A new street scape

This week the Featherston Bottle O was moved into place and is now the Featherston MenzShed. There are pictures all over the Featherston MenzShed Facebook page if you want to look.

First of all I must say that I really think the concept of a MenzSed, a place where men can go and do men’s stuff like make stuff for the community and be and feel useful and valued, is a great idea. And a place men and talk to other men about health and mental health issues. Wonderful. I wish my dad would join one. I wish they were around when my Popa was alive so he could have passed on his amazing knowledge and skill.

Here is where I have a problem: Council shenanigans.

Now I’m all for cock-up before conspiracy.

I feel, I have to say this because I have no proof, that certain people really do mean well, but that they are not being very good at getting their ideas and reasoning across to others. Which isn’t very transparent, and there are a growing number of people who think that Councils, like Central Government, need to be transparent in their dealings. Councils need to not only hear their ratepayers but they need to be seen to hear their ratepayers. Missing documents, absent sections from minutes, back room deals and fudging records leads to calls of preferential treatment and incompetence.

If you can look at this from both sides, which is hard when one side isn’t communicating and looks like its hiding things, is that there are a bunch of hard-working well-meaning people who are doing their level best under difficult and stressful circumstances.  Some of these people may be losing their jobs in the next couple of years, some will be.

I’m not saying not to stir the pot. I’m saying when stirring just beware of mitigating factors.

I’m also saying that we have enough war memorials (one huge one and three more planned), we have enough empty space in town (Zen Garden, Trusthouse parking, wind grass park, Cherry Tree Park (an anti-War Memorial), and outside the Fell Museum), we have enough empty buildings (5 at last count). I don’t care who those empty buildings belong to the Council needs to be working with the owners to get them filled. The Council needs to be working with landlords to make sure buildings are fit for purpose. Notice I wrote “Working with” not “dictating to”.

We need to stand united as a village or we will fail as individuals. Lets support the Youth Group leader, she’s making a difference. Lets support Lions and Rotary they are making a difference. Lets support the MenzShed, a conversation there just might save a life. Lets buy locally and support not only the local shop owners but the local artists. Lets support each other and be good neighbours. Lets have street parties where you get to meet everyone. Lets have picnics and fly kites and sing and dance in the wind.

Then the big stuff like Super Councils and Central Government will impact on us less.

As I learnt on Friday last week: Community is the Answer.



So, its inevitable. I guess I’ve not written for a while because the MenzShed is going ahead and the “Town Square” is going ahead in spite of many people not wanting it to happen. It is set in stone and no amount of talking or letter writing or appealing to the Minister will stop it.

We will end up with an unusable space that will be a graffiti magnet and be un friendly to locals and visitors alike.

We will have an empty lot because the Mayor doesn’t understand what economic development means and what is most needed in Featherston is someone who knows what economic development means and how to achieve it, or to at least know the right people to get to achieve it.

So what’s next?

Best to concentrate on the things we can change rather than whinge about the things we cannot. Perhaps one day we can drive a digger through the “town square” and start afresh…