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ALFORD FOREST., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 789, 10 November 1882
[from our own correspondent.] Springecrn, Nov. 6th.
Since my last, one or two refreshing showers have fallen, and the young crops look all the better for them. On that head the minds of the farmers are now at ease, for the present, at least. I wish I could say the same respecting those troublesome little pe-ts the green linnets, the sparrows, etc. Only a few days ago a neighbor of mine, farming on rather an extensive scale, was telling me of a paddock of wheat completely ea r en up by these feathered depredators. Another neighbor, growing cereals on a very small scale, little more than what he needs for himself, told me that a paddock of 40 acres, »om in oats, will be nearly worthless, five acres, he is sure, will not be worth cutting. When such results are placed before us, it behoves every one possessed of land to co-operate with his neighbors to put down the evil. But such a result will only be arrived at by legislation. No doubt in our days, as in time gone by. there are men, and many, I hope, always ready to join in all movements benefiting their districts or the common weal. But, on the other hand, we meet with other who think of nothing else but self. Certainly it is right for a man to look first to those depending on his labors, but it may be carried to such an extent as to become a very shortsighted policy. Supposing, for instance, the land-owners of a district much troubled by those feathered pests above ■ mentioned decide by a great majority to sow poisoned grain, is it not short-sighted policy for a few who happen on that year to have all their land in grass to refuse to contribute to the fund 1 Pastures cannot last for t .ver, and the day will come when they in their turn will have to suffer heavily, p rhaps, from the evil they would not help a year or two previous to remedy. On pasture land poisoned grain can be applied as well as on fallow or ploughed land, but, if unwilling to use it, the owners of meadow land ought to contribute their share, considering that where every owner is willing to join in the movement, the cost will be only nominal. To rely on one and all doing their best voluntarily to abate the nuisance is more than can be expected, therefore it would be to the purpose to compel those illiberal minded persons to do their duty. I would not write in such strong language if I had not witnessed at work flocks of these pests and heard the complaints of good sound practical farmers on the subject. But should the farmers clamour for legislation, and the House consent to legislate according to their wishes, let laws be made to be enforced, and not bo only laws in name. Of such we have too many already. Let them be enforced as jealously as those relating to land tax and property tax; then I warrant some good will be arrived at Very carefully I have road the report of the meeting held in Ashburton to consider the extension of the Mount Somers railway. To state that it was got up for political motives is a gross error, not wilful, perhaps, but nevertheless an error. lam acquainted with the Mount Somers district and some of its inhabitants, and I have heard toe same opinions expressed that were embodied in the petition, only more forcibly, and no doubt reading more like what actually passed in the minds of many of the Mount Somers people, viz , that th® line should be carried to their township- For that very reason I could not bnt look coolly on the agitation, and it will be the duty of the Alford Forest people to see that should the Minister for Public Works visit the district they are duly represented. I hope with Mr Harrison that the scales may fall from the honorable gentleman’s eyes, but I hope above all that the Mount Somers and Alford Forest people may work straightforwardly together. It is true, as stated at the meeting, that every man cannot have theterm'nus at his own door. Itisalso true that stone and coal are found in plenty from the Gorge the whole length of the Forest, not as far as Messrs Friedlander s quarry, as stated, but much fur her, capital stone existing on councillor McFarlane’s land. Therefore it would be hardly judicious to fix’ on the township for the terminus. Besides, I am certain that for one truck of stone or coal freighted, there will be five of sawn timber, posts and rails, stakes, strainers or firewood, and as the forest cannot be moved towards the township of Mount Somers, the terminus to supply the wants of both districts must be brought nearer to it. There is no doubt whereever the the terminus is, an embryo township is sure to spring up, therefore it may slightly interfere with the operations of a few individuals, but the interest of the district at large must be considered as well as those of the colony. An unproductive line is a millstone round everyone’s neck, therefore it is the duty of the Minister of Public Works to see that, in case the line crosses the Ashburton river, the terminus is within easy distance of those most likely to contribute the greatest share of traffic Another point in favor of the Triphook Survey is that all loads from Mount Somers to the terminus will have good, gently declining roads, whilst, should the terminus bo fixed at the Mount Somers township, the Alford Forest teams would have an up-hill road all the wav. Now, the exports from our districts will greatly exceed our imports. The topography of the country therefore needs careful consideration. My most earnest advice to the Alford Forest people is—“ Rub the scales from your eyes in good time, wake up from your lethargy, and see that you are not made a cat’s paw of, as in the ca?e of the Rakaia-Methven line.” I say this without wishing to cast any unfavorable reflections on the Mount Somers inhabitants. It is but natural that they should wish to draw fish to their own nets. On the contrary, I admire their perseverance, and my respect for them as a com-
mu dty has largely increased since the railway agitation, l but paper tpen will flare up sometimes, add flame being purifying the truth, must be fipld. lining could ■ have been more to-.tlia .point tjian the tern ark.'of ,l|r Bullock—' 4 The site of the ter jpinqa.must be so chosen hs lo serve the of both districts. ” If not too 'late, it would be well for deputations of the Mount Somers and Alford Forest people to meet andrselect ,a site for the terminus, and not promenade the Minister for Public Works here there and everywhere without having a definite answer to give him to the probable question— 44 Where do you propose the terminus should be?” Here again our neighbors would have the advantage of us the answer is ready— 44 The Mount Somers township.” But this will not suit the Alford Forest people, and as squabbles are undesirable I think it would be well if some understanding were arrived at beforehand. Since the directory or the Methven line are forgetting their pledge to the Alford Forest people nothing for the present could serve our purpose better than to see the Mount Somers line proceed," and the tmber trade established with’Ashburton, even at a small sacrifice rather than support the Rakaia-Methven line with its terminus where it is. Com- | panics like individuals are mighty independent whilst they think they have you at their mercy, but wrench yourself from their grasp and quickly they they regret their error and try to come to terms. Methven has reaped the benefit of the Alford Forest trade lately to a great extent. the railway benefiting by it al o, and for the first time last year the line paid wo king expenses. Vet we are _not a bit nearer to see the line extendad to Goss crossing than twelve months ago—further, if anything. Yet taxes are to be collected, and land "fourteen miles away is to be heavily taxed to benefit the district of Methven. My advice is, work heart and soul to have the Tinwald line completed so that your trade may be diverged from the Methven line, even if it was for the time to prove & loss. Such, & cours© will, I am convinced, gain your end in the long run, viz., the loop line, and give you the two markets, Christchurch and Ashburton. . • _J' ,
ALFORD FOREST., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 789, 10 November 1882
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