Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 39 > Page 34 - The Steel Boom Comes to Sydney, 1899

Page 34 - The Steel Boom Comes to Sydney, 1899

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1 (358 reads)

from incorporation of Dominion Iron and Steel and the start of construction, to the making of the first steel and Whit? ney 's departure. We lack precise details about decisions to establish the steel plant in Sydney. Henry M. Whitney (an American promoter who con? solidated the coal mines as Dominion Coal Company in 1893) may have considered it as early as 1897, when experiments at the mainland Ferrona Works, Nova Scotia Steel Company, proved Dominion's coal could be used for steelmaking. He proposed a merger with Scotia Steel, was turned down, and be? gan seeking encouragement to establish steel works in Cape Breton. Whitney found encouragement at all three levels of government, in federal bounties, provincial relief on coal royalties, and free land, water and tax relief from the ratepayers of Sydney. The prospectus the company issued in 1901 included as one of the stock-selling points the fact that it expected to receive over 8 million dollars in bounties on iron and steel production. The opposition in the House of Commons, fearing that the demands on the government would be unduly large, wondered if the bounties could not be limited, and argued that this was hardly a struggling industry, and "with 28 million dollars capital and the support of great financial magnates, it could hardly be contended that the boun? ty was essential to success." The Minister of Finance, H. S. Fielding, the man who had done so much at the provincial level to help Whitney create Dominion Coal Com? pany in 1893, countered that a large cost to the country was the risk taken when the bounties were offered. Whitney approached the provincial govern? ment to see what they would do to get a steel plant underway. His letter to Prem? ier George Murray, presented to the N. S. Legislature in February, 1899, mentioned a number of added values of a steel plant that would be repeated from various quar? ters again and again: that the use of more coal would result in steady, year-round, expanded work at the mines; that Nova Sco? tians forced to leave to find work could now come home; and that spin-off indus? tries, most especially shipbuilding to re? store Nova Scotia's former glory, would surely come in the wake of iron and steel production. Whitney asked the government for 100% relief from paying royalty on all coal used in connection with the steel plant for 5 years. What he got was a 50% relief from royalties for 8 years. The in? corporated company was also empowered "to expropriate any land it required and could not obtain by private treaty." Eventually the provincial government would amend the act of incorporation to allow the company to pay dividends to stockholders during the constiniction phase. One M.L.A. stood The only key to trouble-free and long car life is regular and careful maintenance. For over 23 years, maintenance--solely of European cars--has been our occupation. If you don't wish to maintain your car, neither do we!! If you do, we'd like to help!! EUROCAR SERVICE LTD. ''''i]ZV'''? If you're building or buying a packaged home, or remodelling your kitchen, don't settle for !'j unfinished cabinets when you 'f''N can have factory-built, factor: 'L _I finished cabinets for the same Settle for Second Best!! price; or very little extra. We specialize in quality lines of cabinets & vanities. At East Coast Kitchens you don't have to look close... the quality and beauty stand out! Drop in your plans or make an appointment for FREE DESIGNS AND ESTIMATES. HURRY NOW • NO COST OR OBLIGATION EAST COAST KITCHENS 87 Industrial Dr., Sydney 539-9682 564-9721 Museum of Cape Breton Heritage Northeast Margaree on Cabot Trail Inverness Co., Cape Breton, N. S. OPEN 9 TO 6 DAILY J- Capt Btttan Weleome To Tour Home Away From Home! Our Bed and Breakfast program enables you to stay with Cape Breton families and experience the Island's famous hospitality first hand. Lodt for our welcoming iigns all across the Island: in coastal fishing villages, in the scenic highlands, close to beaches, museums and shopping. We invite you to come and make new friends, explore special places, sleep soundly and enjoy home cooking. A list of Bed and Breakfast homes can be obtained at any Cape Breton Tourist Association Bureau. This project is supervised by the Cape Breton Devek>pment Corporation. More information can be obtained by writing: P. O. Box 1750, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada BIP 6T7 Attention: Ray Peters. Cape Breton Bed and Breakfast * WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME AWAY FROM HOME! P A project of th? Cape Breton Development Corporation (34)
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