The Ashburton Guardian, MONDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1880. Vandalism.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 5 p.m.]
We desire to call the attention of the police to a heinous practice that now obtains to an alarming extent in the Ashburton Domain. The introduction of a water supply to the Borough was recently made the occasion of a day of general rejoicing, and the township put on its gala dress in honor of the event. The conventional flow of local oratory heralded the first official flow of water, and the town figuratively shook hands with itself in hearty congratulation. In the course of his remarks, his Worship the Mayor made a graceful reference to the willows that had been planted along the course of the stream ; picturing the scene they would present when, a few years hence, they will have grown, in their rapid willow growth, to trees of some magnitude, trailing their boughs in the stream. When that picture has been transferred from imagination to reality, the Domain will be an airing ground of surpassing beauty; but there are some things that stand very much in the way of a speedy realisation of that beautiful picture, and one of these obstacles is the heinous practice to which we wish to call attention. Complaints have already been made, a dozen times,’ against the practice of throwing stones into the reservoir. This practice has not diminished in the least, but is as rampant as ever amongst the boys. Complaints are now made, with equal reason, against men and lads who go, especially on Sundays, to the Domain stream and swim their dogs. With the dog-swimming there need not be any particular fault found but for its attendant evils, and one of these is that the louts who own the animals have no respect whatever for the young willows, but ruthlessly break off the twigs and throw them into the water for the dogs to swim after. This “ sport ” may be very interesting to the people who go in for it; but it is a costly one to the Borough, inasmuch as it is only time that is required for the willows to cover the banks of the stream, and every tree destroyed in this way represents a season’s growth of a willow lost. It may be a very important thing to have retrievers of the East street breed, and of “long” pedigree, trained to the water; but the general benefit to the
community is not an equivalent for the loss of the trees that are destroyed in perfecting the training, and we wish the trainers to look at the question in this light. We know Sergeant Felton takes our view of the matter, and we hope that one of the first duties; the new Resident Magistrate will have to perform will be to indoctrinate dog trainers with the .idea that the Domain trees are more valuable to the citizens than are the swimming lessons taught to Ashburton mongrels by Ashburton idlers. A wag insinuates that swimming lessons are less the object than to get rid of fleas ! Well, that may be. But even to achieve such a great result as the removal of fleas, the destruction of our public plantation is too great a sacrifice, and the water was not brought through the Domain with the object of interfering with the druggists’ trade in vermin destroyer. We hope our active police will be still more on the alert, and turn their attention specially to the protection of the Domain. We feel assured that a few stiff examples made will stop the vandalism that is now being indulged in.
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