The Kapiti Coast District Council has already begun looking at what this scene will be like post-Expressway opening, and its thoughts are contained on this webpage.
To us, most of what the KCDC has to say reads like wishful thinking, and the issue of how much could and should be paid for the ratepayer isn’t addressed.
Mahara Place isn’t visually exciting as it is, and some things could be done to improve it. The west side of SH1 is a typical small town main street, and some things could be done there, too.
The basic principle is that to attract visitors, there needs to be visitor attractions, and the only two things that can be pointed to in this area are the the art gallery and the marae.
In an age of Internet shopping, shops need to be quite distinctively different to the ‘run of the mill’ to attract people to them, and it’s doubtful that retail investors would see Waikanae having sufficient potential because of its population to be worth the risk. But as rents fall from lack of demand, there may be some locals who are willing to try having a shop to sell things like homemade arts and crafts.
This is an issue on which there will be a lot of discussion to come.