Hannam Response to Clague

September 21, 2006

The Editor                                                                       
The Victoria Standard
Nova Scotia

To the Editor

I read with interest in the last issue, Mr. Clague’s response to the Victoria Standard’s article of July 17, 2006 titled “Ancient Settlement Evidence appears to be Recent History” in reference to the release of the book “The Island of Seven Cities” by author Paul Chiasson and interviews with professionals and witnesses who have first hand knowledge of the recent construction of the features outlined in Mr. Chiasson’s book. 

In his letter to the Editor, Mr. Clague states, “Whilst, in your article, you do identify twentieth century road building activity on Cape Dauphine, specifically a fire road constructed by Rindress MacKenzie in July 1952 and an access road constructed by Kelly Rock Ltd. In 1989, I do not believe that either of these constructions refer to that identified on the mountain by Mr. Chiasson.” Mr. Clague further references in his letter a copy of Church’s map dated circa 1886, on which he has highlighted a section of road in the Cape Dauphin area and states, “I believe it is the remains of this road that Mr. Chiasson describes in his book. The Church map clearly documents road building activity on Cape Dauphin and this predates the access road construction by Kelly Rock Ltd. By at least 100 years. It is not surprising that road building activity has continued on Cape Dauphin up into the 20th century. I believe it would be wrong however to discount Chiasson’s fascinating work based on the conclusions in your article in light of documentary evidence from the Church map.”

I believe Mr. Chiasson would be the appropriate person to clarify the matter. In a letter dated July 19, 2006, under the letter head of Random House Canada and co-signed by author, Mr. Paul Chiasson and Publisher of Random House Canada, Anne Collins (copy supplied to Victoria Standard) written as a response to evidence supplied to Random House Canada that the features described in Mr. Chiasson’s book are either natural geological formations common to the area or man made construction features of roads and fire breaks of the twentieth century, Mr. Chiasson and Random House make the following statements:

“All of the elements of the site that have fascinated me are present much earlier than you suspect. The road up the mountain that you describe as a fire road built in 1952, the town site that you describe as 1st burn, the enclosure/wall that you describe as a fire break built in 1952 – all are clearly there in the 1931 series. As well, there appears to be the faint track of the road you say was built by Kelly Rock Limited from 1989 to 1991.

It looks like the 1952 firefighters cleared a pre-existing road up the mountain, and didn’t build a new one. The stone walls on either side are one solid indicator that this was not built originally as a fire road.”
Mr. Chiasson is very clear in describing the fire road / Kelly Rock Limited road as the same road which he describes in his book. He differs with local professionals and investigators, and eye-witnesses to the construction projects and fire fighting efforts, not on the location of the roads but rather to their origin.

In regards to the roads high-lighted by Mr. Clague on Church’s map, these old roads are not at the same location as the old fire road described in Mr. Chiasson’s book. These roads are several grants to the west of the old fire road and do not ascend the mountain but follow along the northern bank of the brook that empties into MacLean’s Pond. These settlement roads did end close the base of the mountain but did not ascend it as the slopes are very steep along this portion of the mountain. Therefore there is no documentary evidence to be found on the Church’s map to support anything in Mr. Chiasson’s book.

Andrew Hanam
Baddeck, Nova Scotia

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