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Chink in the wall?

June 13, 2024 June 2024 Comments Off on Chink in the wall?

Has South Wairarapa District Council begun hearing the community’s voice on Pain Farm Estate?

More than five years after the Martinborough Community Board asked for the estate’s financial records, SWDC has formally told the MCB:

1. Staff are scrutinising “historic financial records for the Estate and (will) thus provide an accurate account of overheads and charges paid to the council” from Pain Farm.

The council added that “overcharges, underpayments and any non-payment for council-held (farm) leases will be … refunded where appropriate.”

2. Council is seeking advice “from Trust Specialists” over “an appropriate future management model for the Estate … from the perspective of what is best for the Pain Farm Estate Trust.”

The statement from council followed a meeting of MCB members with the deputy mayor and council CEO.

The new talks came after the mid-May public meeting voted almost unanimously “that Pain Farm Estate should be held as a separate, independent trust, and we ask the council to step aside.”

MCB members told The Star they “strongly feel that this (council action) will be a positive step to assuring our community that their voices have been heard.”

Board chair Storm Robertson said the “progress” was that council CEO Janice Smith is looking at the issue “from the Trust point of view. And she has a trust lawyer doing it … but the track record suggests we may not get what we want out of that either.”

MCB member Angela Brown noted the council “was going back well over two years into the (financial) records, and we’ve never (previously) had a commitment to go back that far.”

MCB member Mel Maynard said the council’s public consultation on waste water nearly a decade ago was all about “whether the community wanted to put waste water to land _ and there was nothing about Pain Farm. 

“No matter how much you consult, if you’re not talking the full story and the people you’re talking to are beneficiaries of that land _ there’s something you’re not telling them.” 

Happy days as SWDC rates rise just 14.7 percent

June 13, 2024 June 2024 Comments Off on Happy days as SWDC rates rise just 14.7 percent

By Ray Lilley

South Wairarapa District Council has decided to set the 2024-25 rates increase at 14.7 percent _ shearing 0.6 percent from its earlier proposal and more than 5.0  percent below last year’s record level increase of 19.8 percent. 

But wait, there’s more: a 20 percent increase in Greater Wellington regional rates.

And, within hours of its decision, SWDC faced an “error” when Wellington Water, in charge of water services, unveiled a $51 million blunder it had made in its Long Term Plan budget. 

That immediately added $200,000 of extra and unaccounted costs to next year’s SWDC Enhanced Annual Plan costs.   

Deputy Mayor Melissa Sadler-Futter, council representative to Wellington Water, said SWDC “will be looking to Wellington Water to make appropriate savings to our capital works programme to cover these costs _ to mitigate the financial risks to our ratepayers and community.”

There was no immediate indication what parts of the Wellington Water’s works programme in South Wairarapa would be affected by this requirement.

Wellington Water is a council-owned co-op charged with providing public water services for South Wairarapa, Upper and Lower Hutt and Wellington.

The co-op has commissioned an independent review of how the “$51 million” budgeting blunder  occurred, which Sadler-Futter described as the “latest” in a series of errors at Wellington Water. SWDC would seek to ensure “meaningful change and improvement” was implemented after the review.  … Continue Reading

New Public AED for Martinborough

June 13, 2024 June 2024 Comments Off on New Public AED for Martinborough

Mens Shed crew install the upgraded Book Exchange.

Mens Shed Martinborough

Martinborough has its latest Public AED (Automatic External Defibrillator), now installed at the Men’s Shed in Cork Street.

This is a public access AED: i.e. it is not located inside a building so is accessible by the public if needed.

A special vote of thanks to the Wairarapa Building Society, Martinborough Lions Club and to the members of Martinborough Men’s Shed and Martinborough community for their generous donations.

Full instructions on how to access and use the defib unit are on the cabinet and also by audible instructions given by the device itself.

Enlarged Book Exchange cabinet

Martinborough Men’s Shed has constructed and installed a new, larger cabinet for the Community Book Exchange outside the Lions Hall in Oxford Street.

The popularity of the book exchange meant the old cabinet was no longer big enough.

Using recycled materials, the new cabinet was constructed by club members and last week was installed and re-stocked with books.

How Well Do We Know People In Our Community?

June 13, 2024 June 2024, Regular Features Comments Off on How Well Do We Know People In Our Community?

Sue Sullivan at a key workstation: Kitcheners coffee machine.

By Lyle Griffiths

Sue Sullivan is a well-known identity in our community. Where else are you greeted by “Hello Darling,” giving an immediate uplift to your day? And the Havana coffee is now a basic necessity of life. 

Bruce and Sue both lived in Martinborough when the children were small, working on farms at Hinekura, Bush Gully, and Arohanui. When the Hinekura School closed they moved to Wellington for the children’s education. One hour on the bus each way to Martinborough School for 5-year-old Jasmin was just too long. 

After the girls had finished their secondary education, Sue and Bruce returned to Martinborough. Her Mum and Dad were keen for them to return and help with the family farm.

Meanwhile Sue completed her Wine Industry Certificate and worked on vineyards taking cuttings for the Budwood Industry contracted by Riversun.

Bruce and Sue bought Kitchener’s Dairy in 1996. It originally had 6 owners who ran a tea rooms, the post shop, and a dairy.

After a day of working in the vines Sue and Chrissy, her sister were heading back to the tearoom for a sausage roll, when they noticed a tiny, printed sign half hidden by a curtain: “Business for Sale.”

They discussed it and plunged in. Sue had worked in Wellington, owning two cafes so had plenty of experience.

In the tea rooms there were four chairs. The kitchen possessed only two domestic ovens. There was no dishwasher. Facilities were minimal.

The Post Office was a facility where people paid their phone bills, power bills, road user charges, and posted their letters and parcels. … Continue Reading

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