What do you consider to be the biggest opportunities and threats facing Kapiti over the next five to ten years?
I believe the biggest opportunities and threats facing Kapiti over the next five to ten years are as follows:
- Economic growth with extension of transport links:
- Resumption of air services to Auckland
- Opening of PP2O next year,
- Opening of the Transmission Gully route next year, and
- Potential development of rail services north of Waikanae towards the end of these 10 years,
to extend the region’s relatively narrow economic base, and employment profile.
- Tourist branding
- There are many tourist businesses and new opportunities for tourism in this district but these need to be wrapped up under one brand.
- Being able to well balance allocation of limited funds, maintaining rates at an acceptable level to adequately maintain and improve the council assets, and to allow for economic growth and a good quality of life for residents.
- Not having the plans, policies and strategies in place to provide the required infrastructure to manage and take advantage of the expected economic growth in the region.
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?
The Kapiti Coast District Council as an Economic Development Strategy, “Kapiti District Economic Development Strategy 2015-2018. The strategy is currently being refreshed.
If elected I will be advocating that such the Economic Development Strategy needs:
- To have much a longer timeframe,
- Align well with other Council workstreams such as the Long-Term Plan,
- Be in place ahead of time,
- Must have yearly measurable outcomes, and
- A leadership team with the support and funds to realise these measurables being meet.
To set and achieve these goals, the key stake holders in developing and refreshing this strategy need to be:
- Kapiti Coast District Council,
- Local business community,
- Local Iwi,
- Regional and central government.
Will Kapiti have the infrastructure needed to support projected population growth? If not, what are the key priorities for infrastructure development?
The council has prepared an assessment of the district’s housing and business development strategy. This shows there is good capacity for residential and commercial growth over the next 10 years but not quite enough for 30 years.
The current infrastructure plan centres around upgrading and renewing some of the district’s key current assets. The council’s plan is to encourage growth to use the current infrastructure. Council has identified that the predicted growth will eventually outstrip capacity in about 30 years.
Therefore, the three key priorities are to:
- Audit how well the current infrastructure plan is tracking against its deliverables,
- Revise the current infrastructure strategy to include projected population growth,
- Use the available information to revise and extend that infrastructure plan for housing and business growth in the longer term.
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?
To me “Open for Business” is a “can do” attitude backed up by actions that support this stance. To achieve this, all council staff and elected members need the same understanding of what “Open for Business” means, and how they can enable council policies for this to happen for all types of our community from individuals to business owners.
The relevant council policies should be reviewed and revised as needed.
Does Council have a role to encourage businesses to relocate or establish here? If so, what kind of support should Council offer?
Yes, Council has a very important role to encourage businesses to relocate or establish here. More businesses and more diverse businesses are needed in Kapiti. Without this happening these economic opportunities will be lost to other nearby districts that have better packages. Kapiti needs to understand what types of businesses it wishes to attract and what the drivers are that encourage businesses choose Kapiti. Council’s policies and cost structures must make Kapiti an attractive, feasible and cost-effective option for businesses.
How Important is it to tell the “Kapiti Story” and how would you go about supporting a project to do this?
Telling the “Kapiti Story” is very important. Although this is a KEDA project the information it contains is a key resource for Council when it comes to economic development.
If elected I will continue to support this work and how council can work together with KEDA on it and use the information to enhance its policies.
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 certain needs a Community Centre. The current building is still being used. A building report is needed to establish long the build can continue to be used for and the cost of repair. With this information, decisions can be made on what should happen to the current building, the timeframe required, whether an alternative building to be found, and where the funds to do this will come from.
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?
There a lot of detail I don’t know about this project and if elected I would look into this in much more detail as well as consult with the key stake holders. Council funds are tight and given the status of the Kapiti Community Centre and the Waikanae Library, consideration needs to be given as to whether Kapiti Gateway project is an appropriate project.
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 very much support development of a Marine Discovery Centre in the Raumati Swimming Pool complex, if the numbers stack up. I am a scientist and can see the scientific value of this, and the spin off it would have for the district. I can also see the huge tourist potential for such a facility. If you look at the likes of the Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium in Auckland or the Monterey Bay Aquarium you can see the international drawcards these are.
Council should be one of the funding partners but this should be a joint venture.
The project should be run by a team that includes the council.
What are your views on the protection of our coastlines and key coastal infrastructure?
Climate change is real. The effects of climate change resulting in more extreme and intense weather events are becoming more common, but coastal erosion has been occurring for a very long time. We as humans have imposed ourselves in this land with full knowledge of the risks of coastal erosion.
There needs to be a major conversation on whether our coastlines and key coastal infrastructure are protected or not, and if they are to be protected who should play for it: the land owner, council, or a joint project, and if our council pays for anything, whether is good value for money for all the rate payers.
The other side of the coin is looking at how our council and each of us can reduce climate change.