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Opposition to Pain Farm plan piles up

A plan to allow effluent to be dumped on a Martinborough farm has faced strong opposition from neighbours.

Objections to Pain Farm being used for waste disposal purposes are among hundreds of submissions received on the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.

The submission summaries were made public in an agenda for the plan committee, which met on Wednesday.

A total of 241 submissions were received on the draft plan; summaries of these submissions and requested changes were compiled into a document totalling almost 1000 pages.

Of the submissions spanning topics across Wairarapa, nine were about Pain Farm.

The Pain Farm land was bequeathed to the former Martinborough Borough Council by George Pain in 1932 to be used as “a sports ground for the residents of Martinborough and as a playground for the children”.

Last year, South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] requested that all 85 hectares of Pain Farm be designated for “waste disposal purposes” in the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.

The requested designation came as a shock to the community, despite the project being signalled in the council’s 35-year-consent, which was approved in 2016.

Legal advice from 2011 has also come to light, which told the council that using a portion of Pain Farm to “dispose of human effluent would not be consistent with the purpose to which it was gifted to the council”.

Council officers have been asked to present a report on the matter at the next full council meeting.

Among those who submitted to the plan was Bruce Sollitt.

A summary of his submission said he was opposed to the designation and believed there was inadequate notification and consultation on the designation.

Sollitt submitted that the proposal for the site was not compliant with gifting criteria and that there were significant health risks relating to smell, toxicity, and effect on groundwater for surrounding residents.

Colin Baruch and Edgar Vandendungen’s submissions raised concerns about a lack of consultation for the designation notification, as did Garrick and Pamela Wells.

Each of these submitters has also signed a letter addressed to SWDC outlining their concerns about the process.

In their letter, the submitters and other residents stated that “a majority of nearby residents were not notified about the recent SWDC consultation on Pain Farm, nor invited to make submissions”.

“We submit that SWDC does not have the legal right to redesignate/repurpose/rezone the Pain land, let alone process or release wastewater there.

“We, as the nearest neighbours, clearly articulate that we do not support your plan.”

Further submissions on the Wairarapa Combined District Plan will be welcomed soon, but will be limited to supporting or opposing matters already raised; a further submission cannot raise or address any new matters.

Once public notice is given, people will have 10 working days to submit.

People who are allowed to submit are limited to: “any person representing a relevant aspect of the public interest; any person that has an interest in the Proposed District Plan greater than the interest that the general public has; The Wairarapa District Councils. -NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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