- What do you consider to be the biggest opportunities and threats facing Kāpiti over the next five to ten years?
Better access to Wellington via two roads and better public transport could see an even greater number of people shift out from Wellington. That creates more opportunities for business, but also greater strain on our current infrastructure. Some aspects like low cost housing have not been adequately investigated. So far there has been little will to actually engage with government to plan for this need, and this is an area in which I can have an active role. From a business point of view, these houses will soon be very necessary if we are to have a workforce that lives in Kāpiti. Growth needs to be managed through ongoing planning with a careful eye on Kāpiti’s high level of debt.
- Economic growth has benefits for everyone living in the district. Kāpiti needs a sound economic development strategy. How would you go about ensuring the strategy is developed and implemented and who should be involved?
Kāpiti has suffered from an ongoing inability to adapt and work with a strategy. Having a new working group means that there is an opportunity to support this work, and get buy-in from the new council and from existing networks. That requires consultation and the ability to bring together the existing players and look to the future. I hope I might be able to play a role in that space.
- Will Kāpiti have the infrastructure needed to support projected population growth? If not, what are the key priorities for infrastructure development?
We know that current infrastructure is struggling and increased pressure on water and waste management will require investment to cope with increased housing demand. Internal roading in Paraparaumu is also straining under the current demands with Kāpiti Road a real choke point. Infrastructure planning is vital to the success of any community and should be completed ahead of growth. That has not been the case here and we are playing catch-up. This needs to be the priority if we are to attract more business and job growth.
- 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?
From a Council point of view ‘Open for Business’ should mean that businesses are dealt with in a manner that is professional, expeditious and not in an arduous and off-putting way. Rules should be enforced but they should be easy to follow and part of a streamlined process. I am not convinced that everyone has a common understanding of what open for business means and the players in this space need to come to a collective understanding if Kāpiti is to move forward.
- Does Council have a role to encourage businesses to relocate or establish here? If so, what kind of support should Council offer?
Encouraging businesses to locate in Kāpiti is a relevant activity of council, but not through subsidies. The best way to encourage businesses to relocate or set up on the Kāpiti Coast is to ensure the framework is appropriate, not create exceptions.
- How Important is it to tell the “Kāpiti Story” and how would you go about supporting a project to do this?
Telling the Kāpiti story is a current part of the business planning, but crafting artificial stories do not work. Creating a vibrant community, encouraging our residents to speak positively, ensuring visitors see the best side of Kāpiti all go a long way to reinforcing a positive message. As a community we need to ensure that events that attract visitors are well resourced, and reinforce a positive Kāpiti narrative which can be linked to pristine nature, a warm climate and relaxed beaches.
- The future of the well-patronised Kāpiti Community Centre is in doubt due to the discovery of leaks and mould in the building. Do you believe Kāpiti needs a Community Centre? If so, what needs to happen to ensure we have one?
Council should ensure we have community centres. The affected premise in Paraparaumu is extremely well utilised and the council should be investigating what options are available and present these to the new council. In the last few years there has been a great deal of controversy over the deterioration of public assets and this must be addressed with proper planning and monitoring.
- There has been much debate over the proposed Kāpiti 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?
One of the most significant issues is the cost of a gateway project with a $15m price tag identified in 2014 which is a cost that is too high for KCDC alone. To further this project partnerships would need to be found and a real consensus developed. If there is no shared vision, then the project will remain stalled. The community needs to identify key projects, develop a sound plan and look for funding from the Provincial Growth Fund.
- 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?
If the development of a Marine Discovery Centre stacks up then council should support the project and put together a partnership with sector groups. This project has the potential to be a significant attraction to Kāpiti as we increasingly strive to become a destination area, but all parties have recognised the council’s financial position requires other investors. This like the Kāpiti Gateway Project has the potential to attract interest from the Provincial Growth Fund.
- What are your views on the protection of our coastlines and key coastal infrastructure?
Any protection of our coastlines must be informed by evidence and where possible action should be taken early to prevent further coastal erosion of land or infrastructure. On the face of it the potential costs are enormous and Kāpiti will need to work in partnership with regional and central government agencies.