Effects on the Landscape
After 1910, mines
began to have a noticeable effect upon the city landscape. In 1911, a mine
applied unsuccessfully for running rights over the street railway, although, the
Board of Railway Commissioners granted the right to Ritchie Coal Company to build
their spur line across Columbia Avenue.
The Team Owners'
Association complained that the city, and Clover Bar, were not maintaining coal
haulage roads, leading to many overturned wagons and horse injuries. The city
levied a ten cent charge to have coal loads weighed on city scales, further
concerning the teamsters.
In 1912, the
Edmonton Interurban Railway hauled over 400 tonnes daily from St. Albert
Collieries, a subsidiary of Canadian Coal and Coke Company, Canada's largest coal
company. In 1913, the Bulletin declared that commercial coal mining in
Edmonton "has passed out of the problematical stage into the region of
accepted fact," and pointed to the new Great West Coal Company operation as
proof, citing its intensive mechanization; Hardy puncher-type coal cutters, and
longwall cutters, were used to produce 160 tonnes per day for construction.
By 1922, Edmonton
was situated in the centre of a large coal area, stretching from Pembina to
Tofield, and north to St. Albert and Morinville. This area produced 12,000
tonnes per day, and employed 3600 men. Much was sold for domestic use, but the
large market provided by the new railways allowed the area generally to expand,
and to capitalize the mechanization felt necessary for such expansion. The
importance of the railway market was illustrated by the case of Stirling
Collieries, located west of Edmonton. The Board of Railway Commissioners ruled
that its coal could not be used by the G. T. P. during the summers due to the
sparks produced by that grade of coal. This was a major factor in the mine
closing for some time during 1922.
Kenneth Tingley. Coal Mining in Alberta: An Introduction to Changes in Coal-Mining
Technology in the Plains and Parkland Areas, 1872-1955. n.p.:
Reynolds-Alberta Museum. With
permission from the Reynolds-Alberta