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The weather was fine and a large concourse of spectators was present, including Mr J. Robertson, MP and members of Horowhenua County Council.
The band of the Boys’ Training Farm, by kind permission of Major Burlinson, was present and discoursed music at intervals.
The Mayor, who was accompanied by the Mayoress, said that he had received a letter from Mr Field, who was unable to attend the opening ceremony.
Mr Field, remarked the Mayor, had had a considerable amount to do with obtaining the subsidy towards the baths. He had written him saying that although he had been the means of getting several Coronation subsidies throughout the country, nothing had given him greater pleasure than obtaining the subsidy towards Levin’s baths.
Mr Field hoped that not only from a swimmers point of view, but from a financial point also the baths would prove a success.
Mr Gardener went on to trace the development of the town from the time of its inception as a borough in 1906 and commented upon its steady progress.
In that year a loan of £700 was obtained and as a consequence the valuable reserve in the centre of the town was dedicated.
The annual rental paid the interest and sinking fund, which would be paid off in fifteen years. By expending that £700, Levin obtained one of the most valuable municipal leases in the dominion, so far as a country town was concerned.
The reserve brought into the town an income of about £600 a year. Then followed a loan of £3000 for street improvements, and in 1908 a loan of £10,000 was obtained for gas works.
At the time it was prophesied that the gas works would be a burden on the ratepayers. But as a matter of fact the consumers of gas had paid for every penny of wages, interest, maintenance and sinking fund and the ratepayers had not been called upon to pay any of these charges.
The borough, continuing a progressive policy, subsequently borrowed £22,000 for water.
The Mayor said that he was proud of the way in which that loan had been raised and dilated upon the advantages the town derived from a high pressure supply of pure water.
At the end of thirty years the water would be absolutely free of interest. The water supply was not only an advantage to the town, but to the whole of the district.
Subsequently the borough looked at what could next be done and two important steps took place. One was the erection of the Carnegie Library and the other was the proposal in regard to the baths.
He ventured to say that the baths would be a most valuable adjunct to the town and he hoped, in order to promote their success, that those who could not swim would not hesitate to support the institution by purchasing a book of admission tickets, the charges for which were exceedingly reasonable.
Adverting to the advantage of a knowledge of flotation, the Mayor referred to the recent drowning disasters at Foxton and expressed the hope that those who learned to swim at Levin might be the means of saving life when the contingency occurred.
A bottle of champagne was then broken over the water by the Mayoress, who said: “I now christen these baths the Levin Coronation Public Swimming Baths, to commemorate the coronation of King George V”.
The president of the Swimming Club, Major Burlinson, made the presentation of the Mayor’s handsome medal to the first person who plunged into the baths in the orthodox costume. He warmly complimented Mr Gardener on giving such a valuable service.