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A meeting was held in the Council Chambers, West Harbor, last night, for the purpose of considering a proposal to rate the borough in order to provide free railway communication to the residents. Twentytwo persons wore present.

The Mayor, who presided, said that while he thought it his duty as mayor to give every opoortunity to the ventilation of this matter, it was not to be understood that he in any way accepted of it now. It would be time enough for him to do that when it was brought before the Council lor consideration. The matter commended itself to him solely on the ground that it Was intended to benefit the borough generally. He had asked a number of gentlemen to meet Mr Jackman, who laid the scheme before them, when it was subjected to a good deal of adverse criticism. At the same time the meeting did not condemn it altogether, hut asked Mr Jackman to make full inquiries. Mr Wise wrote: “As I am unable to be present to-night, I desire to say that I quite fall in with the proposition of rating the borough for the purpose of providing free railway communication. There is no doubt, in my opinion, that free railway travelling would give an increased value to property, thereby recouping property holders tenfold.” This was endorsed by Mr It. Watson and Mr L. R. Gillanclers. Mr A. Broad also wrote: “I regret that I shall not be able to be present at the meeting tonight re abolition of railway fares for West Harbor and the substitution of a rate ; but am of opinion that if the scheme could be carried out on the lines you suggest it would | greatly benefit the district by promoting | settlement and increasing the value ot pro- i perty, and on the part of the Government 5 should considerably augment the railway returns.” Mr Michael O’Donnell also wrote approving of the proposal. Mr S. J. Jackman said the proposal he wished to bring before the meeting was in reference to the equity of levying a rate in order that the borough might have free railway communication. His proposal was—- ■“ That it was fair and equitable to levy a rate over all real property in the borough for the purpose of providing free railway communication between the borough of West Harbor and through the borough.” He would give them some facts upon which he based his conclusions. In the first place there were a number of people who had come to live in West Harbor, and the railway was the only communication they had with town. If the railway were taken away, nineteen out of twenty of them would have to pack up and go to town. Therefore the railway was practically the road by which they travelled 99 times out of 100. The principle of doing away with toll gates had long been decided by all intelligent communities, and he looked upon the railway fare as the toll which every person must pay wto -wanted to enter the borough of West Harbor. They could walk, o! course, but it would not pay them to do so. Now, at was a well-eatabliahed fact that boroughs taxed themselves for the means of communication with other towns, and the taxation was borne in proportion to the value of the property that every man held. Affirming the principle which he had laid down, that the railway was the high road and the only ■road the borough had got to go to town by, be submitted that it should be brought ■under that line of legislation which enabled the majority of the residents in the borough to tax themselves and those who might object for the construction and maintenance of that road. These were the facta upon which he based his conclusion that it was iright to charge a rate on ail property—occupied and unoccupied land—for *,he maintenance of the railway. Then everyone that paid for an acre of land in the borough derived a direct benefit from the railway, fcf the railway wore taken away the land would be depreciated in value, and he maiu'taitoed that in justice and equity every man who .received a consideration should ■ ■ c

something for it. At the present time i-e people who travelled had to pay all the cost of travelling, bat as the holders of land, who did not travel, had the value of their land enhanced by the running of tiie trains, it was right that tnvy chould he taxed as well as others. As to tictaiic of tiie scheme as to whether the Government would agree to it, and as to whether it would cost so much tfh’at is would frighten people away from the /borough—he could assure thorn that they me«l not look into these things for * cmoiaent. He would to prove that latere was nothing in these minor objections if they approved of the general principle that it was equitable and right that -the majority in the borough had a right to {levy a rate for the purpose of providing free railway communication for the borough. lie was speaking to the Government ollicials about the scheme, and they did not throw ctfld water on it, which they most assuredly wot’ld have done if they thought ft was impracticable. Mr fIuNTER seconded, iuo senenw w&s* very good one for the place if ft could be carried out. The Chairman’, in reply to a ratepayer, said that he presumed the local body would collect the rate on behalf of the Government. A special Act of Parliament would !be necessary to empower the Council to levy the rate. Mr Younc asked what the cost of free communication to the borough would be, Mr Jackman said the Railway Department estimated the fares to and fro from Ravcnsbourne at LOSO, and the total value of the West Harbor traffic at LS3I 12s sd. It would require a Is 3d rate in order to provide for LboO, reckoning that there were 274 persona residing in the borough, but if the owners of unoccupied land paid a pot' tion cf the L6sfi the rate would be so much Mr Palmer said that the borough now had a 2s rate, and if ibis new ratewerc levied it would make the rtic 3s 3d. Did Mr Jackson not think that the imposition of such a rate as that would act in the .opposite way that he supposed ? Mr Jackman : No; because travelling will be free. If you add the cost of travelling and the rate together, you don’t pay less than 5s now.

Mr Robert Jack said he objected to the rating of any man’s property for the purpose of providing free railway communication to the borough. The railway was not at all analagous to a road. Before there was any railway there were houses and a population in the borough. At one time they even had no roads, and they taxed themselves and made roads. There were a number of people in the borough who could not afford the luxury of a railway. They •did not travel by it, and it would be unfair to tax them. After some further discussion, the motion was put and carried, 10 voting for and 5 against it, Messrs Jackman, Hunter, and Ferme were tthea appointed a committee to ascertain wLat would be the actual cost of providing {free railway communication for the borougk, umd report to a future meeting.

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Bibliographic details

WEST HARBOR’S NOVEL PROPOSITION., Issue 8012, 14 September 1889

Word Count

WEST HARBOR’S NOVEL PROPOSITION. Issue 8012, 14 September 1889

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