From left: Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis, South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen, Carterton Mayor Greg Lang and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson. PHOTOS/FILE

Region is set to forge ahead

Plugging water woes once and for all, making roads safer with roundabouts, revamping CBDs and finding a solution to the town hall matter are all on the agenda.

As we enter a new decade, the Wairarapa Midweek editor Hayley Gastmeier asks our leaders what they anticipate for 2020. The mayors of Wairarapa and Tararua outline the big projects, goals and challenges for their respective districts, while sharing their hopes for the region.

MASTERTON, Mayor Lyn Patterson

I look forward to seeing two critical roundabouts (at the intersections of State Highway 2 and Norfolk Rd, and SH2 and Ngaumutawa Rd) delivered, as well as the 50 houses promised by the government.

Getting more quality, affordable, transitional and social housing is critical to our well-being, now and into the future.

It will also enable us to welcome refugees by alleviating housing pressure.

Masterton’s new council has definitely hit the ground running, quickly forming into an effective team.

We are also working well with our neighbours – Carterton, South Wairarapa, and Tararua.

My vision for 2020 sees us continuing to work together on shared initiatives such as economic development, jobs and training and cycle trails.

On the big issue of the town hall, we’ve already received more than 300 completed surveys and I encourage people to have their say before February.

We’ll also soon have our Park St and lower Queen St designs to start our town centre revamp.

We’ll be listening to our residents a lot this year, particularly on the big issues like water – it is already a very scarce resource.

We are already asking how we should manage Henley Lake and we will be having big conversations about how we should conserve and manage the demand for water, including what water will cost once our water meters are installed (no charging will take place until 2021).

CARTERTON, Mayor Greg Lang

I’m really excited about the Five Towns Trail Network project and am looking forward to the community engagement which will take place ahead of completing the masterplan.

The next 12 months will see some other fantastic council projects make serious headway.

Our wastewater treatment plant upgrade will be close to completion.

We will also be supporting our Carterton Lions who are generously installing a junior road cycle safety track at Carrington Park.

This will be a fantastic addition to our already popular park and will give our young people the opportunity to learn bike safety skills in a safe and fun environment, with the track set to have road markings, working traffic lights and a bus shelter.

This will be complemented by work our Place Making Advisory Group is doing to improve the front of Carrington Park which will include an art piece.

I will be working hard to get my Mayor’s CBD taskforce under way, which will work towards transforming our CBD into the vibrant hub our community needs to attract investment.

I look forward to hearing the success stories of our biennial Charles Rooking Carter awards.

SOUTH WAIRARAPA, Mayor Alex Beijen

A lot of what will happen is up to councillors – I’m merely one vote at the table – and we will soon have an intensive strategy meeting where we can discuss our key deliverables and work out how to achieve them.

As for me, there are a few things on the New Year’s resolutions’ list for the upcoming year.

The first is to upgrade our drinking water infrastructure to the point where the public forget about it (which means it is running perfectly).

This needs to be done quickly and properly after years of minimal investment.

We also need to set minimum standards for wastewater output from all our treatment plants, and then consider the finances.

I’d also like the full council to review our planned expansion of urban areas across the district and consider whether these changes will negatively affect communities.

Continued integration of Iwi into council decision-making and activities is a priority.

We’ll attempt to get more cohesion between the district, instead of communities competing for resources.

Increase shared services with Carterton and Masterton will also be a primary focus.

Transparency changes have been made, which will hopefully begin repairing public trust in council.

These include the appointment of an independent auditor of council processes, and a plan to broadcast council meetings and disclose past closed meeting minutes.

TARARUA, Mayor Tracey Collis

2020 promises to be an exciting year in the Tararua district – this year we will flourish.

We have launched our new branding ‘Land of Ranges’ with the first signs already on Route 52 and the Pahiatua Track.

Tararua is nestled in between the Ruahine and Tararua ranges with the smaller Puketoi and Waewaepa ranges running through the centre.

The branding works well as Tararua has seven towns, with a wide range of stunning landscapes.

The Maori translation of Tamaki nui a Rua also features.

Each town can use the branding and include a picture of a local icon important to them.

It will be exciting to have branding not only welcoming our visitors but making our people proud too.

The construction of the new Manawatu Tararua Highway begins with the first sod turned in the New Year.

This will be the largest roading project in New Zealand when it commences and is a new model for working together.

New businesses have already opened their doors and spending, building consents and our population are all on the rise.

The Manawatu-Tararua Highway will provide the greatest opportunities for employment and growth the Tararua district has experienced in our 30 years since formation.