BOROUGH WATER SUPPLY.
THE IHAUGURAL CEREMONY.
• Yesterday was a half-holiday in, the township from twelve o’clock, the occasion being, as everyone knows, the inauguration of the water supply that has just been completed by the Borough Council. From an early hour in the morning the township showed signs of holiday making. From a great many roofs bits of bunting flowed, and at the reservoir Councillor Roberts, with the assistance of Mr. R.. Elson, had erected an arch of evergreens over the e ntrance way, in the bow of which arch was the inscription— ‘ ‘ Success to the Ashburton Water Supply,” while right across the corner of the reservoir, and directly above the “ water-tap,” was stretched a line of flags buspended from two strong poles. Tlie water in the reservoir had risen in the blow of Saturday night—and with the north-west wind that had blown, not with great force to be sure, but rather strongly for all that—to a considerable height. In fact on Sunday it had overflowed the banks a little. Yesterday, however, the water was just under the lip of the overflow pipe, and the full reservoir had quite the appearance of a lake. The day was not perhaps so propitious for an out-door ceremony as could have been wished, as a somewhat stiff breeze blew just at the time when a calm would have been most acceptable. Still, we were not subjected to a hurricane, nor even a gale, arid the people of Ashburton do not now, with their experience of a dusty, gusty nor’-wester, take badly with a moderate breeze. A little before twelve o’clock people began to move, and the bugle sound for the Volunteers to turn out, was also the signal for all who intended to witness the ceremony to be stirring. The bugle sound also brought out the Ashburton Fire Brigade, who paraded with their engine drawn by four horses from Captain Wilkie’s stable, and the “boss” tooled his team around town as if to the manner born. Lieut. Dolman was all there as the managing director of matters, and the services of both the brigade and the volunteers were appreciated by the public and the Mayor, to the extent of gratis pumping on the part of the former, and ; “ shouting ” on the part of the latter, when more toasts were drunk arid compliments paid than we can find room to publish. Color-Sergt. W. Dolman was in command of the Rifles. The Brass Band also tended with their music to keep things lively, and altogether the scene, when all reached the reservoir, ■was a most animated one. At the reservoir a platform had been erected over the sump, or distributing outlet, and on the top of this sump the turning handle for the ceremony was fixed. Amongst those present at the reservoir were Mr. E. G. Wright, M.H.R., his Worship the Mayor, the Borough Councillors, past and present, several members of the County Council, and most of the leading citizens, besides a lai’ge crowd of the Ashburton residents. When all was ready for , t ■ THE CEREMONY, His Worship the Mayor, after a few words of apology for himself, placed in a situation that was novel to him, spoke as follows : The occasion that has called us together is no trifling one—but one of great importance. It may seem of small moment indeed to some people, when it is ascertained that wo are inaugurating to-day a scheme : which is simply the turning of water into an old watercourse, and making nature go back into an old path for our beriefit. But when we consider that the scheme we are this day openingisno.triumph of engineering, no great scheme of which the colony, as well as the township may be proud, but simply the taking of wafer down a course that it had once followed.before, at some date in the past; when we consider it that way, there is perhaps nothing to be proud of, nor anything to make a demonstration about. But to the people of Ashburton this day and this occasion is fraught' with more meaning than that. . Water is one of the indispensables of existence, arid a community to be healthy and happy must have it in plenty, botlx for domestic use and for purposes of cleansing. Thanks to; our geological position we have a living stream of pure water flowing under our feet and within easy reach. For this good gift we have reason to be thankful to the All Bountiful Giver. But this living stream that is under us is not available for all purposes, and as this township increased in population, it became necessary to consider how its wants of. a supply, of water for sanitary purposes, and ‘ for fire prevention be met. Your Borough Council had many schemes under its consideration for supplying this want. All were no doubt good, all were no doubt efficient, but all were no doubt very costly. The adoption of either of them meant the expenditure -of a very large sum of money, and the entailing upon the ratepayers of a heavy burden of taxation. The County Council mimificiently placed at the town’s disposal a sum of L 5,000 to aid in providing it with a water sup-, ply, but even after that sum has been spent on any One of the more costly schemes that are known to your Borough Council, there would 1 still be a large-surplus to be met by borrowing, and which loan could only be replaced by extra rates. The times, as you know, are not of that prosperous kind which will admit of large expenditure and heavy, rating. In view of this, then, your Council were willing to be content with a less costly scheme of water supply, and were prepared to adopt one that, provided it supplied the more crying want of a supply for flushing and fire prevention, made no claim to being of a high class. Those of you who have travelled over the line of the waterworks we are this day to open, will be satisfied with the scheme’s simplicity, and will recognise the wisdom of its adoption, as you must algo recognise its success- The Council had almost committed itself to a scheme that would have cost L15,000’, when the simplicity and inexpensiveness-of this one was placed , before them. Now that it is complete, 1 have only to mention to you that it has been made at a cost of but LI,OOO to the ratepayers, to convince you of the economy the Council has practised in its adoption. True, the more costly schemes would have provided us with pure drinking water as well ; but, .with a complete system of concrete channeling, well enforced sanitary laws within the Borough, and our whole , drainage scheme in full working order, the purity of our under- 1
ground supply is secured and maintained, and we need not fear its failure. I think there is every reason to congratulate ourselves on the completion of this work, for, winding as the stream does through our broad Domain, it gives us an -ornamental recreation ground, of which we may well be proud, and when in a few years the weeping willows just planted along the whole course of the stream begin to trail their green boughs in the water, and- when the young' trees that are making now such rapid progress have reached maturity, we will have such a public park as few town-, ships can point to. This is a time when I think it is only graceful on your part, as residents in the Borough, and on my part, as holding the position of your Mayor, to.acknowledge our indebtedness to all who have, helped us with this scheme. It is long since a scheme like it was first mooted. I believe it is two years since Mr, Wilkie, the contractor for the work, in the columns; of the evening paper, suggested something like it. Then the river overflowed its banks and came down the gully, proving that the scheme was practicable. Mr. Rovans, Mr. Saunders, and others all have a certain amount of credit in propounding the scheme that is now before us a success; but who is its original author it would be difficult to say. To all who have had a hand in drawing the Council’s attention to it, however, the Borough’s thanks are due. Specially are those thanks due to Messrs. Saunders Bros, for the liberal offer of the use of their millrace as the immediate source of this supply, and to Mr. Edward Saunders, who threw himself with enthusiasm into the scheme. Mr. Fooks, the Engineer, made the works a sort .of pet. He has beert unflagging in his zealous watchfulness and attention to it. Simple as the scheme may appear, and rude and primitive as running water into a naturaQgully may seem when looked at in the light of p public wa*er supply, it was not altogether without its engineering difficulties. It took time to surmount these, for the nature of the ground is such that for a time there was as much water absorbed iu the. soil as flowed over it to .the reservoir. Thanks to Mr. Fooks’ skill and energy, that difficulty has been overcome, and the result is before you.. .-I -do not know that it is necessary for me to dwell longer on the subject of the works ; but I think it right to mention that, were it not for the County Council meeting the Borough in such a liberal, spirit, and granting them L 6,000, and the Domain Board in allowing the water to be taken through the Domain, we should not have had the pleasure of seeing the most important work the Borough has yet undertaken, carried out. The Borough’s thanks are, therefore, due to these public bodies. lam very sorry to say that ws have not been able to accord with a time-honored custom in opening such works as this. Her Majesty the Queen has frequently honored with her own hands the inaugural ceremony of waterworks in the course of her happy, peaceful, and gracious reign ; but through the non-existence of a Lady Mayoress, and through the lady of our respected representative in Parliament not being able to attend, we have not the gracious hand of a lady to perform the ceremony.. But we are compensated, as our representative himself has consented to formally turnthe tap and declare the works opened. I now ask him kindly to fulfil his promise to us, and to turn on for the first time , a supply of water to the Ashburton township, and I sincerely hope that with this flow a new and prosperous era in the township’s history will commence.
Mr. E. G. Wright then stepped upon the extemporised platform, amidst the cheers of the crowd, and said that the, Mayor had honored him with a request to, “ take off the screw.” It was a pleasing duty, but one that usually fell to the Lady Mayoress, or other equally distinguished lady. Ladies, as a rule, did not make public speeches, at least not long ones, and as on this occasion he was the repre-, sentative of the future Lady Mayoress,' he' would follow the wise example she would no doubt show, and say very little, as they were no doubt anxious to see the water in full flow. He agreed with the Mayor when he congratulated the Council in wisely adopting an inexpensive scheme at the commencement, but he felt sure that the time was not far distant when; this scheme would have to be supplemented by a high-pressure one. The wort now finished, and other waterworks in the future, were not to be measured bya money value. The flushing of those streets,; whioh would carry off the impurities tfiat ; always accumulated in the midst of popula-; ,tion, would no doubt save many lives by : .sweeping away, as no doubt it Wbuld, the last vestige of typhoid. - The: Mayor had referred to that splendid stream that flowed under the ground, but! as population became thick in the town-i ship that stream would become polluted,, and render a high-pressure scheme for the supply of pure water an, absolute necessity. He did not apprehend, however, that the evil threatened them at once, though it was certainly one that would come upon them with the increase of population, however far distant that may be. It a great fact that the abundance with which water was diffused through Hew Zealand was a great source of wealth to her, in many ways, He did not look upon this work now completed as a final; one. It was, he felt sure, but the preclude to one that * would soon be undertaken for the supply of our extensive plains, and that again the settlers would not be satisfied with, but would in time demand a complete system of irrigation, to which the domestic supply projected by, the,County Council was but the pioneer’.: After again congratulating the Borough Council and the people on the completion, of their water supply, Mr. Wright proceeded (to, use his own phrase) to the work of ; ;
“taking off the screw,”
which he did, at the same time declaring the water fully.turned on, and proceeding to baptize the tap by breaking a bottle of; champagne over the sump.' ‘, , ; ' , j The crowd indulged in a hearty round of cheering, and the band played a few strains of “ Die. Wacht am JRheim. ” ' ' „ In responseina cries for Mr. Fooks, .the engineer said he waa about the last one to make a speech. He would rather bring in half a dozen water supplies than make a speech, still as he had been asked to say a few, words, he would be wanting in civility if, he did not comply. Their facetious friend “ Ohispa ” had remarked about the water supply that it was only a big ditch after: all,, and that was really what it was, but there was a right way and a wrong way, of doing everything, even in a big ditch, and the making of this waterworks was not: without its difficulties. He had often; felt, as he kept pouring millions of gallons: of water, into that gully, without any: ap- : parent progress, that he was in the . position of those young ladies, who;were qon-; demned for their sins to pour water into' bottomless cisterns. But he was glad that, the difficulties had all been overcome, and the nips lake before them was the result.; It had not been costly either as the Mayor had stated, if it was not a very great; engineering, triumph. But the Mayor.was a little put in stating the cost of the scheme; as such at LI,OOO. From the upper works to where they stood, the scheme had really cost only L 550. Butthe scheme,: as Mr. Wright had said, was not one to be measured by money value. In addition to its worth as a saiiitary improvement, it was w'orth the money 1 to have the stream flowing through the Domain, which, in a short time, vybuld bo one of which any hqroqgh might, well be proud, (Cheers.}
Mr. Bullock spoke next. As, the first Mayor of the Borough, it had given him great pleasure to see the “ turning bfiof the screw. '"’ Ten years.ago, when /Ashburton township was not, been told that the scheme now completed wo.dls lexist in the short space of .i since I tjifen, he would have said it was impossible. j.' it only showed the progress wo .had made. Outside friends had" said the'.place had risen too fast, and was now done. He thought it was only in its infancy, and he was of opinion that those around him held asimilar belief. Afterafew remarks regarding the L 15,000 loan, which it was in the Council’s power" to raise, and which would undoubtedly 7 mean more taxation, Mr. Bullock concluded by thanking them for the compliment that had Been paid him- in asking-them, tp,-address, them,. . The crowd were tlmn to be still for a few moments while’Mr.' G. F. Henry, photographer, took a “ view” of the scene from the small island above the reservoir. The Fire Brigade and Rifles then formed and marched off in procession, which concluded the proceedings, not, however, before “ Captain” William Jackson Barry had poured a flood of his own particular eloquence upon such of the crowd as remained. ■ ‘ A FIRE BRIGADE TEST. i After the water had been turned on, the Brigade, who had provided sand bags for the purpose of damming up the water in the channels, with a view to backing up sufficient water to cover the suction hosfe, proceeded to Shearman’s corner. Tile horses were unhitched, and a trial was made, with the engine. The water was dammed back ,ifi the channel,- and the suction , hose placed ■on f the concrete. Although a depth of five inches of water was over the hose the suction of the engine still drew in air. The members of the Borough Council, who were present, iii vestigated the cause of the inefficient delivery from the hose nozzles, and were unanimoua in their opinion, as the Brigade were, that suinp-holesj- sunk at the streetcorners, were an absolute necessity. This was afterwards proved by another trial at the post office corner, where a sump-hole was tested and found to be thoroughly efficient, engine and water supply proving perfectly competent for any work required •- " ' 1 f " k ‘ ’SHE
At half-past two his Worship the Mayor entertained the members of the Borough Council, the County Council, the Domain Board, and others, to a banquet which was spread in the Somerset dining room in Host -Shearman’s best style; About fifty gentlemen sat down, and his Worship of course presided, Messrs; Williamson and Bullock being croupiers; After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts had been disposed of ; His Worship gave the health of “ Ouf Bepresentatiye in. Parliament, Mr. 8.-G; iiWrightlf’rHe'didsb because atlast election he had been a supporter of his opponent; Since then, however, he had watched Mr. Wright’s Parliamentary career, and he was sure that a more energetic representative could not have been found than Mr. ! Wright had proved himself to be. Should he stand again at the next election his return was’certain. (Applause.)
The toast was drunk with all the honors.
Mr. Wright, in reply, said that nothing took away his speech like kind words, and it was difficult for him to reply to such a kind reception as his toast had obtained.; The great question that had agitated Parr liament during the session that had closed had been retrenchment to meet the times of financial difficulty, and while dealing with that question, in a short speech, Mr.; Wright said* it~had“"been"~proved that altogether too many officials were in Government employ, and that it would be necessary to have more working bees in the political hive, and less of those: officials. In a short time he would have’ to meet his constituents, so that he would not make a long speech on political subjects at this time, but would simply content himself with thanking them for the kind manner in which they had received the toast of his health. Mr. Ivess, proposed the toast of the “ County and in the course of his speech paid a high compliment to the business ability and talent of the members of the Council, referring incidentally to the work they had done, the rivets they had bridged, the waterworks they were about to undertake, and the grant of LI,OOO they had:made to the Borough. He coupled with the toast the names of Messrs. Cameron, Wright, Coster, and Bullock.
Messrs. Cameron and Coster having shortly replied to the toast, Mr. Wright said the County Council ha,d:not jintoj any r reckless .expenditure in the works they had undertaken, and the impartiality with which these works had been distributed over the County was evidence that the welfare of: all had been considered.
Mr. Bullock also acknowledged the toast. He. attributed a certain amopnt of .credit. to f for procuring the -L5,000-grant-4;0 , -ihe< Borough.-' i. Iti referring to the water supply scheme, Mr. Bullock expressed a hope that the County scheme would soon be undertaken.
Mr. Branson, song—“ The Midshipmite. ”
Mr. Wright proposed—“ The Water Supply.” In doing so, he said he did not know any work' iq the’ colony in which there were so great results for so small an expenditure of money. The works would be so highlv beneficial as to ft r outweigh the expenditure that had been made. He did not expect that the purity of the underground water supply would be endangered for a good while yet, and 1 ‘therefore he thought the adoption of the inexpensive scheme was the wiser course. In Parliament it grieved him to see the amount of money that had been spent on useless works, such as the Greymouth Harbor and others. If such works ,of ,th,e Rakaia plains were 1 umfertakfen* itabWad' of these, it would be more beneficial to the colony. The speaker then detailed the difficulties l that he had had to encounter in getting the County Waterworks Bill through the: House, and went on to speak of the advantages that would Jdg derived to the .C.ounijt .frpm, the, scheme for thej proseu.ptipn ofJie had gt>t passed gave powers. The Mayor replied. It was easier to: speak in that room than it was in the wind at the reservoir. He thanked them for the compliment they had paid him.Since he had been elected Mayor he had done his utmost to secure as many benefits to the Borough as possible. Some ratepayers said he had asked too much, but he did not think too much could bo asked, as if nothing were given there was nothing lost, and if even a little were given there was something gained. (Laughter.;);.-. », \ ; I ;j - r ■■ Mr Coster, in'a short speech, proposed; the healths of the “Mayor and the Borough Councillors,” to which Mr. Bullock replied. He said the pro-, poser of the toast had remarked he couldi remember the time when every acre of the township could have been bought for L2 an acre. .(Sb could Mr. Bullock, but he could alsosay that he knew no town-; ship in the colony that had made such progress. Mr. Bullock concluded with a| reference to the water supply. j Mr. Williamson also replied. He had never seen a scramble among the Councillors for works in their own locality.! They were very solicitous for the general good, and knew not any individual favoritism. The toast wa?i also, acknowledged by Mews- Robinson, St. Hill, Parkin, Ivess, Harrison, Friedlander, and Roberts. Mr, Bullock proposed the health of “The Domain Board.” It had been said that day that the water could
not have been-., brought in without the consent of the Domain Board, but he thought the water supply had benefitted the Domain, and, instead of . owing thehi anything, he thought the Council should ask them for a thousand j pounds. I Still, the Board had met the ■ Council t ery readily. ?. Dr. Treyor acknowledged the toast. He did not think the work was complete until the water was raised at the end of the gully. He thought those who spoke of a boating excursion were a little premature, but it was not too soon to speak of bath-ing-ponds being established, Ha would like to see every lad, and lassie, too, begin the day with a good bath. He would like to see the Domain an institution as a recreation ground, and to this end the water supply would greatly tend. . ■ - r . Mr. Harrison—song—“ Nothing else to do.”
Mr. Williamson proposed the health of the “Messrs. Saunders 8r05.,”-, from whose millrace the water supply .-pas taken. : He was glad to see the originator of the scheme present that day, and it was a matter of regret that; Mr. Edward Saunders had found it necessary to;-retire from the district and the Council. "" ■But .for the kindness of this firm; and their interest in this supply, the water-Cohid not have been brought into the town unless, at a cost not much less than the'high pressure scheme would have entailed. Mr. Edward Saunders acknowledged the toast in a few words, disclaiming all the, credit of being the originator of the scheme, as he said it was :a scheme palpable to even a two-year-old boy. - Mr. Jacobson—song, “Down among the dead men.” , . Mr. St. Hill proposed the health, “Mr. Fooks, the Borough Engineer.” Mr. Fooks had been-always ready -to accept suggestions,; and throughout his - connection with the Council had been thoroughly urbane and obliging. The success of the,scheme and the truth of the channels’ levels boro, .testimony,,.tor -his ability. Mr. St. Hill also'referred to Mr. Williamson’s kindness in giving the use'of his land to bring the water in in the first instance.,.. f.,,: L r Mr. Fooks replied. He took the opportunity of thanking those gentlemep. who had helped him ’in the work; ' To 1 ope gentleman, in especial "had he been deeply indebted—one who at critical timesj iand these were many, had been up eafly"and late, and had been the right hand of the work. He referred to Mr, Brown, . the foreman of works, whose merit he pould not help acknowledging at this titiSie. (Hear, hear.) Song—Mr. Alfred Saunders, jun., , “ The British Lion; ” Mr. Friedlaiider -proposed the health of the “contractor,'Mr* James Wilkie.” ,He had carried'out the work most faithfully, —but not in every point (laughter). He had not been the lowest tenderer, but it j was not always the lowest tenderer that was the best. Mr. Wilkie humorously replied, stating that in a week the ; initiatory - contract for the County works which he. had in hand would be’completed.(Hear, hear.) Mr. Orr shortly proposed to toast of the ‘ ‘ Agricultural and Pastoral Interests,” and expressed a hope that there was a glorious future in store for bothi >’< Mr. Coster replied he was very hopeful that better times were in store for ture. He was quite sure that if the results of the past seven years 7 were ' taken on an average, even with the two bad years; that had : gone by, there was still left enough encouragement for men to take to agriculture. "■ • '• ■> Mr. Cameron replied for the pastoral interests. These had an encouraging future, and between the two industries—the corn and the clip—the success of the colony at present hung. Dr. Trevor humorously proposed the “ Banking Interests,” hoping that they would soon follow- the example of Mr. Wright that morning and “ take off the screw.” (Laughter). r .,.. Messrs. Shury and Revans replied.’’ Mr. Edward Saunders proposed the health of the “Legal Profession.” They were very nice fellows, and very fond of each other, and he had no doubt they vrould tell them that day how well they loved each other.
Mr. Branson had such a long speech to make in proposing the press—a toastjthat he would have to give shortly, that Tie couldn’t make any speech then 'beyond simply thanking them. He 1 would mand over the speech making to his partner, Mr. Purnell." (Laughter). Mr. Purnell could not be. guilty ; pf‘fthe breach of professional etiquette .of .two counsel of the same firm. addressing .the Court. (Laughter). Mr. Branson, song—“ Drink, Puppy Drink.!’ ■ 1 .• .-.-'r Mr. Cameron proposed .the toast of the “ Mercantile interests,”, referring, to„the time when it cost, L 6 a ton to bring merchandise from town to 1 Ashburton, but the railway had reduced thatj aum, !t«> "a ! 'nominal figure, and brought merchants to their door. ! 4 . !■,- f, f.’.'Jt?; Bullock and'Mr.,Orr replied.' The* ;latter ..said it was an’ index ‘‘ .of , rett)'ruing prosperity when, an importanti;. resident who had slid, put of business, on the begining of the bad times liad slid back again. (Laughter.). " The press having been proposed "By Mir. Branson, and suitably responded to, Mr. Robinson proposed the Most in a complimentary speech, and Mr. Shearman replied. ’ n - Mr. Parkin proposed the health jaf the Mayor,- who had done his'Atmost inside and outside on behalf of the Borough. Wherever the Borough had“a .chance of making a claim at all th«i Mayor had not neglected; to make application, and if the township got only half what, the Mayor had been asking; . ment, County Council, and Road Board, and every,where* they - would : certainly have something worth getting!, ilm .The Mayort replied. , He would not take, the credit =of all that ihad,been attributed to him by Mr. Parkin. :sThe previous Mayor had been just as enegetic as himself, and'if he was notsuccessful in getting all he wanted it was no fault of his. In the matter of the Borbugh ? s claiia now being made Mr; Wright had rendered "good service, and thorb was no doubt that such aid in Parliament was veryigreat The party separated after.‘‘ the Queen ” had been sung! . ->-.j
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