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Looking for a new lead on dog pound

SWDC staff would now investigate other South Wairarapa options for the new pound. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] will now need to secure a new site for its proposed dog pound after lease complications at its preferred site.

A shipping container design costing about $240k was planned for a council-owned site on Johnston St, Featherston, to replace the council’s current animal facility, which does not meet welfare standards.

But the land was already leased by Earthcare and a lease variation could not be done.

At this week’s planning and regulatory committee meeting, councillors agreed to recommend that SWDC staff progress animal shelter plans through to procurement, “as long as a suitable

South Wairarapa location can be sourced and the costs do not exceed the budget allocated in the Long Term Plan [LTP]”.

Last year’s annual plan showed $240k was carried forward to June 2021 to spend on the dog pound.

The LTP showed $100k capital expenditure for the dog pound in the 2021/22 year.

Environmental services manager Rick Mead said whatever site was chosen for the facility, it would need to have septic, water, and power connections.

“One of the risks we are facing at the moment, due to covid, is we have increasing costs in terms of the supply chain.

“We had gone out and spoken with suppliers, but now [the costings] are already 10-15 per cent higher than originally quoted.”

Councillor Alistair Plimmer asked whether SWDC could reignite discussions with Carterton District Council to have a shared facility.

The latter has already decided to build its own pound after several years of talks with the other Wairarapa councils on having a combined facility.

Mead said the “time to talk has ended”.

“You’re at the red wire, blue wire situation with the clock going, and you have three seconds to pick.

“We need to decide what to do. The last direction we had was to look at Johnston St and it was favourable.”

But this option was now not viable because of the lease arrangement.

Plimmer said a shared facility with Carterton made more sense than going at it alone, particularly in light of the looming Future for Local Government review.

“I don’t think you need to be a wizard to suspect that eventually there will be forced amalgamations on us in the future. I don’t see that not happening.

“Going in with Carterton gives a more central location in the future.

“I know [Mayor Alex Beijen] may not agree with me, but I am leaning much more towards going in with Carterton because I think it will future-proof us.”

Beijen said SWDC had tried to do a combined pound with Carterton previously, but “no one even tendered for it”.

“We have an opportunity to have a modular system with our slight budget, so we have the potential to make a decision here today to go forward.”

Regarding a shared facility option, Beijen said he was concerned with “additional overtime, transport, and spending a quarter of a million dollars on someone else’s asset and not keeping it on our books within the South Wairarapa”.

SWDC staff would now investigate other South Wairarapa options for the new pound.

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