Vandalism threatens Featherston community projects

The vandalism in Featherston has got so bad that local community leaders are calling for a halt to major civic projects until the get the situation under control.

Chair of the Featherston Promotions Group Colin Olds says the community has to come together to reign in the rampant vandalism before they embark on constructing long-awaited town additions such as the planned skate park and the new toilet block.

"I wouldn't be happy to see some brand new toilets built only to have them destroyed by a bunch of bloody thugs," he says.

Mr Olds says the town is looking very shabby at the moment and much of it is down to constant vandalism attacks and a lack of pride on the part of some building owners.

"Sooner or later it (the vandalism) has got to come to a grinding halt or we are going to end up with a third world town

"It's an ongoing problem. It's one that we as a community have to address. I think we can't rely wholly on the police to deal with it," says Mr Olds.

District councillor Porky Sexton is looking to organise community patrols in problem areas of town which include the playground, the Cross Creek Miniature Railway and other public spaces. A couple of years ago it was suggested that the district council introduce a bylaw placing a liquor ban in central Featherston. According to Mr Olds that suggestion was not endorsed by authorities and never got off the ground. The idea of a liquor ban is something that will be mooted again at the upcoming meeting of the Featherston Promotion Group next week.

Recent progress on the new toilets has been a "slow grind" according to Mr Olds. In fact, plans were drawn up by the Promotions Group for the project over four years ago and though the South Wairarapa District Council has set aside money for the building little has been achieved over that time.

Mr Olds says Featherston is starting to look rundown compared to other South Wairarapa towns and it was time the various groups including the promotions group, the community, the council and the police got together to make a difference.

"We're the biggest populated town in the Wairarapa and we've got infrastructure that's not particularly nice. There are things that should be done in Featherston that aren't necessarily being done.

The place looks quite dreary to be quite honest," he says.

He points to poor footpaths and buildings that are virtually derelict with the owners refusing to improve them.