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Extra $40k needed for vital farm track



South Wairarapa councillors will be asked to approve an additional $40,000 to fund a farm track reconnecting a cut-off community in Martinborough.
The amount would add to an already-approved $100,000 and was needed to meet unexpected costs.
In June, more than 500 metres of Hinekura Rd near Martinborough was destroyed by a large landslide.
Geotechnical advice confirmed the landslide was about 500,000 cubic metres in volume and was still active.
The existing road alignment is unusable, so South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] will need to build a new road.
Alongside the efforts to explore alternative alignments for a new road, the construction of a temporary farm track was supported by council earlier this year.
The farm track initiative is led by local landowner Don McCreary and has the backing of the Hinekura community.
It means most road users can use the farm track through his property and avoid having to use the much longer and more complex alternative route via Admiral Hill.
In a paper to SWDC’s inaugural meeting on Wednesday, partnership and operations manager Stefan Corbett recommended the new council approve the extra $40k in grant funding to McCreary.
The additional funding would be drawn from the Rural Road Reserve.
It is needed to cover “unanticipated costs, increased material costs, and in some part due to miscommunication on budget management between [McCreary] and his project manager”.
Corbett said the community had been very supportive of McCreary’s efforts and he acknowledged McCreary had experienced “significant interruption to his life/business in the process”.
“If additional funding is not provided by SWDC the $40,000 shortfall will have to be met by Mr McCreary,” Corbett said.
“Mr McCreary is a critical partner as we progress the design and build of a new permanent road across his property and the adjacent land owned by the Hancocks.”
Corbett said the reconnection of the Hinekura community to the Martinborough side was alleviating “the negative social and economic impacts associated with the road closure”.
“Children are more easily able to get to school, farm workers to their place of employment, residents to the shops, doctors, etc.
“The farm track has greatly reduced the traffic levels on the alternative route via Admiral Hill and avoids a lengthy drive for residents on a patch of road that has been difficult to drive over the wet months.
“It offers a route out of the community if the Admiral Hill route is closed, including for critical services in an emergency.”
Stefan said the farm track may be used for a much longer time than originally estimated – “perhaps up to 24 months”.
“SWDC will be working with Mr McCreary on the maintenance of the road to ensure it remains of a suitable standard for its intended level of use.”– NZLDR
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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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