Cross Creek Railway Society’s mini putt proposal for Featherston has been put on hold. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

A proposal to install a mini putt course in Featherston has been shelved.

The project would have seen a 9-hole course built, with each hole celebrating a different Wairarapa town, with an icon unique to it.

Cross Creek Railway Society pitched its proposal to Featherston Community Board in November last year, and the board supported the idea in principal.

However, the board is no longer backing the plan.

The course would have been built at Clifford Square Reserve on Fox St, tucked behind the society’s engine shed and the town square.

Initially, the idea was for the mini putt to be seasonal, with portable putting mats consisting of artificial grass and backed with a rubber surface, to be pegged to the ground for use over the summer season.

But the society has since changed its proposal to have the course installed permanently.

Board Robyn Ramsden said while the board supported the society and its contribution to the community, there were several reasons why the board would not be supporting the permanent structure, which would require the concreting of a grassed area featuring an old oak tree.

Mrs Ramsden said the board had concerns over the tree’s health.

There was also no footpath on Fox St, and pedestrians may have been forced to get past the course by walking on the road.

Members were also concerned that balls could be hit on to the road, and passing cars would pose a danger to those retrieving them.

In minutes from the board meeting on April 24, board members noted that the decision paper before them “was light on detail and lacked an arborist’s assessment of potential damage to the oak tree’s roots”.

The board also questioned “whether the society should be utilising public land for its own financial gains”.

In response, Cross Creek Railway Society secretary Roz Harding said it was not a commercial venture, and the mini putt would have provided security for the railway’s future.

“It’s $2 a train ride.

“We were thinking of charging $5 at most to get into the mini putt, and if it brought in enough money, the train rides would have been free.”

Ms Harding said the society members were “so upset” that the board were “denying Featherston” a mini putt.

Changing the proposal from a temporary to permanent structure was because it was easier to clean permanent materials.

Cross Creek Railway Society was formed in 1999 by some Featherston residents with the object of providing train rides for the community and visitors.