The overwhelming message from over 2200 Kapiti Coast ratepayers is that they don’t want their rates increased to finance the Kapiti Gateway project, many describing it as a ‘white elephant’.
Per capita, Kapiti Coast District Council is the second-most indebted council in the country with $383 borrowing costs per household, compared with $185 for the average city council and the national average (source Ratepayers’ Report 2020). The only council which exceeds Kapiti in debt is Waitomo at $395 per household.
The main objections cited online on the petition are:-
- there are more important projects including the Waikanae library and affordable housing which would directly benefit ratepayers;
- a decrease not increase is wanted in rates;
- there has been a lack of community consultation;
- Paraparaumu Beach businesses are overwhelming against the project, including one of the two operators to Kapiti Island;
- unrealistic visitor numbers predicted for Kapiti Island from 6,000 to 30,000 which is not possible with an average of 120 sailing days a year (over the last 20 years);
- if the i-Site operating at $200,000 a year was not ‘economically viable’, how can the Gateway Centre with annual costs of approximately $400,000 to $800,000 be economically viable?
- the huge footprint of the proposed centre would reduce the visibility of Kapiti Island, supposedly our ‘jewel in the crown’ of the coast;
- the community said we need more car parks at the beach, yet this proposed centre reduces the number of car parks by 17.
- Comments made by petition signatories include:
“This is an absolute waste of ratepayers money and accumulating a ridiculous amount of debt for a negative income stream.”
“So little consultation with the community on this and so many business owners affected negatively and both groups remain unheard. There are more important needs in our community our rates should be spent on. This should be a private business doing this not our council. Please stop and listen to your community.”
Sharon Hunter of the Kapiti Improvement Society which started the petition says even council staff acknowledge the project is not financially viable with a memo obtained through an OIA, from KCDC individual applying for government funding to DOC — “The business case is a toughie, because from the council’s perspective, it is a long-term “loss-leader”. On top of the initial capital investment, ongoing running and maintenance costs are going to be a big investment. Of course, we will try to justify that on increased visitation and the economic benefits to the region of that… but right now, the people are crying out for rates relief and tourism in no-man’s land, we’re going to have to paint as rosy a picture of the future as possible! In order to make this investment fly at all, we are going to have to show growth, and by some margin, in order for council to support this.”
Community Protest tomorrow Saturday 13th February from 8 am to 11 am – see the size of the building, the location, come have a chat and support your local community. In the affected Carpark northern end of Maclean Park (near the roundabout).
Details of the petition can be found here: