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Thb Government has just forwarded to 1 the various local governing bodies throughout the colony copies of a Bill to amend "The Public Works Act, 1882," with a request that any objections to the proposed legislation may be pointed out m order that the same may have consideration. This is a very wise and proper course which might be much more generally followed with great advantage to the /colony, as it would unquestionably prevent much crude legis lation and do away with the necessity for such a multiplicity of amending Acts as nearly every largo measure is now found to require. The Bill before us is, we think, identical with that introduced last session, but which was held over m order that tho course which has now been adopted might be taken, Iho following are its principal provisions. | Section 3 stops a loophole m the principal Act which has on occasion ( proved a gateway for tho proverbial " coach-and-six." This occurs m Section 157, which renders punishable a number of offences, such as defacing railway carriages, obstructing railway Servants, behaving m an offensive manner, or being drunk m a railway carriage, writing indecent words on carriages,fences or buildings etc.,but prescribes that " whosoever knowingly and wilfully " does or procures to be done any of these or like things shall be I punishable. The word "knowingly" ]fl obyioaeiy inapplicable to tiw pub woo

I is m the unconscious stage of intoxica tion, and the qualification imported by either word is not only unnecessary but sometimes enables' the escape of those !who richiy deserve punishment. It is accordingly very sensibly proposed to , v repeal these wordß. Next it is provided that any person appointed to act as an ; a'ss'ssorin any claim for compensation must m his declaration be able to set forth that he is " not. concerned or m any way interested m the claim " upon 1 which ho is to adjudicate, r/ection 4 prescribes a new form of making out . claims for compensation for land taken » for public works purposes, and is clearly { an improvement, because setting out with greater explicitness and particularity the nature and extent of tho claim. If tho claimant fails to furnish the full particulars required, these may be demanded by the respondent, and failing -compliance, may be made the subject of an order of the Compensation Court, costs of adjournment being borne by the defaulting Claimant. Compensation is to be restricted to the items set forth m the particulars of claim. Sections 7 and 8 enable the Govefuor to allocate railway lands for the purposes of a road or street where desirable, and to vest tho control of same m the local authority which is thereafter responsible for the maintenance of such road or street, but the local authority may object to accept such responsibility, and if it do so the objection is to be considered and de termined by the Governor m Council. Section 9 is, however, perhaps the most important provision of the Bill, it amends section 15 of the Amendment Act of 1884. That section throws upon the occupier of land the duty of clearing gorse, bramble, sweetbriar, or brcom from the side of any road adjoining his property, upon the demand of the loca authority, provided that such local authority has reasonable ground lor believing that such gorse etc., has spread from such occupier's land or fence. This proviso it is propobuJ to repeal. But the Bill goes much fartlu,. than this, and throws upon all occupiers or owners of land the duty of keeping their land as well as tho roadlines clear of such growths, tho terms of section 10 being as follows : — " The occupier or, m case there is no occupier, the owner of any land shall grub up, clear away, and destroy all gorse or sweetbriar growing on such land, and which does not form part of a bona fide hedge or fence of reasonable width ; and on failure to do so, the local authority may order the occupier or the owner, as the case may require, to grub up and destroy tho same, and if he docs not grub up and destroy such gorse or Bweetbriar within three months from the date on which Buch order is served upon him, he shall bo subject to the penalties provided m section fifteen of • The Public Works Act, 1882, Amendment Act, 1884, m the case of a person failing to remove gorse or sweetbriar growing on a road. " The aforesaid section fifteen and all amendments thereof shall, mutatis mutandis, apply and may be applied m any case where necessary to compel the grubbing up and destroying gorge or sweetbriar growing on any privato land m the same manner and to tho same extent as applies m respect of gorse or sweetbriar growing on roads ; and, , subject to tho express terms of thin btsuwuu, r TOe"TocaT~lratttrjrTty shall Have and may exercise all tho powers and authorities conferred by such section and the amendments thereof m any such case." Sections eleven and twelve provide for tho cancellation for error or mis description of proclamations taking land for public works, and for the mode m which the re-occupation of land taken by the Crown is to bo effected. Section thirteen deals with the placing of swinggates upon public roads m thinly settled districts, and is as follows : — " Tho 1 local authority having the control of any road m a sparsely-populated district may, by writing, permit any person to erect a swing-gate across such road ; but the local authority may, notwithstanding such permission, cause such swing-gate to be removed at any time, without payment of compensation to .the person erecting the same, or to any person deriving benefit therefrom ; and m any case m which a swing-gate shall be or may have been erected as aforesaid a board with the words 'Public road' legibly painted thereon shall be fixed to each side of such gate, and shall at all times be maintained thereon by the person authorised to erect tho same." Section fourteen empowers County Councils to delegate their powers for construction of drains to Road Boards ; and section fifteen onubles the Governor, when a local authority wishes to construct a bridge, or to establish a ferry, or ford that will benefit an adjoining district, to compel the local authority of such adjoining district to contribute to the cost of the work, provision being made for the hearing and determining of any objection made by such last-men-tioned local authority. Section eighteen gives power to railway employ^s^ to impound cattle found trespassing upon any lint ; and section twenty deals with the utilisation of railway bridges for general traffic. It is m the following terms J — " Any local authority may agree with tho Minister to pay the cost or estimated costof converting any railway bridge into a combined road and railway bridge ; which said work of conversion tho Minister is hereby authorised to carry out, If he should so think fit ; and such local authority is hereby authorised ' to pay annually to such Minister such further amount as may bo necessary to maintain tho roadway of the said com bincd bridge, and any approaches, gates, or other works or structures m connection therewith, apd also to pay to tho Minister such amount, if any, annually, as may be requisite to pay tho wages iof one or more caretakers to the said bridge." All moneys hereby authorised to be paid by a local authority shall bo paid I out of tho local fund under its control, and charged accordingly." Tho remaining clauses of tho Bill aro generally of a technical character and of |no special public interest. Altogether ■ it appears to be a useful, and as regards I some of its provisions, a very necessary measure.

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Bibliographic details

PROPOSED LEGISLATION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1983, 30 October 1888

Word Count

PROPOSED LEGISLATION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1983, 30 October 1888