An ordinary meeting of the Christchurch City Council vras l\eld at 7 p.m. yesterday ; present — His Worship the Mayor, Councillors Ayers, Vincent, Hosking, Crooks, Jenkins, Prudhoe, Reese, Kiver, Lambert, Brice, Bowman, and Louisson. FINANCE. The Finance Committee reported that the receipts for the past fortnight had been : General account, .£(301 17a sd ; suspense account, JE33 9s 6d ; special drainage account, .£lOl 18s 6d; and that the expenditure had been : General account, J82506 4s Id, including J62000 placed on fixed deposit ; suspense account, .£lOl 9s 7d. The credit balance at the bank was .£3096 7s 3d. The accounts, as presented, were passed for payment. CORRESPONDENCE. The following was read : — v From Mr S. Mumford and eight other owners or occupiers of premises adjoining (on the east side) the Tuain street Hall, drawing attention to several cases of trespass on tho part of persons attending public performances at the Hall, upon a privsite passage giving access to the rear of their premises. It appeared that a gate closing this passage had been, on some occasions, unlawfully opened. The Mayor remarked that the Council had nothing to do "with the matter, which was a question between the petitioners and the trespassers. (Hear.) The petition was received. From the police, re an itinerant photographer, concerning whom the Council had complained that he was in the habit of following his trade on the reserves along the river. The letter stated that he had gone up country, and that, should he return, he would be cautioned as to his proceedings. The letter was received. From the police, in reply to a memo from the Council re larrikinism in the public gardens, and stating that the gardens were under the control of the Domain Board, which employed special constables and rangers for the purpose of keeping order therein. In compliance with a request from the Board a constable in uniform was on duty every Sunday in the gardens. The letter stated that the Inspector understood that for some time past the domain had been very free from disorderly conduct, and that the caretaker and his men were very energetic in preventing impropriety of any kind. It had, however, been reported that some young men had made a disturbance in the Park on Sunday, Feb. 3, and steps had been taken to bring two of them before the Court for using obscene language. The Mayor remarked that the parties had lieen brought before the Court and dismissed. The letter was received. From Mr W. H. Spackman, on behalf of the creditors' trustees of J. C. Sheppard, applying for permission to remove the lamps in front of the White Hart Hotel. These had been erected by Mr Sheppard at a cost of £37 10s, and the trustees wished to sell them for the benefit of the estate. In reply to Councillor Kiver, the Mayor said that he was of opinion that when the lamps were erected, it was understood that they should become the property of the city, as was usual in such cases. It was decided to reply that the Council considered the lamps their property, and declined to have them removed. From Mr W. H. Kiddey, asking permission to erect a boatshed near Colombo street bridge for the purpose of letting oui boats. Referred to the Reserves Committee to report. THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. A letter was read from the Board of Governors of Canterbury College, enclosing a copy of the resolution (already published) passed by that body, refusing to appoint a Committee to discuss the question of the applicability of the receipts from reserves to the support of the Library. The letter stated the Board had already forwarded a deal of information on the subject to the Council ; that any further information desired would be forwarded by the Registrar. Councillor Reese moved—" That the letter be referred to the Library Committee." He thought the Board of Governors had treated the Council in a somewhat slighting manner. They evidently wished to starve the Library, an institution belonging to the masses. He remarked that the Board of Governors were spending JJ30,000 a year; .£IO,OOO on the Agricultural School, £7000 on the Canterbury College, and large sums on the two High Schools, while the Library was comparatively neglected. He thought that the action of the Board was a snub to the Mayor and the whole Council, and he was glad to see that the matter was being taken up outside. Councillor Louisson seconded the motion. He believed that the opinion of the public, as well as of the Council, should be taken on the question, and if the public decision was in favour' of the action of the Board, he would say no more about it. He felt sure, however, that it would not be in favour of the Board. Councillor Vincent supported the motion. He did not quite see that it was the business of the Council to manage the Library affairs, as the institution belonged to. the public of Canterbury. If a public meeting referred the matter to the Council, he would be content to accept the management of the affair. He thought, also, that an effort should be made to have the present self-nominated Board replaced by one elected by the people, whose property the Board had charge of. The present Board had mismanaged not only the Library, but other institutions under their control. He might remark that the very fact of the Board having considered the matter in Committee, showed that they were afraid of letting the public know all .that they were doing. The Mayor thought that the management of the Public Library was a matter in which the public were strongly interested, and which, therefore, it was quite competent for the Council, as the representatives of the public, to deal with. He was of opinion that steps should be taken, at once, to call a public meeting to consider the subject. Councillor Reese's motion was then carried unanimously, and it was also resolved on the motion of Councillor Prudhoe, seconded by Councillor Kiver — " That this Council expresses its disapproval of the resolutions passed by the Board of Governors closing the Library on .Sundays, and curtailing the hours during which it can be used by the public on week-days, and requests His Worship the Mayor to call a public meeting to enable the citizens and • others to express their opinion on the subject, and also on the matter of endowments for tke Public Library." CITY SURVEYOR'S REPORT. The City Surveyor's report was read as follows : — "1. A letter is annexed hereto from the Secretary to the Drainage Board, granting the Council permission to use the flushing tanks and storm waiter sewers for the extinction of fires. 2. The fire-bell at the Lichfield street station, which was cracked, has been taken down and replaced by the old one, which was formerly there. 3. A trial pan has been placed in the closet at the City Council Chambers, in order to test Roberts' deodorising system. 4. Mr Attwood's offer of land for a piece of road, leading from Buckley's road to the Cemetery Reserve, has been accepted, and I have received instructions from the Works Committee to advertise for tenders for forming and fencing it. 5. Mr Morling's application to the Council to be allowed to erect a horse post in front of his new premises in Worcester street has been considered by the Works Committee, and in consequence of the numerous objections and complaints about posts in the streets, they cannot see their way to recommend that the application should be granted. 6. The contractors are now at work erecting the fencings round the Cemetery Reserve." The report was considered seriatim. Clause 2 was referred to the Fire Brigade Committee, to report on the practicability of procuring a better bell. The remainder of the report was approved. CEMETERY COMMITTEE. The following report was read : — "Your Committee have considered the
offer of Mr Attwood referred to it, to give land to make a chain road from Buckley's road to the Cemetery, and has accepted it. Your Committee recommends that the City Surveyor be instructed to invite tenders for fencing and constructing the road at once." The report was approved. FIRE BRIGADE COMMITTEE. The following report of the Fire Brigade Committee was read : — " Your Committee has made inquiries as to the cost of a steam fire-engine similar to that at the Railway Station, and finds that one delivered in Christchurch would come to about complete without hose. Your Committee caused a trial to be made of the railway and city engines, and from the results, have come to the conclusion that it would not be advisable to increase the number of the steamers. The result has shown that all that is required for the efficiency of the plant for fire prevention is to provide an additional length of 2000 ft of hose of best quality, and that further provision for a better supply of water is wanted. A supply will be partially obtained from the flushing tanks arid storm-water sewers of the Drainage Board, whose permission has been given to use them. Your Committee recommends the Council to give the City Surveyor instructions to have the necessary work carried out to utilise the water in the tanks and storm water sewers La cases o£ fire." Councillor Louisson thought the public ought to know whether it was possible to obtain the assistance of the Railway Brigade and engine on all occasions. From what he had heard outside, he thought there would be no difficulty whatever. He thought, also, that it was a crying shame that the railway engine should be standing idle, especially when the authorities did not wish it. (Hear, hear.) The Fire Brigade Committee should have brought up a report, stating straightforwardly whether arrangements had been made for obtaining the services of the Railway Brigade and plant. Now that an apparently inexhaustible supply of water could be obtained from the river, available for / all parts of the town, if the railway engine were employed, the question of getting a small supply of water from the sewers was of very small importance. Altogether, the report was very bald, and he would move — " That it be referred back to the Committee." Councillor Kiver seconded the motion pro formd. The Mayor explained that there had never been any doubt about getting the services of the Railway Brigade and their engine. The only difficulty in the way was that of procuring horses for the engine. Some time ago horses had been furnished by Messrs Heywood and Co., but latterly they had been unable to do this. If the Council would pay for the horses, the matter would be settled at once. There was a stable at the railway station, where sufficient men to work the engine slept every night. He would remind Councillor Louisson that the matter mentioned by him had not been referred to the Committee. Councillor Jenkins stated that there was not the least doubt that the services of the Railway Brigade were available for fires in the city at all times, as there existed a most excellent feeling between the Railway and City Brigades. Councillor Reese spoke to the same effect. He objected to Councillor Louisson " jumping on " the Fire Brigade Committee. Councillor Louisson, in replying, charged Councillor Reese with disloyalty to other Committees, especially the By-law Committee, which he had openly defied. Councillor Reese denied the charge, and •asked Councillor Louisson to name the occasion. Councillor Louisson : In the matter of the circus performance at the Exhibition, which Councillor Reese, as one of the Exhibition Committee, decided to hold in defiance of the law. Councillor Reese denied the charge in toto. He had told His Worship the Mayor that if a letter were sent to the Committee the matter would be seriously considered. A letter had been sent, and the performances had been stopped. After some further conversation, Councillor Louisson's proposition was negatived and the report adopted. CITY WORKMEN. Councillor Louisson moved, pursuant to notice—" That it be an instruction to the City Surveyor that in the future, in taking on labourers, the first consideration shall be fitness for the work, irrespective of where they reside or whether they be married or single." He considered that the resolution formerly passed by the Works Committee, which his proposition was intended to rescind, appeared to the outside world rather a narrow minded one. He thought that his proposal was absolutely necessary to ensure the Council's having an efficient staff, as the Surveyor should be allowed to choose the best men, irrespective of where they lived. The Council should be able to go into the market, and get the best labour available for its money. Councillor Brice seconded the motion. He remarked that he knew of no other public bodies having similar restrictions on their books. Councillor Vincent did not think there was any necessity for the motion. The recommendation of the Works Committee laid down that the first qualification for labourers should be fitness. The City Surveyor had had no difficulty in getting good men who were ratepayers. (Hear, hear.) He considered the attempt to interfere with the working of the Council by an outside political association was a thing to be resented. Councillor Ayers thought that the motion was needless. He might say that the recommendation of the Works Committee had been adopted because they were inundated with applications for work from ratepayers, some of whom owed rates which the work given them enabled them to pay. It was perfectly absurd to say that the City Surveyor could not get 45 good labourers out of the 15,000 inhabitants of the City. On the contrary, the Surveyor was unable to find work for the ratepayers who applied to him. He felt sure that, though other bodies might have no rules as to employing ratepayers, none but their own ratepayers were employed by them. Councillor Lambert considered that, other things being equal, the ratepayers had a preferential claim on the Council for employment. It was much better to provide for poor ratepayers by employing them than by any system of charitable aid. He could get 20 suitable men the next morning if necessary. Councillor Kiver thought the action of the Works Committee was only simple j t justice to the ratepayers. Councillor Reese opposed the motion. He considered that, at the present time, the City labour staff was surpassed by none. The City Surveyor was at liberty to take on men residing outside the City, if there were no Christchurch applicants. He would remind the Council that the Works Committee had given employment to 20 of the "unemployed" for three weeks, at the time of the last agitation. Councillor Bowman had come to the meeting with the intention of supporting the motion, but hearing the conversation had caused him to think otherwise. Still, he thought the whole affair was a storm in a teapot. What did it matter whether the scavengers and men who mended the streets lived in the City or not ? He fancied, however, that to pass the motion would be a kind of vote of censure on the Works Committee, who had acted in a manner that he thought was quite justifiable. Councillor Jenkins briefly supported the resolution. Councillors Crooks, Hosking and Prudhoe spoke in favour of the action of the Works Committee, on the ground that Christchurch residents should have the first claim on the Council for employment-. The Mayor considered that it was a bad principle to restrict the Surveyor in the choice of the common labour, and also to create a kind of close corporation. The Surveyor was distinctly restricted, for the Works Committee laid down that "no outsiders in future be taken on." He read the instructions of the Works Committee, which were as follows : — " That no outsiders in future be taken on,
and that married applicants, living in Christchurch, be taken on, and the present single men be dispensed with, except the drivers at the Fire Brigade Station ; that the married men now employed who live outside the city receive notice that their places will be filled when suitable Christchurch applicants wish employment under the Council." The motion was then put, and lost on division. Ayes : His Worship the Mayor, Councillors Louisson, Jenkins, and Brice : Noes : Councillors Ayers, Vincent, Bowman, Hosking, Crooks, Prudhoe, Reese, Kiver, and Lambert. MIBCELLANEOUB. A letter was read from the District Board of Health, enclosing a report of the Medical Officer on four cottages at the corner of Barbadoes and Chester streets. These had been in a very bad sanitary condition for over two months. The Mayor said that it appeared that a serious nuisance had existed in the City for two months without the Inspector having reported on it. This, he thought, was certainly a piece of neglect, and he wished the Council to understand that if he found any officer guilty of neglect he would at once bring the matter before them. (Hear, hear.) On the motion of Councillor Bowman, a vote of thanks was passed to Mr Attwood for his gift of land for a road to the new cemetery through, his section. A number of licenses were then granted, those for. lodging-houses being granted subject to the conditions contained in the By-law Committee's report being complied with in a reasonable time. The Council adjourned at 9.45 p.m.
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City Council., Star, Issue 4929, 19 February 1884
City Council. Star, Issue 4929, 19 February 1884
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