The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)
Decisions of the Provincial Council
Decisions of the Provincial Council.
Mr. James Edward Fitzgerald was chosen as the first Superintendent of Canterbury, and the first meeting of the Canterbury Provincial Council was opened on 27th September, 1853. This meeting was of a preliminary character for the establishment of the Provincial Government, and terminated on 24th November.
The Council met again on 15th February, 1854, and during the session passed the Lyttelton and Christchurch Road Ordinance, which provided for the appointment of a Commission of five engineers and surveyors to report as to the best line of communication. The Commissioners were: Messrs. W. B. Bray (chairman), H. J. Cridland, E. Dobson, R. J. S. Hanman, and E. Jollie. Their report, dated 21st March, 1854, was of a comprehensive character. It stated that four modes of communication between the seaport and the interior had been under consideration, viz:–
(1) Construction of a harbour at the Estuary of the Avon and Heathcote Rivers; (2) an open road over the hills which surround Port Victoria (the name of the harbour had been changed from Port Cooper to Port Victoria); (3) a road through these same hills by means of a tunnel; (4) a railway through the same hills by the same means.
The first of these proposals was rejected.
The second dealt with four proposed lines, of which the Sumner Road, as already laid out, was considered to offer the best transport possibilities.
The third showed only two lines worthy of consideration. One, a tunnel, 600 yards in length, from the head of the gully descending into Dampier's Bay, to the western slope of the Bridle Path Valley; the other, a tunnel 350 yards in length at 200ft. below the summit of Evans Pass, on the Sumner Road. The first, though the shorter route, was rejected on account of the length of the tunnel and the unsatisfactory nature of the ground to be traversed. The Commission estimated the cost of a road of easy grade from Lyttelton to the Heathcote Ferry, including a bridge over the Heathcote, at £25,731 by the second route. If adequate labour were available this road could be completed in eighteen months.page 44
Dealing with the fourth mode of communication (a railway), two proposals were considered, viz:—(1) A line from a deep-water jetty in Gollan's Bay, passing through a tunnel three-quarters of a mile in length, to the Sumner Valley, then by another tunnel 660 yards long through the cliffs at Sumner, thence along the line of the Sumner Road to the Heathcote Ferry. To avoid crossing the navigable portion of the Heathcote River, the proposed line would turn south, and cross the Heathcote at Dr. Earle's section (now Opawa). (2) A direct line commencing at about the Custom House in Lyttelton, passing under the hills by a tunnel 1 1/2 miles long to Heathcote Valley, and ending at the town reserve in Christchurch. This line would be 6 1/4 miles in length, and it was estimated, would cost £155,356, and require four years for completion.