I RECENTLY received a letter from South Wairarapa District Council telling me my olive trees and wongawonga vine had overgrown my boundary and were intruding on to the footpath.

I'm delighted to get a letter like that. I had been feeling a bit guilty about the headknocking branches and had meant to get around to it, but I had got caught out. I can now assure the council my street frontage looks (reasonably) beautiful. I'm going to add "overgrown olive trees" to my growing list of crisis that afflicts the middle-class, along with people who complain they grew more strawberries than they could cope with this summer.

I'm pleased about the letter because it demonstrates a proactive council who obviously want a safe public walkway as a priority, but also want their town to look good. All councils should have this attitude and I'm sure Masterton and Carterton are mindful of it too.

But Featherston seems to have an energy about it in this new year. I guess when you're not at the better end of the glamour scale, the only thing to do is improve. It has been slow to invest on one of its major assets, in that it is an attractively quirky looking town. It has a vast horizon to the south and north - aided by large gaps in the street frontage - and the Rimutaka/Tararua sweep to the west.


People will accuse me of trying to up my property value, but the point I'm making is: it's Featherston's turn now. Masterton has done great things with its square and speedway, Carterton has its event centre, Greytown the boutique buzz and Martinborough has the wine. Featherston's getting its supermarket and hopefully some kind of park/town square.

I think Featherston needs more adventure hype, more promotion to attract the endurance cyclists and trampers. A waterskiing cable park, something being attempted in Porirua, would be great at Lake Wairarapa, although it wouldn't thrill the conservationists.

And perhaps, if Featherston gets its time, those absentee landlords might be glad of their main street investments at last.