ASHBURTON COUNTY COUNCIL.
An ordinary monthly meeting was held this morning. Present—Messrs Walker (chairman). Wright, Coster, Saunders, Jackson, Bullock, and Grigg. chairman s statement. The Chairman’s statement was of an unimportant character. THE RANGITATA BRIDGE. Messrr Tripp. Clule.e and Mendelson waited on the Council as a deputation from the Geraldine County Council relative to the Rangitata bridge extension queston. Mr Tripp briefly stated that the object of the deputation was to learn the intensions of the Ashburton County Council regarding the extension of the Rangitata bridge, The Geraldine County Council admitted thpip liability tp contribute to the repairs and extension of the bridge, but the Council were extremely surprised to see the resolution passed r» the use of iron bark piles by the Engineer to the Ashburton County Council. They would admit that the ratepayers on both sides of the river had an equal claim to a voice in the matter. Judge, therefore, his surprise at learning that the Council proposed proceeding with the work by day labor.
The Chairman said that the opinion in the minds ,of the gentlemen who represented the Ashburton County Council at the Conference on the matter was that it had been satisfactorily arranged. He could not consider that the action of the Council had been in any way of too peremptory a character, or was unjustifiable. The Geraldine County Conncil had admitted their liability and expressed their willingness that the work should proceed. Now, however, they wished to repudiate this. Mr Tripp replied that he thought the deputation should have asked if the Council approved of the plana. The Geraldine Council simply made themselves liable for the repairs and extension of the bridge by the resolution passed. There was no expression made either in or out of the presence of the deputation that their plans were approved of. He thought this question should have been submitted to the Geraldine Oouhty Council; 1 Or Grigg remarked that the plans had been 'before the County Council previous to the, resolution feeing passed.
.Mr Tripp admitted thar they should have beeti asked regarding their opinion. Cr Wright thought .this father a late hour at which to consider the improvement if the plans. Previous to their preparation, the co-operation of the Geraldine • County Council had been solicited, but no notice had been taken. L 2,400 had been expended by the Ashburton County Council in the interests of the people. They had only stayed their hand when a legal difficulty regarding making the Geraldine County Council and Road Boards pay their quota. They then applied to the Government to take over the material of the Raugitata Bridge, and undertake the completion of the extension thereof, and charge the Ashburton County Council with the half share. Mr Blair was instructed to carry the work out at the expense of the two counties, and he called in Mr Higgmson to superintend the work. They sent up a man, and three of the piles were driven successfully and three broke. The cause of this was probably a fraud on the part of the contractors. This was but a minor difficulty, for if they proceeded with the work, and broke one hal f , it merely remained to send the broken iron piles to Christchurch, and have them re-welded. Mr Higginsou first submitted plans for 680 ft of bridging at a coat of L 10.300, but the Ashburton County Council considered it desirable to bridge 800 ft ; therefore he drafted designs to meet the views of the Council, the cost being L 12,600. The simpler design which the Ashburton County Council decided to carry out would cost but L 6,400. Regarding the Geraldine County Council’s resolution on the matter, he differed with Mr Tripp’s interpretation of the intentions of the Council. The plans wore on the table and the expenditure mentioned, and in passing that resolution they approved of the design. In re the feasibility of the driving of the piles, it seemed that some persons and the Gei’aldine County Council considered the driving of these piles impossible Mr Higginson suggested iron bark , piles driven 13ft, but the County Council considered to make certainty doubly sure, decided to have solid iron piles driven to a depth of 38ft. The Ashburton , County Council had spent some L 2,500, and if the Geraldine County Council desired to have a voice in the further proceedings of the matter, and to be on an equal footing with the Ashburton County Council, let them defray half the expense already incurred. Mr Higgnson’s expensive plan had been drafted with the idea that in the future the Canterbury main line of railway would pass thereover. This was too remote a contingency to consider ; what was war ted was a dray bridge. Let the Geraldine County Council defray half the expenses already incurred, and then if they wanted to construct an expensive bridge it would be necessary to rate the Geraldine ratepayers to the extent of a shilling in the £. He did not, however, think that even were the Geraldine ratepayers willing to contribute such a sum, the Ashburton ratepayers would be willing to agree thereto. Mr Mendelson pointed out that at the time the bridge was commenced the Geraldine County Council was voiceless in the matter, as the Counties Act was not in force. The action of the Government in throwing the work on the hands of the Ashburton County Council after taking same showed they condemned it. Cr Wright read a letter from the Public Works Department on the matter, refuting Mr Mendelson’s statement. Mr Mendelson said the deputation had forced the Geraldine County Council to
admit its liability ; they had no other alternative. He was surprised at Mr. Wright’s . suggestion, after the signal failure of the work. Cr Grigg deprecated the Geraldine County Council’s action in attempting to shirk their liability They desired, after the Ashburton County Council had incurred expenditure for the benefit of ratepayers in both Counties, to make the loss fall on the Ashburton County'. He considered that the expenditure of L 12,000 or L 13,000 would be nothing but pure wan ion ness. The loss would have to bo defrayed by either the Government or the two Counties. They would be undertaking the work under a delegated power from the Government. Mr Clulee pointed out, that the authority to proceed with the work from the Government was given after the purchase of the piles. Cr Wright corrected Mr Clulee. It was the resumption of the authority which had been assumed by the Ashburton County Council at the instigation of the Government. The Chairman pointed out that the Ashburton County Council had rqally been saddled with this work by the Government. They had always believed they could recover one-half the expenditure
from the neighboring County Council. On discovering that this could not' be done, owing to the Counties Act not being in force therein, they requested the Go vernment to release them from the delegated authority. This was granted, but the Government, finding that the Geraldine ratepayers were, on adopting the Counties Act, responsible for one-half, requested the Ashburton County Council to resume the direction of the work.
Cr Wright read the authority received from the Government, The Geraldine County Council were trying, End had always hitherto tried, to shirk their responsibility in this matter. The bridge would be of little use to the Ashburton County, but would be a great benefit to the Geraldine ratepayers. Mr Tripp thought the Ashburton County Council were not justified in trying experiments, as they merely were doing in proposing to do the wprk by day labor.
Cr. Wright pointed out that it was merely with the object of saving time that the Ashburton County Council had prop >sed to execute the pile-driving by day labor. Mr Tripp was still unconvinced. They had no right to go experimenting with the ratepayers’ money. Regarding Cr Wright’s remarks on the idea the engineer entertained when he drafted the iron pile bridge—viz., of its being brought into requisition for railway purposes—he would point out that Mr Higginson could not possibly hays had such an idea, for the well-known general weakness} of the bridge. He rqight remark that the vibration of this bridge was so great that some time since the coach-driver had been requested to drive at a walking pace over the bridge. They would therefore see how unfeasible would be such a project. Cr Wright read a portion of Mr Higginson’s report suggesting the possibility of the bridge being ultimately utilised for railway traffic. Cr Grigg thought it would be well to have an understanding with the Geraldine County Council. If that body desired to shirk their responsibility, let them say so, and the Council would understand its position. Mr Tripp said the Geraldine County Council desired to see the ratepayers’ money safely expended. Ho suggested that the Ashburton .County Council should pass a resolution that they would take all responsibility if the Geraldine County C'juncii would give LG, OOO toward its construction. The Geraldine County Council did not like throwing away money as an experiment. If the Ashburton County Council would indemnify them against further expenditure they would understand what to do.
er. Grigg said the suggestion made by Mr Tripp was quite unworthy of the Geraldine County Council. Ho did not doubt that they would give L 6,000 if the Ashburton County Council would .only put their fingers into the trap with which
that sum was baited. He doubted. iF they would do so, however. (Laughter.) Regarding Mr Tripp’s assertion as to the experimentalising, he contended thajfr this work was not an experiment. (Hear, hear.) They had the opinion of arrexpert on these matters in support of their action.
Mr Mendelson thought, to curtail, this lengthy discussion and simplify matters, he would suggest that the plans'be placed in the hands of the Geraldine County Council, and let that body get tno opinion of an expert on the matter. Cr. Grigg pointed out that the proper, course would be for tbe Geraldine County Council to pass a resolution requesting this course, aud approving of the past expenditure being debited to the bridge account.
Cr. Saunders thought the Geraldine County Council should not be surprised at finding themselves at. a disadvantage in their position, consequent on their delay in passing the Counties Act. He thought the Geraldine County Council, however, should regard the mishap _ which had occurred in the construction of the bridge as one of those which “ occur ’* in the best regulated families. He regretted that the Ashburton County Council had taken over sole direction of this w r ork. It would be best that aComiriittee should be composed of members of both Councils having the executive responsibility of the work, and that no importantmatters bo undertaken without the concurrence of both Councils. Cr Grigg thought by following out Mr Tripps suggestion, they would be saddling the County with the probable loss if the bridge was disapproved. The Geraldine County Council were to blame, for they ; incurred their unpleasant position by their delay in the bringing of the Counties Act into force. He did not think they could do so in justice to themselves. MrClulce asked whether Mr Blair had ever disapproved of the bridge. Cr Wright said Hie Ashburton County Council had never as a body asked Mr Blair’s opinion. Mr Cluleo asked had Mr Blair ever expressed any opinion officially or otherwise.
Cr Wright replied in the negative. He, himself, should not have paid any great attention to such disapproval, even had he known thereof.
Mr Clulee suggested that the plans should be submitted to some competent person other than Messrs Blair and Higginson, and their report thereon accepted as final. The Chairman said the Council had in view merely economy. It was all very well for the Chairman to the Geraldine County Council to say not one single iron pile should be put down at the expense of ratepayers in its district; but it would be just as easy for the Ashburton County Council to say that not one iota of! the expense of a cylinder construction should be defrayed by that body. Cr Bullock said it would be very hard
if the Geraldine County Council repudiated their share of the cost of the bridge. He would oppose adopting the proposal re the plans made by the Geraldine County Council. Cr Wright said that, in answer to Mr Tripp, he would state that the difference in the cost of the two plans was, L 6,900. The deputation should bear in niind the cost of convoying the plant, &c., to the ground. Mr Mendleson said he hoped that the matter would bo settled without much difference of opinion. _ : v Mr Clulee, on behalf of the deputation, handed in the following resolution for the consideration of the Council; —“ That the plans designed by Mr Higginson be referred to some practical engineer other than Mr Blair or Mr Higginson. That a. full report upon same ho made with estimate of cost, attached ; also that ; the report and estimates be prepared upon cylindrical bridge, such report to be submitred to both Councils—Cost of both reports to be borne by both Councils, and in case the cylinder bridge is recommended by the report, the rejected, piles to bo paid for by both Councils.” , _ Mr Mendleson said no one could give.
a better opinion on the bridge than Mr Blair, as ho was engaged on one bridge over the same river for eighteen months at one stretch. WATER SUPPLY DEPUTATION.
"Messrs Mack-ay, Holmes, Larnbie, Mahon, and Allen waited on the Council re the matter of the supply of water to certain holdings bordering on the South Rakaia pla : ns. Mr. Mackay, in introducing the deputation, pointed out that they represented inhabitants -T farms representing a total acreage of some Lt 7,000 acres, which had been, so to speak, entirely left out in the cold in the matter of the water supply for the South Rakiaa district. They requested the Council to obtain the Engineer’s report on the practicability of diverting the course of one of the races to permit of the watering these holdings. It would be an expensive matter for them to be compelled to sink wells for the supply of water.
Cr. Wright pointed out that a race of water ran through a portion of the district referred to. It was also considered at the time of the inauguration of the scheme that the water requisite for that district could be obtained from the Rakaia river.
Cr Grigg asked were the proprietors of properties prepared to contribute their quota in the form of maintenance rate. It was necessary the Council should have some assurance of this before any diversion of the present scheme could be entertained.
Mr Holmes answered that, for his part, he was prepare 1. Cr Wright, pointed out that 'the race which would have to be diverted represented nearly a full fourth of the total scheme—vjz., 30 miles out of 166. ,Mr Lambie asked if, in the event of there being an ample supply of w r ater, the Council would be prepared to extend the races. The water at the end of the present race was running tq waste. Even if these extensions were only made hitermittent, it would be of great service to property holders. The Chairman pointed out that the Council could not at present make any decided promise, as they were unacquainted with the supply of water at their disposal after the completion of the race. The Council were, as it . were, only feeling their way at present. The Council would, however, give the subject favourable consideration at a future date. The deputation then thanked the Council and withdrew.
Another deputation interviewed the Council on a similar application, and requested a report on the subject at the hands of the Engineer to the Council. It WrtS stated that it was considered a very small sum would suffice to convert a branch from one of the races on to holdings included in the applications. The future consideration of the matter was promised by the Council. Mr Tosswill presented a petition from residents in the district between the Hinds and llangitita rivers, praying the construction of a water race thereon. He pointed out that the properties in the district reached a total acreage of some 45,000 acres. The work was one of great importance, and the petitioners prayed the: Council to set aside the sum of LB-,000 for the construction ithereof. t .The hearty co-operation of the Council in the matter was promised. A similar ; application from the New Zealand and Australian Land Company was laid before the Council by Cr Wright, and his reply theretp, pointing out that a water ‘ race passed through the Acton, property, read. ENOINBEb’b JJBPOBT. , ‘ : - Jj The Engineer’s report, which was of a very lengthy character, Avia read. ‘ Left flitting. "
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 312, 6 April 1881
ASHBURTON COUNTY COUNCIL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 312, 6 April 1881
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