THE BOROUGH COUNCIL, THE ATHLETIC SPORTS GROUND COMPANY, AND THE RATEPAYERS.
To the Editor. Sir, —The above question having now assumed a more serious aspect, and one affecting the interests of the ratepayers,' as a ratepayer, I must ask permission to lay the facts of the case before thepabli<),that they may judge for themselves the action of the Council in this if there is any explanation to be~ given of their at present inexplicable actidn, Sir* haps this may elicit it. Before making application to the Council to purchase any earth there might be to spare on the S.B. town belt, I waited on the Mayor to' ask him if he thought the interests of the Council and the Company would not be mutually served by the Belt being partially formed by the removal of the earthwhMh the Company required from somewhere, and might as well take from there as-from elsewhere, and whether he thought there would be any to spare, and if he thought it was worth while to apply for it. He replied it would entirely depend on the report of the Engineer, but if there was earth to spare, hs saw no objection to it, I then saw Mr Fooks, and asked him if he could tell me whether there would bo any earth to spare, as I was unwilling to make an application if it was likely to be .refused, as we had no difficulty in getting it elsewhere. He replied he thought there would be surplus soil, but kindly promised to calculate it that night and let me'know approximately what quantity there would be to spare, and, accordingly, two or three days later 1 received a piece of paper, which I was informed had been sent te the office by Mr Fooks, stating, in writing, that there would be at least 2,500 to. 3,000
yards of soil to spare. 1 subsequently saw Mr Fooks himself, when he mentioned lihat there would be over 12,000 yards of earth t to be moved, between Burnett street 'and ' the terrace, but that part of that wbuld’be j required for raising the level of the roads 1 below the terrace ; but he again confirmed 1 his previous statement in writing there would be at any rate 3,000 yards I to spare, if ter completing the road to' tfia * river. Therefore, Sir, whatever explana- 4 tion may be given of the Council refusing $ an offer of LSI 5s in cash and Ls 3 6s, in i work to be done in helping to form the ; Belt, they cannot lay it on the' shoulders. I of their surveyor, as I hear is now being i done, especially as in your report of, tie f proceedings of the Council, -it* was 7 stated that: the “ Engineer recommended ' that the application shcmld be referred, to fhe JPorha. Committee for considei-ation pj details.” Now, Sir, it is a matter ef perfect indifference to the Oomphhy whether their application was granted or refused} 'as they have offers of the requisite quantity of soil from two or -three sources of supply; but, Sir, I submit it is. not a matter of indifference to the ratepayedi, ’■ whether the Council refuse offers of LtOO, ’ or so, and whether the Belt is left with a large and dangerous gravel pit in it. If • an accident happened there, who wwd have to pay the damages? Would the the Borough Councillors out of their own pocket=s, or the unfortunate ratepayers I Again, if either of the Ooun'ciUors, "in improving their private property, had'to ei- : pend several hundred pounds, and?-* j neighbor being equally interested in part ; of the work being done offered to contribute LIOO towards it, would any, one of the Councillors in their own case refuaa such an offer? I think I may safely gay “not one.” Why then should they not exercise equal discretion in the ratepayers’ interests. It is not everyone who' ha* time to spare for therefore. Sir, 1 think the public owe a debt of gratitude to those who do spare time for the public service, provided the service rendered is valuable and not mischievous. But if gentlemen do offer their services, and they are accepted by the "ratepayers, I think those electing them - a right to expect at least equal discretion . .in administering public affairs, as in private, and if this matter has been decided from private pique, from narrow-minded jealousy of property outside the Belt obtaining even indirect benefit (and this -is not the first case in which it is stated that there has been one cause influencing;tlia ; decision) from incapacity to understand the ■' question, or from whatever caprice-, : the decision has been arrived at, it is at least ~ plain, from the above mentioned: facts, that it has been arrived at not from the, report of their Engineer, but on the contrary, directly against his recommendation, and, undoubtedly, equally against the interests of the town and ratepayers. There-., fore, Sir, I trust that this'will be reman- • bered at the next election of councillors, and as I was very pleased to see that at the last election, so many good men came forward, out of whom three of the best, not to say the best, were elected, all of whom I was also glad to see voted for this matter being considered on its merits, and in the interests of the ratepayers,’ So I hope at the next election equally good man may be induced to come forward, and put a stop to the petty childish squabbles, which have so frequently 5 graced the proceedings of the Council hare, and instead of wordy warfare, foolish decisions, and narrow-minded jealousy, wo may have our Borough business transacted in a business like waj.—l am, etc., O. PbectCox, A Ratepayer. L