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[No title]


Whit-Monday at Abergavenny.




,.1 THE GLAMORGAN 1 WATER BILL. STRONG PROTEST FROM ABERDARE. NOTHING TO GAIN-EVERYTHING TO LOSE. On Monday evening a crowded meeting was hold at the Memorial Hail, Aberdare, to con- 5idrr the provisions of the Glamorgan Water Bill, and to pass a resolution thereon. The meeting was convened by a requisition made on behalf of the Aberdare Chamber of Com- merca to the High Constable (Dr. E. J. Trevor Jones). Owing to the High Constable presid- ing that evening at the conced in ad o Dr. Barn&rdo's Home?, lr, D. M. Richard- (Wen- allt) was voted to the cbair, nd he was sup- ported by Me-srs. Illtyd Williams and T. W. GriflitlLS (chairman and secretary respectiveiv), and other members of the committee of the Chamber of Commerce. The Secretary of the Chamber said he had just before coming to that meeting received a communication from Mr. E. M. Hann, regret- ting that having to go to London, he was un- able to be presont. He then, on behalf of the Chamber, moved the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr. C. R. Vicarv:— "That this meeting of ratepayers of Aberdare protests against the unjust proposal contained in the Glamorgan County Council Water Bill whereby it is sought to acquire our water UII. dertaking on terms that practically amount to confiscation, and that we urge the District Council to strain every nerve to defeat the attempt, and to reject any and every suggested compromise that will not give us a fair and equitable return for our most valuable asset." At this point, an opportunity was given to the members of ths County Council for the district who were presant to expres.s their views. COUNTY COUNCILLORS OPPOSED TO THE BILL. Councillor J. Howell said he was entirely in favour of the resolution,, and could assure them that every member of the County Council who represented that district was opposed to the provision of the Bill—(hear, hear)—and so were all the members of the Aberdare District Coun- cil. When he was a member of the latter Council, they made arrangements to oppos the Bill (hear, hear). Ho was not a member of the Water Comm.ittee of the Glamorgan County Council, but in his capacity as a member of the Council, he had done his utmost to oppose the Bill. Councillor A. P. Jones suggested that the provisions of the Bill should be explained to the meeting, a? they were somewhat in the dark. As Councillor T. Walter Williams had the Bill in h:s hand and had studied it, he thought they might ask him to explain its pro- visions and show them how it would affect that district (hear, hear). Councillor David Hughes pointed out the importance not to give away their rsasons for opposing the Bill to the-ir opponents. The water question was first mooted on the County Couno] with an excellent object—to protect the watershed of Glamorgan and the surround- ing counties from outsiders. The watersheds in Carmarthenshire, Brecon shire, Glamorgan, and Monmouthshire had been protecred against the attempts of Manchester, London, and other places. Why the County Council went beyond that he was at a to understand, and he was also at a loss to understand whv Ponty- pridd and the Rhondda should support the present Bill (hear, hear). He might say at once that no authority had such an asset as Aberdare had in its waterworks, and no author- ity had as much to 1o-,e as Abjrdare had, if the Bill passed in its pre&ent form (loud applause). He was pleased that that meeting had been called, and he supported the resolution to the utmost (loud applause). Councillor G. George said he had intended to say just what Councillor Hughes had said. When the subject was first brought forward. they found that strong corporations were seek- ing power to take water from places protected only by weak local authorities, and it was only by forming a water board combining the var- ious local authorities that the County Council could get a "locus standi" to oppose such at- tempts. When the present Bill was projected, he asked the question at the Water Committee meeting, whether it would interfere in any way with authorities who had already provided themselves with an efficient supply-(hear. hear) —and he was assured that it would not, and that the interests of all local bodies who did not wish to join the new Water Board would be safeguarded. It was on that distinct con- dition that he and others agreed to promo- tion of the Bill (applause). When, however, the final draft oi the Bill was submitted to the Water Committee of the County Council, he found that the lawyer?, in drafting the Bill, had broken faith (cries of "Shame"). A clause was inserted, giving the Water Board, when established, power to apply to the Local Gov. eminent Board to compel any di.. net council to come in ("Shame"). He asked a question on the subject, and charged them with break- ing faith with him and other members who had supported the Bill on the express under- standing that it should in no way affect the position of Aberdare and similar local authori- ties. Aberdare had benefited by the fore- sight of a gentleman who, although he was de. prived of physical sight, saw a great deal more than those who were bles-ed with t two eyes (loud applause). He pressed this view on the committee, but the only reply he received was that "the Aberdare Council are opposing the Bill, and we can promise them nothing; let them get the best terms they can from Parlia-, ment" ("Shame"). MATTER OF VAST IMPORTANCE. Councillor Morgan John Harries said that, ae a member of the County Council and tho District Council, he would only say that he was in favour of the resolution. Councillor T. Walter Williams said he had much pleasure in rising to support the resolu- tion. He congratulated the Chamber of Com- merce on having induced the High Constable to convene that meeting (hear, hear). It was their duty as public representatives to take their fellow-townsmen into their confidenco (hear, hear). The decision of the District Council to oppose the Bill was a unanimous one, and on that point he felt there was some ground of complaint against those who seemed to look upon the determination of the Council to oppose the Bill as a desire to secure a pleas ant picnic to town ("Shame"). It was some- thing of vastly more importance than that to the ratepayers (hear, hear). Aberdare was affected under the Bill in two ways: In the first place, Aberdare could not derive any bene- fit under the Bill, and the best thing they could hope for was to get the Bill thrown out. Aber dare would lose under the Bill in two ways. In the first place, the Water Board, if estab- lished, could levy a contribution from Aber- dare to assist other people to get a water sup- ply, Aberdare was to be punbhed and plun- dered because their predecessors in title—the Aberdare Local Board of Health—and its late chairman obtained for Aberdare such a magni- ficent water supply at a small cost. Now the Glamoragn County Council were fjeeking to obtain that water undertaking for a song; the proposals being to purchase it at cost price to Aberdare, leg what they were pleased to describe as depreciation ("Shame"). They were holding Aberdare to ransom, with a pistol at their head, in the shape of that Bill, with the cry of "Stand and deliver" (laughter). Aber- dare was the lamb led to the slaughter, to enable other people to live, and Aberdare would behave like the proverbial lamb if it did not open its mouth (laughter and applause). That Bill was the first Bill ever placed before the British Parliament with such a proposal. In every other transaction of the kind ever proposed, not only was the full price to be offered, but also 1C per cent. for compulsory purchase; but here, not only was the 10 per cent. eliminated, but the cost was to be lowered by tho so-called depreciation. COST OF ABERDARE'S WORKS. Proceeding to deal with the cost of the Aber- dare water undertaking, he said that £145,600 had been borrowed from time to time for the construction of the waterworks, of which £112,000 had been repaid, leaving £33,600 owing in March last. That, however, did not repre- sent the cost, for in the year ended March, 1903, £1,956 18s. was spent on the waterworks out of revenues; and in the year ending March, 1909, £2,380; and in the present half year, £1,000 had been put aside for works to be carried out at Cwmaman, making in all £5,500 in 2i years (hear, hear). He had no doubt but that the total capital expenditure amounted to £170.000; and the lowest estimate of the value of the undertaking at present that he had heard was £350,000, and even that was too low .(hear, hear). They had a storage capacity of from 110 to 120 days. Their water revenue was continually increasing, and with a small extra expenditure, they could enormously increase the storage. These facts excited the cupidity of the Glamoragn County Council—("Shame") -and now they suggested taking over their reservoirs, filters, and trunk main, at a mere song, leaving Aberdare to pay the whole cost of distribution, in addition to paying the Coun- ty Council, or. rather, the Water Board estab- lished under the .Bill, 4d. per 1.000 gallons. They also purposed, when they obtained th. Aberdare undertaking, to supply Mountain Ash from the Aberdare xesen voirs. What would be the result of their doing so? Nanthir Reser- voir was 850ft. above the level of the sea, and Nantmoel 864ft., while Mountain Ash was some 350 to 450ft. and if Mountain Ash wa. supplied from these reservoirs, it would be impossible j to supply the highest points in Cwmdare, Cwm- bach, and Cwmaman without very expensive pumping. They had already had a leon in that direction. When the Powell DufFrvn Co. erected 110 houses at Abercwmboi, the District Council found itself unable to supply the high 1-evols in, and had to go in for im- pounding the water in the stream, and were now about to spend £1,000 on a tank there; and if they had to supply Mountain Ash from the reservofrs above Llwydcoed, the result would bo that they would have to expend an immense amount for pumping the water up to the high levels in the Aberdare district, and the whole of that cost would fall on Aberdare, for Afeordare, under the scheme, had to pay all the cost of distribution ("Shame"). Take another point in the Bill. The County Cüun- oil claimed the right to wash nnd cleanso'their water mains intû the Council's .sewpr". thus filling them to overflowing and causing damage to property, Msd probable litigatica aud Jos§ to J < the District Council. Dealing with the ecst, Mr. Williams said that the Bill proposed to charge Aberdare 4jd. per 1,000 gallons for the wat?,r, which now cost them only d, per 1,000 gallons in the ma'n. with another id, per 1,000 gallons for distributing it. The 438 million gallons a year now used cost in labour £470. whereas at 4ld. per 1,COO gallons it woulJ cost them £8,212, meaning a loss of a year to that Council. Now, too, the District Coun cii received about £1.200 a year from the large consumers—railway companies, brewers, build- ers, tc.-who bought their water by mekr. which they wouid. under tho Bill. be of. Street watering now co it them £38C, a year, which he worked out at per 1 000 gallons outside the labour cost. He left flcm to compute the cost when thev would have to pay 4id. per 1.000 gallons for it (laughter and cheers). EVERYTHING TO LOSE. Aberdare bad nothing to gain but everything to by the passing of the Bill. Proceeding, he dealti with tbe terms made between the Glamorgan County Council and the adjoining Councils, comparing them with those offered to Aberdare. For each £10 share in the old Ystrad Gas and Water Works, the Rhondda District Council was to get £ 28; and on that basis, Ab?rdare ought to get on the £170,000 spent, He then dealt with the term? made with the Pontypridd Water Works—one of tbe two private companies which the county was securin under the Bill. For each original £10 share, the county was going to pay £25, and in addition, a nice little sum of £7,000 was to be distributed amongst the directors of the con;any when the Bill was passed, and the interest of even the officials wa." to be safe- guarded, as they were all to be taken over by the new Water Board or granted a pension. The influence of all these venous individuals in favour of the Bill was great, and he 'here- fore hoped that that ueeting w.;uld pass the resolution, and that the Chamber of Coir,merce would see to it that the public of Aberdare were kept well informed of what wss going j on. He had much pleasure in supposing the resolution. Mr. C. R. Vicarv said he had been told that »ceri:ain working men in the district were being carried away with the idea that by selling their waterworks, Aberdare would be free from debt, and would hcyve enough money in hand to build a hospital with (laughter). He wished to im- press upon any working man pre;?nt that the extra cost of water, if that Bill were allowed to pass, would mean an increase of at a shilling a month in their rents. Were they going to supp.orta.Bilt which was going to bring about such a calamity? (cries of "No," and re- newed cheering). Councillor G. George, at this stasre. suggest- cd that the last clause in the resolution refer- ring to the possibility of a compromise be de., leted. and this was supported by Councillor L. N. Williams and Alderman David Hughes; while others thought it was advisable to allow tho clause to remain in the case the preamble of the Bill was proved.—After a consultation, however, the mover and seconder of th* mot'on agreed to delete the la"t threo Jines, and in that form the resolution wa, carried unanimously and with a<>c!amation. A vote of thanks was proposed by Councillor T. Walter Williams to the Aberdare Chamber of Commerce for convening that meetin[!, and was seconded and carried unanimously.—A vote of thanks to the Chnirman for presidmg brought a most enthusiastic meeting to a close.


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