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THE NORTHERN RECREATION GROUND.

A meeting to which ratepayers of Leith Ward were summoned was held in the Union street School Halllast evening to consider a petition that has been presented to the City Council praying that certain privileges may be granted to adult cricket club 3 now playing on the Northern Ground. Between forty and fifty persons, including a number who arc not ratepayers, were present. Mr A. Mecget. who occupied the chair, explained the 'object nf the meeting. Mr Joel, he stated, had been specially invited to state his case, and the ratepayers would be glad to hear what he had to "say on the matter. SpeakiDg for himself, he was not biased one way or the other. He simply came to the meeting for information. •Mr L. Joel explained the ends which the petitioners to the Council, representing the cricket and football clubs using the Northern Ground, had in view. He Eaid their first desire was to improve the reserve, not only for themselves, but for everybody els?, and the first thing that had struck them was that there were too many openings, and that instead of being used as a reserve the ground was being used as a thoroughfare. These cross-cuts prevented them doing what they would like to-the ground, and consequently they asked that certain gates be closed. They had suggested also that an embankment should be formed on one side of the ground, but it was never contemplated that that embankment should be higher than King street, itself. There had never been the slightest intention or desire to oust the boy 3 from the ground. They never interfered with the boys, and they allowed them to use their specially-prepared pitches. He pointed out that if the ground was put in good order that would benefit not only those who played on the ground, but the whole neighborhood. As to the proposed charge, he believed that a charge of G1 on ten days in the year would be sufficient, and it was not proposed that the money should go to the clubs.- They did not care if the money was handed to the City Council so long as it was spent on the ground. Mr M'CALMni objected to any three or four clubs having a monopoly of what belonged to the citizens, and said that if the cricket clubs found that the Northern Ground was not good enough for them the members should put their hands in their pockets , to improve it, and others would assist thorn. Mr D. E. "Hastings declared that when the crioket clubs got control of the Basin Reserve in Wellington not only the boys but the footballers had been excluded. Mr KdwaedS a»id it was net a faot that the boys were prohibited from playing on the Basin Reserve, Mr HASTtS'/is: To a groat extent. Mr Edwards : Now you qualify it. That ia not fair. A Ratepayer said he had been trying to get information, but he could get none, right or wrong.—(Laughter.) He came there to know if the reserve belonged to the people of Otago, and if it belonged, to the people of Otago no one had any right to put a gate on it. Mr J. Richardson said it was in no spirit of animosity to the clubs that, opposition was offered to all the requests that had been made to the City Council. The Pound Reserve in the North-east Valley and two pieces of ground between the Gardens and the bridge could be made good grounds, and, while he had no objection to the Union Football Club using the Northern Ground in winter, he held that that ground was not big enough for three adult cricket clubs and for the youngsters too. (Hear, hear.) The Northern Ground was the last of the reserves left in .which all the children attending school had an oppor- • unity of practising cricket and- football. Possibly it would be a very good thing if the cricket and football clubs were allowed to charge for admission on ten days in the year and use the money for improving the ground, and he believed it would be advantageous- if all the gates except two in King and Cumberland streets were closed ; but he thought that if the whole of'the concessions that were asked for were granted the clubs would improve, the grounds, but would also interfere with the boys,'and he maintained that to hand over the ground to the clubs because. they had improved "it would be to sell the birthright of the citizens for what was nothing better than a mess of pottage. He moved "That the City Council be recommended to allow the closing of all entrances to the reserve except the central ones-ia King street and Cumberland street, and to allow the cricketers and footballers meanwhile to make a maximum charge of 6d for admission for ten dayß in the year, on condition that the mone£ received be spent in improving the ground." Mr T. .Baker secondsd the motion. Mr W. Hutchison thought they ought to preface the resolution by saying that the reserve was not to be alienated by any club or any meeting. He had a strong conviction that the reserves were not for the ratepayers at all, but for the whole of the people of Otago.— (Hear, hear.) He agreed with the'resolution to the extent of shutting up the crosscuts,' but he thought- it should be amended in the direction ,of expressing to the Council the desire of the meeting that the reserve should be an inalienable reserve for the people of Otago so long as they cared to use it. Mr C. Haynes said that Mr Hutchison's remarks were apt to create a false impression in the minds of the communitv, and pointed out that the local body had statutory power to authorise a charge being made for admission to a reserve on not more than ten days in a year. ' - ■ < ' Mr A. H. Sheltojj, , who thought that the difference between.the opposing parties was very slight, said the members of the three cnekefc clubs using the North Ground were boy 3 who had grown up in the north end of the City, and it was to the boys growing up there that they had to look for their members. He ridiculed therefore the idea of the boys being excluded by the clubs. He urged ; the formation of an amenities committee' at the north end of the City to look after the Northern Reserve, and also the 'i Gardenß and Lake Logan. Mr; Hutchison submitted the following

amendment: strongly of opinion that theNortherh Reserve is the inalienable property of of Dunedin and Otago,. and any aotion of the City Council wjhioh'would limit the free use of the* reserve. 1 ' ~i He did not mean by that that the" Council should be restricted in taking any steps.to improve the .grojind. 'All' lie contended M- * .was that, there should-be'no party" ab&Ve the .City Counoil. having -any right tcrinterfere hj with the management of the reserve;;;:' - ' - Mr R. Brown thought that a very poor 1 j spirit was shown by those ,w.ho Opposecf the I moderate proposals, .whfoh' would nob only { beautify the City, but also benefit, nobte outdoor sports.—(Applause)!;-/ • ; •'•: Mr M. Ksllas. complained;,that'tbe. 'oriqket'pitches on the - North Ground were, too near the public thoroughfares,' and hel instanced, cases of windown being, broken and children being .hurt-by balls hit from the ground. He regarded the proposals before the Council as the; thin end of the wedge to let the clubs have the ground altogether. Mr W. .was. .opposedrto any charge being made for-admission; to the North Recreation Ground; but he' thought there were too many openings to.the ground. He considered that the ground was not fit for cricket, except for-boys. The amendment was then pub and.lost, all present, whether ratepayers or not, being allowed to vote, and the motion was carried unanimously. .

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Bibliographic details

THE NORTHERN RECREATION GROUND., Evening Star, Issue 10449, 20 October 1897

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THE NORTHERN RECREATION GROUND. Evening Star, Issue 10449, 20 October 1897

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