W-MCP7-1.212 TO HON T.B. MCQUESTEN, BARRISTER, from H.S. Hamilton, re: Assessment for Algoma Steel Corp. of Steel Co. Plant in Hamilton.
Feb 11 1946
To: T.B. McQuesten T.B. McQuesten, 69 James Street South, Hamilton, Ontario.
From: Hamilton & Carmichael, Barristers & Solicitors, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Hamilton & Carmichael
Barristers, Solicitors, &c.
Harry S. Hamilton, Tracy E. Carmichael
Sault Ste Marie
February 11th, 1946
The Honourable T.B. McQuesten
69 James Street South
Dear Mr. McQuesten:
You will remember back in 1944 you checked up the assessment in Hamilton relative to its steel industry and were able to secure and let me have certain information that has been very useful and valuable to the Algoma Steel Corporation in trying to work out a satisfactory adjustment of their assessment in this city.1
We would like very much to again ascertain the policy and the several bases of assessment somewhat similar to that obtained when I visited you before. For your information we enclose herewith a summary of our report as to what was ascertained in Hamilton at that time, which may be of use to you in again securing for us information as to the most recent assessment made relative to the various items mentioned and also generally as to the policy on such outstanding items as railways, docks, motor power, etc.
We are going to have further difficulty in adjusting the matter this year and this information, we think, would be very valuable in guiding us and perhaps have some influence on the City Fathers insofar as their policy in the matter is concerned. Sir James Dunn agreed I should again communicate with you and see if you could get us this information.
With kind personal regards.
Yours very truly,
Hamilton & Carmichael
Summary of Report of Hamilton & Carmichael
re Hamilton Assessment-["of the Steel Company Plant"] 1944
We will now deal with the outstanding items of the Steel Company Plant and indicate whether or not assessed and to what extent.
(a) Docks: The docks of the Steel Company are assessed merely on an acreage basis and nothing additional is added thereto for the structural features of the dock, which retain the earth fill or surface. The acreage basis for the whole Plant is $3,000. per acre. That is the basis of the assessment of the docks. We also found that they apparently made no distinction between Steel Company dock assessment and the assessment of other docks such as Canada Steamship Lines; the latter being assessed on a like basis, namely, the value of the dock as land and not based on its value as a structure. It is interesting to note also that where swamp areas had been built up and made useable by way of piles and fill, the Assessor instead of adding the cost of the reinforcing and fill to the acreage basis, deducts it a thousand dollars per acre inwards the cost of making this land available and usable as acreage; thus the assessment basis was reduced to $2,000 an acre instead of $3,000 although it cost them considerable to reclaim the swamp and make it usable as land. This is directly opposite to the effort here to include in the cost of the lime stone dock the expense of fill, which was necessary to raise the land above water.
(b) Ore Bridges, etc: The assessor indicated that whatever bridges or cranes the Steel Company have [sic], have been treated, like here, as fixed machines. The question of docks being foundations for them to operate on does not arise there as, as stated above, they make no assessment for the structural features of the docks.
(c) Coke Ovens: These are not assessed on the same grounds as here, namely, they are treated as fixed machinery.
(d) Blast Furnaces: These are not assessed for the same reason as here, namely, they are considered as fixed machines. Buildings incidental to them are assessed as structures on a cubic content basis, which we will mention later.
(e) Motor Power: including boilers, generators, electric motors etc. These are not assessed at all, but the Assistant Assessor believes that they are assessable and that as to these items the Act is not being given effect to.
(f) Oil Tanks: These are not assessed although considered to be assessable. On the other hand oil containers for Companies engaged in the oil business are assessed.
[handwritten note:] [first two words illegible]"2,000,000 cubic feet 3.6 cents per cubic foot should be 6 cents"
(g) Rail Switches, etc: These are considered assessable but none are assessed. It is considered that the value basis of assessment if they were assessed would be $2.00 to $2.50 per foot for the track, that is the two rails.
(h) Buildings: The buildings as structures are assessed on a per cubic foot interior content basis. The building is measured on the outside, then the thickness of the wall deducted and the interior cubic content taken as the basis of arriving at assessable values. The rate per cubic foot is based on the type of building and roughly its age and condition.
[Handwritten note]: "cubic content an [?] measurememnt"
Old Brick Buildings- the rate is .05 cents per cubic foot; steel frame and galvanized sheet buildings are assessed at .03 cents per cubic foot. It is considered that they cost from .10 cents to .15 cents per cubic foot to build and have a 30 year life and that .03 cents per cubic foot over the life of the building means a cost basis of one-third of the original cost.
[Handwritten note]: will not consider depreciation in future [???].
Frame buildings are assessed at 3 1/2 cents per cubic foot. It is considered they cost from .07 to .10 cents per cubic foot to build and they have a 40 year life. The General Office building is assessed at .13 cents per cubic foot and it is considered it should be .15 cents. The First Aid Buildings are assessed at .09 cents a cubic foot, but it is considered they should be at .15 cents. Their gas holder tank is assessed at 3.6 cents per cubic foot and with 2 million cubic foot content, its assessment is $72, 000.
A general summing up of the total results and actual assessment for the year 1944 of the Steel Company of Canada is as follows:
Buildings assessed at .................................................$1,430,000.
In addition land used for business purposes.....................632,000.
Add 60% for business assessment.................................1,237,200.
Other land not in use for business purposes........................97,760.
[Handwritten note at end]:
"Some additional Building and 1.5 acre land.........................3,856,850"
1 This letter follows a previous assessment obtained from T.B. McQuesten by this firm. This letter is important in that it shows that T.B. McQuesten returned to his practice after his resignation from parliament and the Niagara Parks Commission--and that he was handling some very important and high profile cases. The interspersed handwritten notes appear to be in T.B.'s handwriting, and may have been noted in preparation for a reply.