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(From . 'The Colonist," July 7.)

An event which has'been looked forward to with very considerable interest by the settlers on the west bank of the Motueka river took place on Saturday. This was the opening of the new Peninsula bridge. Great preparations were made by those living in the vicinity to celebrate the occasion in a fitting manner, and there was a large gathering^ of settlers from all parts of the district, including the chairman (Cr. H. Everett) and members of the County Council, the County Engineer (Mr. G. S. Whiteside), and a number of invited gu^ts. The Hon. It. McKenziey M.P. for Motueka, and Mrs. McKenzie made a special trip from Wellington in order to be present, the former having been invited to perform the opening Ceremony. A large paddock belonging to Mr. G. Beatson was made the rendezvous, and by eleven o'clock there was quite an imposing array of motor cars, and vehicles, which had brought the people from near and far. The new structure will provide a mxich-needed convenience for those set-! tiers living across the river. Hitherto they had been practically living in isolation. If they desired to reach Ngatimoti or. Motueka they! liad either to ford the river, which at flood,times is extremely dangerous, or travel down the western bank to the Alexander's Bluff bridge, and this was only made possible recently by the opening of a new road. Great interest was manifested in the formal ceremony. The crowd assembled on the bridge, and the honour of cutting the ribbon was conferred upon Mrs. A. Brereton, senior, a very old resident of the district. The Hon. It. McKenzie briefly addressed the gathering. He said it gavo him very great pleasure to be amongst his old friends to open the bridge, and ho complimented the Engineer on the structure. It had been his lot to open many bridges, but he doubted very much if ho had seen ono built as honestly or faithfully as that ono for the money. Mr. McKenzie then declared the bridge open, and called upon Mrs. Brereton to cut the ribbon, which was done amidst cheers. Captain Brereton, on behalf of his mother, thanked the people for the honour they had conferred upon her. The opening of the bridge, he said, was a most important function for the settlors living in that locality—in fact it was more important to those living on the west side of the river than the opening of the Panama Canal. Mr. McKenzie and Mrs. Brereton then led the procession across the bridge, and the ribbon was cut into souvenirs. -it An adjournment was then made tor lunoh, which was spread under a large awning decorated with evergreens. The chairman of the County Council (Cr. H. Everett) presided, and after ample justice had been done to the good things provided, a number or, toasts were honoured. _ i The health of the King having been i drunk, the chairman proposed the toast: of "Their Guests, Mr. and Mrs. McKonzie," who had gone to considerable trouble and expense to be present. Whatever their opinion might be in regard to politics they must all acknowledge the splendid services Mr. McKenzie'had Tendered the district as their member. His influence had ■ been oxert--ed entirely in the interests of his constituents. ' The new bridge was largely due to Ms efforts and the cost for which bad been provided partly by the j Government, and partly by the settlers , themselves and partly by the Council. If it had not been for the Government there would not have been any_ bridge. The chairman also expressed his pleasure at seeing Mrs. McKenzie present j Mr. McKenzie, who received a very j cordial reception, expressed his plcaeuro at meeting the people of,, the district. He had been straggling, ior a long time to get bridges over every j river in tho electorate, and if he continued there would soon be no bridges j to get. (Laughter.) The roads also, j lie found very good. The early sutlers had had to struggle along without. roads and bridges, m order to carve put j homes for themselves, and tho rising j o-cneration were now reaping the benefit In regard to roads and bridges no had no politics, as ho was the representative of the district. They were absolutely necessary to develop the resources of tho country. Of course they could strugglo along without them but they could not compete with those living near the railway lino. Afi their member bo recognised it was his duty to assist them to provide the necessary facilities for getting their produce to, market. Mr. Wliiteside deserved every j credit for tho way tho bridge had btcn j constructed. If it had been designed j by a Government engineer probably double the material would have been j put in to carry the weight, it would, not last a day longer, and the cost would have been about £4000. Mr. Me- j Konzio concluded by thanking the pco- i pie on behalf of himself and Mrs. McKenzie, for the treat they had given them. (Applause.) in proposing ''Local Bodies,' Mr. Brc-rcton said they were indebted to tho County Council for the bridge;, which was the finest thing that had ever been done for the locality. He hoped some day to «cc Ngatimoti a borough, with a railway to the coast. He acknowledged the assistance rendered by Mr. Best, who had Gone a lot to get them the bridge. Ho paid a tribute to the splendid work done by Mr AVhitesido (the Engineer), Mr. Oakky (the builder), and Mr. Davit-s (the road-maker). Mr. M. Simpson, Mayor of Motueka, in responding, said he had a 40 years knowledge of the district, and he knew tho difficulties the early settlers had had to contend with. He considered the (.vovernment were doing . splendid work in providing roads and bridges for back blocks settlers. The Wauuea County Council were very fortunate m having such capable men to manage their affairs. He hoped the settlers wouid live long to enjoy tho privilege of the bridge. * Or. Everett, on behalf or- the YKumea County Council, also responded. He said that he had had something to do with the bridge, and remembered well over 2u years ago, drafting a petition for its construction, but the bridge was put over the mouth of the Graham. The Council had very important duties to discharge, for while the general Government had to look after national affairs, the Council had to give attention to the lesser. In view of the increasing rapidity of traffic, better roads must be made, and to do this the people would have to pay. had been a road board district the bridge would never have been built unless the Government had directed its construction. Tho bridge had cost actually £1900, or which sum the Government had contributed £900, and the Council £650. Mr- J. A. Guy at this stage produced the plan for a bridge over the river at the Peninsula, which was sanctioned by Parliament '27 years ago, when Mr. John Kerr was tho member. He sam if the Pokoioro Hood Board had not been merged into tho County. Council, the-bridge wmld have-" been built years fio-o. B-tV was pU-ns:xl. /however, now of a honso bridge. : , ■. . ... Mr. P. Best then proposed the health of "The Engineer and the Builder," Mr. Whitesido replying on behalf ot himself and the builder. Mr. G. Macniahon, in a stirring i speech, proposed the "New Zealand 1 Defence Forces," -and said it behoved

cverj'ono to do what they could in the defence of their country, and ho hoped if occasion' arose, those in Ngatimoti would respond to tho call of duty. Captain Broreton, in responding, said that in his opinion New Zealand and Australia were in a very critical position in regard to defence. The scheme, he said, was going on all right, and in view of the menace of- the yellow race, it was necessary to have an army of trained men to defend their country if necessary.

Other toasts honoured were those of "Our Hosts," proposed hy Mrs. McKonzie and responded to by Messrs. Thomas Brereton, Geo. Boatson, and Guthrie Beatson; and "The Chairman," which was accorded musical honours.

The pleasaorb gathering concluded with cheers for Mr. ■ and Mrs.'MeKenzie.

Councillor Everett, of the Waimea County Council, at the monthly meeting yesterday gave some interesting details in regard to the new bridge. He said that tho original structure was overturned by a heavy flood in the Motueka river in October, 1911. At that time £1100 has teen expended by the Council, and the losr v-xs £700. Up to the present the expenditure on the bridge had been £2650. The length of the bridge was 275 feet, with ten feet of roadway. It was built of steel on four eoncreto piers, with hinges in the centre to allow for heat expansion and contraction. Towards the cost of the bridge the Government had paid £900, £1100 had been raised by loan, the interest on which was paid by the settlers, while the contribution of the Council had been £650. The bridge, he stated, was a very substantial structure, and was capable of carrying a load of ten tons.

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Bibliographic details

THE PENINSULA BRIDGE., The Colonist, Volume LV, Issue 13775, 16 July 1913, Supplement

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THE PENINSULA BRIDGE. The Colonist, Volume LV, Issue 13775, 16 July 1913, Supplement

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