1: Biggest opportunities and threats facing Kapiti over the next 5-10 years.
One of the biggest opportunities for our district in the foreseeable future is Tourism. We are so close to Wellington, and offer a beautiful stretch of beaches, walks, river systems, hills and unique little towns. The Cycleway, Walkway, Bridleway network that has evolved out of the M2PP project and the current extension of this to Otaki has provided interest and engagement with the outdoors that no-one could have predicted. It has also already made us a “go to” destination for many.
This is also one of the biggest threats, as we need to plan for population growth and the influx of visitors while looking after our Kapiti residents.
Another huge threat is the climate and the increase in need for protection of our coastal communities and infrastructure. This is a costly affair, and so some visionary decisions need to be made NOW to mitigate risks to our coastal communities.
2: How to ensure an Economic strategy and implement it
Engagement of the business community, asking advise of the wider community, and actually using those ideas to guide long term plans for the district. Throwing around some “think outside the square ideas” to explore. Develop some guidelines on “How” and “What” we want to grow in to.
With the development of the shared path, the Stride and ride program that went along with that, and the huge interest in our region as a place to enjoy the great outdoors we need to link up these paths to business, shopping, look at an accommodation plan so that those visiting can stay here and support our restaurants and other businesses. This will take some district planning to accommodate tourism and the needs of those visitors to enable they can stay and access activities.
3: Will Kapiti have the infrastructure to support population growth?
We do not currently have infrastructure to support growth but the M2PP has certainly relieved some pressure on our roading infrastructure. Transmission Gully and the PP2O Expressway will certainly help also to get people from A to B. We need to allow more high density housing near our rail and bus routes so it is easy for people to access transport that is not a car, and may help relieve housing pressure. Singles, and small households don’t need a huge house and yard, they need easy living close to amenities and shops. We need to extend our Paraparaumu pool, it is a fantastic asset, but is already full up after school and in the holidays.
We also need to plan for our ageing population and consider how best we can accommodate our 65+ demographic to age well and access things like health care easily. Although Healthcare is not a council core business, we need to work more closely with other agencies such as DHB’s to put in place strategies that will work for our communities.
4: Councils Open for business?
I have dealt with council staff on many levels from Road Safety campaigning to Equestrian access on shared paths and most recently on behalf of Trades persons in regard to the time it is taking to get consents out of council. There are many wonderful staff at council, but unfortunately responses to requests and questions are not always answered in a timely fashion and sometimes never until you get back to them. I am not sure if this is because things get passed from person to person, department to department, to get an answers, and sometimes gets lost, or if council staff are not getting adequate support to work with the public? For real Open for Business there has to be less Us and Them. If the Public is “Them” then they are the ones paying and so deserve to be part of the equation.
We need to have a plan for staff in service, including senior management, that is about Open for Business. Having the public come and talk to staff about their experiences so we can all work better together. Mostly staff and public all have the same goals, we need to better understand each other so we can succeed together.
5: Business relocation to Kapiti
Our council most definitely does have a role in encouraging business to relocate to Kapiti. The opening of Transmission Gully and M2PP will help this but council needs to do some PR around the fact that we can be a business district of Wellington. Work with Wellington Council and GWRC to collectively come up with a plan that benefits us all.
6: Kapiti Story
Marketing, Social media, self promotion. We need some young tech brains in our council staff that will be brave and bold in marketing us as a place to visit. We need to take some risks and see how we land. Most of us love our coast, our access to the outdoors everywhere we look, I would most definitely support a project to just “Let the Horses bolt” and see how we go, we have so much to offer, even to those in Welly who want to get away for a day or a weekend.
7: Kapiti Community Centre
We need to explore all options for this centre and the land on which it sits. Analyse the cost, put it out there for interest from private business to co-manage the asset or even the land, maybe it could be a private public partnership if the council does not have the funds to repair the centre. Ask ourselves where else could a community centre be located within existing assets if it was not in the current location?
To ensure we continue to have a Community centre , it does not get taken off the council agenda until we have a resolution.
8: Kapiti Gateway
A gateway is a great idea, but needs to be inclusive of the other towns that are on the coast, not just Paraparaumu. However we can, we need to weave Paekakariki, Waikanae, Peka Peka, Te Horo and Otaki into that Gateway somehow, and make access and information about our other towns and communities part of this project.
Make the Gateway fun, interactive, a place people need to go see while here.
9: Raumati swimming pool building
With this building it is a case of Just get on with it. We all know that buildings deteriorate and cost money when they lye idle, there are people wanting to develop this into a destination, part of us becoming a place to visit full of wonderful things to do.
Lets stop procrastinating.