Plans for $25,000 weather station in Picton could progress MetService ambitions

Picton and Marlborough Sounds Tourism Group members John Reuhman, left, and Helen Neighbour-Cone think a weather station ...
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Picton and Marlborough Sounds Tourism Group members John Reuhman, left, and Helen Neighbour-Cone think a weather station is the first step to putting Picton on the map.

A push to put Picton on the national weather map has taken a step in the right direction, with a $25,000 weather station mooted for the township. 

Residents have been working on their weather station plan since the middle of last year, a requirement for Picton to feature on the MetService's weather map and the national news. 

Blenheim, Wellington and Nelson are marked on the MetService map, but are climatically different to Picton and the Marlborough Sounds, with Picton having about double Blenheim's rainfall.

No sign of Picton on the TVNZ weather forecast.
TVNZ

No sign of Picton on the TVNZ weather forecast.

The Marlborough District Council will discuss the weather station on Thursday as part of the discussions around the region's draft annual plan. 

READ MORE: 
* Marlborough group wants MetService to include Picton on weather map
New economic development and tourism group for Picton, Marlborough Sounds 
Picton smart and connected 'not council's lapdog'

Picton and Marlborough Sounds Tourism Group member Helen Neighbour-Cone spearheaded the MetService idea, and said her husband first came up with it about two years ago. 

"We are very happy that the council are listening to us," Neighbour-Cone said.

However, plenty of hard work lay ahead to get the town, with a population of 4300 people, recognised.

The group would be making presentations to TVNZ and TV3, as well as approaching radio stations and entering further discussions with the MetService. 

Council chief executive Mark Wheeler said it was not just about getting Picton on the map, as the council's hydrology team would also benefit from a rainfall monitoring site in Picton, supplementing its existing monitoring site in Boons Valley, at nearby Waikawa.

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Tourism group interim chairwoman Margaret McHugh said Norwegian weather website, yr.no, showed four Marlborough centres, Blenheim, Renwick, Havelock and Picton, so she thought New Zealand media outlets should recognise Picton with its own weather. 

"The weather station is the number one job that we want to get off the list for success." 

Auckland-based marketer Rob Davis had offered his services free of charge, to put their case forward to television stations, McHugh said. 

Councillor Nadine Taylor said she supported having the station, as Picton was the "heart town" of the Sounds.

"We are the visitors' arrival centre at the top of the South Island." 

The station was estimated to cost up to $25,000, but council staff also recommended $5500 a year to cover operating costs, subject to a more detailed assessment being undertaken of MetService and media requirements.

However, the recommendation to council suggested other science agencies could contribute to the station's ongoing costs. 

If added, Picton would not be the smallest town on the MetService map. Reefton, with a population of about 1000, was included. 

 - The Marlborough Express

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