Waikanae Election Candidates Worried About Mahara Place and the Library

The state of Waikanae’s Mahara place and the closing and reopening of the town’s library were recurring themes when council candidates spoke at Waikanae’s Baptist church, says reporter Jeremy Smith.

Mahara Place was humming during this event in the summer. (Credit: Waikanae Watch)

Waikanae ward hopeful, and former KCDC mayor Iridie McCloy said the town centre had been neglected.

And the completion of the Kapiti Expressway, which took away main road traffic, had not helped.

She said Transmission Gully would bring more people to the area and businesses needed them in Waikanae.

Ms McCloy received loud applause when she said money for Waikanae’s centre was a “band-aid scenario”.

Former Kapiti Mayor Iride McCloy

The second Waikanae ward contestant, Waikanae community board chair Jocelyn Prvanov said “twenty years living at Waikanae Beach- and ” it is vital to get the full Waikanae library running again.”:

The library is operating from the former Artel shop after toxic mould was found in the premises.

She also said Mahara Place needs extending to encourage vibrancy.

She described the Waikanae library as iconic for the town centre. She noted the number of empty shops and said bringing people into the library would also bring them to the local shops.

The former Waikanae Library, closed late last year after the discovery of toxic mould in the building and the book stocks

McCloy and Prvanov are two of the three candidates for the one ward seat allocated to Waikanae.

The third candidate, councillor Michael Scott sent his apologies.

After the ward candidates put their case, candidates for the five at-large seats- elected from right across Kapiti- had their time to pitch for votes.

Not present was sitting councillor and Waikanae resident Mike Cardiff, who also missed the candidates meeting in Paraparaumu on Friday. 

Mike Cardiff — missing in action

David Scott, convicted of sexual assault while he was a councillor but standing again, also did not attend. 

Deputy mayor Janet Holborow – a Paekakariki resident  -noted her connections with Waikanae’s Mahara Gallery Trust. 

And councillor Angela Buswell traced her family connections with the area.

Nigel Wilson, a former regional councillor representing Kapiti noted what he called a long-term problem with Mahara Place and suggested Waikanae’s new library could be put into some of the empty buildings.

Rob McCann, campaigning on a Labour Party ticket said the closing of the Waikanae library was an awful example of someone taking their eyes off the ball.

Apart from the library the recurring themes as raised from the floor , included KCDC’s debt levels, and rates,  the dysfunctional council (Nigel Wilson), the cost of stormwater replacements and the climate emergency voted by the outgoing council.

Mayoral and at-large candidate, Murray Fordyce of Reikorangi prompted some vigorous clapping when he said declaring an emergency should not be an excuse to down tools.

Audience member and Waikanae newcomer from Wellington Sarah Bramwell, talking to  KIN’s reporter, decried the high cost of taking rubbish to the transfer centre… three times higher than Wellington and wanted to know why there was no general rubbish collection as distinct from wheelie bins.

‘Sign the Library petition’

After the meeting the Greypower organisers reminded the public to sign the petition to reverse the cuts in the council’s library budget.

Today Greypower will host Kapiti mayoral candidates and would-be regional councillors.

Next week Otaki voters will be able to meet would-be councillors (Tuesday) and mayoral and regional council candidates (Wednesday).. Both meetings are at the Otaki memorial hall at 10am.

Note that Murray Forsdyke (correct spelling) is a Districtwide candidate but not a mayoral candidate. It is a pity that the two community board candidates present — myself and Margaret Stevenson Wright — were not given speaking time, even just two minutes each would have added little to the 2 hours. It’s also a pity that Grey Power, among others, do not appreciate the role that an active Community Board can have; you only need to look at what Bernie Randall and Guy Burns on the Paraparaumu-Raumati Board have managed to do since 2016.

The best thing any readers of this publication can do to reinforce local democracy is to alert everyone they know to read and bookmark this site. Alan while having been a Councillor himself in days gone by is a good example of telling it like it is and unlike the printed local media you can have your say in real time. No more getting letters butchered as long as you behave.

Look in the back pages of both the other tree killing outlets (climate change anyone?) to see how much of your rates money is spent on advertising. This empowers the council somewhat which is why delivered papers go easy on the council. They were taught this many years ago by Brett Ambler, former journalist and then mayor. A lesson they both took to heart and have never forgotten. When is a newspaper not a newspaper? When it’s full of expensive house and car adverts but stone washed news…

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