THE DRAINAGE ACT.
MEETING AT SPRING CREEK.
On Wednesday last, a meeting of landowners and Others in the Spring Creek district was held in the School-room.
Mr. DoDson on taking the chair said the object of the meeting was, he believed, pretty well Understood; lie would read the advertisement and call on atiy gentleman who was prepared to address the meeting, but would reserve his own remarks till afterwards.
Mr. Paul said they all knew that the construction of the dam at the Opawa Breach was a failure. He would advofeato that something permanent and Substantial should be done to divert a portion of the water back into the Wairau river, and believed a weir such as described by Mr. Dobson would effect much good. He considered that a tax should be levied, Of as general a nature as possible, to provide funds for the purpose. With respect to the object of the present meotibg he had pleasure in proposing—- “ That, in the opinion of this meetibg the attempt to bring the “ Drainage Act,” into operation over the area as described in the advertisement of Mr, H. Redwood and others, is ill-advised, arbitrary, and calculated to impose an Unjust burden On a considerable portion of the community within the described boundaries, and specially on the Spring Creek district.” Seconded by Mu. FAiunALfc-. Mr. Soper thought the plans of Mr. Paul would be too expensive. A tax could not bo levied without obtaining an Act expressly for the purpose, and as something required doing as soon as possible, his opinion was that the best method would bo to keep the waters as far as possible in their natural channels by embankments or otherwise on the low places of tho river banks, and causing a portion of the waters flowing into the Opawa to bo diverted back to the Wairau, being convinced this would prevent tho recurrence of much damage done by the lesser floods so much complained of. tie would therefore propose—- “ That, whilst desirous of affording every assistance for tho benefit of all, wo consider that by drawing a portion of the water from the Opawa back again into tho Wairan River, that the centre of the plain will be materially relieved thereby, and if a subscription list bo needful to provide funds for tho purpose, wo hereby pledge ourselves to support tho same.”
Seconded by Mr. Wralt. Mr. G. Dodson said the oversow of the Wairau River and its present course was of a very serious nature and that something required doing with a View to check the evil, but ho thought the “ Drainage Act ” was not calculated for the purpose, and Could not with justice be applied thereto. This Act was made expressly to deal with swampy lands that could be of no use whatever unless drained, as was evident by its providing rates should bo levied of 10s. and 2Ds. per acre, and if put into operation tin's Act would effectually relieve Blenheim and other townships, as it provides only for an acreage tax. In his opposition to the adoption of this Act at the late public moeting| at Blenheim, selfishness seemed imputed to him on the assumption that the Spt-ing Creek district was “ a few inches above the floods.” He would now state that from a close calculation he had by the late flood suffered a loss of corn and other produce to the amount of fully £250, and that no system of drainage could by any possible means have prevented this ; and as any drainage contemplated in the lower parts of the plain can only begin to take effect after the water has passed over and done all its damage to this district, it would be manifestly unjust that the district should be expected to contribute towards the drainage of those lands from which they could derive no benefit.
Mr. Gane thought by driving strong piles, and facing with boards a certain height, half the water might be forced back into the Wairau River. A general benefit would be derived, a general rate should be raised for the purpose, but the Drainage Act would bo of no use whatever to the district.
Mr. Wratt could not see the Drainage Act had anything whatever to do with the rivers, it was quite another thing altogether. Mr. 0. O’Dwyer thought a small tramway across the Wairau to convey largo pieces of rock into the mouth of the Opawa might effect some permanent good, but if the Opawa was three times larger than it is now it could not take all the water in times of flood. He would propose “ That a committee be formed to watch the further progress of the attempt to introduce the Drainage Act, and also to wait on the members of the district requesting them, if necessary to oppose such measures in their places in Council, such committee to be composed of the following gentlemen;—Messrs. Soper, Paul, Dodson, Selmes, Isaac Gifford, and the mover.”
Seconded by Me R. Robinson. Me. Busch thought a drain from the Opawa through the Big Bush would shorten the course of the river many miles and prevent much damage being done. He would decidedly oppose being brought under the Drainage Act. He could drain bis own land much cheaper than the government would do it.
On a proposition by Mr. F. Gaine, seconded by Mr. C. O’Dwyer, it was— Resolved, that, this meeting, beinv composed of farmers and land-owners of the North and Upper Spring Creek district, will use every lawful endeavour to oppose their lands being included within any boundaries to be brought under the operation of the Draining Act. The Meeting (vhich was well attended, more than 20 landowners being present, passed the resolutions unanimously, and after the usual vote of thanks to the chairman, separated.
Improvements. —Some very beneficial town improvements have lately been undertaken by the prison gang on account of the Town Board. The breach made into the water-course under the new bridge by the late floods, has been widened and cleared, and the old water-course stopped up, so that now the stream runs under the bridge. The next improvement has been the removing of that eye-sore the “Picton Monument,” m front of Mr. G. Mouat’s store, and formed when making the cutting for the new bridge. The earth so removed has been used to fill up the old course of the stream, so that now horses and vehicles will be able to keep the straight road. These improvements will prove “ useful as well as ornamental,”— Press. ' -V
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THE DRAINAGE ACT., Marlborough Express, Volume III, Issue 116, 9 May 1868
THE DRAINAGE ACT. Marlborough Express, Volume III, Issue 116, 9 May 1868
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