DRAINAGE AT ONEHUNGA.
THE POLL TO-MORROW. . To-morrow the ratepayers of Onehunga ( will be called upon to vote on one of the most important proposals ever brought forward in the town, to wit, •the authorisation of a loan of £42,500 for the thorough drainage of the great bulk of the borough. The portion affected comprises over three-fourth.- of the whole area, and takes in the most closely settled parts. Tlie scheme will also provide a plant of sufficient capacity i to deal with the remaining portion, when circumstances make that, expedient. Tlie I proposed work will give a complete and I up-to-date drainage plant based upon the scheme outlined by Mr. H. H. Metcalfe j and amplified aud amended by Mr.' 'Midgeley Taylor, who, when in Auckland i I to report on tho drainage fflß the larger city, was specially engaged "by the Onehunga Borough Council to report on the] best scheme lor that borough's require-1 meats. The area to be drained, being on the | southern watershed of the Eden County, is naturally distinct from the Auckland I Drainage Board's proposal, and will be' complete in itself, and it is worthy of note that the total cost will be less than that of any of the smaller boroughs' contribution to the Auckland undertaking, while its efficiency is vouched for' by the engineers who have reported on, it. Naturally the scheme will entail a small increase in the rates on account of provision for interest and sinking i fund, and this apprehension has caused' a certain amount of opposition to the scheme among a section of the rate-1 payers. But at the present time Onehunga is rated v-;ry low, mainly by. reason of the fact that its profits from' water supply pay the cost of its waterworks loans of £21,000; and if the other localities can bear a drainage rate, Onehunga should well afford to do so. Moreover, the benefits are 60 material ' that the extra rate will have ample compensations, as we will show. The importance of good drainage in Onehunga is intensified by the fact that its water supply, and the water supply at Ep9om, One-tree Hill, Mount Roskiil, Remuera, and Ellerslie, are now drawn from natural springs in the centre of the town. These supplies are probably at the present time purer than any other supply in the Dominion, but -as the borough is the natural watershed draining into the springs, it would naturally appear to be only a question of time and increasing population when the drainage, at present led only to pits in the porous volcanic soil, will contaminate the sources of the springs. Should this happen, it would not only be the cause of much danger, but would result in a heavy financial loss, inasmuch as the expensive pumping plants erected to lift the water to tlie Teservoirs would become useless, and the large and increasing revenue of the borough from the distribution of water, depending entirely on the continued purity of the supply, must necessarily cease, with the certain consequence of an immediate rise in rates without any compensating advantages. Their own material benefit, as well as common humanity for themselves and others dependent on the Onehunga I springs for their water supply, should, therefore, be alone sufficient inducements for the ratepayers of the borough to vote in favour of the proposal. But there are other cogent reasons in favour of the scheme as well. It is a proved fact that good drainage will
attract population as one of the essentials of modern living, and this particularly applies to people of means who can afford to pick thoir place of residence, and who, from the commercial standpoint of the locality, are a valuable addition to the population. The healthy position of Onehunga, exposed to the cool south-westerly breezes, having already good lighting and water supply, requires only good drainage to complete its attractions, and as this latter is the most important item c-f all to careful householders, and without it the others are relatively unimportant, the necessary population will not come until assured of a certainty of effective drainage. Population spells advance in land values and prosperity, and it is therefore to the personal material interest of every ratepayer that the proposal be carried. Again, it is clearly indicated that the present crude and offensive method of removal of nightsoil ca-nnot be long allowed to continue, and Onehunga, in common with other local bodies, are continually faced with this difficulty, which will be entirely eliminated when the drainage scheme is carried out. Furthermore, statistics throughout the world indicate that the annual death rate is lowered two or three per thousand by the installation of good drainage, proving undoubtedly that many deaths result, not only dh-ectly, but inclirectty, from defective drainage. It may, therefore, be conclusively stated, that the result of an up-to-date drainage scheme in Onehunga will result in the saving of many lives (on statistics and taking the present population, from 6 to 10 per year) that otherwise would be sacrificed. Knowing this as a proved certainty, together with the far larger certainty, and admitting the risk to a far larger percentage should the water supply be contaminated, we ask how can anyone conscientiously refuse to vote in favour of the proposal, when they will by such refusal be condemning to premature death—unconsciously, perhaps, but none the less surely, some of their fellow townspeople, or possibly even themselves or members of their own family. Apart from the reduced mortality, the saving arising from a reduction in the losses caused by sickness must also be considered. The importance and the necessity of the proposal are well appreciated by the Council, who have gone exhaustively into the. matter, and it is worthy of note that the "Mayor, Mr J. Howe, in his earnest endeavours , to bring about the scheme, has had the unanimous approval of the Councillors to back him up. Wβ sincerely hope that the Onehunga ratepayers will rise to the occasion, and by their vote to-morrow show their intention to keep in the van of progress, and not lag behind smaller and le:is fj.vourably endowed boroughs; and thatth,3y I will also realise their responsibilities as the custodians of the water supply for a wide suburban area, and as guardians of this great public trust will free the ' source of supply from any risk of contamination. The issue to be decided tomorrow involves the "whole future of 1 the borough, and its prospect of continuing one of the healthiest and most attractive localities in the Dominion.
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