of the End
During the 1920s,
another problem developed which finally led to the closure of all city mines.
Mining was causing significant damage: road and street railway settlement on
Jasper Avenue East, settlement of the Latta Ravine Bridge, sewage disposal tanks
settling at the Riverdale plant, water main cracks in Riverdale and Viewpoint
and settlement over the Premier Mine along Ada Boulevard. In 1923, the Drinnan,
Pitcher and Sterling Report investigated settlement over the Crown Coal Co.
operation beneath the Penitentiary Reserve. Restrictions were placed on
undermining Jasper Avenue, and 19-foot pillars were required to be left upon
only the Premier, Chinook, Dawson and Penn mines were located within the city.
The city had been trying to obtain coal rights under the Riverdale plant since
1907, and in 1926 J. A. H. Church was appointed to investigate problems regarding
settlement over city mines. When A. W. Haddow criticized city mine operators for
uncooperativeness, they accused him of being bought off by the natural gas
company. They argued that their payroll for 1925 totaled $249,686.66, and they
should be left to operate as an integral part of the local economy. The city
complained that due to regulatory guidelines it could do nothing. Premier
Brownlee had expressed an interest in the issue as early as 1927, and when the
province obtained jurisdiction over natural resources in 1930, the Bulletin called upon him to intervene, saying: "There is plenty of coal in Alberta
for the indefinite future without digging the foundations from under extensive
centres of population."
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