Paraparaumu lawyer and campaigner Christopher Ruthe is warning the Council the Kapiti Island Gateway could be another burden for ratepayers.
Mr Ruthe says: ‘The Mayor is selling the Kapiti Island $4.6 Million Gateway as a splendid idea. He convinced the previous Council to spend $1.4 million on land he said would be great for the Gateway project. That money is already gone.
White elephant out for the Gateway.
In a speech prepared for the KCDC meeting tomorrow, Mr Ruthe says: That white elephant is not being used for the Gateway. So how does the Mayor’s latest investment project rank amongst all his splendid ideas?
- It will cost ratepayers
The $4.6 million is a guestamate. Remember the Aquatic Centre went from $9 million for a 50 metre pool to Approxiamately $22 Million for a 25 metre pool, and the estimated income was double what was achieved. So going on ppast performance expect the same.
He wants to give it get priority ahead of restoring the Waikanae library for instance Why?
The Mayor claims $5.4 million pa benefit to Kapiti economy. There is nothing I can find in a report KCDC has received that supports that figure.
However it clearly states that it will cost ratepayers a minimum of $300,000 in the next 3 years:
You will see the projected income for KCDC starts at $256,000 pa. increasing to $350,000 in the next 4 years. The report does not say where the money comes from, but presumably from visitors to the Gateway. If 14,000 visit the Gateway that is $18.28 per person, add GST $2.72, and everyone will be paying $21.00- an excesson top of the existing ticket price. If customers baulk at paying this, undoubtedly the ratepayer will have to pick up the tab, just as it is subsidizing $13.00 per swimmer at the Aquatic Centre.
- Projections based on false figures
The projections for use of the gateway are based on up to 58,000 visits to the Island according to In a feasibility study was completed by Tourism Research Consultants Limited (TRC) for Council. [p43 of agenda Item]. I have spoken to DOC. They say there is no ability to have such an increase in numbers. The Conservator said there had to be a significant restriction on numbers for conservation reasons.
- DOC not paying
The Department of Conservation should be paying for what is a bio security facility. It is paying nothing. The boat companies are paying nothing. The accommodation owners are paying nothing. None of these parties who have a direct interest want to pay. Why, because they now adding $84.00 for a building for ticket sales and bio-security is a fundamentally flawed idea.
- Covid 19 economic reality ignored
No consideration has been given to the economic impact of the lockdown, with tens of thousands facing unemployment, and discretionary income likely to be hit. KCDC has sought no expert advice on reduced foreign tourists and the detrimental effect of each visitor paying an extra $21.00 for an island visit.
Refusal to Meet current obligations
The Council is already highly indebted. It refused to bring its library book budget up to the NZ standard because it pleads poverty.
It has put off the Waikanae library for up to 10 years. That library is shut due entirely to the negligence of Council staff and previous councillors failing in their governance duties.
Rather than sort that out this new Council seems hell bent on forking out subsidies for out of town visitors to have a nice departure lounge,
Their interest far outweighs that of ratepayers who are basically library less in Waikanae.
Perhaps the intention is to close it forever?
A number of anti library councillors got dumped in the last election. Do the few remaining continue to hold sway?
Editor’s note: Mr Ruthe is former chair of the Coastal Rateoayers Union; and recently led the Restore Our Books Budget (ROBB) movement to get libraqry cuts reversed.