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No end in sight

The proposed site of Featherston wastewater treatment plant. PHOTO/FILE

Featherston’s sewerage saga continues
Further public consultation needed

MARCUS ANSELM
[email protected]

There is no end in sight for South Wairarapa District Council’s Featherston wastewater proposals.

A hearing on the consent appeal for the project, scheduled for May, has been struck from the calendar after the latest update from SWDC and Greater Wellington Regional Council.

This comes after two cancellations last year.

In a joint memorandum to the panel in charge of resolving the issue, SWDC chief executive Harry Wilson and Shaun Andrewartha, a GWRC environmental regulation manager, said they believed “there was a real opportunity to rethink how Featherston’s wastewater can be treated”.

The proposal is for treated sewage to be used on 174ha of paddock on Murphy’s Line and Longwood East Rd.

GWRC has already approved 35-year consents for Greytown and Martinborough to irrigate wastewater to land.

A huge number of submissions during public consultation were against the plan and GWRC turned down the application.

The memo said changes to the proposal, or possibly a complete resubmission, were options.

Campaigners against the plans said at least $6.2 million had been spent on the project to date and the decision to delay and restart the long process would add more cost.

One of the submitters against the proposals is South Wairarapa deputy mayor Garrick Emms.

He submitted before his election as a ward councillor in October.

“What I’d like to come up with is a plan to move forward and go back to the people and ask, are we happy about this?” he said.

“Engage, and then consult.”

He said public engagement came “after the horse had already bolted”.

“There had already been a lot of money spent. Can we modify what’s already out there? We don’t know, we need to ask that question.”

Public debate has been strong on the matter, which was first lodged with GWRC three years ago.

SWDC councillors and officials are set to discuss the matter as part of a wider wastewater workshop early next month.

The workshop is part of the induction process for the new council.

All councillors have already visited Greytown and Martinborough’s wastewater treatment plants.

Mayor Alex Beijen said the workshop was to upskill all councillors in wastewater matters.

“As much as I hate workshops, sometimes you have to be able to speak freely,” he said

Wilson said council officials will be providing advice in advance of any public meeting to elected members who have made a submission.

It also recommended for councillors to vote on the issue, and for further public consultation.

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