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Greytown’s skate park issue rolls on

A skate park, similar to Masterton’s [pictured], was proposed for Greytown’s Soldiers’ Memorial Park in 2010. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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More than a quarter of a century after it was first mooted, proposals for a skate park in Greytown may get renewed traction.

Resident Liz Farley spoke at the town’s community board meeting on Wednesday night, and urged the members to support a track’s inclusion in the new South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] long term plan [LTP].

Earlier that day, SWDC opened consultation on its LTP and spatial plan.

The council will seek feedback from residents on its layout and growth needs.

Recreational space in the district’s most populated town has been a hot topic for a number of years.

This week, the Greytown Trust Lands Trust, a large property owner in the ward, held an annual general meeting with the potential sale of sports land a major agenda item.

A space to hone skate skills has been a missed opportunity for generations of local youths and young teenagers.

Greytown is alone in Wairarapa’s main towns, and the only one in its council district, without such a park.

Farley said it would be an “important asset for Greytown youth”.

“It’s high time such a recreational area existed. I think it would be a good idea if it was considered. I know it has been raised before.

“I have seen a whole generation of my friends’ children grow up without a skate park, and I think it’s an important asset.”

Previous attempts to install a facility have raised issues in the community.

A 2010 proposal to build a route at Soldiers’ Memorial Park on Kuratawhiti St did not go ahead after residents living near the park objected.

A design was commissioned by SWDC from the RICH Landscapes architecture firm, who have been involved in the redesign of the Masterton and Upper Hutt parks.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, board member Graham Gray said the major opponents to the Kuratawhiti project had since moved on.

He said he was disappointed the town did not have such a feature.

“It’s been going on since the mid-1990s, that’s how far back and it annoys me, it has done for a long time.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find another town in New Zealand that doesn’t have a skate park, or something like it.”

“The ones who were most vocal in Kuratawhiti St have moved on. They’re long gone.”

In 2015, a steering group was given $10,000 by SWDC for feasibility and planning purposes.

The council funded the group, which had been self-funded, for planning and design.

A site on the corner of Pierce and Cotter Sts was earmarked, but no work took place.

Last year, Greytown School installed a mini ramp after it was built and donated by Sid Kempton, a town resident and Greytown Trust Lands Trust board member, with support from Juken New Zealand – JNL, and Kiwi Lumber.

Community board chair Ann Rainford said councillor Alistair Plimmer, who was absent from the meeting, was nominated as the board’s representative on the steering group.

Rainford said It had not met this triennium due to other priorities.

Plimmer did not attend the meeting, but said yesterday [Thursday September 17] it was “a disgrace” that young teenagers did not have a skate park, or similar area.

“It’s an embarrassment to the town that we have nowhere like this for our young people to use, and it’s overdue.”

SWDC’s consultation on its long term and spatial planning, What’s On Top, is open now.

Visit swdc.govt.nz/whatsontop for more information.


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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