Beach 1

–Geoffrey quotes from statistics provided by the Beach Residents Society; Iride is to the right.

Of the 9 candidates for the Waikanae Ward council seat or the Community Board, four didn’t bother to appear yesterday afternoon — Eric Gregory, Jill Griggs, Michael Moore, and most notably, Cr Michael Scott.

After the five candidates present had spoken and answered questions from the 40-strong audience, a member of the Waikanae Beach Residents Society Inc. was about to read a statement that Michael Scott had sent to the Chairman.  But candidates present objected, so he asked for a vote to be taken.  Only four members of the audience wanted Michael Scott’s statement read out, the rest didn’t, so it wasn’t.

Our feeling is that the five candidates who showed up — Iride McCloy, Geoffrey, Margaret Stevenson-Wright, Jocelyn Prvanov and James Westbury — will be the members of the next Community Board.

Although emphasis differed, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the candidates on what they wanted and there was general agreement that the residents of the Waikanae Beach Zone have not been treated fairly by the existing councilors.  Even the venue, a shabby council-owned 70-year-old hall, with unsuitable dimensions for very much, was symbolic of the neglect that the beach residents feel.  But of course, the council takes a vastly disproportionate amount of Rates from them. An extract from the statistics (the full version is on this page):

The population of Waikanae Beach (3018) is 6.2% of the population of Kapiti (48,471) [according to the 2013 census, both figures will be a little higher now — Eds].

Rates charged for Waikanae Beach for the 2018/19 year ($7,366,000) are 9.5% of the total Kapiti rates ($77,889,000) 

Budgeted Capital Expenditure on Parks and Open Spaces

Total Kapiti                   $2,155,000
Waikanae Beach          $46,000 (2.1%)

Total Kapiti                  $1,104,000
Waikanae Beach          $30,000 (2.7%)

Total Kapiti                  $2,221,000
Waikanae Beach          $30,000 (1.4%)

Total Kapiti                  $1,997,000
Waikanae Beach          $30,000 (1.5%)

Note: $30,000 is budgeted each year for the Pharazyn Reserve development.

Budgeted Capital Expenditure on Asset Renewal and Upgrades of Community Facilities and Community Support

Total Kapiti                  $1,508,000
Waikanae Beach          $21,000 (1.4%)

Total Kapiti                  $486,000
Waikanae Beach          $Nil (0%)

Total Kapiti                  $854,000
Waikanae Beach          $21,000 (2.5%)

Total Kapiti                  $893,000
Waikanae Beach          $7,000 (0.8%)

Note: All expenditure is for the Community Hall.

Geoffrey’s opening address:

Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m Geoffrey Churchman and 3 years ago I was here as a candidate for Ward Councilor.  This time I’m here as a candidate for the community board as I want to see Iride McCloy become your Ward Councilor. She has the experience, the knowledge and the resolution to deal with the bureaucrats who inhabit the council building at 175 Rimu Road in Paraparaumu to achieve what we all as Waikanae residents want to see happen. My role will be to support Iride and along with the third member of our team, Margaret Stevenson Wright, I believe we are more than capable of doing that.

In the past 10 years, effective council Rates for Waikanae people have doubled.  That’s right, doubled.  However, cumulative inflation in that time according to the Reserve Bank inflation calculator has been only 17%.  Wage inflation has been 30%.  As you well know, residents in the beach zone have been particularly hard hit with the increases.

And what do we get for it?  Extra services? No. In fact, council rubbish collection has gone.  Extra amenities? No. In fact, the two-story library Waikanae had until last December has gone because of gross mismanagement by the council.

So where does the ever-increasing amount of money that the Council sucks out of you go? A lot goes to pay the huge salaries of top bureaucrats. The Chief Executive gets more than the British Prime Minister does. Whatever you may think of Boris Johnson, I’m sure you’ll agree he deserves more than that guy down the road. A lot goes to external consultants that these bureaucrats pay to produce reports that will support their pet ideas — in the last financial year that was over $24 million, about a third of total expendtiture. Hundreds of thousands goes to external lawyers because the council’s highly paid internal lawyer Mr Power can only be described as incompetent.  Far too much goes in overpayments to contractors, because the council’s project management is grossly deficient.  And of course, millions of dollars goes every year in interest on borrowings that were raised to pay for white elephants like the recharge scheme and the water meters instead of the sensible option which was a reservoir.

There are three things this council is good at, however — one is self-congratulatory puffery and spin. The second is accounting with the use of smoke and mirrors. The third is treating ratepayers with disdain if not contempt. This is why you need elected representatives who are committed to achieving results for you.

I’m sure that many of you here don’t even know what the community board is there to do. That simply reflects the failure of those of have been on it to do what they should have, and one of the biggest failures has been in communication. One of the things I’ve done over the last 4 and a half years is co-edit the Waikanae Watch blog which is a purely voluntary activity which we don’t make a cent from. One of the reasons we’ve felt the need for it is the lack of communication from elected members, to quote the first line in a well known song — “what we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

I agree completely with all the sentiments expressed in the briefing paper we received from Gerald about how shabbily those who live in the Beach Zone have been treated by elected members and can guarantee that I, Iride and Margaret will do all we can to address them.

Margaret Stevenson-Wright’s opening address:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

On issues relevant to Waikanae Beach I first mention rates.  Analysis of current electoral roll data indicates that Waikanae Beach has 5.3% of Kapiti households, yet provides 9.5% of the rates revenue.  Average rating per household for the Beach is around $5100 per household, whereas the average for Kapiti is around $2900.

Owners of low value buildings in the old beach area are facing rate bills that are well above the Kapiti average.  This inequity is due to the way services are taxed in relation to capital value and land value across Kapiti. In 2018, Mayor Guru promised a review of how rates are allocated (I quote): “to be equitable and affordable for our ratepayers.”  Perhaps Michael Scott will like to explain how much progress was made on this.

I support implementation of the Waikanae Beach Futures plan and the rezoning of Olde Beach to ‘Beach Residential’.  I note that this has been a difficult birth so far and that in the last 3 years changes to buildings have occurred which have diminished the character of the area sought to be protected.  The already implemented “Beach Character Set Back Margin” will at least provide something of a check while the character birth continues. I do wonder how the proposed Waikanae Beach fence height visually permeable policy in the re-zoning relates to visually impermeable macrocarpa hedges that have long been an integral part of the character of the area.  Is KCDC looking for an easy test to take a hard line?

The primary attraction of the area relates to the beach which provides safe swimming, firm sand for easy walking, driftwood and plenty of space for play.  This primary attraction extends north and south of the Old Beach area.  The Waikanae River and Waimeha Stream provide something of a natural boundary, but if all of Waikanae Beach was to be included in a Beach Residential zone, one has to ask why would Peka Peka be excluded?

A distinguishing characteristic of the Olde Beach area is the mature macrocarpa in Tutere Street that calms the Olde Beach area behind, enabling social activity long into a summer’s night.

At a Beach meeting 3 years ago, Sarah Stevenson, the then KCDC planning leader present, had her attention drawn to the fact that the only commercial/retail zoned land in the Olde Beach area was where the dairy and bakery are in Ono Street.  Given that other café-food, grocery commercial activity existed through prior use in Tutere Street, she acknowledged an urgent need for KCDC to regularise what existed in the Plan. The proposed rezoning avoids any mention of this and side-steps the issue by excluding the dairy and bakery site from the proposed rezoned Olde Beach area.  Yet, the grocery store, Front Room and Long Beach (which was once the Post Office) constitutes commercial activity in the area contributing to the beach character.

If more rates revenue was to be spent at the beach, where would it go?  What is wanted still needs to be worked out. The Community Board needs to take a far more active and collaborative role in this process.

Support for a new Community Hall is sought.  This hall has been built on a strip of land only 10 metres wide.  Given the state of the Hall and restricted site, planning should immediately be made for a new hall on a larger site which would provide more practical space for residents’ meeting.

On the Pharazyn Reserve development, I think far more could be done.  The south-east corner of the reserve is less than 500 metres to Ngarara Road.   Many people in the Beach area enjoy walking and cycling. To have a loop option which can join the expressway walkway at Smithfield Road or Nga Manu Reserve Road would greatly enhance the recreational value of the Waikanae Beach area.  Land on the north and south sides of the ponds is currently closed to the public to provide undisturbed bird habitat. With good planning additional quality habitat could readily be provided in compensation.

In terms of an emergency response plan, the Beach area cannot rely on the response of an external agency.  Neighbourhood group planning around hazards is essential and the key to community resilience.

Parts of the Waikanae Beach area have potential for flooding.  Many of the houses in the Old Beach area have a floor level well above ground level in recognition of this.  Vigilance is needed to ensure unobstructed channels to the sea are maintained at the Waikanae River estuary, the Waimeha Stream and the Ngarara Stream draining the inner swamp area.  The planned stormwater projects need to be brought forward in recognition of increased frequency of extreme weather events.

I applaud the ‘Waikanae Beach Market’ initiative commencing 6 October.

There is much work that a truly active Waikanae Community Board could and will do for Waikanae Beach.

I offer you my proven track record of advocacy based on real consultation, participatory decision making and socially responsible communication.

Margaret tricycle rourge

Margaret’s environmentally-friendly campaign vehicle.