- What do you consider to be the biggest opportunities and threats facing Kapiti over the next five to ten years?
Growth is both the biggest opportunity and the biggest threat. Transmission Gully will allow families to live in Kapiti and work in Wellington much more easily. And that growth has already been occurring over the last couple of years.
The opportunity is that communities get fresh energy and ideas and businesses grow.
The threats include increased pressure on existing infrastructure, and population pressure on schools that are already full.
Growth needs to be properly managed
Climate change is also a major threat, as is the possibility of poor management of the District.
- Economic growth has benefits for everyone living in the district. Kapiti needs a sound economic development strategy. How would you go about ensuring the strategy is developed and implemented and who should be involved?
Not all economic growth is good for everyone. We need a proper conversation about what direction the District wants to take, what areas should receive Council involvement, and which areas should be left to industry. Everyone should have the opportunity to be involved in the conversation just like any issue within a democracy.
- Will Kapiti have the infrastructure needed to support projected population growth? If not, what are the key priorities for infrastructure development?
My understanding is that infrastructure is in place or being planned, and we aren’t in too bad a position. But there are areas of infrastructure such as storm water that are going to require significant investment.
Raumati Beach Village is an area that is long overdue for Council investment.
- Council has a goal of being “Open for Business”. What does this term mean to you and what can Council do to ensure it achieves this goal?
I run four businesses in Kapiti, and I’m not entirely sure what “Open for Business” as a Council slogan means. My view is that Council should create the environment for businesses to grow. But it’s then up to businesses to take the initiative. Council should basically get out of the way as much as possible. The less a business needs to interact with Council, the better.
- Does Council have a role to encourage businesses to relocate or establish here? If so, what kind of support should Council offer?
As a rule, no. Council should not be in the business of picking winners by financing some businesses to come here. But they do have a role in making sure that things are in place so that those businesses are able to come and do business as easily as possible. They may also have a role in the process of advocating to business for them to come here.
- How Important is it to tell the “Kapiti Story” and how would you go about supporting a project to do this?
We live in the age of the Story, and the stories we compile now will not only be of value to those outside of Kapiti, but also to people in Kapiti in generations to come. Government control of creativity often ends in something pretty bland or uniform, so Council may not be the best organisation to take it over. I would like to see communities themselves tell their stories in whatever way they want to and in a way that allows for the variety of stories to be heard.
- The future of the well-patronised Kapiti Community Centre is in doubt due to the discovery of leaks and mould in the building. Do you believe Kapiti needs a Community Centre? If so, what needs to happen to ensure we have one?
Kapiti is made up of separate towns, and these towns should have general focal points such as shopping areas and community halls. But we should also have general Kapiti-wide focal points as well to enable people from across the District to share culture. So yes, I do believe Kapiti needs a Community Centre.
- There has been much debate over the proposed Kapiti Gateway project. There are varying views on the need for a Gateway, the proposed cost and the proposed location. How would you work towards a solution that is acceptable to the various stakeholders, including Council, the community, retailers, visitors and affected parties?
Council’s role is to be the conduit for debate and dialogue about community issues and projects. So I can’t see why consultation on this type of project wouldn’t simply be part of Council’s normal day to day role.
- The Raumati Swimming Pool complex has been lying idle for some time. It has been proposed that the complex be used to develop a Marine Discovery Centre, which would have both local and national significance. Do you support the development of such a Centre? How should it be funded? Who should lead this project?
I think the vision for the Marine Education Centre is a great one that I strongly support. The cost should not be on the rate payer, and I understand that is part of the vision. So if it can be done without Council funding, then I can’t currently see any reason to object.
- What are your views on the protection of our coastlines and key coastal infrastructure?
Protecting coastlines in the face of climate change projections is a job that Councils are not sufficiently funded or equipped to do. Choices will have to be made about what can be protected, and what cannot be. Council already has a policy of not paying to protect private property, and that is probably a wise position.