The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER. TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 1880.
We have received a copy of the Ashburton County Council Waterworks Act, 1879, Amendment Bill, as passed by the Lower House and amended by the Upper, and also passed by it. We purposenowgiving a summary ofthe provisions of the Act, as many of our readers are unacquainted with them. The short title of the Act is the Ashburton County Council Waterworks Act, 1879. After the necessary interpretation clause (3), clause 4 provides that the Council may, with the consent of the ratepayers, undertake such works as it may deem necessary for the purposes of the Act; to enable it to do so, the Council may raise a loan not exceeding and to secure and pay the interest on this loan and provide a sinking fund the Council may impose a special rate on the district, the boundaries of which are given in the second schedule to the Act. Clause 5 takes the usual powers to enter- upon lands for needful purposes—such as making surveys, plans, and estimates, and holds the Council responsible for any damage that may result from such entry. The works authorised by clause 4 are only to be undertaken and the loan raised after the consent of the ratepayers affected has been obtained. Clause 6 provides the machinery for obtaining this consent :—“ As soon as the Council shall have made, or caused to be made, such water supply scheme, plan, and estimates, the Council shall and must at once proceed to obtain the consent of an absolute majority of the ratepayers of the district, representing at least onehalf of the rateable property of the district, to the Council undertaking and executing such water supply scheme, and raising such loan, and the Council shall not undertake any such scheme until the consent of the ratepayers shall have been obtained in the manner provided by Part IX. ofthe Counties Act, 1876.” Clause 7 refers the reader to the first schedule for a form of voting paper to be used in obtaining this consent. Clause 8 restricts the ratepayer to only one vote, but empowers him to use a proxy. Every proxy must produce to the returning-officer his power fo attorney, or a written authority from his principal, duly signed or marked, such signature or mark to have been witnessed by a J.P., and such authority to state how the principal wishes his vote to be bestowed. In accordance with such wish the proxy shall mark the voting paper in the returning officer’s presence, who shall deposit the proxy’s authority with the voting paper; but if the authority shall be deficient in any of the above particulars the proxy vote as such must be refused. Clause 9 empowers the Council to proceed with the scheme if an absolute majority of ratepayers favor the proposal and represent more than one-half the rateable property of the district, but if such majority of ratepayers, and rateable property represented, be not obtained, the scheme for water supply cannot be gone on with. Clause 10, in the event of the proposal being carried by the ratepayers, requires #ie Chairman of the Council to notify the Colonial Secretary of the particulars and result of the voting, who shall publish them in the New Zealand Gazette , and when such notice has been gazetted, the Council shall then be expressly authorised to proceed with the water supply, and to borrow a sum of money, not exceeding to carry out the w’ork, and to make and levy on the district separate rates, not exceeding the amount of the proposed separate rates for the purpose of securing and paying interest on the loan, and providing a sinking fund. The Gazette noticesjgpshall be primcl facie evidence ot the Council’s authority, and the loan shall be applied solely to water -supply purposes under this Act. Clause 11 applies Part IX. of the Counties Act to the raising of the loan, except where it would be inconsistent with or would repeal the provisions of the Act. Clause 12 empowers the Council to levy a “water rate’ not exceeding two shillings in the pound, previous to which, however, a
separate rate list of ratepayers affected must (clause 13) be prepared. Clause 14 gives needful extended powers for the carrying out of the scheme, viz., power to survey any land between the two rivers, to purchase any needful land ; break up or dig into any road or public place within the county, or stop traffic on it; alter, cross, or bridge over any drain, etc., etc., as the exigencies of the works may require ; the water of any drain, stream, ditch, or river, may also be taken, impounded, or diverted while the works are in progress, and any land or water so taken shall be taken (clause 15) under the Public Works Act and amendments. Clause 16 provides for the recovery from the Council of damage suffered by any person by the exercise of the powers given unde, r this Act; and clause 17 provides for the making, etc. of by-laws regulating the supply of water over and above the quantity allowed to each ratepayer. Clause 18 provides for the protection of the water from interruption, pollution, etc., and inflicts a penalty of £lO per day upon the offender for every day the water may be diminished, polluted, etc. Clause 19 empowers the Council to lay services to such ratepayers’ land, in or out of the rated district, who may desire to be supplied, and clause 20 constitutes the Council sole judge of the sufficiency of the supply, and empowers the Council by bylaws to regulate the size of the service pipes or races, and the time when water shall be supplied through them.. Clause 21 provides for the keeping or separate accounts in connection with the special rates and water charges accruing from the works, and such moneys shall only be devoted to the paying of interest on the loan; to providing a sinking fund of one per cent, per annum on the amounts borrowed; to keeping the works in good repair and paying all expensesthereon; and to altering, enlarging, of extending these works. Clause 22 provides for the rate to be levied being a special rate under sections 112, 113, and 114 of the Counties Act, but it shall not be paid into the County fund of the County of Ashburton, nor form anj part of it, but shall be paid into a separate account, to be called the “Ashburton water supply account.” The County fund (clause 23) shall not be in any way liable for the repayment of the loan, nor shall any County property be liable. Failing provision by the Act (clause 24) or the Counties Act of a mode of doing anything directed or permitted under this Act, the Council may itself by resolution or by-law prescribe such mode. For malicious or wilful destruction or damage to any of the works (clause 25), or permitting cattle to trespass upon them to their damage, a penalty of may be inflicted, in addition to the costs of repairs. Clause 26 imposes a penalty of £2O for obtaining water without payment of the lawful charges; and (clause 27) all penalties may be summarily recovered before two fustices. The two schedules attached to the Act provide (1) a form of voting paper for or against the raising of a special loan; and (2) the boundaries of the district proposed to be supplied and rated.