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SWDC draft annual plan submissions aplenty

Martinborough Town Hall where councillors are hearing submitters on the SWDC annual plan. PHOTOS/FILE

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Submissions to the South Wairarapa District Council’s draft annual plan were more than five times the number received last year, and 54 people are speaking to their submissions.

Starting at 9am yesterday, 35 speakers were scheduled to address SWDC councillors at the Martinborough Town Hall and 19 people are scheduled for today.

The proposal to use ratepayer money towards a new Greytown Sports and Recreation Hub has generated rigorous debate, vocal objection, open letters, and plenty of social media chat.

Marketing and publicity to promote the merits of the hub also gained attention.

Liz Mellish

Long-time Featherston resident Liz Mellish addressed the council yesterday afternoon.

She said the crux of her address was to urge councillors to review spending on large projects at a time of “two major world changing happenings – covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement”.

“Now is not the time to spend large,” Mellish said. “These are serious times and covid-19 will continue to have a massive impact on lives and employment. I suggest larger projects are deferred.”

Mellish said the ease of doing submissions online and the controversial Greytown Sports Hub spend brought ratepayer’s attention to how decisions were made and how towns could be set against each other.

“This happened with the council supporting the Martinborough Waihinga Centre and other towns felt it was unfair.

“It is happening with the proposed support for the sports hub. It is time the council took stock of all the assets right across the region from Ngawi and into the towns.”

The SWDC initiative to invest more than $2.6m in town land to secure green space for sports has been the major talking point in the draft plan.

Both Greytown Trust Lands Trust, the owner of the land, and petitioner [former Wairarapa MP] John Hayes, composed open letters to ward residents.

Hayes’ petition was to be presented after lunch today.

After the oral submission process, councillors will come up with a final annual plan, which will be adopted by councillors on June 30.

The 2020/21 financial year will be the third year of implementation of the Long Term Plan 2018/28.

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