WAKANUI ROAD BOARD.
The usual monthly meeting of the Wakanui Road Board was held on Thursday, at the Board’s office. Present— Messrs. Brown, Hunt, Friediander, and Earle. In the absence of the Chairman, Mr. Winter, Mr. Brown was voted to the chair. THE ILLEGAL BOLL. Mr. E. G. Wright wrote, forwarding the following memorandum from the Solicitor-General : “ I think the making of the declaration of the valuer under Section 5 of the Rating Act, 1876, entirely a matter of form, so much so, indeed, that I do not think that, even if the question were raised, its absence would be held fatal to the recovery of the rate. The taking of this declaration is especially a matter of direction only, and in a like case in England the Court of Queen’s Bench held that the omission of certain statements and particulais relating to the persons and property rated would not affect the validity of the rate (see Regina v, Fordham, n, A. and E., 73)- but, while this is my opinion, I doubt very much if Section 63 of the Rating Act allows this proceeding to be cured. in that section permission is made that if the local body or the Assessment Court fails to do anything in the prescribed time, the Governor may, by Order-in-Counci], extend the time, and may, by any such Order-in-Council, validate anything irregularly done in the matter of form. Clearly this latter pait of the clause refers to irregularities by the local body or Court. 1 he valuer does not come within the sweep of this section, and his acts or defaults cannot be affected or cured under this section. Probably the local body would have been better advised to let things alone, and keep the knowledge of the omission to itself. This rather illustrates some remarks I made lately in another matter as to the carelessness of local bodies generally. Here, in the most important matter affecting the Io;al revenue of this Road Board, it is stated by the Chairman of the Board that the valuation list was “executed in a careless and irregular manner, .and unfit for the purpose it is intended for,” and then the Governor is expected, by some magical process, to put all these irregularities into proper shape ! “W. S. Reid.” Mr. Friediander thought that the strictures of the Solicitor-General were uncalled for, as he should have put the blame on the proper parties. He was of opinion, however, that, considering the satisfactory position of the Board, and as it was doubtful whether the money would be required during the next year, they should not strike any rate. He felt that if there was any blame necessary it was on the County Council for appointing an inefficient valuer. He would move that the discussion of the matter he deferred. Mr. Earle said that the gentleman who had undertaken the duties of valuer had twice valued the City of Christchurch. Mr. Friediander—lf he made such a job of it as he has done with this district, it was not much to his credit. Mr. Earle said there had been no complaints of his work in Christchurch. It was resolved that the matter stand over. A BRIDGE W ANTED. Mr. Butterick wrote, asking the Board to supply him with timber necessary for the erection of a bridge across the drain which prevents access to section 14941. Mr. Friediander thought that if, in cutting drains, the Board interfered with the traffic of x’atepayers by such works they should certainly give them access to their property. Mr. Earle submitted that if they commenced to grant such requests, they would have endless applications. The matter was left in the hands of the Engineer. GRAVEL RESERVES. Mr. Marsh man wrote, informing the Board that the gravel reserves in the County of Ashburton were vested in the County Council. Mr. Winter hero took the chair. FOR VALUE NOT RECEIVED. Mr. F. Mainwaring, Clerk to the County Council, wrote asking for a cheque forL2o Bs. 7d., being the Board’s share of cost of compiling the valuation roll. Mr. Friediander moved—“ That, considering the careless and irregular way the rate roll has been prepared, and further, that in consequence of the Judge of the Assessment Court having neglected to inquire if the valuator has complied with the most important clause of the Rating Act, namely, if the valuer has made the necessary declaration, and in consequence of which neglect the Wakanui Road Board is prevented from striking a rate during the current year, this Board begs to ask the Council not to make the charge against them for their share of the cost of the Countv’s liability to the contractor.” In moving the resolution, he said he thought the Board should express its opinion of the way the rate roll had been prepared, and the action of the Judge of the Assessment Court. He also considered Government should be requested to appoint a gentleman as Judge of the Assessment Court who was somewhat acquainted with the district. With reference to the memo, of the Solicitor-General ho felt the irregularity was not so much that of the valuer as that of the Judge in not asking whether the declaration had been made. Mr. Hunt seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously. THE WAKANUI . ROAD. Mr. Moffatt interviewed the Board, requesting that the Wakanui road be formed the whole width. He had a deal of traffic on it, and the work was absolutely necessary. ft was resolved to repair the present road, and the matter of the entire formation to he held over for the present. AN OBSTRUCTED WATERCOURSE. Mr. Leadhy waited on the Board to complain that his property was frequently Hooded through the fence of a neighbor obstructing the watercourse. It was resolved that a letter be sent to Mr. Fitzgerald, asking him to remove the obstruction. DEFAULTING RATEPAYERS. Mr. Wilkie, the rate-collector, interviewed the Board for instructions regarding the liability of the owners of property in case of the default of the occupier. A letter was read from Messrs. Branson and Parnell, in which they advised the Board as to the liability of the owner to pay the rates after default by the occupier, and, after a long discussion, it was resolved to at once sue the owners for rates due. surveyor’s report. The Surveyor’s report was read as follows : —We have the honor to report on the following works in progress, &c. ; Scofield road, part formation, etc.—The contractor for this work has satisfactorily completed his contract. Beach road. —The contract for metalling from the finger-post to the Wakanui school has been completed. Maintenance of roads. —The contractor for this work has been engaged in repairing, filling in ruts, etc., on roads requiring attention. Corbett’s road. —Acting under instructions given at last meeting we have let a contract for making small drain along portion'of Corbett’s road ; also, putting in culvert, and making outfall for drain. There is a place opposite Mr, Corbeti’s house where water stands on the road after heavy rainfalls. Mr. Corbett agrees to put a culvert in, 011 the Board finding the timber, etc. Pipes in Suburban road. —About 300 pipes, seventy per cent, of which are in order, have been taken out and stacked in the yard, at a cost of L 3 os. Suburban roads. —We have employed a man to rake in ruts on these roads. Timber. —We have procured timber for making five bridges over Loadley’s and Butterick’s drain. Concrete falls, Leadloy’s and Butterick’s drain.—The contractor is making progress with this work. During the last heavy
rain a portion of one of the falls got considerably damaged before completion. : Bridge over Mill road. —One or two planks on this bridge having been broken, we have had new ones put in. The bridge will before long require redecking. Culvert in Cochrane’s road. —Some pipes in the culvert have been smashed, and we have had new ones put in their place. Certificates for -work done will be laid before you. Fooks & Son, Surveyors to the Board. Corbett’s road. It was resolved to leave the matter of a culvert on Corbett’s road in the hands of Mr. Brown and the surveyor. ACCOUNTS were then passed for payment, and the Board adjourned.
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