We write to express our concern at the rezoning of 217ha of rural land to industrial in Marton. The land is bounded by Wings Line, State Highway 1, Makirikiri Rd, and the Main Trunk rail line.
A report produced for the council says this rezoning could create 1800 to 2400 jobs. If partners and families are taken into account, this would almost double the population of Marton over the next 10 years. These figures are from a Berl Economic report, Upper North Island Industrial Land Demand(2015).
Our concern is that a population increase of this size would change the character of Marton and put strain on lifestyle and community services such as housing, schools, supermarkets, medical facilities etc., etc.
Yet, apart from council notices in the Monitor and brief reports in the Whanganui Chronicle and Manawatu Standard, which only put a positive spin on the rezoning, no attempt has been made to communicate with the general population of Marton and the Rangitikei. It's time for a public meeting where all parties can take part in an open, frank conversation.
Because we made a submission to council, we attended an invitation-only meeting at the council offices on November 26. NZ Bio Forestry Ltd outlined its proposal to use woody biomass to make bioplastics by a process being developed in Malaysia and bio-coal by a process called torrefaction. It also mentioned transporting logs to the site by rail west to east from Taranaki and by road south from Taupo on SH1. This would mean a heavy truck volume of one every 20 minutes, four days a week during daylight hours (logging trucks are not allowed on public roads at night). Also, two new railway sidings at Marton Junction.
Since KiwiRail is neutral at the moment, that would mean trucks being used for the west-to-east trip initially (note that, residents of Makirikiri Rd).
Bio Forestry also said its initial requirement would be 40ha. So you may ask why rezone 217ha?
Also of concern is that, at the meeting of November 26, not a single councillor was present. You may remember that in November we elected or re-elected these people to represent our interests, so where were they? Present were the mayor (as an observer), the chief executive, the Group Manager RDC, Horizons officials, LVTA, a council employee, KiwiRail, and Greg Carlyon (as facilitator). But our elected representatives were not. (Abridged)
DAVID and JOY BOWRA-DEAN
Removing Queen bad for democracy; Ken Mair under fire
Isn't it great to hear that 600 new homes will be built in Springvale?
That will boost the population.
Will all these houses be on a bus route with glass bus shelters?
Another thing with this growth: Has the council thought far ahead about parking in the hospital grounds for another few thousand folk?
With global warming, beaches in Whanganui will soon be too hot on the sand to reach the sea, which will be like Australia, and full of sharks.
Never mind, we can all go and cool off at the local pool, which — without an extra few thousand people — is already overcrowded.
Think ahead, council.
We will need extra parking etc. You're raking in the dough with your rise in wages and one, especially, is double-dipping.
Think ahead, not just on the useless 10-year plan, so earn your keep. All these houses and not a dairy or local shop, schools etc. No bus stops or shelters, so put your pipe dreams on hold and give us practical things.
Whoever heard of buses stopping work at 5pm and no bus runs on a Sunday? I have sat in one bus as the only passenger. Have a talk to Horizons and get smaller buses on the roads. We never get to see shows at our theatres in town because there is no bus.
Is our new sewerage system able to cope with the rising population?
•Send your letters to: Letters, Whanganui Chronicle, 100 Guyton St, PO Box 433, Whanganui 4500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org