Projects aplenty in Ka¯piti Coast
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.’’