Mr James Gapes addressed a meeting of the Christchurch ratepayers last night at the Gaiety Theatre, in support of his candidature for the Mayoralty. The theatre was well filled.
Mr Gapes said that a requisition had been placed '. in Mβ hands that afternoon asking him to call a ■ ' public meeting at which the candidates for the ' Mayoralty might express their views. It was half- > past two o'clock before he received the requisition, and he had little time to make the necessary arrangements. He had succeeded, however, in j securing the Gaiety Theatre for Monday night. \ His time having been fully occupied in this manner i he had been unable to arrange for a chairman to " preside at his meeting. Under the circumstances ur he hoped Mr S. P. Andrews, who was present, and ie who was a member for the city, would take the !• chair, doing so of cotirse without identifying him--3 self with his (Mr Gapes) candidature. Mr Andrews took the chair on the understanding f' mentioned by Mr Gapes, and in a few appropriate * words introduced the candidate. In all cases where D a Mayor had attempted to gain the mayoral chair n for a second time he had opposed that gentleman. He regarded the position as one of very high honor, and it should not be held continuously by one man. Hβ took the chair in order that peace and quietness 18 ■ might prevail at the meeting. is Mr Gapes began his addrees by saying that he II certainly thought some member of the present \l Council would stand for election, and had no idea until a few days ago of placing himself in nomination. His nomination papers were only signed a * quarter of an hour before the nominations closed, ' 8 and he delayed affixing his own signature until three minutes before the time. It appeared, however, c, that none of the Councillors cared to contest the ,+ seat. Finding this was the case lie decided it should not be said that there was not one in the 8 Council who had the spirit to come forward. He did not crave the position by any means, though he had almoet grown grey in the service Of 8> the city. This would be a favorable opportunity t. for him to give the details of many municipal ' matters as to which his conduct during the past twelve months had been called in question. In n fact, it was the principal reason why he had placed '0 himself in nomination. When before them last iy year he laid great stress upon the necessity of putIβ ting the streets into a proper state with regard to 0 drainage and cleanliness. The Council had sinoe channelled thirty-eight streets at a cost of £3000. It was to the interest of the residents that private ' r streets should be kept in a clean and healthy condition, and it was proposed that the owners of the properties should pay for the formation of other roads and footpaths, the Council providing the funds for the channelling, which it was decided by the Council should be included in the waterworks loan, which, as they were aware, had been rejected. The formation of these streets had therefore not been carried out. As long as the people had the option of refusing to contribute towards the cost of the streets, they would never be formed. It was a n source of congratulation that there was at present a y credit balance at the Bank of £2700. It wasproposed that this should be invested and interest derived x from it, but he was of opinion that it would be d better to apply it to side channelling private streets. The streets of Christchurch, on the whole, were in d a good condition; there were no large works going c on; the rates were coming in, and therefore it t would be better to expend the £2700 in the way he c suggested. £ Applause.] With regard to the water supply question, whioh had lately been before the ratepayers, he might cay that he had not been in c favor of the scheme from the first, because he considered that it did not extend over a sufficient area, a and would leave oat in the cold a large portion of - the city, whioh would nevertheless have to pay the 1 rates. He did not vote on the question, because, though he would like to have had the' Water, he did , not think it fair to give his plural votes against f those of the ratepayers outside the area, who would r derive no advantage from the scheme. The Insurance Companies would only lower their pre- ■ miums on properties inside the radius of the water supply, and those outside that area besides paying | i the additional rates would also have to bear the b higher insurance premiums. If the scheme were extended all over the city, as he thought it should i be, and the Insurance Companies then declined to 3 reduce the rates, he would be in favour of starting r a Co-operative Insurance Society, so as to he inde- , pendent of the private companies. He here read an f outline of a scheme whioh he proposed to the , Council some time ago, when Mr Clark was in Christchurch, the principal feature of which was f that there should be two stations on the river from i which water would be pumped, either by turbine or i steam power, into pipes running along all the . streets m the direction of North and South, taps to 9 be placed at convenient places. The next question r to which he would refer was that of the market, i which he thought even Mr Oliver would admit hod I proved a''failure. This he had anticipated, as he ) knew people wonld not go to the market and carry their goods home, as they did in the old country. ) It could not be expected to be a success when ■ any kind of shanty was allowed to be ■ pat up. The bandings were anything : but a credit to the city. The terms on which the shops were let were unfair to outside business i people, who jmid heavy taxes in order thit l thsir rivals might compete against them on s more favorable terms. Besides such a lot of wooden bnildings would be very undesirable-in t case of fire. The market, in his opinion, should be i let for building sites. In that way it wonld yield a i very handsome return. The site of the old post L office, which was a market reserve, was a favorable : one for Town Hall bnildings—much more so than the site opposite the Clarendon Hotel, which had i been suggested—and plans had been prepared of * buildings to be erected thereon, with offices and shops which would yield enough in rents to pay ;he interest on the cost of the buildings. The Town Hall would also bring in about £120 a year and the Council would have its offices free of cost. This was a suggestion which he had thrown ont, and which, he thought, it would be well to adop now. Instead of its being an extravagance, it wonld reduce the rates, as there would be an addition to the revenue. He now came to what was considered the question of the day—the dismissal of the town clerk and the other officers. To explain his action in this matter was one of his chief reasons for coming before them. The " Globe " of Saturday night referred to this subject. In the same article, however, it reflected upon his conduct as Mayor on the occasion of the visit of Sir Arthur Gordon, and he would refer to this subject first. As soon as he got the telegram that the Governor had left Wellington, he onnounced the fact to the Council, and said he intended to invite his Excellency to a luncheon, to which he wonld aleo invite the City Councillors, ex-City Councillors and the officials. It was suggested that he should seek the co-operation of the citizens in the matter, and at a meeting which was held it was proposed that a charge of 5s should be made. He adhered to his idea that the luncheon should be confined to the Councillors and officials, as if he went beyond those it would be impossible to know where to stop. Hβ promised to guarantee £50 to meet any deficiencies, but he got ont of it yery well for £28, and he thought everybody, including his Excellency, was satisfied with the entertainment afforded. Hβ would now deal with, the question of the dismissal of the town clerk. The speaker then went at considerable length into this subject. Mr Cowlishaw gave it as his opinion that "legal notice" meant three months notice prior to the expiration of the current year. It was then less than three months prior to the termination of the year, and. consequently impossible to give such a notice as that mentioned. Hβ did not like to rnn the risk of giving an illegal notice, and again referred the matter to the Connoil, the solicitors having subsequently declined to give a decided opinion on the point, which in their opinion was one for a jury. He wouldlike to know whether, under those circumstances, there was any gentleman present who would have taken the responsibility of giving the Town Clerk three months'notice. [Cries of " Yes " and " No."] It mast be remembered that, failing the necessary "legal" notice, the Town Clerk might afterwards proceed against the Council for compensation, perhaps to the extent of £ 000. Mr Haskins was Town Clerk for the city, and if he had done his duty properly and efficiently—and there was nothing to show that he had not—his character would be damaged by a summary dismissal. Under these circumstances, the Council wisely came to the conclusion to let the matter stand over. Then the Town Clerk said he dil not wish to force himself on the Council, and wonld be willing to take three months' notice, and a document was signed to that effect. [Cheers. ] He did not think there were any other subjects to which he need refer, and would be happy to reply to any questions which might be asked. In answer to questions, Mr Gapes said, in his opinion the Council had no power to grant permission to aUow the proposed exhibition . to tike place ! in any of the public squares. Perhaps any illegality would be overlooked on account of the benefit which would result to the city from the exhibition heingheld in Christchnrch. If taken ont of town it would not be such a success. La timer square had been snggested, but a good deal at mosey had been expended there, and this wonld be lost. Therefore, he thought Cramner square would be preferable. There would of course be no legal power to make a charge. He told Mr Taylor some time ago that he did not intend to again contest the Mayoralty, but had subsequently changed his mind for the reasons already stated. Mr Taylor asked him for his support, as did also Air Buddenklau, bat as he believed in the principle of the ballot he had declined in both cases. Mr
Taylor had tben asked him if he would do what ho could for him, and he replied that whatevor he did woald be on the quiet. That-was all the promise he made. He never told Mr Buddenklan that he would support his candidature. •
After answering a number of other questions, Mr Gapes moved a vote of thanks to the chair-ion, which was carried, and tho meeting terminated.
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MAYORAL ELECTION., Press, Volume XXXVI, Issue 5061, 26 November 1881
MAYORAL ELECTION. Press, Volume XXXVI, Issue 5061, 26 November 1881
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