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The Navigation of the Dee.

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The Navigation of the Dee. vri Explanation of the New Scheme. AN interesting statement, prepared by Mr S. SmAh, clerk to the Dee Conservancy Board, has been fiorwartded to the members of the various ._ülY oo.uncLs who'se co-operation in the scheme for improving the navigatiion of the, Dee is invited. History of the Movement. According to the Tiid'al IHarbouro Royal Com- missions, who ,reported: in 1846, the port of Chester comprises the estuary1 of the Dee frolm ■tne City to it's outlet into the Irish Sea, between, ilii 'ore Point on the north and the Point of Ayr on 'the' south. There are two. approaches to the river from, the .sea, 'the one, known, as Hiiibre Swash, being near the Wirral shore off Hoylake, ana the o-tner the main channel known as the Chester Bar. The Hilb-ra Swash has 9ft. and the Chester Bar ,12ft over it alt low water, or .ratner more depth of water than exisits in, the best entrance to iihe Mersey. The tides in the Dee are similar to those in the. Mersey, the spring tides reaching a. heiglbt of 30ft in botb estuaries. Mr Te-ford, the grea.r..engineer who built the Welsh suspension bridges, observed that the Dee resembled the Clyde in navigable length, dimensions, and shiape of estuary, but in those days he had to report that the Clyde had not been rendered as perfect as it-be Dee, though means were being employed to render it so. Commenting later upon Mr Telford's reports, the Royal Commissioners on Tiidal HaIlbours pointed out that owing to the continuance of those means o'f improvement he had alluded; to, 11-tihe: Clyde, with a far inferior rise of tide to the Dee, now offers a depth of and occa- sionally of igft., at Glasgow Quay," and tney a,dd,ed ,that all the engineers they had cited agreed in the opinion that "there is no reason, if it were desired and proper means were used, why Chester should! not have: the sia.me." The Commiss. offers in 1846 recommended that every effort should be made, to get a depth of 18't. or 2oft. of water up to Chester quays, and expressed the opinion that it would prob- ably be found an advantage "to lead the chan- nel (iby training walls) below Flint by an easy curve into Moscyn Deep, and thus by shorten- ing the passage enable vessels to come to Cnes- ter in one tide." Many ineffectual attempts were made to give effect to the views of the Commissioners, but it was Sound that the only course was to take, by legislation, the conser- vancy of the river OUle of the band's of the River Dee Company. After several costly at- tempts this was accomplished by the Dee Con- servancy Act, 1889, by which the conservancy, improvement, and control of the navigation of the river and estuary were transferred to a representative Board. This- authority has 38 members, of whom I I are elected by the public (bodies interested, 14 by traders and shipowners trading on the river, seven; by the various rail- way companies whose lines touch the> river, five by riparian owners and the Dee Company, and one by the Board of Trade. Its first president was the late Duke of Westminster. Objects and Cost of the Present Scheme. With the sum Of £ 30,000 paid by the Dee Cdmpany for being released from their statu- tory navigation and ferry oifaliga'tions a sufo'stan- fcial beginning with: the work of improving the navigation has "been made'. training walls have been constructed, that on the north side extending uo nearly opposite Flint, and by concentrating the tidal currents and producing a "scour" within the walls a considerable im- provement of the channel above that po-nt has been effected. The Conservancy Board! has ob- tainedl the dgllÚ to levy ship due's on. vessels using the river from Conna'h's Quay upwards, and the -revenue from due's: and! tolls in 1902 was ^1,000. These works have, however, practic- 1, ooo. ally e.xlhiaufeited the fund's oif tlhe '.Board available for improve'ments, and if the, work tis to be completed! it muslt be by "leading the channel inko the deep water at Mostyn. Deep." For this purpose, the training walls must be extend- ed) from nearly opposite Flint, where they now terminate, to a point nearer to, or, if necessary, actually inleo, M'ostyn Deep. The works sug- gested in the first instance are the prolongation, of the training walls to. some distance below Flint and the deepening of the' rock bar below C'onnah's Quay. If lzhese works were carried out and dredging' plant were provided to. assist it, the river would, it is confidently expected, cut a course ,through the intervening sandbanks, into, ifne "deep blue water" at iMostyn. Deep. 1* P. An approximate: estimate oif the cost of these works and) of the dredgers and appliances- is, ^"60,000, bult to carry the training walls to the: Deep would mean an outlay of over ^400,000. The expenditure would, however, be gradual. As. the work proceeded', the shipping places and .Wharves- below "I,,o,nna!h,s Quay wGuald: be brought within the area in which ship dues couid be collected, thus largely increasing the revenue, and there would be the increased- traidie resulting from, tlhe improvemenlt of the navigation. -Great trade developments have al- ready taken pllace on the. banks o'f the river, such -as the r tablish'ment of w'orks and indus- tries, and were the river converted into a Selcondl Clyde, its commercial and industrial future, would undoubtedly be most prosperous. The Future of the River. The future usefulness of the river as a route to the high seias is not apparently limited to Flintshire, Chester, and the, Midlands, for, at the Flintshire County Council meeting on Wed- nesday, when the question was discussed, Mr Urilas 'Bromley dedared-and 'he is never known to jol,-e-f-Tialt if a deep-water dhannell were madte to the sea off Mostyn, people might even talk of connecting the Dee with the Man- chester Sihiip Canal. It would, he suggested, only be necessary to cut a trendh across- the Cheshire plain for a distance of less than 20 m-ilel to Ellesmere for Flintshire to be brought into- direct communication, by water witch Man- chester, and- for Manchester to have two. outlets to the sea. It appears tha.t the whole oif the Dee up. -to. Chester lie-s within the county of Flint, as well as all the liandl on the Wirral shore; to a dl'sta.nlcei of liwo miles from mid- stream. Thus the' Cheshire County Council ihas no direct jurisdiction over the river, and the Flintshire Council have: been asked to con- sider whether it would not be well to retain their control of the estuary with the banks on tooth sides rather than relinquish to Cheshire the shipaf territory on the Wirral side, and thuis give the Che-shlre Counoil the advantage of the rateable value which would ibe tCireated by the' OIpening uíp of that territory to indus- lIal If, however, Cheshire, could1 be, by 11 a concession, intarested' in the, project, indtaced to. share in tlhe proposed, expense the Flintshire, inenbighishire" todi Che- C'ouncils and the landowners and others to derive benefilt, tlhe dleteired consumma- uJd be made more easily attainable. In reference to tie question of Cheshire's co- operation, it must be borne in iillnd that the county has on its northern boundary the river Mersey, and- thai, 'the interests of that great port must have a very extensive: influence upon the County 'Council. That influence, naturally, iwo-uld give a distinct bias' against any move- ment for the encouragement! of a rival like the Dee. -Such a. b-as would! make* itself especiaLy evident when the scheme, in connection with the Dee was first .mooted, but ijf tche, proposal were carefully explained and its a-dvantages .quietly indicated, in a spirit of friendly negoid- ati-on and compromise, it by no means foLows that the opposi tion to- it iby the Cheshire County Council would not in due course be -superseded by hfearicy co-operation.

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