NGAWAPURUA BRIDGE COMMISSION.
% The adjourned enquiry commenced at Woodville on Thursday. From the Examiner report we learn that Mr Lloyd, who appeared for the Dannevirke Borough Council and Weber; County Council, submitted tbat the Commission had no power under " Tbe Publio Works Aot 1894" to apportion the cost of the maintenance of the bridge, and tbat they had no power to determine the amount of a caretaker's salary. Legal argument followed on tbe question, the Commissioners agreeing to take note of the objeotion. The case of the Woodville Oounty was taken first. Mr Gothard said he would be able to show that the Ngawapurua bridge was mainly a steck bridge, and that tbe other local bodies wero quite as materially interested as Woodville. Palmerston North, Dannevirke, P«hiatu», and Woodville were all within seventeen miles of the bridge. He pointed out that a Commission bad deoided that practically all the local bodies cited in this ease were liable to contribute towards the cost of the reerection of the Lower Gorge bridge. He would put in the Commissioner's award in that case as evidenoe of the liability of tbe local bodies in this case, the bridge being in an exactly similar poaition. He oallad Joseph H. Harris, stook dealer, who aaid be bad resided in Woodville for 22 , years. He attended the stock sales at }Pal merston, Pahiatua, Woodville and 'Daunevirke. The distanoe from Pahiatua #o the Ngawapurua bridg* was about 6 jniies, from Palmerston about 25 miles, T>»o nevirke Sl miles, and Woodville 4 milts. Sales were held weekly in eaoh place. The general custom was for stock to be shifted from sale to sale according to the price. Stock sold at any of tbe sales frequently used the bridge. Tbe biggest sales were of course those held at Palmerston, and ■•xt to these were the Dannevirke sales, then Pahiatua and then Woodville. At Dannevirke the stock came prinoi- ? ally from Ngapaeruru, Waipukurau, 'akapau, Matamau, Makotuku and Norsewood. These plaoes weie all in the Waipawa and Weber Counties, Witness gave evidence as te dealings in stock, showing that stock purchased north of Woodville were often taken to Pahiatua for sale, and that hot muoh of the stock which went over the bridge originated in the Woodville county. By Mr Lloyd : Witness shifted a good lot of stock backwards and forwards. Considered himself one of the biggest dealers of the district. A proportion of the stock sold at Dannevirke sales settled in Dannevirke. Witness lived in Weodville. Had no property in Dannevirke or Waipawa. Considered the instances he had given were a fair average. By Mr Jull — If the bridge were destroyed the price of sheep in Waipawa would certainly be affected. By Mr Lloyd— A number of Pahiatua people attended the Dannevirke sales and vice versa. J. B. Boese, a farmer and dealer, confirmed Mr Harris' evidence regarding the exchange of stock. By Mr Lloyd — Weber was 43 miles from this bridge. By Mr Gothard— Stock might not be grown in a town, but its disposal in a saleyard there must be a direct benefit to the town. Knew of the Tamaki Pastoral Association. Mr Tansey had bought sheep end cattle at Pahiatua ( aad Palmerston, and 4aken them to Dannevirke. By Mr Lloyd— Witness kad bought about $0 head of cattle in Waione and taken them to Pahiatua. Had never taken stook from Akiteo. Alexander Reside, stock buyer, deposed that be had attended sales all over thb district. Witness had bought sheep at Dannevirke and takeu them to Masterton, and on one occasion took sheep from Pahiatua to Dannevirke. Bought sheep from Mr W. F. Knight. He bought 3000 sbeep from Mr G. Hunter at Poianganau, and they were driven to Masterton. Bought the Edeubam ewes, and took them over the bridge.- Five hundred were sold in Pahiatua, aud tbe rest went on to Masterton. Bought 2000 sheep in Mangatoro. These went to Masterton. Bought sheep from Speedy, Herbert and others in the Patangatfr County. Considered the bridge a great benefit to sheep traffio. It was a benefit to the whole distriot. fiy Mr Lloyd— Half his purchases were made uorth of the bridge. "Did not think the bridge would make the s ghtest difference to Daunevirke settlers. The bridge was of no usa to Weber County. William Nioholsoo, County Clerk, Woodville, said that Mr Kuight's property from which Mr Reside had taught stock was io tbe Waipawa County. Witness produced the allocation of the cost of the re-erection of the Lower .Gorge" bridge, counsel contending that the bridge was is an exactly similar position. The Couuty boundary on the north 'side of the bridge was about six miles on the Woodville side of Dannevirke. Alfred Goldfinch, farmer, Ngapaeruru, deposed 4hat he attended the sales at Woodville, Pahiatua, and Dannevirke. Bought stock at Pahiatua, and took thorn to Ngapaeruru and Daunevirke. By Mr Lloyd— Witness' neighbors bought sheep at Pahiatua also, and took tbem to Ngapaeruru. By Mr Short— Should say all the local bodies between Waipawa aud Masterton were interested in the Ngawapurua bridge, and got a share of benefit from it. . Kenneth McKenzie corroborated Mr Resides evidence regarding stock traffic. Joseph Ingley, a resident of Patangata County, deposed as to stock traffio between Patangata, Weber and Pahiatua. Witness had taken stock in aud out from these places. By Mr Lloyd— Now that the Baliance bridge was erected, stock going to Palmerston wouid use that. This ended the case for tbe Woodville County.
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