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Ashburton County Council.

The usual monthly meeting of the County Council was held to-day. Present —Messrs W. C. Walker (Chairman), E. G. Wright, Thomas Bullock, John Grigg, E. S. Coster, Julian Jackson, Duncan Cameron, and Alfred Saunders. chairman’s statement. . The Chairman, in opening the business, said he had accepted tenders in connection with the Plains Water Supply, since last meeting, as follows : —Test channel, contract No. 1, Quigley, 3s. lid. per chain ; Nos. 2 and 3, Devery, 4s. 6d. and ss. per chain ; for connecting the water from the concrete channel to Chapman’s Creek, W. Fergus, 3£d. per cubic yard ; and for work at Chapman’s Creek, 0. M'Donald, two tenders at 7s. 6d. and 7s. 9d. per chain ; and V. Soland, 3d. per cubic yard. These tenders had been called fcr after an inspection by a deputation of the Council of the head works, which deputation had urged the pushing forward of the work without delay. W. Sutherland’s tender for protective works at Ashburton Forks had been accepted at LGO. After referring to the letter of the Upper Ashburton Road Board, which stated that the Board would consider the protective works question after the annual meeting of ratepayers, the Chairman went on to recount his action in regard to the removal of the railway cattle trucking yards, adding that Government had declined to move in the matter of the removal for want «f funds. He had replied to this letter, again urging the necessity for removal, but as yet had received no reply. The names, &e., of the dog Registrars had been published, and reports by the Tariff Committee and the Hospital Surgeon would be placed before the Council. engineer’s report.

Plains Water Supply. —The concrete channel for the initial main has now been satisfactorily completed and the adjustment of the earthwork in connection with it, will also be finished in a few days. The earthwork of continuation of channel across to Chapman’s creek is in progress. The scooped channel over No. I contract is finished ; No. a contract is somewhat behind, but will be completed a fortnight hence. As requested 1 y the Council, X prepared sections of the connections required at Drayton, and Mount 1 larding, for bringing the supply to the: vicinity of Methven, the length of these being 33 chains

and 57 chains respectively. The earthwork of these sections, as also the clearing of the remaining portions of Chapman’s creek, extending to a length of nearly 4 miles, have been let itUlhree contracts, and the works at the yttrious points, are now being proceeded with, apd will be pushed forward, so as to be complete about the 20th of this month. The test channel. extending from Mount Harding-creekjit Mcthvcn to the railway line at - JDromore, a distance of about 19 miles, has been let in three contracts. Of this, a length of about 16 miles has been already executed, and the remainder will be finished within a fortnight. I have arranged with the authorities of the Methven railway for getting the necessary culverts put in under the line at Methven station, and at the point where the race crosses the line near Sherwood, so that everything should be ready for letting the water into the test channel by the end of this month. If the Council should determine, either now or after a trial of that poi tion of the test channel already contracted for, to extend it three and a half miles further down the plains, in accordance w'th the requisition cf owners on the lower site of railway, I would suggest that it be not carried along the lines of road there, inasmuch as the read lines in that quarter are very undulating; and have the greater portion of the retentive upper soil removed for the purpose of forming the roads, so that the channel would, in places, have to be cut in the shingle, which is not desirable. Besides, in that "district, the owners are likely to give every facility for the carrying of the race through their land. In regard to the connection between Chapman's creek and Mount Harding creek, at a point about }.( of a mile from Mount Harding, this cut is being made, solely on condition of such entantity being taken out of Chapman’s creek as will merely serve the purpose of proposed water supply, such supply being guaged, by sluice gates, at the inleq where it leaves Chapman’s creek, a corresponding supply being returned again from Mount Harding Creek at the point of abstraction, where said creek crosses the road leading down to Methven township. This connection between Chapman’s creek and Mount Harding creek is in no way to serve as a flood channel. The water coming down Chapman's creek, in excess of the quantity required for the proposed supply, is to be discharged in the natural line of outfall for said creek, which line would cross the West Coast road about 58 chains north of cross roads at Methven township, near large gravel pit on lower side of road ; and Mr. Gordon Holmes, owner of properly in that district, consents to give the land necessary for the purposes cf flood channel on this course when it comes to be made, provided the line is taken in a serpentine form, so as to lessen (he liability to scour.

Filter Basin, Belmont. The earthwork of this basin is finished, and a small portion of the fencing remains now to be done. P>elective Works.- The protective work at Pudding Hill stream, and additional work authorised at Forks ot Ashburton river, hove been completed since the Council last met. Winchmote and Methven Drainage. —Tire upper section of this work at Springfield has been finished, thus completing the lesser of flood drainage authorised by the Council from the Mount Harding creek, to the North Ashburton river, in the vicinity of Winchmore. IVafet ton Drainage. —With the exception of about 40 chains of deepening and enlarging along the line of gorse fence drain, and {he fixing the several flood-gates, the various contracts here have been satisfactorily completed. Certificates. —I have granted certificates for all work done under my charge during the month of December.

William Baxter, County Engineer. The Council, after considering thereport, decided to approve of that part referring to land for storm water from Mr. G Holmes, and the engineer was instructed to prepare plans, and obtain the necessary agreement for Mr. Holmes’ signature. THE PLAINS WATER SUPPLY. A petition from thirty-six ratepayers in the Cambridge and Seafield districts was presented, praying for the extension of the water supply tor their districts, such extension being a great boon to them. They presented the : petition on the understanding that the water supply was not intended to reach lower than the railway line. On the motion of Mr. Grigg, seconded by Mr. Bullock, it was decided to accede to the petitioners’ request. HOSPITAL REPORT. The Hospital surgeon, Dr. Trevor, submitted his report for the year. The first patient was admitted on the 3rd September and thirty patients had been admitted since. The weekly average since September 3rd had been 4 - 75, but for the past two months it had been about ten. Four patients had died, and eight remain under treatment, the rest having been discharged, cured or relieved. Two of the deaths had been from accidents, and two from disease—one consumption, and the other dropsy and general decay. Of the patients, seven had paid full charges, and one partly, the total amount received having been L 22 Is. 6d. Two patients who had been a considerable time in the Hospstal had rendered such assistance by outdoor work and nursing that no payment could in fairness be expected of them. Deducting these two patients, L 72 ’remained due to the Hospital, of which LSO could be recovered. The surgeon suggested the desirableness of power being given to him to enforce payment in certain cases, otherwise payments would soon drop off. At present they compared favorably with other hospitals, as less than 10 per cent, of the patients at Christchurch and Timaiu paid. The want of a female ward was much felt, and the private ward had been made use of as such, but this was undesirable, and would be impossible if the patients continued to increase as they were now doing. Two of the rooms upstairs could be fitted up as female wards—one private, and the other public. This would give six more beds, for which the needful bedsteads, <Src., would be required; and four or so more easy chairs were necessary. The drainge was now good and the wards comfortable and well ventilated. A good garden had been established, from which the hospital had been supplied with all vegetables, except potatoes, for the last three months, without outside labor. From the large amount of night nursing that is occasionally necessary, further assistance is required. A general servant to sometimes act as nurse will be sufficient. This will not cause much extra cost, as it will enable the hospital to dispense with a charwoman. I have been requested to obtain such a person, but have not yet found a proper individual. The provisions supplied had been good both in quantity and quality, and the master and matron had been both attentive and economical.

Mr. Grigg moved, and Mr. Coster seconded—“ That tho fees, in all cases when tho surgeon thinks advisable, should be recovered, and remitted in the cases recommended in the report. ” This was carried, and it was further resolved to obtain another female servant and furniture for female ward. Mr. Saunders remarked that on a recent visit paid by Mr. Grigg and himself, they had found only one female servant in thp hospital, she had to do all the cooking, and was the only female available for nursing two female patients, who required a very large amount of attendance. Mr. Wright moved —“That the Hospital Committee communicate with the Mayor of Ashburton, and ascertain what cohtribution the Borough Council is prepared to make to the hospital funds, pending further legislation on the subject of hospital and charitable aid.” Mr. Grigg seconded, and the motion was carried. 1 THE TARIFF COMMITTEE. The Railway Tariff Committee’s report contained the letter that had been sent in reply to Mr. Maxwell’s letter, and one from the Railway Office, Wellinton, dated December 20th, in which *the General Manager said he concluded that the agricultural interests require that some concessions should be made, and the Government have taken into consideration proposals for reduction on the present grain rates, which would doubtless be adopted at an early date. One of the paragraphs ran;—“Your remarks on the relative.

profits of the different sections involve a political question, which 1 am not"' at liberty, to discuss, and you will therefore no doubt excuse my commenting upon them.’;

The Chairman said that the paragraph referring to Mr. Maxwell’s, refusal to go into details was one that ought to be printed,- in large type, and note taken of it, as an argument why the railways ought to to be in the hands of a non-political Board. He spoke severely against the supineness of the Selwyn County Council on this subject of the railway tariff. ' They had ■declined, under the influence of the Hon. 'John Hall, to take any steps in the matter, and every phase of the question pointed ; to the -necessity of railway control being .placed beyond the reach of political influence. He would give notice that at the next meeting of this-Council he would move—“ That in the opinion of this Council the control of the railways of the colony should be placed under a non-politi-cal Board. Mr. E. G. Wright said he understood certain reductions were to be made in the tariff, which would reduce the grain rate from Ashburton to Lyttelton by about 10 per cent., and with this reduction he thought they ought to be satisfied for a time, until the financial circumstances of the colony warranted a further reduction in the tariff. The concession was not sufficient, however, to make the adjustment equitable as compared with the carriage of the products of other industries. * Mr. Coster moved—“ That, in acknowledging the letter of the General Manager of Railways re reduction in the rate of ■freights, his attention be drawn to the fact that, as regards stock, the tariff which -induced most traffic, yielded the largest profit to the department, and best suited the public, was in force about three years ago, when sheep were carried at 10s. per truck for the first twenty miles, and 4d. per truck per mile afterwards up to fifty miles, ”

■RANGITATA TRAFFIC BRIDGE. The Chairman and Mr. Wright were appointed a committee to confer with the Geraldine County Council on the subject of the Rangitata bridge. DEPUTATION. A deputation consisting of the Hon. W. S. Peters, Messrs. Morrow, M'Coll, Bowiok, J. H Bruce, and others, waited upon the Council in reference to the separation into a new district of that portion of the Upper Ashburton and Mount Somers Road districts lying between the Hinds and the Rangitata. A petition praying for severance was piesented, and a counter petition was also presented, praying for the adoption of the ward system instead. Both petitions were numerously signed by ratepayers in the district affected. The Hon W. S. Peters said that from L 30,000 to L 40.000 had been expended by tfie Mount Somers Road Board, and only about L 4,000 had been expended in No. 4 ward, which was the district asking separation. This he thought was sufficient reason for severance.

Mr. Grigg desired to know if application had been made by the recent settlers for work to be done, and such application refused ? ' Mr. Morrow said he believed that it was not the intention of the Board to form roads in the part of the district where his property lay. He represented G,OOO acres.

Mr. McColl said that the district requiring severance was of one character. It was thirty miles long and about twelve miles wide. There was no swamps in it, and no culverts required over it, and it extended from the hills to the station, and from the Hinds to the Hangitata. The land was of a character that required, no costly works, and those owning it desired'a Hoad Board of their own, so that they ’should not be required to contribute towards the more costly works of the other portions' of the two wards. The Upper Ashbiu-ton district was divided into wards certainly, but they were not legalised wards*

Mr. Wright said the petition from the Mount Somers Road Board against the petition for severance did not take a fair view of the case, as in a table of expenditure given in git the figures were only given for one year. The district seeking severance was larger than the Ashburton road district. It had been stated in one of the three petitions that no case of harsh treatment had been made out, but he fancied that it was sufficient indication of dissatisfaction when the ratepayers applied for severance. In answer to a question Mr. M‘Coll explained that the district seeking severance comprised a ward of the Upper Ashburton Board, and another of the Mount Somers. The Chairman said he was in an awkward position in the matter. He was a ratepayer, in . the Meant Somers Road District aiid a member of the Board. He was also Chairman of the County Council who were asked to decide upon the question. But he was sorry to see the movement. Any defection from a Board left a greater proportion of the office expenditure to be borne by the portion of it that remained. He deprecated the increase of office expenditure in the County, and thought that the ratepayers in the Mount Somers district had little to complain of. The promoters of the movement were no doubt acting with a view to protecting themselves in the future, but he did not think that as yet there was any necessity for it. He hoped the Council would consider the matter very fully before they decided to grant or refuse the severance. Mr. .Wright was very much surprised to find that four gentlemen, members of the Council, had signed the counter-peti-tion. He did not know that these gentlemen even owned land in the district, but if they did not it made the matter infinitely worse, for in the first case they were members of the Council, and therefore judges of the question ; and if they owned no land they stepped out of their way to pre-judge a case on which they were required, as County members, to adjudicate. Mr. Grigg said Mr. Wright was perfectly correct in what he said about the four gentlemen whose names were on the counter petition, and he (Mr. Grigg) felt a twinge when the remarks were made, for his own name was on the counter petition. But when he put his name to the petition he was not aware that it would come before the County Council. The Chairman, in reply to Mr. Peter, explained that the Mount Somers Road Board petition against severance was not formally before the Council. It had been forwarded to Wellington, and had not been returned. The document that had been read was only a copy, and had been read simply for information. Mr. Wright thought that such further information on the subject as could be obtained ought to be procured. He thought the ratepayers ought to be allowed to separate if they wished. There was no opposition raised to the division of the Longboach and Mount Hutt Boards. After some further talk, fhe deputation withdrew.

Mr. Wright moved—“ That the question of severance be submitted for investigation' to a Committee, consisting of Messrs. .Saunders, Coster, Bullock, and the mover.” t ■ . The Chairman defended himself as a ratepayer, a member of the Mount Somers Road Board, and Chairman of the County Council, against what Mr. Wright had said regarding the signatures of four county members being on the counterpetition. He felt he had only done his duty as a ratepayer and a Road Board member. Mr. Bullock seconded Mr. Wrights motion in a few remarks, and after some further talk it was carried.

(THE TINWALI)-WINSLOW SEPARATION. The Longbeachßoad Board Clerk wrote notifying a resolution passed at the annual

meeting of the ratepayera'ojf that ; district on the 4th instant, to tho'effect—“ That, in the opinion of that meeting,' it was not desirable that the Tinwald-Winslow district should be formed intp a separate road district. ” This was considered tantamount to a withdrawal of the application for separation. WATERTON CEMETERY. The Longbeacb Road Board Clerk wrote asking that the cemetery at Waterton _be called Waterton Cemetery to distinguish it from the others in the Longbeach district, and that it should be placed under the Cemeteries Management Act. It w’as resolved to ask Government to make the change in name. WATERTON DRAINAGE. The Longbeach Surveyor wrote asking for a bridge to be placed across the new drain cut through the township of Waterton. The drain ran through the main street, which was formed on both sides of it. The Engineer was : instructed to see to the bridge being put up as required. THE CATTLE MARKET. The Secretary to the Agricultural and Pastoral Assoc', t on wrote that they were of an opinion that LIOO a year would be a fair rental for cattle market, and ten per cent extra on the additions and alterations that have been made since the acceptance of the first tenders. The extras amounted to L 312 18s. Id., and the original tenders to L 1,007 Bs. 2d. An agreement with the Association to rent the yards on the above terms was ordered to be made out. The Council had no objection to the Association sub-letting, but would hold the Association responsible for the yards. ACCOUNTS. Accounts to over L 1,500 were passed for payment. WHEATSTONE DRAINAGE. .Several farmers at Ashton applied for a six-inch concrete stop in the main drain at Wheatstone. The Engineer was instructed to do what was necessary. THE BOROUGH WATER PIPES. The .Mayor of Ashburton wrote, asking that the water pipes now in store in the Borough, bo put under the absolute control ot the Borough Council, with a view to enabling that "body to raise money on them to execute such works as the water scheme comprehended. Mr. Grigg and Mr. Bullock having spoken, Mr. Wright suggested lending the Borough the money on the security of the pipes. Mr. Coster questioned the legality of this.

Mr. Saunders said the legality could be got over by purchasing the pipes. Mr. Wright said that could be done—they cost L 8 per ton in Ashburton, and the same kind of pipes now cost Ll2. It was ultimately decided that the pipes be handed over to the Borough without restriction—Mr. Bullock being the mover. THE borough’s SHARE OF THE LAND FUND.

It was decided to hold over till next meeting consideration of the Borough’s claim to a share of the land fund. Meanwhile the Clerk to get out a return with a view to ascertaining the amount due to the Borough. CEMETERY AT WINSLOW. It was resolved to ask Government to reserve three acres of reserve 1784 for a cemetery for Winslow. METHVEN POUND. Mr. W. B. Comptom was appointed poundkeeper at Methven.

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Ashburton County Council. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 234, 5 January 1881

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