Councillors defend $2 million Foxton facelift

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By Sieska Verdonk

Two million dollars is being spent on this facelift of Foxton's main street.

Horowhenua Councillors say the decision to spend ratepayers money only came after a long period of discussion and debate.

"The community over there has been consulted and has been talking about this issue for nearly a decade. Through all the right and proper channels they have had the ability to do that through the community board and the forums," says Wayne Bishop, Deputy Mayor.

But the Ratepayers Association disputes that wholeheartedly.

It's members are particularly upset about what they say was a misleading meeting about the project.

"They never took a show of hands at the meeting to say who was for and who was against it," says Christine Moriarty, chair of Horowhenua Ratepayers Association.

And the ratepayers have the backing of Horowhenua's outspoken mayor.

"Now I'm not against any changes, but what I am against is when people are not fairly consulted. That's not democracy. To have meetings that you go to where you are not allowed to ask questions, that is not consultation," says Michael Feyen, mayor of Horowhenua.

Mr Feyen says he's now working to ensure there is a robust debate about a proposal to shift the cenotaph as part of the Foxton facelift.

"The cenotaph represents those that lost their lives overseas fighting for democracy and freedom of speech. The very things that we are challenging and that did not happen on the Foxton main street," says Mr Feyen.

The Foxton debate is just the latest in a series of spats which have broken out in the Horowhenua district since Michael Feyen was elected as mayor in a shock result last September.

Sieska Verdonk - Local Focus.

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