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.
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.