Three Councillors Vote Against Gateway Project

Our reporter Jeremy Smith reveals three of 10 Kapiti Councillors –Martin Halliday, Gwyn Compton and Bernie Randall — voted against the Gateway plan for Paraparaumu Beach.

Kapiti Independent reporter Jeremy Smith

But, he says, majority support means the Gateway project on the beach opposite Kapiti Island — first mooted in 1992 — may be built with money from the Provincial Growth Fund, the ‘Shane Jones’ fund.

Applying for ‘Shane Jones’ money

Yesterday KCDC councillors voted to apply to the Provincial Growth fund (PGF) for fifty percent of the estimated Project cost of $4.6 million after a debate lasting most of the day.

The online Zoom meeting included submissions from the two Kapiti Island tour operators, representatives from business groups and local iwi, The Department of Conservation  plus private citizens.

Councillors themselves were concerned about the lack of consultation and final budget but were also aware of the deadline for PGF applications. And Martin Halliday, Gwyn Compton and Bernie Randall voted against making an application.

In 2019 16,000 people visited Kapiti Island with three quarters from New Zealand. Estimates say the capacity could be up to 58,000.  

David Perks from the Wellington New Zealand tourist group said the Kapiti gateway would give the district a central focus for visitors in the same way as Te Papa in Wellington.

Kapiti resident John Barrett, who has links to all three Kapiti iwi- Te Atiawa, Ngati Toa Rangitira and Ngati Raukawa cited his 50 years plus local knowledge.

He said Kapiti was having to compete with Taranaki, Wairarapa and Marlborough for the local tourist dollar.

Speaking from the island on a “fine May day” Barrett said the change in weather patterns – higher temperatures- mean the season can last much longer.

Paraparaumu-Raumati community board member Guy Burns saying ‘haste is waste’ also said the process was tailored to meet PGF requirements and the operators were happy as they were.

Paraparapumu Beach resident Christopher Ruthe said the proposed centre would only be used twice a day for the morning and afternoon peaks for people travelling to the island.

He said the plan took no account of sea level rise. The council’s own figures suggested the building would be washed away.

He said money would be better spent on the Waikanae library and the Paraparaumu community centre.

Correction; every $5K over budget results in 1% increase in rates. So $M2.23 (KCDC share of for Gateway Project) over budget equates to over 4% increase in rates. $250K (on fees etc to date for Gateway Project) equates to 0.5% increase in rates over budget. Where is this budget coming from?
Additionally; PGF has had $390billion yes billion worth of proposals for funding with $3.9billion up for grabs. First cull of applications got number of projects down to 806. Apparently projects have to be for at least $10million?

From the Council Zoom meeting the following emerged…..
Overall design is fixed due to Resource Consent having been lodged (a requirement of PGF).
Stakeholders Iwi and concessionaires will have opportunity to be consulted on minor details
Concessionaires/ boat operatives may not be charged; maybe additional visitor charge within boat trip fee.TBC.
Concessionaires may not be required to use building-up to DOC for them to meet bio-security requirements. (interesting)
Public will not be consulted–‘not practical'( Alison Law )
Councilors (except 3) voted for scheme to progress to PGF.
To qualify has to be shovel ready within 6 months.
Resource Consent could take anything from 12 weeks to 6 months.
Site start estimated end 2020 build time 12-18 months.
PGF requires community support but exactly what this means is uncertain.
Project budget now $4.46M (from $4.06 but a few weeks ago due Covid justification) incs 35% contingency and $1.2M external works and new bridge across stream, consultants fees, etc. etc.. Building only cost @ $6.5K/m2 plus other things like interpretation etc.
$250K already spent on consultants and presumably Resource Consent fee.
Building cost includes large area of decking-450M2 (?)
No comms plan in place yet (which maybe explains a lot)!
No business plan completed (which again is somewhat confusing) with the Mayor assuring us previously that the project would be self financing within 5 years–where did he get this information (particularly in the light of his vitriolic and appalling attack on Councilor Randal for questioning these very figures if not the exact finalised scheme-clearly along with other councilors not being in the loop of what was being done).
Estimated $5.91M economic benefit estimated to accrue to local economy (not related to existing base of only a few hundred thousand previously–assume this figure comes from TRC report and can it be justified-seems quite a marginal cost benefit ration to me?

My challenge to councilors and senior staff, having committed ratepayers, at a time of extreme economic stress, (when every $500K over overall Council’s annual budget equates to a 0.5% rate rise) to at the very minimum some initial expenditure of a minimum of $250K and probably a lot more (excluding staff costs) and on obtaining 50% of the cost from the PGF, potentially a minimum of another $2.23M+ plus ongoing costs including future maintenance and upgrade and removal etc. will they, given their support for such a project put their money where their collective mouths are and commit 20% of their salaries (councilor base salary of $36K plus chair remuneration of $24K portfolio *(A) remuneration of $14.61. or $9.06K (B) however long it takes for this project to break even.
Now that would be a true reflection of councilors commitment to this project rather than expect ratepayers to pick up the tab as per usual.
Given especially that councilors and staff have continued to be paid during COVID 19, and none (other than the CEO by 10%) have committed anything towards those less fortunate than themselves, many of whom will be unemployed or are in businesses struggling to survive who don’t have the luxury of ratepayers to support them

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