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THE RAILWAY TRIANGLE., Issue 7908, 16 May 1889
THE RAILWAY TRIANGLE.
A NOTABLE PROPOSAL,
At last evening's meeting of the City Council the following letter was read from Messrs Stanford and Milne, solicitors : Dunedin, May 14. His Worship the Mayor of Dunedin and City Councillors. Dear Sirs,—We are instructed by a number of gentlemen who see the great need which exists in Dunedin for certain public conveniences, and who recognise the fact that the prudent management of the financial affairs of the city of Dunedin renders it impossible to expect that the Corporation will launch out into a scheme for supplying these public wants, to write to you to the followiig effect :
The matters to which our clients more particularly allude arc—(l) A public maikct (2) A public library (3) Public batln. Our clients are prepared wiih a fchemo by which the above, together with other advantages, may be Rained to the city of Dunedin, not only without any co 4 to the Corporation fuuds, but so that a considerable additiona' revenue might accuo to thoae funJp. We apply to you for a lease of the rcsuvo commonly known as the Triangle, which was granted by' Government to the Corporation by section 50 of the I\>werß and Contracts Acts, 1885, for purposes of recreation, for a period of fifty year", at an annual rental of LSOO per annum, together with an exemption from all City rates and taxes whatsoever. Our clients will be prepared to expend a sum of not lw than L 25.000 upon the erection of substantial buildings aud the beautification of that considerable portion of the reserve not needed for building purposes; while we venture to think that the additional income derivablo from this source by tho City might be especially allocated to the adornment of those other City reservos which vey greatly need the expenditure of money to render them at onco useful to the public and objects of baauty to the eye. We need not point out to you that it would be necessiry for tho Corporation to have a local Bill laid before the next scssio.i of Ahsembly to enable them to deal with thm reserve, and that the next sea. ion commences on the 20th day of June. Dealing more specifically with the various purposes to which it is proposed to adaot the buildings, first and most important U that of tho public market. Our clients propose the erection of this fronting Kattray street, and to b 1 surrounded by a wide verandah. The maiket house should rontain provision for wholesale and retail trade in meat, dairy produce, vegetables, fish, fruit, and flowers, etc., and freezing chambers as well as fresh and silt watertanks for theconveniencoof sellers, and the preservation of those perishable commodities which are often wasted if not speedily soli and consumed. Within the space surioundod by theso stalls a Corn Exchange would find a very fitting place, and the whole building would be lighted by electricity. We need hardly point out to you that such a market as we have suggested 13 a great public want, and that the Triangle aiti is peculiarly adapted for such a purpose, as being close to the railway station and very near the principal business part of the Citv. Previous efforts to establish a public market havo failed because inconvenient sites we*e selected. Experience has always shown that while the Refection of a suitable sito ia important in the conduct of all business, it is especially and most vitally important to the very existence of a public market; and there is no place in the City bounds which so readily lends itself to the purj.ose as the Triangle reserve.
Next comea a public library, to be placed at one of the comers of the buildiDg and be open freely to all comers. And here we may say that our clients would look for eomo concessions from your Council in consideration of their undertaking the erection of a library and all the initial cost upon plans to be Agreed to by your Council, We need eay nothing of the public need for such an institution as this. The whole subject has been discussed again and agaiD, and all are agreed that a public library is much wanted in Dunedio, the ono difficulty which has stood in the way being the question of cist, and this difficulty we propose to obviate.
Third. Public baths of salt water.—This would have to be under a separate roof, and might be placed towards the northern end of the site, which, again, we may point out, is admirably suited for a swimming bath from its central character. Wo venture to think that the public health of the City would be the gainer by the opportunity being readily afforded to all the citizens of a salt water bath at their very door. We may add that it ia proposed to plant the portion of the site surrounding the baths with ehtubs and flowers so as to make it attractive. Our clients also propose to themselves the erection of a capacious hall for purposes of recreation on the upper floor above the corn exchange and public market. We may point out to you that the erection of a solid and handsome pile of buildings at the principal entrance to the City would be a very great improvement there, and that at present the Triangle is an eyesore. There may be those who think that this open space should be preserved intact, to be what is sometimes called a lung to the City. It would, we think, be difficult to find a place wheni a lung was less needed, since it lies within a stone's throw of the harbor, which in itself shows thatan open space is not urgently required; moreover, there is no desire or intention on the part of our clients to cover the whole site with buildings, but only a small part, comparatively speaking, the remainder fulfilling the function of "a lung." We trust that your Council will take our proposal into favorable consideration. We shall be happy to Bupply full plans hereafter, and meantime hand you rough blook plan of what is propored.—We have, etc., Stanfobd and Milne.
Cr Kimbell had been authorised by Messrs Stanford and Milne to say that the sum left blank, which it was intended to be spent upon the buildings, should be filled in as L 25.000. He moved " That a special committee of the wh'ile Council meet on Wednesday, to consider fci.c ■ r.posal." If the scheme embodied in rifi 1 '! • could be carried out, it would Ik-;i.m Incn to the whole City ;at any rale the ; ; V.tor was worthy of earnest con« bkleritiou,
Cr Sinclair seconded, but suggested that the presence of Messrs Stanford and Milne at the meeting should be requested, His first view of tho proposal was favorable. It would be a good thing decidedly if t;iey could get private citizens to do what the Council had so long desired to do. Cr Fish supported the reference of the matter to a committee of the whole Council. If the offer were bona fide, and the promoters could really do what they proposed, it would be a great boon to the City. They offered to give us a market, salt water baths, garden, public library, public hall, and a rental of LSOO, and certainly if that could be done it was the utmost the Council could wish for. There was no place in the City so suitable for the purposes specified; but it must be remembered that a true market should not be composed entirely of shops. It must be a place where consumers were able at certain hours to meet the producers and buy their produce in small quantities direct.
Cr Lke Smith would like further information. Was the design of the promoters philauthropic or commercial? He did not see how the promoters were going to get their revenue.
Cr Cohen could not credit that the proposal was seriously made, and if it were, there were, he thought, very serious objections to it. He would not oppose the reference of the letter to a committee, but considered that the first thing to be determined was the legal position of the Council in regard to this particular reserve. He had always understood that it was handed over to the Council in trust for recreation purposes solely. It remained to be seen whether the citizens would consent to the proposed diversion of the trust. Next he objected, in the absence of an expression of opinion by the citizens, to a public market being handed over to private enterprise; and as to the library, his opinion was that it should be located in or near the Town Hall, and we must wait for that until the citizens showed their readiness to vote the requisite funds, or they were supplied by private effort. Again, the Triangle was, in his opinion, a most unsuitable site for public baths. In a few years it would be absolutely necessary to build the permanent railway station, and then the need of the Triangle as a "lung" would be strongly felt. He didn't know how the other councillors felt on the matter, but he was convinced that the scheme could never be brought to a successful issue.
Cr Solomon was inclined to look on the affair as a joke, and thought it was hardly worth while to have a special meeting. They should be satisfied as to who Messrs Stanford and Milne's clients were before taking the trouble to meet and considsr a project which the common sense of any business man would tell him was hardly likely to be carried out. He should oppose the motion, thinking it the proper thing to first ascertain the bona fides of the promoters.
Cr Sinclair suggested that the mayor and town clerk should make further inquiries as to the bona fides of the applicants before calling a special meeting. Cr HAYNES moved an amendment m that direction. He was opposed to giving up this reserve for commercial purposes, and thought the Legislature would not consent to a Bill of the kind proposed. Cr Cramond seconded, and was inclined to think that the Council had no power to grant the reserve for commercial purposes. Cr Fish deprecated the matter beiDg dealt with in such a way as contemplated by the amendment. They had a right to assume that Mcßsrß Stanford and Mile were addressing the Council in bona fides, and if the scheme could be carried out it vould bo as favorable an arrangement as the Council could ever expect tomake. He was not surprised at the attitude of the Leith Ward members, but was at that of Cr Haynes, who might be called the fourth member for Leith Ward. The former, it seemed, would agree to nothing unless the market was put at their end of the town. Cr Cohen said that the last remark of Cr Fish was ungenerous. If the Triangle, which was an admirable site for the purpose, could have been obtained for market purposes the Leith Ward members would have been glad to help to secure it; but, as they were convinced it was not so obtainable, they had been doing their level best to secure an advantageous site not a stone's throw away, and, 'if they could obtain Cr Fish's co-operation, there might be some chance of success.
Cr Kimbell remarked that it was not customary for lawyers to play practical jokes, and Messrs Stanford and Milne would not have sent their letter to the Council if they had not seen some chance of their pro> posals being carried out. The motion was carried.
THE RAILWAY TRIANGLE., Issue 7908, 16 May 1889
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