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To the Editor. - Sir, —Patriotism is a virtue admirable in itself, and generally admired by the recipients of benefits derived from it, and wo appear to have a patriot in our midst whose talent for finding means to expend his latent generosity, and gratutipus advice to his fellow men, has been up till now hidden by his modesty. But, Sir, worth will ever find its way to the ‘hearts of the people and asaert ita superior right to be heard over any t ling like chicanery or selfishness. lam led to make these few preliminary observations on the subject nf the Athletic Sports Company, because 1 find that our fellow townsman, Mr Percy Cox, has hitherto hidden his light under- a bushel, audit is only under an adverse vote against an application of his to the Borough Council that his virtuous indignation takes the form of printing ink and bad grammar. Mr Percy Cox begins his statement in last night’s paper by giving the details of his application to the Council, his earnest desire to io the Borough Council’s work free of cost, his efforts to find wholesome recreation for suffering humanity, and the unkind and aurpris-

ing refusal on the part of that degraded body to at once fall into the arms of this colonial Peabody, and cry “ welcome thou thrice blessed one, take the soil, take the whole belt, or take the whole blessed township, wo have failed in our duties and thou art the Dictator to whom we resign our seals of office.” The Borough Council—not beii g composed of patriots thirsting for the recreation of the public, but, on the contrary, being a body composed of very hardheaded and shrewd business men, who represent the views of the ratepayers —did not exactly jump to the same conclusion regarding the formation of the East Belt by amateur engineers as Mr Percy Cox did, and as that gentleman has omitted to state a few particulars regarding the Company, it may be just as well to enlighten the public on a few points of which air Percy Cox has omitted to make mention. The spot s lected by this Company for a qmsi Lancaster Park is not by

any means the perfect paradise which Mr Percy Cox would lead us to believe. When he first brought the matter before a com* mittee, he represented that the block contained some eight and a half acres, this was considered to be rather limited, but, upon measurement, it was found to be rather less than five and a quarter acres, and in that area were two roads, which reduced the land to be purchased to three and three-quarter acres, for which the modest sum of about L 350 was to be paid by the Company. Had it been a nice level piece of grass land the price might not have seemed very much out of the way, but the bloik is virtually a poition of an old river bed, very shingly, very much cut up with gullies, and close to that savoury vehicle of all the Ashburton filth—the outlet of the outfall drain. To enable the Company to convert this gravel into a grass paddeck it became necessary to procure soil from “somewhere,” and the somewhere turned up in the South-East Belt, close handy. The Belts, however, were laid out to a width of two chains all round the township, to provide lung power for the inhabitants, by planting trees at some time or other on them. Bat trees want soil to nourish them, and the Borough Council want to keep the soil-for future plantations, therefore they refused Mr Cox’s application. His offer to form the Belt road was of so vague a nature

that I cannot see how they could entertain it for a moment. He says he is willing to expend from LIOO to Ll5O on the work; but suppose he reaches gravel before he gets down to his levels, what will ho do with it 1 Leave it, 1 suppose. The Council have added to their revenue for some t : me past by the sale of surplus soil; that is evidence that soil has a market value. Why, then, give some thousands of yards away to a company outside the borough ? Sir, had Ashburton been deficient of recreation grounds there would have been some sense in Mr Cox’s company and ap-

plication, but we hare seventy-two acres of Domain within the town belt, we have one hundred and fifty acres on the racecourse, on either of which a first-class cricket ground could be made at a tithe of the expense which would be required on Mr Cox’s five-acre block. The remarks in last night’s paper smack more of the disappointment of a lost commission than of the regrets of a philanthropist.—l am, etc., James Wilkie.

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Bibliographic details

THE ATHLETIC SPORTS COMPANY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 795, 17 November 1882

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THE ATHLETIC SPORTS COMPANY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume IV, Issue 795, 17 November 1882

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