The newly-elected Council is voting on Thursday on whether to guillotine the Gateway project. Christopher Ruthe, Co-Chair of the Kapiti Improvement Society (KIS), a strong opponent of this deplorable waste of ratepayer money, said the Society is delighted to see that this multi-million dollar burden could soon be beheaded with the quick sharp dropping of the blade.
Will the new Mayor, an ardent advocate of the project, manage a stay of execution and justify a probable $11 million cost to be imposed on Ratepayers already suffering from cost of living escalation?
In the Society’s view, Councilor Koh has done a marvelous job in formulating her motion and getting the support of Councilors Halliday, Cooper, Prvanov and Wilson. The councilors whose current position on the motion are unknown are Councilors Warwick, Handford, Spiers and Kirby. Previously Handford and Spiers have strongly advocated for it.
Councilor Liz Koh sets out the whakapapa of the Gateway with meticulous care, including setting out various motions in support passed by the previous Council. The reasons given acknowledges the history — “There has been considerable public backlash against Kapiti Council over this project and very little public support”.
Councilor Koh properly stresses the role of council to reflect the will of the people — “Over the recent election period there was overwhelming public condemnation of the project and again there was no discernible support. This was also largely the position of candidates for all positions who … spoke against continuing the project…”
The previous Council under the former CEO had a consultation, but when submitters were largely opposed to the project — 70% plus — this consultation was thrown into the scrap bin.
There was never a business case although ratepayers were falsely told the opposite. The Motion puts it bluntly: “The business case has never been convincing and cost overruns have been huge, causing significant reputational damage to Kapiti Council”.
The motion clears the decks so the new Council can move on. It says: “This motion allows Council to draw a line under the project, repair relationships with the public and move on.”
The motion is:
1. That the Kapiti Coast District Council rescind and revoke all prior resolutions and amendments relating to the Kapiti Island Gateway/ Te Uruhi project;
2. And further moves to request the Chief Executive to withdraw all resource consent applications relating to the project;
3. And further moves the Chief Executive to instruct staff and contractors to cease all work on progressing the Kapiti Island Gateway – Te Uruhi project.
The Co-Chair of Kapiti Improvement Society says: “KIS awaits the outcome with the same amount of tension as all New Zealanders felt in the Women’s World Rugby Cup semifinal. The French kicker lined up the final penalty kick in the dying moments. She missed. Our NZ players went on to win the glory and the fame they deserved. Will Ratepayers and Residents win the relief from economic pain they do not deserve? We await the final whistle.