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Sights set on first bouldering wall

A group of Featherston enthusiasts are determined to build Wairarapa’s first bouldering wall for the community.

Bouldering involves clambering up a wall that’s built to a lower height than those used in rock climbing, and so does not require the use of a harness, with soft mats placed on the ground below instead.

Will Watterson, who organising the campaign, told the Times-Age that the group of eight residents is in the initial stages of the proposed project, which has a particular focus on young people.

“Right now, we’re in a phase where we are gauging community interest and support,” he said.

A public survey is available on the group’s Facebook page, Featherston Bouldering Wall, and will be open for the next few months while they are in the initial planning phase.

“Even in just the past three or four days since we launched the campaign, the support has been overwhelming,” Watterson said.

“This is something we feel the community would definitely use if we built it.”

Watterson said the group has been scoping out the gymnastics hall at the Featherston Sports Stadium and has had some early discussions with the gymnastics club about where the wall would go.

He wants to be able to work with the club to offer the wall for kids and the wider community.

“There is potential in the distant future to mingle and merge a little bit and possibly do some cross-training between the two groups,” he said.

After the initial planning stage, the group – which includes an architect and a builder – will move to a detailed design phase.

After a detailed design is produced, the project will be more thoroughly costed out and move into its fundraising phase.

Watterson said at that stage the group will seek the support of organisations like Rotary and charitable trusts that are focused on sports and young people.

“We will also have to go to South Wairarapa District Council and get it approved with them,” he said.

Watterson estimated the cost of constructing the bouldering wall would be in the region of $20,000.

He is encouraging more people to provide feedback on the proposed project via the group’s Facebook page.

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Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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