Paraparaumu Business Group say Gateway Flawed

Kāpiti Business: Paraparaumu Beach Business Association says Gateway plan is deeply flawed.

Paraparaumu Beach Business Association (PBBA) Chair Sharon Hunter says both the Kāpiti Island Gateway Project Proposal to the Provincial Growth Fund and the public consultation process are deeply flawed.

The business community at Paraparaumu Beach is a short walk from the Kāpiti Island boat launching point. “We are made up of a mix of retail, hospitality, accommodation, professional and community service businesses. We welcome any development at the beach that promotes our area and supports our existing business community. Unfortunately the current $4.6 million proposal is not fit for purpose,” says Ms Hunter.

The PBBA told the Maclean Development & Management Plan committee that its position included

1. No competing businesses in the proposed building/s

2. A well designed link between the proposed building/s and the business community.

No competing businesses in the proposed building/s

The recently lodged (by KCDC) Resource Consent clearly s includes “pods” (structures for Food & Beverage / and retail. Instead of the Gateway giving PBBA businesses a boost, it will be a source of unfair competition. The PBBA’s submissions were ignored.

Councillor Elliott has said there are 8 income streams. Clearly these pods are one of those streams KCDC staff have included the Food & Beverage commercial tenancy in the Resource Consent to try and make a case that the Gateway will in 6 years be self-funding.

“The Business case is a toughie” “it is a long-term loss leader”. This was written by KCDC’s project leader in an email dated 10 April to Jack Mace of DOC.

A well designed link between the proposed building/s and the business community.

KCDC in its application to the Provincial Growth Fund has said the Gateway will have a significant positive impact for local businesses. PBBA said there would only be such a positive impact if there was a well-designed integrated link between the Gateway and the businesses. KCDC refused to include this vital element in its application for Resource Consent.

Invented visitor figures

KCDC acknowledges that visitor numbers will have to shoot up to 30,000 (from 14,000) within 3 years and up to 58,000 by 2030. Kāpiti ECO Experience (one of two concessionaires) states “the visitor numbers are “made up” and the business case does NOT stack up. They (KCDC) do not have a sound and fiscally responsible business case for the Kāpiti Gateway project. Mr Cooper says Bio Security is not a council responsibility, it has always sat with DOC and the Concessionaires and should continue to do so.”

Projected ticket price and parking cost increases will see visitor numbers fall

The cost, or an on charge in the ticket price, at an increase of at least $20 per ticket, is what Concessionaires have been told. Parking will be removed from Maclean Park, KCDC suggest that parking can be used at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. KCDC say all those arriving by car will have to use this car park at an additional charge of $15 per car. These additional charges will diminish the visitors to Kāpiti Island. DOC undertook an independent review of visitor number in 2014 because there had been a significant drop in visitor numbers after DOC had put up charges. As a result, DOC slashed its fees 75% and visitors returned. KCDC is saying it knows better and that the KCDC proposed 25% to 50% fee increase will see visitor numbers double. PBBA suggests this shows how deeply flawed the KCDC business case is.

Our business community have been suffering from the impact of Covid. “The last thing the existing business community needs is for a drop off in tourists due to significant price hikes, and the charging of $15.00 a day to park a car,” says Ms Hunter.