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Borehole proposal at ‘sacred site’ canned

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] has unanimously rejected a proposal to put a borehole in a war memorial park and has sent water planners back to the drawing board.

Wellington Water had recommended putting the borehole close to a public swimming pool in Greytown’s soldier’s memorial park, which commemorates war heroes.

The decision by the council’s Infrastructure and Services committee on Tuesday [25 July] follows a recommendation from a hearings committee last week. Public consultation showed the proposal was unpopular and formal feedback universally opposed the suggested borehole site.

The committee unanimously agreed not to progress with the Wellington Water borehole and pump proposal.

SWDC group manager partnerships and operations Stefan Corbett said there had been deficiencies in the consultation process on the issue.

“What should have happened was options within the park and options outside of the park should have been properly canvassed. And that importantly should have included costings in the options analysis, so that the community was able to make a fair and reasonable decision about whether they were able to accept a bore in the park in the given location because there were significant cost benefits. Or they would choose to decline that and accept the conditions under which the bore would be placed outside the park.

“And that didn’t happen,” he said.

There was wide discussion and general agreement by the committee that further strategic work regarding water services is needed.

Councillor Plimmer is a member for the Greytown ward, and a returned serviceman.

“The hearings and the public view were very specific: don’t bother coming back with options in the park.

“If you want to come back with options, they have got to be holistic views about what is required for Greytown and Featherston water.

Plimmer said the public had been clear that is a sacred site and they do not want a borehole in it, and also noted that some issues raised in relation to the borehole and pump are new and need to be given proper consideration with the water needs of the district as a whole in mind.

South Wairarapa mayor Martin Connelly agreed.

“The proposal is to put a bore into a war memorial. I think people at the hearings committee were somewhat taken aback by the realisation that somebody was suggesting [the borehole be put] somewhere akin to the square in Martinborough, or next to the cenotaph in Featherston, or possibly the war memorial in Wellington. That would not happen, and clearly, the expressed wishes of the community were it should not happen,” he said.

Connelly said, in addition, some proposed options should never have been on the table.

“What is the strategic picture here?” he asked.

“Are we dealing with these sorts of issues in a ‘let’s do a bit of engineering here, let’s do a bit of engineering there’ way, or do we have a grasp of the big picture?”

The committee accepted there are important issues relating to water infrastructure that need addressing, and unanimously agreed to delegate to the chair to consider the matter and come back with proposals on the next steps – including what consultation might be needed. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. What are you consulting on if you don’t even providing costings? How are you conducting this consultation via in person meetings?

    “And that importantly should have included costings in the options analysis…”

    I am still baffled that the Council is paying $1,000,000 for a skatepark in Greytown! Okay sure 2/3’s will be paid by the small group of people championing this insane idea but who is going pay for the maintenance and renewals once it is built! Why is the council adding new assets to its portfolio when it does not have money to maintain them? Especially these vanity assets.

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