FEATHERSTON residents will have to wait until May to enjoy their new town square, a project that was intended to be completed by February.

The delay comes after a review of the project between contractors and the South Wairarapa District Council was carried out, and to avoid a clash with state highway roadworks.

"By doing some small fundamental changes to the project we are getting a better product and we're saving money," said Mark Allingham, SWDC group manager of infrastructure.

One example of this was the pergola, originally to be made of timber, which will now be made of steel and can be "whipped up off-site".


"We can run the wiring through the actual steel work. The wiring won't be exposed as it would have been on the timber.

"It's a lot cheaper and will be easier to clean."

Mr Allingham said the council was also co-ordinating the project with the New Zealand Transport Agency, who have scheduled a road re-seal on State Highway 2 through the planned town centre zone at the beginning of February.

"Luckily we did hold back because otherwise we would be in the middle of construction while NZTA was at work," he said.

"If [NZTA] do so while we are going in and out of the [town square] site it's likely to rip up the new seal and bleed, which in the middle of town would be not good."

Construction of the square would begin in February after the roadworks had finished and be completed in May.

Mr Allingham said he could not yet comment on the project's price tag, however "it was going to be cheaper than initial costs".

He said they were also tying the project in with other works going on "to save on establishment costs".

These include the Featherston stadium roof replacement and minor council maintenance on some buildings around town.

Where possible materials for the project had been sourced locally, as had the contractors.

"As well as providing work for people and businesses in our region, it also ensures that in the future if any maintenance work needs to be done we can go back to the local contractors and suppliers who worked on the project in the first place.

"The Featherston Town Centre will be an asset to the township and also our district.

"While there have been slight delays, the project is in full swing and I cannot wait to see it completed and see people enjoying the space."

Featherston Community Board chairwoman Lee Carter said although she was "absolutely for the town square and the design", she was not surprised the schedule had once again been pushed out to a later date.

She had been approached on a regular basis by members of the community, who were asking her what was happening with the town square.

"People have lost confidence in the project because we keep getting told dates and the goalpost keeps shifting," she said. "For me it's a case of I will believe it when I see it."

Ms Carter said many people had forgotten what the plans looked like and had "lost the passion for it to come alive".