News that Mayor K Gurunathan thinks he has a solid majority of councillors behind him (Story 22/2) sends a worrying shudder down most Kapiti Coasters spines, says Guy Burns, Deputy Chair of the Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board.

Board deputy chair Guy Burns

‘The vote to proceed with the Gateway project will be held Thursday (25 February 2021) and with no popular public backing, many are fearful of the outcome,’ he says.

‘The vision for this project has been driven by an exclusive few — and unwisely championed by the Mayor.

‘No need for such a grandiose building’

There is no need for such a grandiose building and many have said the old Kiosk would have made a convenient bio-security centre at a cost of a few thousand ratepayers dollars.

Artist’s impression for tghe Gateway

‘Local Hapu oppose the planned Gateway and have not been adequately consulted with. News that the proposed building already has a name, has come as a shock for many, who believe it demonstrates just how the planning and processes of this project have been predetermined.

‘Local businesses are totally against the plan which will demolish 17 carparks and threatens competition for the hospitality sector.

‘It is worrying that the Mayor has been able to get some political support based on subjective information.

‘Visitor projections poorly quantified’

‘Visitor projections—which form the basis for economic analysis—is poorly quantified in Thursday’s report for Councillors. Two graphs regarding visitor projections are shown (one graph has incomplete information) with no methodology, analysis or justification of the figures provided.

‘But, the major weakness of the report to Councillors is on the financial side—there is no mention of cost overruns or operational expenditure.

‘The report emphatically states that the project will cost $4.46 million. I have spoken to two experienced and well qualified engineers who tell me such a project has the capacity to exceed $8 million.

‘Who pays for such a blowout?—councillors are kept in the dark about this, but the buck always stops with the ratepayer. Operational costs will add a further 1-2 percent to our rates permanently.

‘It’s interesting that Thursday’s document has two high level expensive reports written by outside consultants. Sadly there’s no such feedback from locals. But, one thing touched on by one of the consultants is ‘political risk’.

‘I imagine councillors are very aware of political risk, which expresses itself at election time, especially when unpopular think-big projects have overrun their budgets.’

Oh my goodness, where does one start….at the top.

Really? – many of us remained undecided right up to the meeting….. I was undecided as I had lobbied up to the meeting to have the decision postponed for a year while council actively engages with the public to clear up all the shocking mis-information that had been spread around by anti-Gateway folk. Petition etc. See above.

There is demonstrable backing for this proposal with a mandate of 75% of submitters support to get it onto the LTP in 2018 and a stream of people on social media and contacting councillors to voice their support, privately, because of fear of reprisals from those who have attached themselves to the anti-Gateway folks, as they have done with any and every anti-council issue raised in the past 8 years.

The old kiosk could not operate in any way as an operationally secure bio security point for people boarding at the boat launch area. You know this Guy.

One local, non-mandated iwi eloquently voiced their concern, which I appreciate and I hope and their T.O.W settlement comes with mandate for them and other disenfranchised hapu. Two more years before the tribunal decisions are expected.

Building hardly grandiose compared with all other proposals over the last 15 years and comes in at 1/3 any previous cost with half the funding coming from the Government. The actual build cost to Kapiti ratepayers is half of $4.46M.

Local business’s are not totally against the project which is why the local business association fell apart days before the vote and the anti-Gateway Chairperson left, as she could not secure a mandate from them.

17 carparks will be removed, replaced with 33 extra ones for the beach area, including more disability carparks, dedicated bus parks and a separate overnight or day secure pay carpark away from the beach area,

The local business community welcomes competition, just ask the owners of the latest cafe businesses to open up in the area.

The success of the centre and benefits to the community and visitors do not rely on visitation to the island for day visits, this is a very narrow, too narrow, scope of possible reasons to visit the Gateway, a multi purpose community amenity.

Cost there is $1.35M of contingency funding built into the cost and $1M for stream restoration, pest control, wetland restoration, water garden creation to collect water run off and a new footbridge included in the cost.

Operation costs will add $3.70 to each ratepayer costs a year at worst case scenario, running at $248k pa costs. But this is a public amenity and like pools and libraries council provides the community, it is not expected to be run at a profit.

Oh yes Guy Burns, I am very aware of your perceived political risk. But people appreciate the need for us to do our very best to protect Kapiti Islands natural environment. It is our tohunga, our national treasure. Being a Kapiti resident all my life with my share of collective responsibility for kaitiakitanga of Kapiti Island on my shoulders since I was 2 foot tall, the continued protection of Kapiti island is not something I am prepared to gamble with for the sake of gaining a few votes at election time. That would be so regressive. This is our responsibility and one I am more than happy to shoulder.

A photo of a visionary looking man! Thanks for these reasons it shouldn’t have been voted in. Something I read somewhere said it would bring in over 5m in first year. I guess a simple kiosk could have done the trick, the huge amount of
expenditure going to other needy causes. Yes, the next election will be interesting. Graham


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