I have been wanting to record events around the ‘Zen Garden’ for some time; it has been difficult to decide how I was going to do that.

About me: I have lived in Featherston since Jan 2010. We decided to buy our first home here for a few reasons: affordability, closeness to Wellington (easy commute by train), small urban area, reasonable school, walking distance to everything we might need, 3 bedroom house on a 1/4 acre section. Nice.

About the Zen Garden: When we moved here it was a old art deco post office used as a antique shop, which never seemed to be open; and a cinder block supermarket that smelt bad so I didn’t go in. Locals seemed to breathe a sigh of relief when the cinder block was demolished, but there was a gasp of surprise when the art deco post office went under the digger claws too.

Then… that was it. Nothing changed. Promises were made… and broken. Ideas rose and fell like the earth during an earthquake.

Then, in what seemed like a flurry of activity, a feedback form came out. 150 people worked on their submissions, some for weeks. Then a summary came out. Then the disbelief began. Numbers were too close to call on a yes or no. There was confusion about the nature of the form; was it a feedback or a poll? Then, in what seemed like a bad dream, a new proposal went straight to Council. Where was the consultation we had been promised? Then, deferral; but all the while, an urgency to finalise a decision before the end of July.

Which is where we are now – stuck between wanting to be consulted on what our own town will look like, and feeling the Council see us as ungrateful children. This has already expressed in the comments of a news article. But how would you react, if someone told you this is the way it will be in Featherston, while other towns around us get a bona fide consultation process, and a say in the direction of their future?


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