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Nelson Evening Mail. FRIDAY, MAY 23, 1902. THE SALTWATER BRIDGE NUISANCE.

A MISTAKE IN SUttVEY AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. WHILE the important question of the health of the city and the improvement of local sanitation are under consideration, it would be •well to keep constantly in niina the circumstance that nothing worth" the dojng can be done, either immediately or in the future, till the source of the pollution of a large area of land is removed. That is to say, it is essential, as the first step towards improvement, that the offensive swamp, lagoon, cesspool or whatever it may be termed' abutting on the railway line at .Saltwater Bridge should bo filled up to above high-tide level, and the drain now emptying in the locality should be adverted and extendedas a temporary measure to some spot oeyond where the daily tidal wash would minimise the evils o f the outflow. * * * After many months of representation and effort the Railway Department has ,at last been induced to and tenders are now being calJed. cut there is even now a danger thah the whole matter may beh& 6 up by red-tape and tied with ropes of municipal inaecisifctf. A Government survey of the locality seems to fc-ive shown that while the Nelson Corporation ftas already rfrclaimed a portion of the adjoining area not owned by the city, "but by the Railway Department, a part of

the piece aD present unreclaimed is municipally owned- The Railway Department appears to halte raised the point that the Council should bear the cost of filling in this parI tion, while it seems that the Mayor lis inclined to ask for an adjusrtI ment of accounts in regard to the I filling in al Railway Department I property by the Council by mis--1 take, and to claim this work as a I set-off against any liability to I share the expense of the filling in I yet to be done. Tne Mayor also I wants a re-survey made to prove I the Council's survey wrong. I » » • . I It will be seen that -here is the I beginning (ft as complete a deadlock lasit is possible to conceive — a sort lof departmental and municipal I Jarndyce v. Jarndyce or Ginx's I Baby combined. The Council has i I only to insist on an adjustment of I the proportions of ,iability and a I set-off as regards the reclamation I work yet to be done to enable the I Railway Department to postpone I indefinitely the doing of its share. I Thereafter, all representation ana I appeal may be met by the concluI sive reply that the Department is' I prepared to fill in its portion as I soon as the Council attends to its I own part. The Council, under that I paralysis of indecision which sometimes seizes local bodies, may conI tinue to demand a settlement of I accounts before it will begin anyIthing, and so action may be susI pended for a year or 'so, while epiI demic after epidemic may make its I appearance, and land, otherwise the I most valuable in the city, may lie I practically useless, and, in fact, a I menace to public health. I • * • I The question of mistakes in past I surveys, and a settlement of acI counts by a set-off in labour or whatever other means may be sug' geste"d, is too complicated for consideration in the face of the urgent need of complete reclamation, and in view of the opportunity of such complete reclamation now afforded by the decision of the Railway Department to fill in forthwith. Whatever may have been done in excess of its share by the* Council, the issue at present is not to secure a rectification first, but) to have the reclamation of the offensive hole under Saltwater Bridge done first, To accomplish this, the Council should inform the Railway Department that it is prepared to abide by any arbitration award hereafter defining the relative proportions of expense in regard to the filling in of the portion of Milton's* Acre abutting on the railway swamp. On such an assurance the Railway Department would be bound to carry out the pledge given by Sir Joseph Ward, and there would be no excuse for delay or wrappings of red tape. On the other hand, if the City Council raises points of difference now the work of reclaiming the noisome area which is a menace to health no matter who owns or does not own it may be postponed for a considerable time, if not, indeek, indefinitely. ♦ • • It is hoped that the Mayor will take a broad and decisive view of the situation and recommend the Council to place in abeyance for the present any claim it may have to immunity from sharing the expenses of the proposed reclamation in view of having reclaimed by accident in the past some of the Railway Department's low-lying areaThat seems to us the only means of avoiding a most deplorable deadlock. The need of reclaiming the filth-bed under Saltwater Bridge is urgent— so urgent, indeed, that it would be the height of folly to offer a premium for postponement by raising the least point of difference in regard to the adjustment of liability. The Railway Department cannot expect to escape payment of a just claim merely because a surveyor made a mistake, and the Council does not desire to reap undue advantage. Hence, it is perfectly feasible to adjust accounts afterwards on the basis of arbitration. If the Gouncil will make the Department some such offer as this, all ground for delay will be removed, and the Department will probably accept a tender next week and proceed with the work. On the other hand, the Department has so many claims on it elsewhere that if might be glad of a dispute with the Courwcil as a reason for putting off. Already there has been displayed an under-current of official reluctance to proceed with the execution of Sir Joseph Ward's order ; and we cannot help thinking that even now subterfuges are being sought to give warrant for setting the order aside for the present, "V. y

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NEM19020523.2.7

Bibliographic details

Nelson Evening Mail. FRIDAY, MAY 23, 1902. THE SALTWATER BRIDGE NUISANCE., Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXXVI, Issue 121, 23 May 1902

Word Count
1,026

Nelson Evening Mail. FRIDAY, MAY 23, 1902. THE SALTWATER BRIDGE NUISANCE. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXXVI, Issue 121, 23 May 1902

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