Mahara Money Causes Council Rumpus

Kapiti District Council management faces a “please explain” over a proposed $1,2 million operating grant for the revamped Mahara Galley.

The money itself is not Council money- it would come from a Government grant under the  Three Waters proposals.

But when the figure appeared on a meeting agenda the reaction of councillors was- ‘why didn’t we know about this?’ 

Councillor Jocelyn Prvanov wanted to know if council staff had seen and agreed to the proposal. Rob McCann said the council had not followed the proper processes. 

The money itself is on a list of possible projects eligible for Department Internal affairs funding under a Three-Waters “sweetener.”

All up Kapiti is eligible for $5260 in the first lot of handouts.                        In return Internal Affairs needs a commitment from the KCDC to keep talking about Three Waters, a list of specific programmes the money could go to.

The council also has to meet a deadline to get its list to Internal Affairs.

It took two meetings a week apart for councillors to work their way through the list, which includes $1million for the Paekakariki Surf C;ub and $500,000 for the housing portfolio.

The $1.2 million is the estimated operating cost of the revamped Mahara Gallery – which opens next year – over three years.
But Mahara Trustees Kevin Ramshaw and Glen Wiggs said they were still working on what money Mahara would need.

“We have not yet done the work to establish what our minimum income would have to be,” one of them said.

They said Upper Hutt’s Whirinaki Gallery had five staff – Mahara currently has two. 

And Nelson’s Souter galley in a city with a similar population and with substantial endowments still got more than $900,000 every year from its council.  
Kevin Ramsaw said the revamped Mahara gallery would need a curator for the nationally significant Field Art collection and would also need Maori curatorial services.

Senior council staffer Sean Mallon said they would know Mahara’s operating costs when it opened.

Councillor McCann apologised to the two Mahara trustees, saying the council’s own process was broken.

Councillors then voted to instruct the KCDC chief executive to conduct an internal review into the Mahara Gallery cost shortfall and report to the incoming council. The new CEO  Darren Edwards starts on October 10.

Here’s the list of proposals which could go for funding from Internal Affairs.

Item        Project/       OPEX= operating expenditure  

                                      CAPEX=capital expenditure                                                Total $000 

B1 New Public Toilets x 4 Capex $300 

B.2 Ōtaki Pool Low Emissions Power Source Capex $500 

B.3 Mahara Gallery Operational Funding (3 years) Opex $1,200 

B.4 Maclean Park Stage 2 – Lighting and shading improvements to skatepark and basketball court Capex   $185 

B.5 Maclean Park Stage 2 – Complex needs changing room Capex $150 

B.6 Paekākāriki Surf Lifesaving Club Capex $1,000

B.7 Climate and Sustainability Fund Opex $200 

B.8 Supporting collaborative provision of social & community services to improve wellbeing Opex   $200 

B.9 Meanwhile Spaces – Te Newhanga Community Centre Opex $200

B.10 Implementing Kāpiti Coast Age Friendly Action Plan Opex $100 

B.11 Food & Beverage Projects (Includes capacity for Ngā Hapu o Ōtaki) Opex $325 

B.12 Education Hub Strategic Partners/Commercial Investigations Opex $250 

B.13 Housing Portfolio &Programme Operational Funding (including iwi capacity) Opex $500 

B.14 Te Uruhi – storytelling and landscaping for the site (excluding the building) Capex 150 

                   Grand Total $5,260

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