After dealing with other projects in which Mr. Thomas is interested, The Journal had the following regarding his Canadian prospective enterprises.
“With regard to railway and other projects in Canada, my associates and myself have completed several important and definite arrangements. We have secured a franchise charter for the Pacific, Peace River and Athabasca Railway and also for the Peace River Tramway and Navigating Company. The former will be capitalized to the extent of $3,200,000, with bonding privileges of $10,000 per mile. The latter concern will be capitalized at $300,000, with bonding privileges of $7,000 per mile. We have organized and equipped half a dozen parties of engineers and others, who are about to proceed on a reconnaissance and track surveying in order to locate the coal lands, minerals, etc. This work will occupy them three or four months. Adequate financial provision has been made for the necessary work during the coming twelve months. These projects will ultimately cost very large sums. I expect to be able to proceed with the Peace River Tramway next year. I may say that this project also provides for the construction of several shallow draft river and lake steamers. The railway will traverse a country lavishly endowed both agriculturally and minerally — millions of acres of land growing the finest wheat in the world, with large areas of coal lands and minerals and indications of various kinds of natural gas and oil. As oil is going to be one of the chief requisites of the navy, the discovery of oil in Canada will be highly important. It is possible, if not probable, that these projects will develop thousands of square miles and stimulate immigration.”
“As oil is going to be one of the chief requisites of the navy,” said Mr. Thomas, “the discovery of oil in Canada will be highly important. It is possible that the projects mentioned also will develop thousands of square miles of oil fields. Scientific investigations already made show that the oil fields we are about to tap will be undoubtedly be the richest in the Empire.
Mr. Law has been appointed the Canadian representative of the railway and the other Thomas interests, and intends to leave Victoria this week for Athabasca Landing with a party of twenty men to conduct an exploration of the hinterland of British Columbia north of the Peace River, with a view of ascertaining the oil and other natural resources of that vast region.
The promoters of the big railway and development schemes which it is said will involve an ultimate expenditure in excess of $75,000,000 plan to build the Pacific coast portion of their line first in order to tap the Groundhog coal fields. The company has been given two years by the Dominion government to start active operations.
The route as outlined in the plans accompanying the application for a charter follows the course of the Nass River in an easterly and northerly direction for the first 225 miles, thence across the watershed between the Nass and Skeena River, down Currier Creek to the Skeena and on to the Bear River; thence up the Bear River to Bear Lake, and then south and east across the divide to the Driftwood River.
The route then proceeds through Hogem Pass to the Omineca River along to the Finlay branch of the Peace River in an easterly and northerly direction to Vermilion Rapids in Alberta. At this point the road will cross the Peace River and continue north and east along the north bank to Point Providence, thence to the mouth of the Athabasca, south to Fort McMurray, and thence in a general south easterly direction to Prince Albert.