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Greytown backs trust’s proposal

Cobblestones Museum is one of the assets at the centre of a controversial 99-year-lease proposal. PHOTO/FILE

The results are in – and Greytown’s museum and sports clubs are likely breathing a sigh of relief.

Greytown Trust Land Trust’s [GTLT] survey results, posted on Wednesday, show an overwhelming majority of respondents support a divisive lease proposal on trust lands.

The proposal, supported by four of the six trustees, would lock in 99-year leases for the land beneath Greytown’s bowling and rugby clubs, the Cobblestones Museum, at $1 a year.

In 2020, South Wairarapa District Council explored buying the land beneath the community assets. However, a purchase never eventuated.

The split at the GTLT table reached an inflection point last month with an ‘unprofessional’ leaflet drop in Greytown letterboxes by one of the dissenting trustees, Wayne Regnault.

Despite his best efforts at persuading people otherwise, the latest public consultation showed Greytown overwhelmingly supported the trust’s proposal.

The survey, conducted online and by written submissions, had 607 respondents, 435 of whom were from Greytown – about 15 per cent of the population [June 2018 census].

The survey report complied by BRG Limited said the sample size provided 95 per cent confidence that it accurately reflected the views of the wider Greytown population.

It said men and women were equally represented, and respondents skewed slightly older.

The survey asked whether people supported the trust’s 99-year lease proposal for the rugby club, bowling club, and Cobblestones Museum.

For each of the three assets, at least 80 per cent of the respondents were in favour of the proposal.

The survey asked people to comment on Greytown’s Plunket.

The results showed that 70 per cent of the comments were supportive of the service and its location on McMaster St.

The survey report said common themes emerged in support of the proposal for the rugby and bowling clubs, including preserving scarce green space in Greytown, protecting land owned by the community, and providing financial stability and certainty for the clubs.

More than half of those who commented in support of the proposal for Cobblestones said the museum was an ‘iconic community-owned asset’, preserved local history, and would benefit from the financial security of the lease.

Those who were against the proposal for all three assets cited the council’s involvement, narrow community use of the spaces, and perceived financial impact on the trust as reasons to oppose it.

Before the survey results, trust chairman Phil Holden said it would be “very hard” for an elected representative to ignore the wishes of the community.

In a statement on Wednesday, Holden said the incoming board, formed post Local Body Elections, would determine the timing of a trustee vote on the proposal.

He said the survey had been a valuable and important step in the process.

“The Greytown community has delivered a clear and strong message for the consideration of the trustees.”

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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