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THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL.

At the invitation of the Dunedin Sanitary Institute representatives from the surrounding borough councils and several other wellknown citizens assembled in the Town Hall last evening to discuss the Local Government Bill, Mr P. W, Petra (president of the Institute) occupied the chair. Mr Denniston (president of the Chamber of Commerce) and Mr Taylor (town clerk) apologised for their non-attendance. The Chairman explained that discussion «n the Bill was invited by the Sanitary Institute, a non - political body, and he hoped the meeting would avoid party politics. The points of the Bill which he thought should be avoided were municipal franchise, the labor question, and the question of insurance. It was thought that as this meeting was a representative one any resolution agreed to should be forwarded to the city .and suburban members as an indication of the pnblic opinion in Dunedin.

Mr R. Watson said that if the Bill became law it would be an uhmixed blessing so far as Roslyn was concerned. When the Roslyn Borough was constituted in 1868 portions of the Taieri County were annexed to Roslyn at the request of the ratepayers in those districts, and if the Bill became law those areas would be merged again into' the Taieri County. There was no doubt that in the near future the water and drainage questions would have to be tackled by Roslyn, but in the meantime they could not use the City water, as they were on too high a level. Was it fair, he asked, that the Roslyn Borough Council, with twelve councillors, should be wiped out and represented sn Dunedin by one or two members ? They had no debts, and were they to be liable for part of the City debts ’—(Voices : “No” and “Yes.”) Mr Sandilands ‘admitted that the suburban boroughs had done good work in the past. A drainage scheme had been approved of by the City Council, but it was impossible for that body to take up such an important matter unless a Bill was drafted compelling suburban boroughs to contribute in some way. The abattoirs were nearly completed, but the suburban boroughs were not bound to use them. He pointed out that the inspector inspected the dairies in the suburbs, and yet the suburban boroughs contributed in no way towards bis work. The Institute had come to the conclusion that the interests of the City and suburbs were identical, and it was on that ground that they thought the time had arrived when the suburban boroughs, for the mutual benefit of all, should amalgamate with the City. He moved—“ That this meeting approves of the Bill in so far as it proposes the amalgamation of the surrounding boroughs with the City.”

Mr Cronin seconded the motion pro forma.

Mr M'lndoe, as oue of the old residents in the suburbs, supported the motion, but on different grounds to those mentioned by the mover of it. Mr Sandilands said some of the suburban streets were narrow, but the same remark applied to the City of Dunedin. How many streets in the City were more than half a chain wide ? It was utter rot to sav that the Town Belt belonged to the City of Dunedin. Tho Belt and the other reserves were the property of the residents of the province, and the suburban boroughs had as much interest in the Town Belt as the City of Dunedin.

Mr Sandilands said he meant to say that the City had control of tho Town Belt. Mr Bridgman thought the Bill would be materially altered before it was passed by Parliament. So far as amalgamation was concerned, he thought the City of Dunedin had quite enough to do to look after their own properties. The Caversham Council had done all that it was possible for them to do.' They had spent about : £15,000 in drainage, and he asked: Would the City Council take over that liability ? Mr Kemnitz entirely disagreed with the motion. The Municipal Corporations Act had worked fairly well in the past, and there was no reason at present for entering into experimental legislation. Mr Sandilaads had confined himself to one particular portion of the Bill—the absorption of the smaller boroughs by the City of Dunedin. That, he thought, would be a great mistake. So far as the question of drainage was concerned, the Municipal Corporations Act had made provision for the suburbs to unite with the City. The want of funds had no doubt been the cause of this question not being dealt with. In the near future the suburban councils would undoubtedly have to unite with the City, which was a growing one, in a drainage scheme. Hh did not think the City Counoil was the best body to initiate a water scheme. The abattoirs question was an important one, but he did nob think it wise for any local body to enter into speculation, which should ba left to private enterprise. Ho held that a proper scheme could have bsen initiated without tho City of Dunedin or the suburbs going to the expense of erecting abattoirs. The Municipal Corporations Act provided for sanitation. He moved as an amendment—•“ That in the opinion of this meeting the operations of the Municipal Corporations Act have been fairly successful in the past, and leaves the control of local affairs eitirely,in the hands of those interested; that it is most undesirable that any experimental legislation should be entered upon, and that this meeting strongly deprecates the alteration of and obliterations ,of the Local Government Bill.”

Mr HUSTON', Mayor of Caversham, seconded the amendment. He thought the district he represented was before the City of Dunedin in many things. Unlike the City, their water closets were not connected with the drains and sewers, and that, he thought, was one of the proudest things a borough could say. He was in favor of a drainage board being formed, and he advised the Sanitary Institute to' try and bring about such a thing. He would like to have heard the municipal franchise and insurance questions discussed. Mr Mallard thought the Sanitary Institute were deserving of the best thanks of the people for the work they were performing. They were told the other day that they had one of the finest hospitals this side of the line, and yet they had a reeking mass of filth about their streets. The City and suburbs could easily unite and have a drainage scheme carried out. Money had been spent on the hospital, and if they wanted money for a drainage scheme they were laughed at.

Mr. Haig supported the motion, but thought that several of the speakers had taken a narrow view/ of the matter.

Mr Burgess said as regards amalgamation of the Caversham Borough with the City of Dunedin, lie thought the latter should amalgamate with Caversham.

_ Mr Gore said the.municipal franchise and c.iaritable aid questions were very good points of the Bill, which, on the whole, was a good one. So' far, as drainage was concerned, he did not see any difficulty in carrying out such a scheme under the present Act. In Christchurch they had a Drainage Board, and he thought that a similar Board should be formed here. There w>re parts of the Bill which were undesirable, and to accept the broad motion that had been proposed was going a little too far. It was simply on the sanitary point that Mr San Blands had moved the motion.

Mr Anderson, Mayor of Mornington, did not think that the advantages to be gained by the Bill were very great. He was in favor of a Drainage Board being formed, and thought that the suburbs should get their meat from the abattoirs the same as the City.

The Chairman said that small and petty grievances should be sunk in a matter of this kind, and everything done on a large scale. The discussion on the Bill had been the disagreements of the surrounding boroughs. On 'broad grounds he thought the Bill was in the right direction. Mr Mallard considered the matter was of such vast importance that the discussion on the Bill should be adjourned to some other evening. On the motion of Mr Bridgman the discussion on the Bill was adjourned for a fortnight. ■

The common house Sparrow flies at the rate of seventy-two miles ah hour. Formers wish they’d keep on flying at thatttfe for twenty-four hours. Then there would be some chance of saving the crops.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18971029.2.46

Bibliographic details

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL., Issue 10457, 29 October 1897

Word Count
1,416

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL. Issue 10457, 29 October 1897

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