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Crimp: No more to town square

Earthwork’s Featherston Town Square concept which included artist’s quarters, an amphitheatre and space for markets. IMAGE/SWDC

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Many Featherston residents see their town square as unfinished but, apparently, it is.

And a former Featherston councillor is calling for the public space to be dedicated to the townspeople.

Opened in 2016, the Featherston Town Square was a long-awaited centre for the township.

Its concept design included artists’ quarters, a rotunda, and powered sites for mobile food outlets – but none of these featured in the finished square.

The Featherston Community Board asked South Wairarapa District Council what was still to be done and when this work would take place.

This came after residents saying they were unhappy with the council’s half-hearted approach to the project, in which stage two of the development never went ahead.

But council chief executive Paul Crimp says, “There is no further work to be done”.

“Stage two was always contemplated to be a separate project with a separate decision-making path,” Mr Crimp said in his report to the board.

“As we evaluated the tender document, items had to be removed to meet budget.

“Updated plans were not redrawn due to cost, and the final plan would simply have been the same plan with items removed.”

Initially, the Featherston Town Square was expected to cost $500,000.

The final tender price was $657,000, plus project management fees, Mr Crimp said.

Former councillor and community board member Dayle Harwood questioned the plaque in the square, which dedicates the public space to a previous South Wairarapa mayor and the construction company, both of whom Mr Harwood says were paid to do the job.

Noting how the council had let the community down through the Fitzherbert St land swap debacle, he suggested at the board’s meeting this week that the park be dedicated to the people of Featherston.

Mr Harwood said he was a fan of officially naming the square ‘The Squircle’, which he believed represented Featherston and its quirks.

The board supported giving the town square a name and would investigate the idea further.

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