Council won't hear submissions in Whanganui

By Laurel Stowell

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ANNOUNCING: Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy launched the Manawatu-Whanganui Growth Study last August, but Whanganui ratepayers have mixed reactions to it.PHOTO/FILE
ANNOUNCING: Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy launched the Manawatu-Whanganui Growth Study last August, but Whanganui ratepayers have mixed reactions to it.PHOTO/FILE

Horizons Regional Council will not be in Whanganui this year to hear submissions to its annual plan - because not many locals want to be heard.

Instead the hearings are today and tomorrow in Palmerston North. Most of the submitters who want to be heard come from Palmerston North or farther south.

The council received 91 submissions on its annual plan this year, 12 up on the previous year. The closing date was April 12.

Several were from Whanganui but only mayor Annette Main from Whanganui District Council and David "Tex" Matthews from its Rural Community Board want to give them in person.

Submissions are up on the council's website, and there were a wide range of issues covered. Some of the top ones were flood control, regional bus services and support or opposition to the council's involvement in the Government's economic growth strategy for the region.

Donna Mummery supported Horizons' financial and staff contribution to Accelerate25, the growth strategy's action plan. Mark Neilson was against.

"Rural and urban centres are quite capable of deciding where their future should be themselves. They already have management systems in place which are far cheaper to operate.

"Horizons has no right being involved in economic development. All your ratepayers require is A water management, B pest control and C stable rates," his submission said.

Some submitters simply wanted the council to cease to be, saying it duplicated other services. Several wanted better water quality, more sustainable farming and a tougher approach to farmers who don't apply for resource consent.

An Ashhurst man wanted all cats banned. A Dannevirke man was dismayed by the spread of old man's beard (Clematis vitalba) and a Marton man was worried about the weed field horsetail.

Whanganui man John Newton suggested turning the flood-prone parts of Anzac Parade into a "red zone" without housing, and aiming for rivers people can swim in.

The council will debate the submissions on May 10 and 11, and the plan is expected to be adopted on May 31.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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