ASHBURTON COUNTY COUNCIL.
* I Tbe ordinary monthly meeting of the Ashburton County Council was held this morning. Present : Messrs W O. Walker (chairman), 0 J. Harper, John Grigg, Jas. Brown, H; Friedlander, W. McMillan, E. S. Coster, E. G. Wright. chairman's statement. The Chairman said : — ' Mr Stoddart writes to say that ho declines the offV r made by the CouncH m its report with refe r ODeo to the cleaning of the creek through his propwty and has removed the dam. lie also iutonds to take immediate stepß to prevent the Council from turning water into tbo creek. This matter has been attended to, and the Engineer has instructed a race whioh will supply the settlers below Mr Stoddart without interfering with him m any way. Mr Chapman Informs the Council that he oannot accopt its offer to spend a certain Bum of money on his creek, provided he will absolve the Council from further responsibility. The Govern* ment sent a notioe to the effect that applications for loans nnder the Loans to Local Bodies Act had to be received before the 31st ult. I therefore have applied for the sum of £5000 for the Bakaia Auxiliary Water Supply. The Government asks if the Council has any suggestions or remarks to make on the Fisheries Bill, and, if so, would like to receive them as early as possible. A petition from the ratepayers of No 3 Ward, Wakanui Road District, praying that the number of members on that Board for that Ward may be increased from two to three will be plaoed before the Council to-day. The water race charges books for tho water charges for this year are now completed, and the demands for payment will be issued this month. The Property Tax Commissioner announces a further payment on acoount of subsidy of £93 15s. A numerously signed petition from ratepayers against the proposal to olean out water races by contract has been received and will be placed before the Council. The AuditorGeneral has written to the Council lo reply to its letter re tbe payment of the cost of auditing the accounts, whioh letter will be read to-day. knginbkr's bzfobt. The Engineer reported as follows :— Plains Water Supply : The supply m this distriot has been fairly well kept up during March, considering the comparatively small supply available from Podding Hill stream m the early part of the month. The supply from Wakanui creek was also considerably reduced but there was, nevertheless, sufficient to supply tbe lower Wakanui and Seafield "districts' Some of the^conneotions of the E raoes have had to be cleared out, and other* wise improved, to conserve tbe supply. The half-yearly overhaul of all the raoes should be commenced towards tbe end of this month. .Several of the settlers are preparing for this now by ploughing one or two furrows off the sides of the raoeß where contractions oocur, and it win be neoeesary this time to insist on the clearing of gorse alongside the water raoes as m some eases the raoes are quite over grown with it. Ashburton Rangitata Water Supply: Tbe supplies from Limestone creek and Hinds gorge have both improved, but there is not a sufficient flow yet for the wants of the distriot above the Mayfield-Rangitata road. The work of enlarging portions of tbe mains has now been completed as far as at present authorised. The enlargement of O mate is still m abeyance, bat when cleared out next month it will. I think, be sufficient for exist, ing races, but not for new raoes daring the dry season.— All the races on the lower portion of the Rangitata plain are now very fairly supplied. Some ford repairs have been executed recently, also some improvements of -races, but a general overhaul next month will be required. The supply from Stoddart's i creek having been withdrawn a small stream on the opposite side of the road has been substituted. That source does not yield a large supply, but it has held out well during the recent dry season. In order further to increase the supply of the settlers lower down, a connection oonld be made, from that portion of creek m Longbeach estate to the east of Lennan's road, _ with the consent of the owner* Mount Somers and Ashburton Forks Supply ; These races, m common with others, are much m want of half yearly overhaul. Upper Rangitata Bridge The repairs of water wall, etc., at Bonth end of bridge are now m progress, and will, I expeot, be finished next week. The sare of old deoking takes plaoe on 12th inst. Irrigation Farm : I have laid off some lines of mainß over the unirrigated half of the farm which is now about ready for watering* It would appear hat the return of cereals from the irrigated portion is about 50 per cent m exoess of that from the unirrigated portion, bat that result is partly due to a strip of about three aores on which Belfast manure and bone dust had been sown. The second growth of eowgrass is well advanced and part would be suitable for seed. Plantations : I will report next month as to what will be necessary soon towards filling up tbe vacant portions of these. WATER SUPPLY COMMITTEE. A report by the Water Supply Committee was submitted and adopted. Among other matters the Committee recommended that Mr Laogdon's application to be^allowed to take water from a a race for irrigation r/ur poses be not granted at present. A PETITION. A petition was received from ratepayers m No 3 Ward of the Wakanui Road District, asking that the number of members representing that Ward on the Board should be inoreased to three The Solicitor advised the Council that it had no power to accede to the request, It was one for the Boad Board. It was resolved to refer the matter to the Road Board. OEMITBBIES, Mr Coster moved " That a sum of £260 be set aside to provide for grants m aid to Cemetery Boards within the county." Mr Coster said there were eight or ten Cemetery Boards within the -County and none self-supporting. Ho thought the sum specified should be set aside and grantea from time to time as tbe Council saw fit* Mr Wright thought the effect of the motion would be to encourage Cemetery Boards to come to the Council for money. He thought it would be better to deal with applications as they came m. Mr Harper seconded the motion as he approved of the principle, He donbted, however, whether m practice It oonld be oarrled outMt Friedlander suggested that the motion should be withdrawn and that Mr Coster should move for a grant to the cemetery m respeot of "which the question arose. Mr Grlgg did not agree with the motion, and thought individual applications should be dealt with as they arose. The Chairman was not olear as to the power of the Conoolt to make a grant. The Cemeteries Aot gave power to establish cemeteries, but It was doubtful If It gave power to spend money on existing ones. Ultimately the disoosslon was adjourned and the matter referred to the solicitor. THB ALLEGED PEK DONATION. Pursuant to notice Mr Harper moved "That m consequence of complaints made concerning tbe superabundance of water below the railway Une In the Longbetoh- Windermere districts supposed to be caused "by the county water races, this Oounoll Is of opinion tbat all the water rsods m those dlstrlots should, terminate at tbe railway Hnp, and be diverted into a different channel," In moving the resolution Mr Harper said that he had had it postponed from last meeting principally In consequence of the . 'lence of one member of the Oounoll Sin*. 9 he tabled It the season had favored ths views he expressed some time ago relative to tbe damage said to ba caused to swamp land, by percolation from the water races, and the admirable report submitted by the Engineer at last meeting still further want to show that his opinion WMtbt light one, It would be cemw-
[ bored that at tbe last meeting but one of ] f the Ooudoll two of the members had said tbat the lands In their district were seriously »ffooted by the existing water races, but he hoped that they had now changed their opinion. Anyone who traversed that district would notice that the water In tho gravol pita was decreasing day by day despite the fact that tbe races wero surcharged, thus dearly showing that no appreciable percolation from the raneß took plaoe. It was obviovs that If tho people In tho Longbeach district seriously thought theic properties were affected, then they did not require the water r^oes and tho remedy would be to stop these. He did not nuppose, however, that these ratepayers ware Eerlous and that thoy would consent to be deprived of tho racsß. Mr Frtedlandor seconded the motion pro forma, no other sooonder being forthcoming. He did so m order that the other side night havo an opportunity of having their lay. He did not thtnk the mover was serious, or that he bellevod the motion wonld be carried. Mr Grlgg said the motion seemed to be regarded by the Oounoll as a bogns one, and therefore he would only briefly refer to tho matter. No Idea ever entered bis mind to deprive the ratepayers of tbe existing water raoes, but bis protest was against any extension m the shape of irrigation. If irrigation were commenced tiny m the lower district knew by the experience of California what they might expeot ; the district would certainly be swampod. Mr Wright did not intend to speak at any length as the motion, was as Mr Grlgg had said, a spurious one. The mover's remarks ehowed that he had no intelligent knowledge of the position, and tint he was quite ignorant of the position of the properties below the railway line, Many of these were not swamp land, and to deprive them of the water races would be to cause them serious injury ; others were swamp land and wonld not be affected m any degree if the races were out off at the j railway line, The faot that the mover proposed to cut off the races at the railway ! line Bhowed that he had not an intelligent conception of tbe geological formation | of the district. If tho geological formation of the country were not favorable to the formation of swamps, then no swamps would be there. It might be true that, as the Engineer stated, on a small proportion of the water from the races went to swell the volume In the swamps, but there wbb no doubt that this small quantity would aggravate the evil. Ho had done a great deal In connection with the reclamation of swamp land, and It was astonishing what a small amount of water constantly dribbling would convert a large area of land Into swamp. Like Mr Grlgg, he had raised his voice at tbo former meeting agalnet largely Inoressing the volome of water on *he plaluß above these lands. If the Oonnol refujed to f>roteot the settlers who owned swamp ands, then they w^uld have to have reoonrae to the Supreme Court. Mr Harper said that If the motion served no other purpose It would give him tbe opportunity of raiting his -oloe In favor of the Council going In for irrigation whenever It could do so. The recent dry weather they bad experienced showed the neoasilty that existed for Irrigation. He could not ace how any aenslbfe man oonld believe that the 'ands lower down would be prejudicially affected. He bad well* on his property, some of them 240 feet deep, and |tbe races had never affeoted them. The motion vrai lost, Mr Harper •aly voting for It. [Left s!ttlug.]
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