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YSTRADYFODWG SCHOOL BOARD…

ETHOLIAD BWRDD YSGOL YSTRADYFODWG,…

YSTRADYFODWG SCHOOL BOARD…

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PLAIN TALK TO PONTYPRIDD PUBLIC…

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PLAIN TALK TO PONTYPRIDD PUBLIC MEN. "0 wad some pow'r the giftie gi,o m To see ourselves as others see us." We make no apology for indulging in plain talk with, to, at and about local public men on some important ques- tions which must sooner or later ibe grappled with-and the sooner the bet- ter. The poet sings of one who was "beguiled too early and betrayed too long," and we can certainly apply the phrase to some sorely-needed local im- provements, for, if the betrayal is not wilful, the delay in dealing with the ques- tions is such as to bring procrastination perilously near to betrayal of trust on the part of those who were elected to look after the interests of the ratepayers. It is no use euphoneously describing Pontypridd as a town of "mushroom growth," and to excuse delay (as it sometimes is excused) by quoting any such catch-phrase. If it be suggested that the town and district have outgrown the ideas of many of those having charge of local public affairs, we sorrowfully admit the seeming truth of the accusa- tion, for (in such a form) accusation it is. The same old topics are being vaguely and indefinitely discussed by our public bodies now as have been under discussion, off and on, for five, ten, and even twenty years, and their final dispo- sal appears just as far off now as in the beginning. Of course, they are useful topics at election times, but, even in the midst of the turmoil of a contest, some of our public men adroitly fence with the questions by merely promising to consider them, so that they may not afterwards be charged with having broken their pledges. All they pro- mised was to "consider" those ever re- curring points, and they have considered them, are considering them,and will con- sider them. Indeed, we have no doubt, if some of our local public men have their way, they will go on, slowly, sure- ly, steadily, lazily, dreamily 'consider- ing" matters until they wake up some fine morning and find Pontypridd eclipsed by Ynysybwl, Senghenydd, Nantgarw, or Penycoedcae, when each and every custodian of the public rights will rub his eyes and, turning to his neighbour, exclaim—"I told you so." But, why are we led into this melancholy strain in trying to have a little "plain talk" with our local public administra- tors ? Oh, simply because these people make haste so slowly that the "march of events" is rapidly leaving them be- hind-and the town suffers-the district is suffering, and the ratepayers of the future will suffer still more because those who should be leaders lag behind the times. Take the District Council, for instance; what is the position of its affairs, and what can, and ought to, be done by its members collectively? Past laxity left the inhabitants of Pontypridd shut up, almost like caged rats, in an unfairly small district, and, when com- mercial enterprise developed the re- sources of mineral wealth within that district, a vista of prosperity, wealth and comfort was opened up to the fancy of a deluded people. They had fond visions of attractive parks, of wide streets, of a pure and plentiful water supply, of cheap gas, electric lighting, tramcars, and-what not? Well, then, what happened? Spas- modic fits of reform prompted inquiry into various subjects, and there were times when some work was done, but these fits only came on, as we have said, periodically. We can scarcely separate the deeds and misdeeds of the District Council from those of the old Local Board- The first-named body inherited the sins of omission, as well as the sins of commission, of the last-named body. Between them we may, over a range of years, trace some real work, and some sham work accomplished; we may find some deeds to praise, some to blame, some to laugh over, and some to weep over. But the drowsiness which has marked the record of latter years was creeping on slowly and surely from the g beginning, and consequently their sins of omission are metaphorically driving them down into a bottomless pit. They purchased the gasworks at the wrong time, tinkered the roads in the outlying portions of the district, and practically left the town to its fate; spent ten thou- sand pounds (if a penny) in remedying their own remissness in regard to the rails of a tramway which, as it is now, really serves nobody's purpose. Yes, yes, they bought property and acquired a site for a public slaughterhouse which. like a glorious white elephant, costs the ratepayers at the present time about sixteen pounds a week! What else? The members, in committee, in Board meeting, and in Council, talked about other biff questions, and did nothing but talk. And. like the clown in the pantomime, they come tumbling before the public every opportunity they get with the- same old story—Here we are a:1in!P Yet, to this day. Pontypridd is only on the outer fringe of the great, work which lies before its local public men. The music must be faced, and. a* we have already said, the sooner the better. We have no desire to hamper T the authorities in their attempts to ne- gotiate with the Waterworks Company —if they really intend doing anything beyond the usual fruitless "inquiry into the matter," and we will, at present, say no more than that they ought to have tackled the subject before the new re- servoir was constructed. No-we are of the District Council and of the Water-works are not co-terminous; but the Joint Boards (or Coun- cils) might have negotiated earlier, and even now, delays are dangerous and ex- pensive. Then, to turn to another sub- ject, let us glance at the People's Park. We are not now speaking of the pesti- lent-stricken site of the gipsy's encamp- ment on the Old Mill-field, but rather of the general question of a real, acces- sible recreation ground, well-laid out by nature and improved by human skill. Such a spot is provided in Ynysangharad fields, and if there is much more delay in acquiring it, the opportunity will have been lost, for building plans have al- ready been prepared in the offices of the owners of the Llanover estate. We understand that Mr L. Gordon Lenox is quite prepared to forego his tenancy of a portion of the land for the public good. Col. Lyne may have more profitable de- signs in view for the benefit of the es- tate, but, if so, let compulsory powers be sought by the District Council. At a time when other, neighbouring, bodies can borrow money at 21 per cent., surely Pontypridd can awake out of its deadly lethargy and do something to prevent the passing away for ever of valuable opportunities to provide for the present and the future of a growing district. The green memory of the loveliness of Mill Street is as fresh as ever in our minds, for, although rosy pictures of a new, alternative switchback road to- wards the market have been periodi- cally thrown upon the screen, the whole proceeding has been that of a magic lan- tern entertainment. When the shadow passed away, there was nothing left ex- cept Mill Street and its crushing arch, looking, for all the world, like the tun- nel in the Phantom Railway at Stoll's Panopticon! The proposed Electric Tramway is, so far, "scotched" by the District Council, which,- as a body, has fallen asleep across the rails, and the welfare of the town may, after all, be sacrificed to the droning slumber of the Council, whose duty it was, long, long, ago to have bridged the difficulty of the narrow arch by, either, widening that arch or constructing a bridge under the great centre arch of the viaduct- It may not be tor. kte now and it would probably pay the Tramway Company to contribute towards the cost. But, surely, it is the duty of the District Coun- cil to move ahead, and not merely act the part of a stumbling block- It might, again, be worth their while tak- ing time by the forelock, by exercising their power to purchase the existing tramway and making a continuation of it through the town themselves. In illustration of our meaning, let us just cast a glimpse over what is going on in Manchester just now:- At a meeting of the Manchester Corporation Tramways Committee a letter was received from the secretary of the Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company, in which the directors offered the following terms for a ten years' ex- tension of the lease of the tramways: That the company pay to the corporation, in lieu of the existing rent of £23,333, a remi of £ 50,000 pel year, and an annual sam of £ 4,000 for the main- tenance and repair of the existing city lines. The rates and taxes payable by the company on the suggested new rental will amount to about E16,000 per annum. It was pointed owt is the letter that the offer assured to the cor- poration a net sum of 950,000 for the lines at present in lease otthe company in addition to which there would be about £16,000 in aid of the rates. After discussing the proposal a resolution was adopted to the effect that as the City Council had already obtained statutory powers to municipalise the tramways, and had made arrangements with adjoining local autho- rities for the working of their tramways in con- junction with those in the city, the committee oould not contemplate the extension of the lease of the Carriage Company. The committee also recommended the council to obtain borrowing powers for £860,000, including E250,000 for the reconstruction of the permanent way, P,360,000 for purchase of cars, and 2150,000 for overhead epuipment. This amount, however, was stated to be only an instalment of what would ulti- mately be required." The quotation is a long one, but the subject is important, and even the men- tion of eight hundred and sixty thoun- sand pounds spent by a public body on one local improvement will, we fear, not suffice to startle the Rip Van Winkles of Pontypridd out of their long sleep. If, by chance, they rub their blinking eyes, and gape, it will only be to ask in comie surprise: Where, oh, .where is my leedle dawg gone? Where, Oh! where can he be ? Kit his ears out short and his tail em long— Oh, tell me, whora is he? The dust of a couple of generations rests lightly upon the municipal cloth- ing of our local public men, and that must be brushed off, or some of them well shaken in (if not off) their seats before any real life is thrown into the administrative work of the district, Whenever one or two have beoome un- easy in the midst of the sleepers, they have been, and are, unable to wake the others. The only answering echo has been- The voice of the Sluggard, I heard him CQm- plain, You have waked me too soon, let me slumber again. In private life, and outside the work of the Council, these members, strange to say, are capital, go-ahead business men, but the collective wisdom of the Council dwarfs their ambitions, chokes their aspirations, and seems to have (as regards the larger questions) the sopo- rific effects of an opium den upon them —more's the pity. What ventilation can do in such places is just the effect we would like to produce in the Coun- cil Chamber by well ventilating these important topics. Now is a peculiarly- fitting time for the wakeful ones to rouse their comrades to action, for, if present opportunities arc lost, they may rest assured that in so far as some very im- portant local public improvements", and their cost, arc concerned, the sins of the fathers will verily be visited upon the children, even trato the third and fourth generation. We would have mentioned. and would still like to mention, other proposals, such as the want of Public; Baths—especially swimming bat,hs-a. cottage hospital, and other conven- ictU'es, together with the removal of tbe hcoble stench-traps which make the atmosphere of our main streets intoler- ably sickening, but, until the older ques- tions are in some way disposed of, we can only plaintively ask, Cui bono?

Election Notes,

I THE VIRGIN MARY'S RING.…