Ashburton County Council.
The monthly meeting of the County Council was held to-day. ‘ Present— Messrs. W. C. Walker, (Chairman) E. G; Wright, Duncan Cameron, Thomas Bullock, E. S. Coster, John Grigg, Julian Jackson and Alfred Saunders. chairman’s statement. In the course of his introductory statement, detailing the business done by him during the month, and that to come before the meeting, the Chairman said the annual meeting of the Council as required by statute would fall to be held on the 24th inst. THE WINSLOW DEPUTATION. After some discussion, in which Mr. Grigg stated his belief that the Longbeach Board Clerk was not ready with certain figures, but would probably be prepared by two o’clock, ic was decided to hear the deputation from the Winslow portion of the Longbeach Road District, Messrs. Graham and Carter, who were therefore introduced. Mr. Graham road the following : Tinwald, November 3rd, ISBO. To the Chairman of the Ashburton County Council. ' Sir, —In accordance with the desire of the Council, we beg leave, on behalf of the ratepayers of the Tinwald-Winslow district, to reply seriatim to the statistics, &c., of the Longbeach Road Board, which they have made in opposition to our petition for separation.
They state—- “ Firstly.—That the rateable value at which land is assessed is not a question for either his Excellency the Governor or a Road Board to decide, ratepayers having the redress in their own hands at the Assessment Court. As a matter of fact, however, the land referred to in the petition, as being of a poorer and lighter quality, has this year been valued at ss. and ss. 6d. per acre ; and the swamp land, 12s. and 13s. per acre, etc., etc.” In reply, we beg to say that we are perfectly aware that the Governor has nothing to do with the assessment of land, and if our petition is carefully read no such infeicnce can be drawn from it; but, on the other hand, we maintain that the Longbeach Road Board could, ard would probably exercise a good deal of influence as to the favorable reception or otherwise of any objections as to valuations which might be lodged, It is, besides, well understood that Judges of Assessment Courts lean to, if not generally sustain, the official valuations, especially if the Chairman supports them ; and, as in this instance they were the production of the Clerk to the Road Board, ihe Chairman would probably do so. It is, besides, not a fact that no objections weie made, as several were- lodged at the time the Rate-roll was first made up in the early part of this year : and many ratepayers wished to appeal, but their action was rendered nugatoiy by the Longbeach Board causing the Roll to be tin own out ; and to appeal again would have caused more trouble and expense, with small prospect of success under the circumstances. We cannot also discover where the Longbeach Board get their data from for making the foregoing assertions as to this year’s relative valuations of light land in the Tinwald district, and swamp land on the other side of the Boundary road—for, on examination of the Rate-roll (extracts from which will presently be given), it will be found that the Tinwald district is assessed seventy her cent, higher than the Longbeach estate, which, by common consent, is considered the best, land in the district; in any case it may be considered a fair average. The total assessment of the Tinwald-Wins-low district amounts to L6,375> which, on the u,ooo acres or thereabouts comprised in this district, amounts to us. fd, per acre; whereas the Longbeach estate, comprising 20,937 acres, is assessed at only L 7,008 18s. 6d., or about 6s. Bd. per acre. It is true that the townships of Tinwald and Winslow are included in the Tinwald valuation, but if these are even deducted, the valuation will still remain 2s. yd. per acre, or 38 per cent, higher than that of the Longbeach estate. It is also worthy of remaik that more than one-third of that estate, or 8,694 acres, are valued at only ss. and ss. 6d. per acre ; but, outside, valuators assess them as being worth fully 103. per acre for grazing purposes. From the foregoing, it is clear that our petition was most accurate, when it stated that “ the Tinwald district was assessed higher than the Longbeach swamps.” Secondly.—The Longbeach Board states—“As for the roads in Tinwald, they are streets laid out by Messrs. vVilkin and Carter on thenprivate land, and are still undedicated to- the use of the public, consequently the Board have not the power to spend the public money upon them.”
In reply, we beg to state that of the 43 buildings comprising the township of Tinwalcl, one half of them, and those the more important ones, comprising hotel, eight shops, three large iron store-houses, and the best dwellinghouses, are all situated on the Government public roads, and are, therefore, most certainly entitled to attention from the Road Board. We concede, however, that the interior streets of Tinwald have not yet been dedicated, owing to a delay occurring through the demise of the late Mr. Hassal, a principal proprietor, In? structions have lately been giyen to have this carried out.
Thirdly.—As regards the so called statistics furnished to the Council. When we applied to the Clerk of the Road Board for the vouchers on which they were founded, or compiled, he informed us that, with the exception of the mileage of the roads, the statement given in as statistics was entirely an estimate. He produced, however, three sacks ofloose vouchers and old books, which he said he had just received, and which would take him a week to arrange and another week to classify into an accurate statement. On the whole, we deemed it best to deal with the so called statistics in the form in which they were handed to us by the Council.
In the first place, then, we object to the Tinwald district being burdened with the cost of the metalled portion of the Main South road, because this road, as is well known, is common to the entire district, and even to'', the Upper Ashburton Road District, as some of their roads join on to it. It is, besides, understood' that special grants for main roads were given by the late Provincial Government, and if these moneys were not devoted to their legitimate purpose, or no account was kept of them, it is no fault of the petitioners. Again, as the Wheatstone, Ford’s, and Longbeach roads all converge on to the railway from the sea coast, having an average length of ten miles, and, whereas, the heaviest traffic on them accumulates on the last miles before they reach the railway, and which distance of them passes through the Tinwald district, we, therefore, claim ' a reduction ,of one-third of their cost for such distance.'
The costs of roads of the Tinwald-Winslow District will then stand as follows, viz.: —> £ s- d. Cost as perLongbeach statistics 10,102 5 o
Deduct—--6 miles, or 480 chains Main South road at £5 Ss. 3d- per chain ;.. ... 2,526 00 Also cost of onethird of miles of eachof Wheat stone, Fords and Longbeach roads or 600 chains, " at £5 Ss- 3d.— £s> I SS lod. Say one-third of above or ... 1,000 o o Net cost fairly chargeable to the Tinwald District ... ... 6,576 5 o The total amount therefore chargeable to this district will therefore be much reduced, and will compare favorably with such of the other blocks as consist of freehold land, containing the average number of ratepayers ; and, bearing in mind the fact that it is rated '7O per cent, higher than swamp blocks, it is entitled to have a still larger sum spent upon it. We do now respectfully beg to call the Councirs attention to the extreme incompleteness and one-sided character of the said statistics, They give no details of the cost of drainage incurred in each block. No statement of rates levied, or assessment per acre. The number of ratepayers living in each block is not given ; nor is any statement furnished showing how much Government land still exists in some of these blocks, all which points have a most important bearing on the question at issue. A principal argument which they appear to rely upon is, that in our district, there are only four miles road remaining unformed, but this is simply the case, because Longbeach would be completely shut out, were it not for our roads, whereas theirs are rarely, if ever used by us. ; To sum up the whole question, rye claim, separation, bee ruse we are more heavily rated than the rest of the district—because our special wants are not attended to ; and because we consider we are able to manage our own roads, and disburse our own rates to greater advantage than under present arrangements.— We are, &c., Wilkin and Carter; JAm Carter, J. R. C. C. Graham, Mark Scott, members of deputation appointed by public meeting held at Tinwald, of ratepayers. Mr Grigg said that the Longbeach Board had not put forward any statements regarding assessments, but had only dealt with the costs of roads, etc. Mr. Graham said that he had gone down to the Longbeach Hoad Board. He was there'presented witli a large number of vouchers, which the clerk said it would take a week to arrange, and another week to make a statement from. It was not Mr. Graham’s duty to make a statement from these, and he could only say that the vouchers, etc., were in a state of great disorder. . ' Mr. Grigg said the vouchers had been procured from, the old Ashburton Road Board, and extended over some years. Mr. Wright, in reply to Mr. Coster, said that there were some eight miles of_ road, to his knowledge, still unformed, in the Tinwald district, and it was quite possible that when the Longbeach Board statement contained an error in this item it might also contain others. Mr. Bullock desired to know if the Tinwald district was prepared to agree to the introduction of the ward system into the Longbeach Board. Mr. Graham said that after the action of the Longbeach Chairman, the district did not desire to accept the ward system and remain in the Longbeach District, but wished for separation. Since the decision of the Longbeach Board to adopt the ward system a change of membership had taken place, which might materially alter the feeling of the Board in regard to the ward system. Mr. Wright said that two members of the Board had lost their seats by absence, and for some time those seats were not supplied. He did not cpipplain that he (Mr. Wright) had net been granted leave of absence, but he complained that the two seats had not been filled np.
Mr. Grigg explained how the seats had nob been filled, and after the matter before the Council was discussed, it was decided to be held over for a time, to admit of the Longbeach Board bringing forward figures in reply to those put forward by the deputation, The latter withdrew. THE engineer’s REPORT was then read as follows :
Approaches to South Ashburton River Bridge, Mount Somers.— The work of the approach on the south side of the river has been finished, and about two-thirds of the lequired excavation has been removed on the north side of the river. The protective work in the branch, south side of the river is nearly complete. As guard rails have not been provided for this bridge, I would beg to suggest that these be supplied over the whole length, the cost would not exceed L 45. It will be necessary, too, to have all the surplus timber, &c.. for this bridge removed to some place where it can be looked after and be in safe keeping—say, in the Road Board yards, and I will be glad to have the Council’s authority for getting this done.
Taylor's Stream. —The small piece of pro' tective work authorised here is now being executed.
Approaches , Pudding Hill Bridge. —The contractor is now at work finishing these approaches, and in a few days the work may be taken off his hands.
Protective Work, Pudding Hill Stream. — Mr. Black, the contractor, has not made a commencement here as yet, and as the river is threatening damage, it appears to me that no further delay should be allowed. Dam, Pudding Hill. —With the exception of the putting in of thirty cubic yards of concrete, this dam is now complete. The works at the outlet have also been finished. Concrete Channel for Initial Main. —As requested by the Council, I have made all necessary arrangements for starting this work, and the earthwork is now in progress. The first lot of cement is at Methven station, and the concrete work will proceed at once, and be carried forward with all possible speed. The earthwork is being done by piecework, and the putting in of the concrete" will be bv day’s wages, while the cartage of the shingle and cement will be in separate contracts. I have staked out at every chain and taken sections over the whole length of 145 chains, from Pudding Hill dam to Chapman’s creek. Of this length the concrete channel will extend over a distance of 67 chains, the remaining length consisting of earthwork merely. I have had trial pits dug from the south end of concrete channel to Chapman’s creek, and find that for nearly the whole length the formation can be executed so as to clear the shingle subsoil, there being generally from 20 to 14 inches of clay on the surface. So far the ewners over this first length seem willing to come to reasonable terms for the land. Mr, Aynsley, on whose property the first section is situated, has referred the question of compensation to Mr. Julian Jackson, and I beg to submit for your consideration the terms which Messrs Grierson and Mackay are wilting to accept, so far as the race passes through their land, I have also looked out the line I should propose taking the first test channel, from the point of outfall in Chapman’s creek above West Coast road, near Methven, and am of opinion that the second line from the Rakaia river, as shown on theplan, would be the most suitable, with a view both to fix the limit of safe declivity, and of ascertaining the amount of absorption in the most porous subsoil. There would, however, be some advantages gained by keeping more to road lines, and should the Council think it advisable, the road line from Methven statioii.to Lyndhurst station might be chosen for the purpose, and an extension n.ade from the latter place along the line shown on plan. Unless these cuts are, however, made now, I fear some of the owners would object to any severance being made till after harvest. Filter Basin, Belmont.— This work, as contracted foi, is now fir advanced, and at present rate of progress will be finished before the end of this month'.
South Approaches, Rakaia Gorge Bridge. — The fencing has been executed, and some landslips there are being made good ; after which being done, these approaches should, I presume, be placed under the charge of the Mount Hutt Road Board, in whose district |this line of road is situated.
Timoald Drainage. —This work has been completed, and clover seed sown jn the space between the drain and railway, as the' Council requested. The outfall from the ford crossing Great South road, south of Tinwald, has also been deepened and enlarged for a distance of about 17 chains. County Saleyards. - With the exception oj the formation of entrance from Great South road, and the corrugated iron roofing of shed for cattle yards, the various contracts have been completed. The Committee wish some further alterations and additions, particulars of which they will place before you. Waierton Drainage. —A commencement has been made witli this work, and good progress is being made at the lower end of No. 1 contract, near the Beach road, also below Waterton township. Some delay has been caused in one or two instances owing to the owners, being absent from home, not having given their consent to the work, but I expect that in a short time arrangements can be made for starting work on these sections also.
Blood-water, Methven. —With reference to the Council’s decision to keep the flood-water channels open, the Mount Hutt Road Board have consented to place a ford across the West Coast road at a'point which I have arranged with their Overseer chains north of junction of roads at Methven. In the vicinity of this, too, there is a capacious gravel pit, which on the floodwater being let into it, will absorb a large quantity. Re-decking Ashburton Bridge. —As requested by you, I had an interview with the Assistan Railway Engineer on this matter, and his letter, containing alternative proposals as to t ime and mode of doing the work is now before you. Certificates. —I have granted certificates of all work under rny charge during the month of October.
William Baxter, County Engineer. It was decided to run the test channel proposed by the Surveyor in connection with the water supply along the road next to the Methven Railway. The erglneer's suggestion was approved of regarclag the placing of the approach to Rakaia Gorge bridge under the charge of the Mount Hutt Road Board. THE CATLLE YARDS. A letter from the A. and P. Association suggested several alterations to be made upon the new cattle yards before the Association ■ could agree to lease them. The shed should be removed to the other side of the yards, and four more pens be added. It would also be necessary to reverse all the hinges on the gates of the pens, as the way the gates were now hung caused much inconvenience and delay. The addition of the four pens mentioned woidd reduce the size of the selling yard which was now too large. A loading bank at the pig pens would also be a great convenience. The whole alterations would cost about L6O. It was decided to make the alterations, provided the Association pay 10 per cent, of the total cost of the yards as rent. BRIDGES AND PROTECTIVE WORKS. The Engineer’s suggestion re guard rails at Hood’s Bridge was adopted, and he was instructed to press the matter re Mr. Black’s contract. THE ASHBURTON BRIDGE. Mr. Burnett, assistant railway engineer, wrote on the subject of closing the bridge for repairs. He concluded that, the river being unfordable at present, it was out of the question to stop traffic during the day. He therefore proposed putting the work off till the middle of January, when the river might be expected to be lower, and proposed then doing it by day, provided the bridge could be closed between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p. m. In the event of this proposal not being acceptable to the Council, Mr. Burnett would have to do the work by night, closing the bridge from 8.30 p. m. till 6a. m., and he would start this month. He hoped the Council would sanction blocking the bridge by day, as night work was very expensive. His instructions were to lay the planking in long lengths, reaching across the bridge with the rails on the top, and with crossing places where required, probably five throughout the length of the bridge, and one at each end, or at a distance of five chains. This he thought would be a far more economical and advantageous plan for the railway, and give greater strength and stability to the planking than the present plan, and he did not apprehend any danger or inconvenience from it. He thought it would be even safer than the present groove, the rail being more easily avoided, and the chance of getting wheels jammed lessened. The Rakaia bridge had been planked in this way for some time, without complaint. In the event of the Council persisting in their objections it would be necessary to refer the matter to Mr. Lowe, at Dunedin, Mr. Burnett’s immediate superior.
Mr. Wright moved, after discussion — “ That the Chairman, Mr. Saunders, and the mover bo a Committee to arrange with the Railway Engineer, as to the time and method of replanking the Ashburton bridge.” Mr. Bullock seconded, and the motion was carried. MR. butt’s claim.
Messrs. Garrick and Cowlishaw returned the papers in connection with Mr. Butt’s claim of L 43 IGs. sd. on the Council, along with an opinion that the claim for a refund of amount of duty on timber paid by him could not be enforced against the Board because not within the Customs Tariffs Acts, which onty applied to contracts or agreements for the sale and delivery of goods duty paid. The Council, in view of this opinion, could not depart from their previous decision, and resolved to forward to Mr. Butt a copy of Messrs. Garrick and Oowlishaw’s opinion. POUNDS. It was resolved to ])urchaso another acre of ground at Mount Somers, at the same price as the original acre, and to forward to the Mount Somers Road Board certain information regarding Hood’s bridge. Mr. Little’s appointment as poundkeeper at the Hinds was ratified. It was resolved that all pouudkeepers be instructed to advertise animals impounded, whatever their number. Mr. Grigg moved, and Mr. Wright seconded, “That notice be given to the keeper of the Methven Pound that the Council has received notice that certain horses belonging to Mr. Brown were impounded by him, and that certain charges were made by him for the srqne. This Council requests that an explanation of the matter be given.” The motion was passed, along wit ft a resolution to forward Mr. Win. Brown’s letter to the pounds keeper. The letter was to Mr. Cameron, and was to the effect that nine horses belonging to Mr. Brown had been impounded off Mr. Cameron’s land while Mr, Brown was ploughing for him, and that a charge of LI 19s. had been made for one day’s poundage. WINSLOW CEMETERY. Regarding’’ the Winslow Cemetery, it was resolved to inquire if a portion of Reserve 1784 was not already reserved as a cemetery site. CATTLE YARD CHARGES. The report of the cattle yard charges for stock was adopted, an amendment to assimulate the charges to those at Addington having been lost. ACCOUNTS. The accounts for the month were passed for payment, to the sum of L 1077 13s. fid. NEXT MEETING. It was decided to hold the next ordinary meeting on the 24th Nov. in place of the Ist December. DOG COLLARS. The Clerk was instructed to advertise for a supply of dog collars. THE NORTH BRANCH. On the motion of Mr. Bullock, the Engineer was instructed to examine and report on the river banks of the north branch of the Ashburton, from Hart’s homestead to the township
THE RAILWAY TARIFF. The Chairman, Mr. Grigg, Mr. Coster, and Mr Wright were appointed a Committee to consider the new Railway tariff, with a view to recommending alterations to the Government. PLANTING. Mr. Wright thought that though it was perhaps too late to go in for planting this season, it may not be too late to set aside money for planting purposes. He would move that L 250 be set aside for this purposo. Mr. Bullock supported the motion, and Mr. Coster was also in favor of planting, but thought the sum was far too small. LI,OOO should be apportioned. Mr. Grigg favored planting but was averse to the trees being planted on sites near the railway. Mr. Saunders thought whatever was done should be done now, and the sum should be a liberal one. He found that to plant trees in holes was a mistake. The ground should be ploughed to a depth of eight inches, and then a further depth of six inches. Mr. Jackson also supported a vote for planting. The Chairman did not see the use of spending money now on planting, but favored a vote. He thought that planting should be done right off, and the growth of weeds not waited for, as would be the case if the land. lay unplanted after ploughing. Mr. Wright was glad to find his motion so well received, and he was quite prepared to increase the sum he had moved. The Plantation Board only had certain reserves at their disposal and these were all near the railway, and therefore in danger from fires. He only advocated the planting of gums and wattles, and these could very well be planted in a single furrow as suggested by Mr. Jackson. Deciduous trees would certainly require the treatment spoken of by Mr. Saunders. |Jt would be better to appoint a Plantation Committee, who could then select suitable sites for plantations. Mr. Wright having obtained liberty to increase the sum to Li,ooo, the motion was passed, the appointment of a Committee being deferred till next meeting. NOTICES OF MOTION. A motion of Mr. Saunders to bring on the discussion of motions given notice of at an earlier period of the day was passed. THE borough’s SHAKE OF LAND FUND. The motion by Mr. Wright, to recognise the claims of the Ashburton Borough in future allocations of impounded land came on for discussion. He held that the amount wanted by the Borough—some Lsoo—was but a small one, and its payment in the way he suggested would get rid of a chronic grievance. He recognised the claim as a perfectly just one. Mr Bullock seconded, and after Mr. Grigg had spoken, reiterating the objection he had previously raised to the payment of the claim made by the Borough ; and Mr. Coster had contended that the Borough water grant was in a great measure a County work, The Chairman spoke in opposition to the motion. He thought the claim was preposterously in excess of what it was entitled to.
Mr Saunders spoke in favor of the Borough’s claim, and Mr. Wright having spoken in reply, the motion was put and carried. The Council then adjourned.
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