Concept design for Kāpiti Island Gateway building

Concept design for the proposed Kāpiti Island Gateway building and visitor centre from Athfield Architects. Below is a view to the Island from the Gateway building.

A concept design for the proposed Kāpiti Island Gateway building and visitor centre shows a single storey 235m building, with decking and a new bridge over Tikotu stream.

On Thursday 28 May the Kāpiti Council will be considering an application to the Provincial Growth Fund which will show the preferred concept design for the Gateway building set to be located at the northern end of Maclean Park just south of Tikotu stream.

Mayor K Gurunathan says subject to an increase in costs post COVID-19, the project budget for the Gateway is estimated to be around $4.46 million, with 50% sought from the Provincial Growth Fund. The economic revenue of the Gateway and Kāpiti Island tourism in year one is estimated to be $5.91 million.

“This is a big opportunity for Kāpiti, one that’s not likely to come around again anytime soon. If we are successful in securing this funding it will significantly enhance the visitor landscape and create local employment opportunities through the construction phase and then ongoing for the tourism sector.

“This site is part of our tūrangawaewae with some extraordinary history and stories to be told and celebrated. Stories of importance to Māori and Europeans alike.

“While we understand this will require a funding commitment from Kāpiti ratepayers, we cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by,” says the Mayor.

Chair of Gateway Governance Group and former New Zealand Tourism Board Chief Executive, George Hickton, says there is a need to green-light the project now.

“This will be a shot in the arm for Kāpiti providing jobs, supporting the domestic tourism sector in the short-term and setting us up well in preparation for the return of international tourism once travel restrictions have been lifted.”

Mr Hickton says five local and regional architects were invited to provide design concepts for the building, four of these accepted the invitation (two from Wellington and two from Kāpiti).

“We gave the architects a detailed set of criteria drawn from community consultation for the Maclean Park Development Plan and input gathered from mana whenua, Department of Conservation, the Kāpiti Boating Club, Underwater Club Kāpiti, Coastguard Kāpiti, Kāpiti Island concessionaires and the Paraparaumu business community and other key stakeholders gathered through the TRC feasibility study, and the concepts were evaluated against these.”

The selection panel that evaluated the concept consisted of the project Governance Group comprising of representatives from Ngāti Toa and Te Āti Awa, Department of Conservation, Council and independent Chair, George Hickton plus two independent architects. The Governance Group also received advice from specialists on resource consenting, park integration and biosecurity.

“While the selection process occurred under lockdown the group was impressed with the quality of the designs submitted,” said Mr Hickton. “The concept from Athfield Architects was selected because it best met the criteria.

“We were really looking for a building that would fit into the environment and connect with the Park and wider landscape. This concept ticks all the boxes in terms of the facilities and visual impact and will deliver a very special landmark for the people of the Kāpiti Coast,” Mr Hickton said.

Acting Group Manager Place and Space, Alison Law, says the preferred concept would be a welcome addition to the ongoing development of Maclean Park.

“This is a concept design of what is proposed to be built on site. As we progress to the final design there may be some parts that need to be adjusted, however the connection to both the park and the beach and the essential elements will be the same in terms of the size and facilities provided.

Ms Law says Council will be seeking views on the name of the Gateway building and how we tell the stories and rich cultural history of the area and its people.

In developing the business case for the Kāpiti Island Gateway Building, the Council has also considered the implications for car parking in the Maclean Park area.

While there is more work to be done, the Council has secured an agreement with the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club for 30 car parks for visitors to Kāpiti Island to use.

Ms Law says this new parking area will compensate for the 17 car parks that will need to be removed from the existing carpark on the south side of Tikotu stream to make way for the Gateway building.

“This area will provide all-day parking for travellers to the island, who often take up the majority of parking at the northern end of the Maclean Park area.”

Leo Barber, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club General Manager says the golf club is excited to be involved with the Gateway project.

“The Gateway building has been a long time in the making. Once established it will be a valuable community asset that will add to the vibrancy of Paraparaumu Beach and encourage more visitors to the area. This will benefit local businesses and help stimulate economic activity.”

Subject to Council approval on 28 May the Provincial Growth Fund application will be lodged at the end of May/early June.