The present “pop-up” library will likely be all Waikanae people have for another 3-4 years.

by Geoffrey Churchman

With the Guru Gateway on Paraparaumu Beach now having been greenlighted, the KCDC top bureaucrats are sure to do everything to get it underway as soon as possible, giving it top prority. The latest issue of Kapiti News states:”Subject to the necessary design process and the necessary resource consents being obtained, construction could start as early as July 2021 with an expected completion date of June 2022.”

The options for what may be included in the sand dune edifice, according to what the councillors (by 7-4 majority) voted for on 25 February were stated as: “biosecurity, visitor/discovery centre, office, gift shop, café and bar/brasserie.”

There are significant practical difficulties, one would think, with fitting all of these into a building with the intended floor area of 160 sq metres — although the bar is unlikely to be allowed by the government, given that the Reserves Act states in Section 106 (f) that “the bringing into a reserve or the possession or consumption in a reserve of alcohol … either generally or on specified occasions or during specified periods” is unwelcome.

Nevertheless, it’s quite feasible that all the preliminaries are completed by this July and even though there are sure to be delays with technical issues — accompanied by the inevitable budget blow-out (which will be totally on Kapiti Ratepayers) — both the present mayor and boss Mr Maxwell should be happy if a festive opening ceremony takes place before the next council elections in October 2022.

Here in Waikanae, the lack of serious attention that has so far been given to the Waikanae Library rebuild while the Gateway has absorbed, and will continue to absorb the council means it’s unlikely anything firm about it will be decided before then. We have tried to ascertain precisely what is happening, but so far it seems to have just been pontification with different options proposed by the council appointed architects with the intention of being delaying tactics. One member of the appointed Waikanae Library focus group told us last October, “after some thought, I have to admit it’s amazing how you can be carried along by a professional’s viewpoint and then think, ‘wait… what just happened?!’.” The Official Information response we got from KCDC last November made clear nothing was close to being decided.

Sue Lusk’s petition to the council to rebuild the library that was begun last October has so far received 461 signatures, and given that the petition to stop the Gateway got over 3,000 signatures and was ignored, it’s probable that few in the council will take any notice of Sue’s one either.