started. Faced with tremendous overs crowding of facilities at present in use the Board decided it would be necessary to have a new ten room school ready for occupancy when classes commence in the Fall of 1954.

At year’s end both of these projects were in the stage of having tenders called for a start on construction.

During the year the Board recommended to Town Council the razing of the old Park school, located on the bluff of land looking down over Synott’s Hill.

Meanwhile the Board, after studying recommendations from Supervisor of Schools, Ian K. Forsyth, was faced with the possibility of needing a great deal of additional Junior High school space in another year. Reports were being considered on heavy increases in junior high school classes as the elementary grades advance, and action may be taken sometime next year in this regard.

Considerable work was done during the past year on school grounds, with a program aimed at improving the properties and laying asphalt surfaces for game areas being continued.

SCHOOL FINANCES

The cost of education in the Dartmouth public school system continued to climb in 1953 as the student population showed a steady increase.

Total expenditures during the year by the Board of School Commissioners amounted to $284,454.86 as compared with approximately $267,000. the Year previous, or $207,417. in the year 1951.

This climb will continue next year with the opening of two more schools, and the following year if another junior high school is constructed.

During 1954 Teachers‘ salaries accounted for $180,172.61 of the total amount. Principal installments on serial bonds took $24,000. and interest on bonds another $17,327. Other high items included janitor service which runs to $14,000. and fuel, another $1I.313.

Prince Arthur Park School started

Additional funds were used during the year to promote such items as Household Science, Music, Physical Education, and Industrial Arts, and these classes were felt to be providing a much needed service in the public education system.

The program of adult education through capably supervised evening classes, in such fields as Household Science and Industrial Arts, continued to meet with a great deal of favourable comment and have big followings. This program is arranged in conjunction with the Vocational Guidance division of the Department of Education and will be increased in the ensuing year.

One of the big items last year was the physical education display arranged by the P.T. Instructors, the Music Festival held at the Junior High School was also highly successful and warmly praised.

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE

Direction of the Police and Fire Departments of the Town of Dartmouth was handled during the year 1953 under a single committee, designated as Public Safety.

One of the big projects of the year, and one which has done much to provide for a steadier flow of traffic in the downtown area was the installation of a set of traffic lights at the dangerous Five Corners intersection. A drop in the number of accidents at this corner, and encountering of little difficulty in the winter months has made the third set of lights installed in the Town very successful.

During the year a new police patrol car was purchased, and funds were also expended on the purchase and installation of a mobile radio-telephone unit in the Fire Chief’s truck to provide for more maneuverability of equipment in case of several fire outbreaks at one time.

Plans were considered during the year for the purchase of a new aerial ladder truck for the Fire Department to replace the obsolete chain driven model which has been in use for over 30 years.

The Civil Defence organization was in full operation during the year and is strongly set up to operate in case of an emergency. A Civil Defence pumper unit was obtained and is stored at the Fire station, a warning air raid siren was also installed by the committee, and a practice air raid drill was held during the year.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Dartmouth Fire Department, headed by Fire Chief George Patterson had a busy year in 1953, but through the efforts of this department the total loss by fire throughout the Town was kept very low.

The total fire loss in the Town limits amounted to $173,619. Of this figure the amount of $155,1_54 was covered by insurance leaving only $18,465. actual loss suffered by property owners.

During the year the Fire Department responded to 245 alarms an increase of 29 over the previous year. Seven of these were general alarms, responded to by the members of the Volunteer departments.

The largest fire loss was the Vincent warehouse blaze on October 17, which contained the stock of Simpson Sears Limited. plus other stored items, resulting in a loss to the buildings and contents of$l43,005., representing the major part of the fire loss in the Town for the year.

Two other buildings were destroyed, including a combined shop and dwelling on Fairbanks Street and a bungalow on Woodland Avenue. In all during the year 14 buildings were damaged.

According to the Fire Chief the Volunteer departments are up to full strength and giving valuable service. working in conjunction with the 12 men on the permanent force. The Department responded to seven alarms in the County during the year.

The Department revealed that a number of local business firms have installed automatic sprinkler systems in their business places, and indicated it was endeavouring to have others installed in other public buildings in Town.

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Town officials moved to bolstered the Dartmouth Police Department during the year 1953 and one of the most important steps taken was the installation of a separate School Safety Patrol. Four additional men were taken on duty on a part-time basis to serve during school days at rush hours on busy intersections, directing traffic to a certain extent and aiding students proceeding to and from school in crossing the street.

The results at the end of the year proved that the move had been justified, as school accidents were completely prevented during the year, despite the fact that traffic has increased greatly in recent years, and also considering that the 1953 school population was the highest recorded to date.

The strength of the Police Department in addition to the safety patrol officers, remained at 16 men including the Police Chief ‘John Lawlor, and other officers, plus the utility man.

The year was a busy one and the Department was praised for its work and investigations in breaking up several crime waves. including a series of breaks, and a bicycle resale gang of juveniles.

In all the Town Police court handled a total of 11,218 cases in comparison to approximately 900 the year previous. Fines and court costs collected amounted to approximately $8,500.

Considerable time was spent during the year by traffic authorities in studying the growing problem of downtown traffic and the traffic lights were found to be of great assistance. The new light installed at Five Corners was found to be a great assistance in handling the heavy flow of traffic in this area.

Extra funds were used during the year in erection of additional signs, traffic signals, and road guides to handle the heavy traffic. Further work was done to develop the downtown Parking lot at the corner of Commercial Street and Ferry Hill.

TIIE CEMETERY COMMITTEE

Mount Herman Cemetary

Space is rapidly being used up in the Town’s biggest cemetery, Mount Hermon. This large property has been becoming increasingly filled as the size of the Town’s populace has increased with leaps and bounds during the years since the end of the War.

The problem of a site for a new cemetery was studied very carefully during the past year by the Cemetery committee and thought given to the possibility that with burial space becoming steadily limited that only residents of the Town would be accepted for burial, and that Halifax County residents in the surrounding suburban areas would have to be refused space in this cemetery.

Further work was continued during the past year at Mount Hermon in removal of old brush, weeds and accumulated debris from the northern section of the cemetery. The installation of Town water in the cemetery has made it much easier for maintenance workmen to keep the grass and shrubs watered and fresh looking.

Despite increased lot and grave opening rates as set in 1951 the cemetery operated at a deficit amounting to $1,925.48 during the year 1953. Burial charges only netted the Town $1,105. which together with $700. provided from Town tax levy was still short of the $3,730. needed to operate during the year.

The biggest expenditure faced by the committee during the year was labor costs of $3,346.

In the overall picture of the balance sheet the assets held by the Cemetery committee amount to $8,086.36 including property and equipment while deduction of accounts payable, and minus the deficit for the current year the balance is cut to $7,389.97 as of December 31, 1953.

DARTMOUTH PARK

Build Retaining Wall in Dartmouth Park

Highlighting the development of Dartmouth Park properties in the year 1953 was the start of a concrete program of work on the beautiful Birch Cove property, which was obtained by the Town from the estate of the late L. M. Bell, and which in the future may be one of the Town’s most valuable Park properties.

The work in clearing out the underbrush, removing debris, having the terrain levelled and sand provided for a bathing beach was the start of a program which the civic minded men of the Dartmouth Junior Board of Trade sparked, in co-operation with the Park Commission.

After getting the go ahead signal from the Park Commission, a special committee headed by Charlie Clarke did a great deal of the preliminary work necessary to put the property into condition for use as an ideal picnic grounds. Located as it is on the scenic shores of Lake Banook, with easy access from Crichton Avenue, the location is fast becoming a popular gathering spot.

With a budget of $2,500 plus an amount of $4,000 from sale of Town owned land the Park Commission continued its program of beautification and maintenance on the Dartmouth Park. Considerable more work was done by Park workmen in constructing retaining walls along walks in the lower section of the Park.

Further shrubs and plants were planted and during the latter part of the Summer the whole section of the Park bordering along Synott‘s Hill and the Park Avenue Hill was a glorious array of colourful flowers.

Further work was done by the Park Commission in conjunction with work on the rock garden. This work is limited because of the lack of sufficient funds but the Commission has been following a program in recent years of doing a small amount of work in one section rather than trying to spread the small budget over too big an area. This has begun to pay off and now further work is being started in the Thistle Street extension area, a section which is also becoming a very heavily travelled route.

Considerable grass was planted in the Thistle Street area extending down from the Bicentennial Junior High School, and trees and shrubs were given special attention here.

A power mower was purchased during the year by the Commission to be used in assisting the small staff of the Park in keeping the new lawn areas well trimmed. A further amount of $400. was used by the Commission during the year in beautification and maintenance work on the centrally located Memorial Park at the intersection of Crichton Avenue and Ochterloney Street.

Benches were placed in this section of the Park and the area was widely used when Band concerts and other special events were held there.

At Victoria Park, the Victoria Park Commission continued its program aimed at making that section of property in the North end of the Town more useable for the residents in general.

Further seeding of the ground was completed here after it had been plowed up, and levelled off. The Commission hopes to add to the Kiwanis Club’s work of installing playground equipment. by providing walks across the Park, and benches for the use of residents of the district. With construction of the Dartmouth Park Apartments nearby, this will become an even more important Park area. Only the ordinary maintenance work was carried on during the year at the Wentworth Park.

The Tree planting program, which is rapidly beginning to show results in the Town was furthered during the past year with the expenditure of approximately $500. during the period for trees. Throughout the Park, and on virtually every Town street the new trees which have been planted are growing well and will soon add a great deal to the values of properties and to the beautification of the Town.

RECREATION AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

Continuing in a program to support the youth of the Town in various fields of progress the Recreation and Community services committee assisted financially in the sponsoring of Band concerts for the enjoyment of the general public, serving a double purpose in one of their 1953 projects.

The Committee arranged for a series of special Band concerts to be presented during the Summer months at the Memorial Park by the Kiwanis Youth Band. Realizing the heavy expenses the Kiwanis Club is undergoing in its efforts to assist the youth of Dartmouth in advancing culturally in the field of music, the committee decided to pay the club a nominal amount for each Band concert presented, as a boost in the Bands operation.

The strong general support of this move was evident by the large audiences on hand for the concerts on each occasion.

The committee felt that the young people interested in the Youth Band work should be supported as well as youngsters anxious to make use of Town ball diamonds and sports facilities.

Although operating on a limited budget the committee was able to assist further in the work of improving and maintaining present playing fields in operation in the Town. Considerable work was done at the Common field with approximately $200. being expended in repairs and maintenance on both grounds and bleachers.

The Community swimming pool, operated at the foot of Synott’s hill in the Dartmouth Park was as usual well patronized by boys and girls from all over Town. Two capable instructresses were on hand every day to direct the classes in Water Safety and Red Cross Life Saving and Swimming Methods. This pool provides well supervised swimming and has proven invaluable in providing instructions to Dartmouth children who with the nearness of the Lakes and seashores spend much of the summer in the water.

The Dartmouth Public Library, operated by a Board of Trustees, and still located in the Service Centre, was given a grant of $2,000. for operations during the year. A considerable number of private and public donations of books helped the Library to add to its wide array of reading n-iaterial. Attendance at this centre again topped all records and the Library is faced with a problem of needing larger quarters in the near future to accommodate a steadily increasing patronage.

In co-operation with the Dartmouth junior Board of Trade the Tourist Bureau was again operated at the corner of Elliot Street and Lake Road. The number of visitors and home-town residents making calls at this centre for information and literature increases every year, accentuating the need for this service in the Summer months. Outside visitors alone during the past year topped the 1.500 mark.

HALIFAX – DARTMOUTH BRIDGE

Grading Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge approaches

As the curtain came down on construction work on the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge for 1953 a great deal had been achieved.

Especially evident has been the progress made on the Dartmouth side of the Harbour. Concrete work had been completed and virtually all of the steel work stretching from the upper end of Lyle Street, down across Windmill Road to the waterfront, had been completed.

Construction work on the east main tower had been almost finished at the close of the year, and preliminary plans were being laid for the big job of erecting the catwalk and hauling the dozens of steel cable supports across the Harbour.

At the Wyse Road end of the Bridge, work on the approaches had been started at the end of the season. The approaches on the Bridge property itself had been levelled and given a preliminary coating of asphalt. Construction work had also commenced on the toll booths, administration and work buildings for the Bridge which would be located on the Dartmouth side of the Harbour.

The Town, under the direction of Mayor Claude H. Morris, who is the representative on the Bridge Commission was laying the first plans to start work on arteries which must handle most of the vehicular traffic from the Bridge. Through $100,000. obtained from the sale of a block of land to the Bridge Commission, and another $30,000. set aside in a special fund, the Town was planning to start work almost immediately in the new year on the Wyse Road approach. This would be widened and boulevarded for a distance of 100 yards in each direction of the Bridge entrance.

GENERAL MUNICIPAL STATISTICS(for year ended December 31, 1953)
POPULATIONDominion Bureau of Statistics Census (1951)15,037
AREA
Land. . .1,533 acres
Water. . .198 acres
Total1,731 acres
Land Exempt in Public Works and Playgrounds68 acres
ASSESSED VALUATION
AssessmentExemptionNet Assessments
Real Property. . .$23,538,970$7,156,550$16,382,420
Personal Property. . .$5,315,000$94,600$5,220,400
Total. . .$28,853,920$7,251,150$21,602,820
EXEMPTIONS
Government Property
Dominion. . .$5,223,400
Provincial. . .$24,000
Town. . .$242,800
Total Government Property$5,490,200
Property used for Educational,
Religious, Charitable Purposes
$1,515,650
Widows. . .245,300
Total Exemptions. . .$7,251,150.
TAX RATE
General Tax Rate 2.48%For General Purposes 1.40%
For School Purposes 1.08%
STREETS AND SIDEWALK MILEAGE
AsphaltConcreteGravel StoneBituminous
Streets. . .6.28Nil1116.55
Sidewalks. . .2.3014.0425.10Nil
SEWER AND WATER MILEAGE
Storm and Sanitary
Sewers. . .
26.43
Water. . .31.89
Total. . .58.32