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From the Mayor

November 3, 2023 November 2023, Regular Features No Comments

Martin Connelly

I want to spend some time on the role of the Community Board. Not every council in the country has community boards. The South Wairarapa has three: Greytown, Featherston andMartinborough. 

Community Boards provide a mechanism for bringing council decision-making closer to citizens and communities, enabling community input on community services. An effective board enables decision-making to better respond to local needs.

Martinborough has a particularly energetic Community Board and I urge any of you with concerns about council services or ideas for improvement, to engage with your Board.

To demonstrate how this can work: earlier this year your Board came to the council with a proposal for improving the way the Pain Farm is managed. The council listened and set about turning the Board’s ideas into reality. The results should be evident next month.

Having a local Community Board provides an opportunity for residents to improve how the council operates in Martinborough. And not just in Martinborough village, for the board has held drop-in sessions throughout the district.

At the end of September your Community Board held a very well planned “Community Emergency Hub Open Day”. This brought together many local groups and emergency services. This day was part of the Martinborough Community Resilience Project. I am aware that not everyone thinks being prepared for a disaster is so important. But disasters do happen, and when they do it will be our neighbours and local community that will supply help first. 

I thank the Community Board for what it does to help us all help each other.

Alongside Masterton and Carterton, your Council has just released a “Proposed District Plan”. The Resource Management Act requires councils to have a District Plan, and to review them every 10  years. We developed ours jointly with our two neighbouring councils.

In simple terms, a District Plan controls what people can do on their land and how that land can be developed. The purpose of the Plan is to manage the natural and physical resources of the South Wairarapa to meet the needs of current and future generations. 

The Plan tries to balance the need for growth with good environmental outcomes. For example, it has rules regarding the minimum size that sections can be subdivided into, and it also has rules protecting natural features and heritage buildings.

While the Plan is district wide, it also has sections relevant to each part of the region. For example,

there is a list of notable trees in Martinborough. A notable tree is a tree that the community (or sometimes the Nation) regards as having special importance. Having it listed in the District Plan offers it some legal protections.

You can see the proposed Plan here: https://www.wairarapaplan.co.nz/ 

It is possible that there will be aspects of it which some people do not approve of. People can make submissions on the Plan. The submission form is at: https://www.wairarapaplan.co.nz/feedback along with the address to email your submission to. 

Closing date for submissions is December 19, 2023.

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