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BOROUGH COUNCIL.

Meeting held "at the Court Hou^e on Friday, SeptemberlSth. "Present—The Mayor, Gvs Finniinore, Beaven, Bamber, Brown, Hutchison, Chevannes, and Nathan. The new members Gvs Duthie and Laird took their sea';s. '

The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed. RESIGNATION. The Mayor read the following letter :— Wanganui, 12th Sept., 1873. iTo the Members of the Borough Council. Having taken into consideration the result of the elections yesterday, I feel that it would not be conducive to the public welfare were I to continue to occupy this Chair until the termination of the period prescribed by the Corporation Act; I have therefore determined to place my resignation in your hands, and trusting you will be pleased to accept the same. —1 am, &c, W. H. Watt. Cr BamivEU moved that Cr Beaven be Chairman of the meeting. Seconded by Cr Finnimore and carried. Cr Beaven then took the Chair. Cr Finnimore moved that the resignation of the Mayor be accepted. Seconded by Cr Brown and carried. COIUIESPONDENCE. Letter from the Inspector of Nuisances seeking advice of the Council as to the action to be taken against Messrs D. McGregor, ,T. Oakley, J. Freeth, and J. Townshend for nuisances existing on their premises. Letter from F. Whitlock drawing attention to the necessity of constructing an under drain from the property occupied by J. Freeth.

Letter from .T. Townshend to the same effect.

Letter from J. Thurling calling attention to'the drain across Victoria Avenue to Liverpool street. Letter from E. Wright calling attention to the unfinished state of the Corporation Wharf, and the loss caused to him by such delay.

Letter signed by the butchers in town asking the Council to allow them to expose their meat for sale outside their respective establishments.

Moved by Or Finnimore and Or. Nathan " That the request be complied with." Or Duthie drew attention to-the fact that the granting-of the request involved the quashing o? a bye-law which could not be done by a resolution of the Council without notice. After further discussion the motion was withdrawn.

Pending the election of Committees the correspondence was allowed to lie on the table. FINANCE COMMITTEE. Or Finnimore read a report giving the receipts and expenditure since the last. Moved by Or Brown and seconded by Or Chevannes that the report be received. Carried. The adoption of the report was moved by Or Ohevannes, seconded by Or Brown, and carried. POUND COMMITTEE. Or Hutchison read a report from the Pound Committee to the effect that the pound had been taken over, and Sergt. Reid temporarily appointed. FORESHORE COMMITTEE. Or Hutchison brought up an interim report on the foreshore. He stated that the Bill granting it to the Superintendent had passed through the Legislative Council, and had been introduced in the House of Assembly. It contained an important error as the schedule included that portion of the foreshore already purchased by the Council. He had written to the Minister of Justice, who had charge of the Bill, pointing this out. The corrected Bill he had not yet seen. Qn a future occasion, as soon as further information was received, a full report would be submitted. WATER WORKS. Or Hutchison said he had no report himself to make on this subject, but would direct special attention to an elaborate and exhaustive report that had been prepared by the Engineer.

Tli9_Bob.ough Engineer then read the following:—

BOROUGH ENGINEER'S REPORT. —ON VIRGIN/A LAKE AS A WATER SUPPLY. To His Worship the Mayor and Council of the Borough, of Wanganui. Gentlemen, —It is with no ordinary feeling of gratification with which I have to congratulate the Council,—and the citizens generally, through the Council, —upon the satisfactory result of my exhaustive hydraulic investigation, survey, and careful soundings of " Virginia Lake, " as a conf templated source of water-supply for the Borough. The Lake is one of Nature's wonderful formations at an epoch far anterior to the records of'our age. As a reservoir of moderate capacity, it is unequalled in any part of the world. Tts altitude, situation, and general formation could not be excelled'for the purpose in view- It contains so vast a body of water as must surprise those heretofore conversant with it. It has no apparent inlet, nor is any outlet visible. Its supply wholly depends (as I believe) od inexhaustible springs, the existence of which are capable of proof by further scientific research, when I have time at command to apply myself to the necessary operations. These springs must be fed from sources having considerably higher altitudes than the mere locality immediately surrounding the lake, inasmuch as there is no rain-fall water-shed area of sufficient extent to account for the vast quantity of water, impounded in this natural reservoir, —a reservoir not having, nor yet requiring, any artificial embankments (even of the most trivial nature), embankments such as engineers have heretofore been accustomed to form in the old world, or the Colonies, in both of which, reservoirs have been constructed from tin:e immemorial at an immense expenditure of capital. For instance, in the Colony of Victoria, the successful Van-Yean, supplying Melbourne, one item of which, the earthwork nlone of the embankment costing £105,000. The most recent reservoir, of embankment formation, in New Zealand, is that at Dunedin, impounding a mere driblet in comparison, of organically irn- ■ pure water, and although costing a considerable proportion of the £75,000 expended, is a miserable failure, being in no way sufficient to supply the wants of a large population, such as the capital of Otago will assuredly at uo very distant day reach. Notwithstanding the large, quantity <of water which Virginia Lake contains, and

doubtless has contained for thousands of years, as a still seclnded lake, embosomed within the surrounding hills, without any visible inlet or outlet, equivalent to the quantity therein, yet it remains pure, and exceedingly f ree from vegetable deposit. Us allowable purity, can only be accounted for, on the hypothesis, that a constant inter-circulation is in silent operation, although the lake does not overflow its banks ; the water-surface-level remaining nearly uniform throughout the year, notwithstanding how it may be effected by rainfall on the one hand, or absorption and large evaporation on the other, of 24 acres of surface exposed to the sun and air. This theory of continuous action is,—l submit —proved by the absence of miscroscopic are,- or vegetable remains. It is otherwise proved by ;Dr Hector's analysis .of thi3 water, amongst others which had been submitted to him for chemical analysis by the Wanganui Town Council, ' vide Di- Hector's report, dated 12th | June, 1873, from the Colonial Laboratory of the New Zealand Geological Survey Department. From the report to which I allude, I select those portions under the head of No. 4, relating as they do more particularly to the Virginia Lake water, as follows :—

_ The Doctor says, " That an examination in the laboratory, the character of the water was clear and colorless, containing per gallon 10.72 of fixed salts, of volatile matter 1.60 grains." Further, " That the oxidissable organic matter contained in No 4, (i.e.) the Virginia Lake water, is very low, more than one-half of the small amount of fixed salts present, being chloride of sodium," (i.e.,) common sea salt. •' That in one gallon of the water, the " fixed constituents " (arranged as salts) are—First—Chloride of Sodium, 4.37 ; second, Chloride of Magnesia, .73 ; third, Sulphate'of Lime, .70; fourth, Sulphate of Soda, nil ; fifth, Carbonate of Lime, 1.76 ; sixth, Carbonate of Magnesium, .96 ; seventh, Silica, 1.50 ; being a total of 10.02." Whilst, '• That of easily decomposable organic matter per gallon (i.e., grains) it contains less.than onehalf of that contained in either of the other specimens furnished (i.e.) from the Wanganui River, the Brunswick Line, and the Westmero Lake."

A3 a further comparison, free of scientific terms, therefore intelligible to every understanding, if the description of this water be placed in juxta-position with well known waters in the mother country : for instance, the River Clyde, partly supplying Glasgow, and known as the Gorbale's water works, the water being lifted (for analyetical purposes) at 6a miles above that city, and where it was" totally unaffected by sewage matter ; yet each gallon contained four times the quantity of- decomposable organic matter as compared to the Virginia water. That taken from the Clyde below the Broomilaw contained seven times the quantity of impurity; impurities prejudicial to the public health. Thus, the great contrast in favor of the Virginia Lake, proves it to be a water, —to repeat Dr Hector's phraseology, " well suited for drinking or domestic purposes generally." Moreover, I am convinced—so far as the perception of the senses can be operated on by the sensation of touch, conveyed through the sounding lead—that the bottom of the lake, even at the greatest depth of 78 feet, is comparatively free of mud, being simple alluvium, the imperceptible increasing deposit of a pure water, for thousands of years. The area of the water surface is within a mere fraction of 24 acres, or about 110,000 superficial yards. The area of the water bed at forty feet below the present surface level is acres. The maximum depth within two chains of the road is 78 feet, gradually lessening to 50 feet at a furlong's distance, and farther on 45 feet. The average of the whole being nnderated at 39 feet. The cubical contents in feet is 40,772,160 feet. The quantity of available water is 254,826,000—tw0 hundred and fifty-four million eight hundred and twenty six thousand gallons—a quantity more than sufficient to afford a daily "consumption of 25 gallons per head to the present population of Wauganui (as taken from the last census) for nearly 14. years, and that "without any rainfall whatever—allowing the dew and visible minor springs to equalize loss by evaporation. It therefore follows that the same quantity would meet the wants of a population of 10,000 for two years and nine months.

In my progress report I stated that the difference of altitude of the lake above high water—as ascertained by hurried flyinnlevels—was 280 feet. An altitude afforcfing a pressure sufficient to throw a powerful stream for fire-extinguishing purposes over the military blockhouse on Rutland hill, the highest elevation in the Borough • or over the highest church steeple ; or e"ven over Shakespeare's Cliff, if necessary. Had such like pressure been brought to bear on the recent destructive conflagration iii Auckland, a gap might have been made, by the complete annihilation of a few valueless houses by the power of water alone, the pressure being derived from a gravitation source upon a high altitude, thereby saving at a probable expense of say £5,000, from total destruction properties said to be worth £60,000. I would therefore have ■ the Council to promptly consider this fact in opposition to any pumping scheme, however feasible, or by whomsoever propounded. The pressure, and surplus quantity of water, —that is—beyond what may be required for the usual domestic consump tion, can be applied for cleansing out sewers by flushing; besides affording a large amount of hydraulic power to work printing presses, chaff cutters, wood cutting machines, or other indu3irial manufacturing machinery, likely to be brought into operation in Wanganui, for many years to come. To me, it is quite evident that the value of the Virginia Lake—as 'a water supplyhas not been understood by the early settlers, nor yet fully appreciated by the present • otherwise steps would have been taken at an earlier period to secure its possession, and turn the abundant supply to advantage. No doubt, the fact is, that the eyes of the residents have become so familiarized with it, as a simple piece of water, as not to sufficiently value it, it never before having been looked at from'a scientific point of view, or had its merits fully scanned by hydraulic experts.

So far as the limited time at my command would permit, I have hurriedly explored the country to the North and NorthWest of the Lake; where I found several admirable positions for reservoir formation, but such as would involve from ten to fifteen thousand pounds expenditure in embankments alone ; I considering that such an expenditure for such a purpose, was outside the limit of '■■ the amount allocated by the Council for Water Worka

I took no further trouble with them." I. however ran approximate flying levels up. the valley and stream immediately north of the Lake,'known as. >Kaikokopu.' This stream, which, I understand, is never ceasing a.l the year round, I followed (up to its head source in the sand hills. Finding that a considerable portion-of the water could be diverted, at forty chains, N.W., and run into the Lake, without injury to the water rights of the land-owners below such diversion, from -the fact that there are other springs below the altitude required, sufficient to supply their usufructuary rights. I would therefore advise, that.precautionaiy. measures betaken to secure the public right ■—publiai juris, to such stream; that is that it be not alienated beyond the reach of the Corporation of Wanganui; by its being bargained away, or supinely permitted to be made a commercial speculation of, to the detriment of the citizens. Having it, you may or may not use it, as future''circumstances may determine, and when its money value, might from surrounding circumstances be considerably enhanced. Should the Council, after due consideration determine on appropriating the lake to supply the Borough, I have to hold out a warning to the Council, that exceeding care must perforce be taken, touching any " engineering works " in connection therewith ; otherwise it is not impossible, nor yet improbable, that the entire water might be lost to the community as a water supply. Inasmuch as that I am thoroughly convinced —judging geologically—from " the outcropping of the lower elevations, ascending from the lower levels, i. c. London street, that the water might by the simple bungling of pretended experts be drained off, never to return, extensive as it is. It is therefore quite within the bounds of possibility that persons unaccustomed to study such like questions in seienee, might by an unwise thoughtless tampering, astonish themselves as well as the citizens, by finding some fine morning that they had tapped the lake, drained it to the bottom, and flooded the Borough. The Council will observe that my report is accompanied by complete drawings of the lake, upon which I have traced certain lines, filled .in from, soundings taken by MiGreenwood, under my daily inspection. He deserves great credit for the careful manner in which my instructions have been carried out. Therefore, I respectfully submit, —seeing that his labor and endurance was without limit, as to official hours, —that a small douceur should be added to his wages as a slight acknowledgment on the part of the Council. I would further respectfully suggest to the members of Council -the■■■propriety of their passing, at an early date, a vote' of thanks to Mr O'Hanlon, for the disinterested way in which he materially aided my investigations by affording me the use of his boat, for an entire month, free of all cost to the Corporation, whilst "making my survey and taking the soundings. The contour lines to which I have alluded, gives the area of the water at each several depths. The scientifically disposed mind will at once discover from my sectional drawings, taken at every chain "transversely across the lake, affords the means of making a correct model of the entire, of that which for countless ages has lain in ■obscurity, hidden from human' eyes, by a maximum depth of water approaching 80 feet.

Gentlemen, —To conclude, you will quite understand, that I have gone con amore into this question with a firm determination to solve the difficult question, regardless of either physical or mental fatigue. Since last meeting of the Council, I have earnestly devoted my whole energies to the subject, late and early, working the men who accompanied' me in my research, almost beyond endurance. Much more might be said, in fact a volume might with profit be written on so interesting a subject : indeed the great interests involved to the community and posterity (who will have to pay the principal) in thesuccessof the undertaking would warrant it. I have, however, endeavoured to condense: my remarks by summarising' them, so as to embrace the practical points of most interest to the ratepayers, thereby reducing the matter to the bounds of an ordinary'report, simply placing the results before the Council. My chief object being to place them before the water supply Committee, and so before the Council, certain data to warrant public expenditure ; and from which each member may be enabled to form a judgment individually and collectively as a Council, elected by the suffrages of the ratepayers, and constituting the true conservators under whose surveillance Water Supply, Sewerage, Lighting, &c, aie properly placed. \. I now beg to leave the matter in your hands, without further comment at this timeasyourprofessionaladviser, with the exception of enunciating a hope that you may agree with my expressed opinions that the time has arrived, when the works should be constructed with economy,- dispatch, and efficiency, seeing that it is a .matter, of vital importance to the well-being of, your constituents the citizens of the Borough of Wanganui.

I Lave the honor to be, Gentlemen, Yours most obediently, J. Millar, F.S.A., Borough Engineer. Wanganui, Sept. 12, 1873.

Moved by Or Brown and seconded by Or Clievannes that the report be received. Carried. • ...!..

The adoption was held over till the next meeting so as to allow the Councillors time to give it their calm consideration.; Or Finnimore very properly put it that the local paper was not bound to print it, although some of the Council appeared to taki it for granted they would. Payment should be given for publishing so important a document.

RESERVES. Or Hutchison read the correspondence anent the reserves that lias already been published in our columns. The Or said that only one reserve applied for had not been included ; that was the Rutland stockade. One of the reserves, the racecourse, was at present under trustees, so that fresh arrangements were required in that case. He thought that now the reserves were acquired they should be put to some use. He "would move that a committee consisting of Ors Baniber, Duthie, and the mover be°api pointed (Gr Duthie, chairman) to look after the reserves for the profit of the Borough. HORTICULTURAL SOdKTY. . : Eequest from the secretary of the above society, asking, .permission; to:include the Council as patrons of the societyo Tetter ordered to lie on the table. •"-..-

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Bibliographic details

BOROUGH COUNCIL., Wanganui Herald, Volume VI, Issue 1859, 13 September 1873

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BOROUGH COUNCIL. Wanganui Herald, Volume VI, Issue 1859, 13 September 1873

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