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Town square deserves fanfare

By Seamus Boyer

[email protected]

How early is too early for an official opening?

There was a bit of grumbling over the decision to hold the Featherston Town Square opening at 7.30am tomorrow.

One ratepayer, Jim Curry, said the decision was “a joke”, and he couldn’t understand why the project’s completion didn’t warrant more of a celebration.

“It’s just an insult to the ratepayers of Featherston to have this thing almost in the dead of night.”

Perhaps a slight exaggeration there, but you get his point.

South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples disagreed, saying it wasn’t early enough.

The council would have preferred a dawn blessing, she said.

“We are doing it as close to dawn as possible, and that’s because that is often what iwi do with regards to blessings of pieces of land.”

Fair enough, but you can’t help think a lot of people will miss out on what could have been a great day for the town.

That area of the town has looked terrible for a long time.

It’s finally been cleaned up and, once the fences come down and the last minute finishing touches have been applied, should be a great addition to the town.

So why not do the blessing at dawn, then invite the town to celebrate at, say, 10am?

Roll out a bouncing castle, sausage sizzle and a band and you’ve got a fantastic family day out that wouldn’t cost the earth.

The argument was made that people have Saturday morning sport to go to.

Well it’s school holidays and there is none.

The council says it’s too close to election day.

Well get a non-political appointee, the chief executive for example, to do the opening and keep any speech short, sharp and to the point.

Things are moving in Featherston, slowly but surely.

Now the supermarket is firmly established and doing well, the Town Square has been completed, and the area between the two sold to developer Marcus Darley to be made into a retail and hospitality hub.

This should be celebrated, loudly and proudly, not before a lot of people would even choose to get up on a Saturday morning.

There still is some hope this could happen.

Mrs Staples says that if the appetite is there, it could happen after the election.

Let’s hope the new council decides to do just that.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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