And completion has been pushed out to the end of 2023 — a KCDC media release from yesterday is below and follows a briefing given to councilors on Thursday.

Plenty has been said about this super-expensive vanity project, including on here, but a few points:

  • Before the 2019 election the then councilors decided there was a climate change ’emergency’ and that sea levels were going to rise dramatically. Just this last week the present mayor said he wanted the most recent paid alarmism included on coastal LIMs (more will be said about that shortly). So how does the proposed siting of this edifice by the Paraparaumu Beach sand fit with that?
  • Blaming ‘covid’ seems as though it’s going to be a stock excuse for anything not happening for some time to come.
  • Did councilors actually express ‘continuing support’ for this continuing drain on Ratepayer money or just the ones who voted for it last year?
  • Were councilors actually ‘encouraged’ by this cost blowout? Why not name the ones who were?
  • As we’ve asked before, how is Te Uruhi (this ‘forceful’ structure) going to “help iwi realise their aspirations and re-establish their presence in the area”?
  • There’s propaganda and then there’s bullshit.

Following a detailed briefing this week, Kāpiti Coast District Councillors expressed their continued support for Te Uruhi, the biosecurity and visitor centre planned for Maclean Park, Paraparaumu Beach.

Councillors heard about the next level of design detail for the building pods. They also received a presentation about how the district’s rich culture and stories would be represented and shared in the interactive and engaging visitor discovery centre.  

Councillors were encouraged to see how the project is developing. They were also pleased to hear the level of support and collaboration Council’s iwi partners have contributed so far and how Te Uruhi will help iwi realise their aspirations to re-establish their presence in the area.

Councillors heard that the cost of the project has increased by $3.2 million. Factors contributing to the increased cost include the well-known global construction sector price rises due to COVID-related supply chain issues, building details that have become better understood as the project has moved into the next phase of design, and the inclusion of extended carparking at the southern end of Maclean Park. Changes to carparking at the southern end of Maclean Park will result in a net gain of carparks.

Mayor K Gurunathan said after weighing up various options, Councillors concluded Te Uruhi will deliver Kāpiti District significant benefits and should continue.

“Following a robust question and answer session, Councillors indicated staff should continue with the project but should seek to significantly reduce the shortfall through external funding grants and sponsorship,” said Mayor Gurunathan.

“One example of possible external funding is a current application for $1million to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s Environment and Culture Fund.

“We know that any price increase is not ideal, but we are all seeing cost escalations in projects right across the country. I want to reassure residents that the price increase will not impact next year’s rates or other important projects currently underway, such as the new Waikanae Library. Officers assure us that, as well as exploring external support, funding can be used from within the existing capital works budget by re-phasing some projects based on their readiness to proceed,” said Mayor Gurunathan.  

Another issue covered by officers at the briefing was the change in timing for the project. With COVID-related delays and building supply chain issues, Te Uruhi is now expected to open at the end of 2023. This date also depends on gaining resource consent for the building.

“With the opening of Transmission Gully and the country’s borders to international tourists, our tourism sector is poised to rebound. So the timing of Te Uruhi, albeit later than initially expected, will be well placed to provide a foundation to improved our district’s tourism offering,” added Mayor Gurunathan.

Te Uruhi will:

  • improve biosecurity practices for Kāpiti Island
  • enhance visitors’ experience of Maclean Park and Kāpiti Island
  • inform and engage locals and visitors about the area’s heritage
  • inform people about the conservation story and visitor experience of Kāpiti Island
  • promote our District’s visitor attractions and tourism businesses
  • enhance the retail and commercial activities at Paraparaumu Beach.