Today we had afternoon tea with Chris, who lives by the beach and who like us has been involved in book publishing for many years. Some readers will have a copy of his lavish big history of Waikanae co-authored with Joan Maclean in 1988, of which he published a second edition in 2010 (pictured). It is still available, but you need to get a copy from Coastlands Paper Plus in Paraparaumu: quite strangely, The Bookshelf in Waikanae isn’t interested in stocking it.
Like NZ book publishers generally, Chris has seen the steady decline of book sales as a result of competition for people’s attention from small screens; particularly the laptop, tablet computer and now the pocket devices which are part of nearly everyone’s daily lives.
On Waikanae now, he sees Mahara Place and the present State Highway 1 shops becoming moribund when the Expressway opens — the history of Waikanae has been for commerce to be based around the main mode of transport — first the beach, then the railway and then the Highway. When the State Highway moves west, so will the hub of economic activity. Kapiti lost the opportunity for SH1 to stay where it is because of the two-year dithering over the Western Link Road plan by former Mayor Rowan. The central government moved in and usurped it.
He agrees with the need for an underpass beneath the railway line for those who live east of it as an infrastructure priority.
He sees new housing subdivisions, particularly those planned near the beach, and more, as inevitable, regardless of the concerns people have about their impact.