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The East Oxford by-law.

A word to the ratepayers.

On Tuesday next the ratepayers of East Oxford will be called upon to vote confidence, or non-confidence, in the Port Dover & Lake Huron Railway scheme. In view of this, it may be advisable to say a word or two upon the important results involved in the verdict given at the pools on the day.

In reference to the merits of the road itself, or of the advantages it would afford, if built, to East Oxford, little need be said. These aspects of the question have been again and again presented by the press, during the past 18 months, and at the meetings held in the township more recently, until there can be now no room to doubt that the people have, eve this, fully made up their minds regarding them. There can be no doubt either as to what are the conclusions arrived at. After hearing, and considering carefully and deliberately al the arguments pro and con which have been advanced, by opponents and supporters of the road, we venture to assert that there are now few ratepayers indeed in East Oxford who are not thoroughly convinced that the project is a feasible one, while we may say with equal confidence that there is not a single individual in the whole township, not excepting even Mr. Andrew Bursee, who will deny that the road, if built, would be a great material advantage to East Oxford. All admit the advantages, but fears are expressed in some quarters that the road may, after all, not be built; that having secured the municipal bonuses, it will fall through altogether, or perhaps fall into the hands of speculators, leaving the municipalities still without a railway and responsible for the bonuses gratned—as occured with the unfortunate old scheme. It is well that these contigencies should be taken into account by East Oxford and all the other municipalities from which bonuses are asked, and unless they can be shown to be, if not absolutely impossible, at least exceedingly improbable, it would be unwise on the part of the municipalities to grant the aid asked for.

< class="Indent"p>The ability of the company to construct the road from Dover to Stratford, it must be admitted by all who are cognoizant of the circumstances, will now depend wholly upon the asistance given by municipalities. The company has a bona fide private stock list of $105,000; they have $90,000 in bonuses, $120,000 Government appropriation, and the old road between Woodstocl and Dover with all the work done thereon, the whole of which with bonuses yet asked for, will given them a capital of between six and seven hundred thousand dollars, or about two-thirds the whole estimated cost of construction. With such a finanical basis, they have the assurance of leading capitalists, that there will be no difficulty in [floating] a sufficient quantity of the company's bonds to make up the total cost of construction and equipment.

Then, with regard to the possibility of the road falling into other hands after the bonuses are spent, we need only again remind the ratepayers, that it will be the fault of themsleves, through their respective councils, if such a contingency should occur. With a wisdom, foresight and fairness that do the directors credit, they had, as we stated on a former issue, a clause instered in their amended charter, giving the company power to enter into asn agreement with the corporations of municipalities granting bonuses, bding the company to return the amount of such bonuses to these municipalities, in the event of the road passing from their control. In case the company was unable to repay these amounts, they would constitute a first lien on the road and its equipments. If, therefore, municipalities are not sufficiently secured in this respect, it will be the fault of their councils and not of the company. The agreement may be entered into, either before the voting upon the By-law by the ratepayers, or prior to its final ratification by the council. It makes not the slightest difference which, as in either case, the company is entirely at the mercy of the ratepayers or their representatives, as the By-law falls to the ground unless finally ratified by the council within six weeks after its passage at the polls.

With these securities against loss, it does seem to us that all doubt as to the wisdom of voting for the bonus in East Oxford should be removed; but there are one or two further considerations that have great weight in determining the action of the ratepayers of the township. Their share of the surplus will be $5,220 which, if voted towards the payment of the Railway bonus woudl leave a balance of only $4,780 to be provided for by additional taxation. Is there a sane man in the township who will doubt that, even by the money spent among the farmers in building the rado, East Oxford will be more than repayed for this small sum? We trow not.

Then, if this road would be of any advantage to East Oxford and if it is ever to be built, now is undoubtedly the most favorable time that is ever likely to occur. Unless taken advantage of this year, the Government appropriation of $120,000 will lapse back to the Railway Aid Fund and will never again be available. Without this, it would be impossible to build the road.

Further, the effect of the rejection of the by-law in East Oxford on other municipalities where by-laws are to be submitted would be very unfavorable, if not altogether disastrous. If East Oxford, lying as it does immediately adjacent to Woodstock, and therefore certain to share more largely than distant municipalities, in the benefits which, all admit, Woodstock will secure by the construction of the road—if East Oxford, we way, were to refuse to grant the small bonus asked for, and thus vote nonconfidence in the scheme and the company, what could be expected from other municipalities whos advantages must, from their location, be less direct?

We have been led to the above consideration not from any fear that the By-Law is in danger in East Oxford. We have no such forbodings. Our object is simply to again place before the ratepayers of that township, fair, full and candid statement of reasons which, we conceive, should induce them to give aid to the Railway; to point out the vital consequences of the verdict which they may render, and by so doing, if possible, help to make the triumphant passge of the By-Law on Tuesday, doubly sure. Let every ratepayer in the township be early at the polls on Tuesday morning and record his vote for a bonus to the Railway.

Ref: Otterville Subdivision.