The Ashburton Guardian. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1880. The Twopenny Tip.
TOWN EDITION. [lssiied at 5 p. m .]
We do not know exactly what was the direct motive that prompted the proposal of the Lighting Committee of the Borough Council to levy a twopenny rate on the burgesses for street lighting purposes. It may have been an honest and earnest desire to light the town effectively, or it may have been a desire of another cast, equally honest and earnest, to escape the clamor of ratepayers who love not the darkness, but whose neighborhood has been left without light, by a fatherly Council who have bestowed all their iiluminating kindness elsewhere. If the town is to be lit at all —that is, with any pretence to lighting all the town — the lamps ought to be distributed in such a way that no large area shall be left in total darkness while one or two blocks are brilliant with light. The partial state is that in which Ashburton is at the present moment. Leaving brilliantly lit East street out of the question—and the main portion of the Council’s lamps are erected in the main street —scarcely a scintillation is seen in the more easterly portion of the town. The Masonic Hall enjoys the light of a Borough lamp, and so does the Episcopal parsonage, a few chains farther along the same street. The Fire Brigade station has a red lamp all to itself, while the other lights in the district are private ones —Powers, Butler’s, and Baldwin’s hotels supplying their localities with light, while the Wesleyan Chapel, open nearly every night provides another street lamp for itself. The other side of the railway is well provided for only in one block. At the school corner a lamp shines, another at Councillor St. Hill’s corner, another at the corner of Friedlanders’ grain store, another at the cross road four chains south from the store, and another the same distance north from it. Why this particular block should have had all this flood of light thrown upon it, we cannot tell, but there it shines, mostly useful on a Sunday
night when people go to church. When lamps are found so thickly planted in a locality that can scarcely be called a business one, you can scarcely blame people who live in the more neglected places from crying out. No one will grudge East Street having enough lamps to enable people to see the bright light that shines from the shop windows, but we question if the east side people look upon the schoolblock quintet of lamps as being altogether too far apart. A redistribution of lamps is out of the question, but the Council should have “ opened out ” the lights more when they first planted the posts, and there would have been no complaint now. They knew well they were not overburdened with funds, and should have been careful to spread what lights they had as widely as possible. The want of gas mains, however, stood in the way of supplying gas to many streets, but gas is not a sine qua non , and kerosene, or even candles would do well enough where people only want to know where they are going on a dark night. The suggestion of the Lighting Committee to levy a twopenny rate is one that will not be entertained yet awhile. Rates are unwelcome visitors at any time; less welcome than ever just now. And though a twopenny rate would no doubt provide means for lighting the town, or another portion of it, with past experience of the system of grouping the lamps there is no guarantee that the new ones would be put down on a more “ enlightened ” principle. Mr. St. Hill believes that for the present cost to the town of street lighting, forty lamps could be put where now twenty stand, and he advises the use of kerosene light, and wooden lamp posts. We feel sure the ratepayers will not accept the twopenny rate —(the proposers of it have the same feeling, no doubt) —but the burgesses will be glad to hear more about the difference in cost between gas and kerosene street lighting, which difference Mr. St. Hill seems to think means doubling the number of public lamps within the township.
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