Projects aplenty in Ka¯piti Coast

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

Twelve months on from the lo­cal body elec­tions, looks at the year in Ka¯piti.

WHAT DID THE MAYOR CAM­PAIGN ON? Dur­ing his cam­paign which saw the two-term­coun­cil­lor elected mayor, K (Guru) Gu­runathan pro­moted as­pi­ra­tional as well as prac­ti­cal goals. He wanted to make the coun­cil more open, trans­par­ent and pub­licly ac­count­able; as well as to re­duce bu­reau­cracy and make it eas­ier to do busi­ness with the coun­cil. He was also keen to help ad­dress wider is­sues felt lo­cally such as hous­ing, health and com­mu­nity safety. WHAT CAN THE MAYOR AND THE COUN­CIL TICK AS ‘ACHIEVED’? Mayor Guru ad­mit­ted the coun­cil could not be open, trans­par­ent and ac­count­able about ev­ery­thing, but that he felt the pub­lic per­cep­tion about this had im­proved. He pro­moted ‘‘self cor­rect­ing mech­a­nisms’’, with case stud­ies now re­quested on coun­cil projects or ac­tiv­i­ties that had gone wrong, to find out what, why and how, to avoid re­peat­ing sim­i­lar mis­takes. A may­oral hous­ing task­force and a health ad­vo­cacy group were es­tab­lished. The year saw the Te

tiawa Park up­grade and resur­fac­ing com­pleted. The re­built

taki Pool and new splash pad were about to open. Mayor Guru was also proud of fos­ter­ing a co­he­sive coun­cil, which en­gaged in ro­bust dis­cus­sions and de­bates, but with­out per­sonal at­tacks that cre­ated sideshows and slowed ‘‘get­ting on with the busi­ness’’. In an­other novel idea, late last year Mayor Guru en­gaged around 40 Ka¯piti hair­dressers to help pro­mote civil de­fence emer­gency prepa­ra­tion by in­di­vid­u­als and house­holds. ‘‘Peo­ple thought I was crazy, but the hair­dressers got on board with it,’’ he said. WHAT PROJECTS ARE IN THE PIPE­LINE? The coun­cil planned to up­grade the Rau­mati Pool build­ing, Ma­hara Gallery andWaikanae Li­brary; de­velop Ota­raua Park. As­sess­ing the dis­trict’s earth­quake-prone build­ings would also con­tinue. Longer term ini­tia­tives in­cluded build­ing the new Ka¯piti Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre. Work also con­tin­ued on a 14-year de­vel­op­ment of the Para­pa­raumu andWaikanae town cen­tres to take ad­van­tage of the new ex­press­way. Planned work to re­place the sea­wall along The Parade in Paeka¯ka¯riki was de­layed while its de­sign was re­viewed. Re­vised plans would be pre­sented later this year. WHAT DOES THE KA¯PITI CHAM­BER OF COM­MERCE THINK? Ka¯piti Cham­ber of Com­merce chair­woman Heather Hutch­ings said the coun­cil ta­ble had been ‘‘more set­tled’’ in its first year than pre­vi­ously. Hutch­ings said the coun­cil had launched case stud­ies into some of the Ka¯piti busi­nesses, with which they pre­vi­ously had fraught re­la­tion­ships, to help fix them. ’’But I know there are still busi­nesses out there that are frus­trated with the reg­u­la­tions, and that they seem very strin­gent, but I guess that’s not just our coun­cil.’’ Hutch­ings said per­haps more work could have been done on help­ing re­tail­ers in places such asWaikanae be­fore the open­ing of the Ka¯piti ex­press­way. The $630 mil­lion project re­lo­cated State High­way 1 away from the cen­tral busi­ness ar­eas of the likes ofWaikanae. ’’I know they [the coun­cil] are work­ing re­ally hard now in­Waikanae. It takes a while for peo­ple to set­tle into the road­ing changes.’’

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