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The Press. THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1867.

We have bo frequently felt it our duty to criticise the doings or omissions of the City Council that it would be unfair to pass over without remark an occasion on which we can express our cordial approbation. We have read many reports of select committees of the Council, but never one with greater satisfaction than that of the Committee appointed to consider the water supply for the use of fire engines, which was brought up on Monday evening. This question has for some time past, as the town baa increased, aa houses aud stores have been built closer and closer, and as property has become more aud more valuable, grown into one ofcxceediug urgency. For a considerable part of the city, indeed, the fact of the river flowing through it has ensured an ample and perpetual supply of water in case of fire, but a very large and a very important part has no such provision. The fire eugines cau only operate within a certain radius determined by the length of the hose aud their power of drawing up water, and so long as they obtain water nowhere else than from the river, it follows that all the part of Christchurch lying beyond that distance from the river must in case of a fire be deprived of their assistance. We can remember at least one occasion ' when nothing but the happy accident of a perfectly still morning prevented a :

fire, which began in a detached outhouse, from spreading over a large block of buildings, the engines having to be sent back to the engine-house because there was no water within reach. And any one looking at a map of Christchurch must see that there are spots, especially towards the south-east! portion of the town, where a lire breaking out would do immense damage, aud spread over a wide area where the fire-engines, bo long as they have to depend upon the river for water, could not be brought to bear. Thi3 question of the water supply has been long under consideration. The artesian wells, as soon as the possibility of obtaining water by that means was demonstrated, presented the readiest resource; and we believe it is to the Provincial Engineer that the Council was indebted for the suggestion of surrounding each well with a tank, and, if necessary, connecting two or more tanks with pipes. Why so simple and so useful an idea was not carried out we never could understand ; perhaps because it was ton simple. Christchurch had no small opinion of itself in those days; we were going to do wonders, underground drainage, and what not; and perhaps visions of a complete water service, with mains, fire-plugs, turncocks, &c, floated before the eyes of the City Councillors. Then came the Fire Brigade with a proposal for boring groups of five-inch artesian wells, so as to get a direct flow sufficiently copious to feed the engines; and this proposal was elaborated in other hands till it began to rival the scheme we have supposed to have suggested itself to City Councillors in days more remote. JJ The Committee in the report now before us seem to have avoided both extremes. Tkey have provided sufficiently for the requirements of the town, while they have not defeated their own object by a plan excellent in theory but conceived on too large and expensive a scale to be carried out in practice. They recommend the construction of cisterns in the distant parts of the town supplied by artesian wells large enough to keep all the engines going at once. The steam fire-engine and the hand-engines together throw about 18,000 gallons an hour, and five three-inch wells, at 4000 gallons ah hour each, would altogether give 20,000 gallons in an hour, or -rather more than the engines would want. The five-inch size is preferred as being least expensive, from the pipes being most easily procured. The cost of the cistern, which is to hold 1600 gallons, would not exceed £200, and the five wells at £30 a piece would cost £150 more, making the total expense £350. The Committee consider the open spot in front of Matheson's Agency as the most suitable site for the first of these cisterns—concurring in that respect with the recommendations of the Eire Brigade; others could be constructed where found necessary. The Committee also make an excellent practical suggestion for the benefit of the southern district. They propose to place sluice-gates in the south drain — that great ditch running parallel with the Town Belt—opposite the intersecting streets, and also to bore a three-inch well at the head of the drain, so that in case of fire' a very serviceable supply of water will be obtained at once by closing the sluicegate at the nearest street. The cost of this useful work would be only £40. "We certainly hope that this report will be adopted. The object it has in view is among those which Municipal authorities, charged as they are with the protection of the interests of the town, should consider as among their primary duties; and we would far rather see the public money spent on them than on works of ornament, such as the plantations on the Town Belt. The protection of the city from fire is surely a consideration to which all others should give place. The cost of the cisterns with the accompanying artesian wells is not large—a mere nothing when compared with the loss they may any day be the means of saving—aud if the funds of the Council require it, might be aided by a small special rate on the properties moro particularly benefited But wo also hope that it the Council decide on adopting the report they will lose no time ia carrying it out. The subject has been talked about aud written about more than enough, it is time now that something were done. In making preparations agaiust fire the proverb holds doubly good, that " delays are dangerous." Birch's Wharf, Kaiapoi.—On this wharf »ye notice that a crane is tn-ing erected, whirii has been long and urgently required for facilitating the loading and unloading of vessels It is to bo capable of lifting a largo weight, and when, complete will add considerably to the conveniences for loading and discharging. Pheesology at Leitjifikld—On Tuesday evening last Mr Corf. Cronquist wus announced to lei-tnre on this subject, but owing to so small an attendance the lecture did not tako place. Tlso two lectures previously given by Mr Cronquut were wtll attended. The Glass Blowers. —Ti.i* company gave their last performance at the Town Hall last evening. No better criterion of the sue-

e ßi of this company during their stay in Christehurch n>u!d be formed th-;n Unit given by thelar<:<? attendance last cvoninff. The hall was crowded, mid we doubt raii.-h whether rln» company would not hare profited by a longer stay in the town. We hetir that the intention to give performances in Lyttelton has born overruled, owing to engagements entered into in Otago. Bhewixg and Distilling Compant.—A j meeting of t!ie s-liareliolders of tlti=* society was held yesterday afternoon at RuddenUau's Ci'\ hotel. The meeting va.< palled for the purpose of electing officer* and directors, and to decide wliat steps should be taken for at once starting the undertaking. Mr G-. Oram wns called to the chair. The Chairman stated that in accordance with their rules it was necessary that all calls on scares must be paid b.-fore the holders were allowed to vote. Several shares were then paid up, after which Mr Oram stated the steps which had been taken to establish the society. The brewery of Messrs Brown and Co. was admirably situated for the purposes stated in the prospectus. The distilling of spirits was likely to prove a very remunerative one, and instead of sending money out of the colony, they would be able to produce a capital article here. The farmer was as much interested in the movement as the publican ; the farmer would find a market for his grain, and the proceeds would be kept in the colony, instead ofae heretofore sending the money out of the pro vince for the purchase of malt. Their especial duty that day was to elect directors and other officers. The Secretary (Mr Stiffe) stated that the expenses incurred to date amounted to £10, winch had been expended in petty cash. There was also a printing account to be paid, the amount of which he could not exactly state. There were also a few legal expenses to be paid, the accounts for which had not been sent iD. The amount received that evening amounted to £95, representing £1500 of capital. He felt satisfied that as , soon as directors had been appointed their present tedious meetings would be done away with. Mr Tisch hoped that all the directors . appointed would have a large knowledge of the requirements of the society, ns as well as knowing the requirements of the place. He hoped that all who were elected would take an active part in the management jf the company. The Secretary then read the • minutes of the last meeting, which were con- ; firmed. It was decided tliatfive shares should be the qualification of a director. The foliow- ' ing gentlemen were then elected directors : — Messrs G-. Oram, A. Duncan, J. Gh Ruddenklau, Keece, P. Tisch, J. Gk Hawkes, and W ID. Barnard The Bank of New Zealand was , appointed bankers for the society. Messrs Macfarlan and Nottidge were appointed solicitors ; and Mr Stiffe was elected secretary. ■ The further business of the society was then placed in the hands of the newly-elected 1 directors, and after a vote of thanks to the • chairman, the meeting separated.

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Bibliographic details

The Press. THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1867., Press, Volume XI, Issue 1410, 16 May 1867

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The Press. THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1867. Press, Volume XI, Issue 1410, 16 May 1867

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