Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit MONDAY, MAY 8, 1905. COUNTY MATTERS.
At Friday's meeting of thr County Council one or two matters of importance were dealt with. Among these was a proposal to construct a bridge over the Hinds river at Maronan Crossing. We are pleased to note that the Council are agreed as to the need for a bridge at this spot, and have decided to undertake the work provided that the Government are willing to grant a subsidy of £ for £ on the contributions of the two local bodies directly interested. No doubt, Mr McLachlan, the member for the district, will do his be3t to impress upon the Premier the justice of the county's claim to have this subsidy granted to it. The Government recently were generous enough to give JJI,OOO towards the construction of a bridge over the Hinds river at Mayfield, and that work will be undertaken immediately. But the crossing at Maronao. is much more important and more extensively used than the Mayfield one, and 6erves tbe needs of a much larger area. In fact the Maronan Crossing is situated on what has become the main route between Ashburto*n and the south, and all traffic with Timaru, Temuka, Geraldine, and such places passes aoros3 the Hinds at this crossing. Motor cars, vehicles, cyclists, and horsemen going south or coming north have to follow this route, in order to be able to cross the Rangitata by the traffic bridge. The needs of the stock owners of the district also urgently call for th 9 erection of a bridge at Maronan. As was pointed out when we dealt with tbia subject on a former occasion, the Hinds is purely a rainwater river, and as such is liable to sudden and unexpected rises. Between .morning and evening of the same day it has been known to change from an almost dry riverbed to a flooded stream, and naturally any stock owner who is unfortunate enough to strike the crossing when one of these unforeseen rises is on, has to suffer considerable loss in wasted time and in other ways, and moreover if the stream is swollen, but not swollen to such an extent as to deter him altogether from the attempt to get his stock across, he is certain to lose some sheep during the process of crossing. Clearly from the point of view of stock owners, and th » rapidly increasing numbers of the travelling public the proposed bridge is a work that cannot be postponed to the future, and it is surprising that a crossing of this nature on a main thoroughfare connecting the great northern and southern divisions of the county, the province, and the island has not been bridged before this time of day. However, now that the County Council have decided that the time has come for this work to be undertaken, we trust the Government will be sufficiently alive to the interests of the district not to place any difficulties in the way of granting the required subsjdy. Another matter of importance that was i eferred to at Friday's meeting was the q uestion of rating for water races. The chairman, Mr C. J, Harper, gave notice that he intended to move at next meeting that the qnestion of altering the system of charging for water races be left in abeyance for the present. Mr Harper pointed out that before long a new Council will be elected, and then the whole question can be revived. There seems to be a good deal in this way of looking at the subject. When the candidates for the new Council come to place their views before the ratepayers, one of the foremost questions on which they will be asked to make their views known will be what system they are in favour of as a basis for charging for water races, and consequently it is to be expected that the next Council, whether or not it comprises the same members as the present one, will represent the opinions of a majority of the ratepayers on this much discussed question The proppsal |to take a referendum on the matter has nor, as far as we Jean see, very much to recommend it, and tho Chairman's suggestion that the discussion had better be postponed till after the next election of Councillors appears to us, on the whole, much to be preferred to the referendum idea. The present is not the very best Beason of the year that could be chosen for taking a vote of the ratepayers on this ©s any other subject, and in view of the developments that have occurred since the proposed alteration in tbe system of levying water rates was first mooted, the Chairman's suggestion to postpone the discussion until a more suitable season has a good deal to commend it, and we expect to see it adopted ijy t&e Council.