Hodder Farm is proposed for irrigation of Featherston wastewater. PHOTO/FILE
SWDC admits consultation was inadequate
Featherston residents are to get more chances to express their views about South Wairarapa District Council plans to irrigate wastewater to land, with a new round of community engagement drop-in sessions to start next week.
Announcing the sessions on Monday, new chief executive Harry Wilson conceded more should have been done to talk to the community before a resource consent application was lodged with Greater Wellington Regional Council.
“We acknowledge that we did not engage with the Featherston community and mana whenua to the extent we should have, before submitting the proposal for resource consent,” he said.
“As a new chief executive I have an open mind and would like to better understand the many perspectives of what is being proposed so I’ve asked the project team to engage more widely with the community.
“I will also be taking the opportunity to meet with mana whenua and some community groups.”
Wilson said while the community appeared to support the concept of irrigating wastewater to land, more information needed to be provided on how this would work in practice.
“I’ve read the public submissions and was pleased to see general consensus that moving the discharge of wastewater from waterways to land is the right thing to do,” he said.
“I also appreciate that the community would like to better understand how we are proposing to do that.”
In May, the council was given until November 1 to complete the hearings into the applications.
This came after two deferred hearing sessions.
They were originally planned to be completed by March 18, and then June 7.
The council is proposing to progressively move to discharging the town’s wastewater to land rather than to waterways, with the majority of the changes happening within the first five years after consent is granted.
“I’d like to reassure Featherston residents that we’ve taken their feedback onboard and would encourage them to get along to the community drop-in sessions,” Wilson said.
“There will also be an opportunity to provide further feedback on the proposal.”
Drop-in sessions will be held at the Royal Hotel, Featherston, on July 9, 17 and 25, from 11.30am-1.30pm and 6.30-8.30pm.