THE New Zealand Herald. AND DAILY SOUTHERN CROSS. FRI DAY, APRIL, 29, 1910. THE GRAFTON BRIDGE.
The formal opening of the Grafton Bridge was very properly made the occasion of official utterances and of mutual congratulations. It is a structure which is more than creditable to all concerned in its erection and of which Auckland will long be proud, for it adds to the exceptional beauty of the scenery among which it is placed and forms a perpetual reminder that the engineer and the architect, working hand in hand, should increase and not diminish the attractions of our City. If any criticism were in place it would be to the effect that a wider bridge would have been better, and it goes without saying that were the work to be done over again the greater breadth once proposed would •be unanimously adopted by the city authorities and by the ratepayers. But it is always easy to be wise after the event and when the visionary has become the actual and the real ; we must not forget that the advocates of the bridge had to do the best they could in the face of a very natural fear of excessive expenditure in any new direction, and of an active and pronounced opposition. To-day, fear has been dissipated and opposition silenced, for a most useful and necessary thoroughfare now stretches levelly from Karangahape Road to the far side of the precipitous Cemetery Gully. The multitudes which already traverse it, the long-needed relief to traffic congestion which it promises, and the, unalloyed pleasure with which it is viewed and spoken of, are a testimonial to the soundness of the scheme and to the shrewdness which planned it, which was lacking when the Council came before the ratepayers for the endorsement of the civic loan policy. Which is- all the more reason why we should express the public thanks to those who were responsible for the conception, adoption, and realisation of the scheme, and congratulate Mr. Grey upon its completion during his Mayoralty, and Mr. Myers upon - its inception and commencement while he was at the head of our city business. And if- to our citizens the Grafton Bridge gives satisfaction and convenience we would remind them that a wise progressive policy is full of, satisfaction and fruitful of conveniences. Very rarely can any progressive policy bear such picturesque fruit as the road-carrying arch which strides the greatest span yet attempted in the world of ferroconcrete : but things which are less picturesque are equally necessary and no less convenient. For example, that we have a constant and unfailing supply of pure and good water in Auckland—sufficient not only for the City itself but for the suburbs, which will obtain it at cost price when they decide* to merge their parochialism in the making of a Greater Auckland— is due to the fact that our City Fathers are gradually becoming not afraid to think about the future. That is being progressive, for the great difficulty in Auckland is that we have not generally become accustomed to calculate in the terms of a metropolis which already approaches the hundred thousand and will soon be nearing the quarter million.
The Mayor yesterday expressed his wonder at contiguous local bodies hesitating to join the city and create a Greater Auckland. This phenomenon of reluctance to do that which is so obviously the wiser thing to do is visible wherever ancient political organisations are threatened by the modern and the new. A stability favourable to human society unmistakably lies in this stubborn inclination not • to change political forms until change is irresistible, and we must recognise that it will be overcome • as soon as we convince tfie great majority of electors that their general advantage is to be found in amalgamation. It is very noticeable that throughout the isthmus those local authorities which are most progressive and most capable in the management of their local affairs are most ready and willing to join in a Greater Auckland ; and we arc strongly disposed to believe, as we have repeatedly stated, that the best thing would be for favourable districts to join with Auckland City, one by one, leaving the more antiquated districts to experience for a little longer the corrective and instructive influences of inconvenience and discomfort. However that may be, it is certain that work like the Grafton Bridge does more to join our divided Auckland into one, both politically and physically, than the most eloquent appeal to the sentiments or the calculations. For it not only brings to bear upon the affected districts the most potential of moral influences, but it demonstrates to all others what might be done were they to join forces and finances. The Archhill Gully and other ravines need bridging as well
las the Cemetery Gully ; and the new thoroughfare to the eastward now made possible is only one of a score of new highways and thoroughfares most imperatively called for, and only wanting because of want of funds. As Mr. Grey said yesterday, in presenting to Mr. Myers a richly deserved and well-earned souvenir of the occasion: " The Grafton Bridge will be an anomaly unless it is made a part of a skilful and comprehensive scheme of advancement, comprising similar . bridges and attractive thoroughfares." This is absolutely correct. And the Grafton Bridge is to be valued, not merely as a beautiful structure and a great public convenience, but as a constant reminder of our public needs and of our civic duties needs which we can meet easily and duties, which we can discharge without undue strain upon our resources when we organise that Greater Auckland which is the only adequate instrument for the advancement of the metropolis and the welfare of all its people.