Ian Powell – New Council must put Gateway on hold

Ian Powell calls for halt to Kapiti Island Gateway
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District-wide councillor candidate Ian Powell says the Kāpiti Island Gateway spending should be put on hold.

“Should I be privileged to be elected as a district-wide councillor to the Kāpiti Council, over the following three years there will be many proposals covering a range of issues, and with varying degrees of complexity, that I and fellow councillors will have to consider.”

He says this is a challenge that he would welcome. “It is part of what makes me tick. My approach on these issues will be two-fold – what are the values or aspirations involved (first base) and what is the evidence, including practicality and financial (second base).

“You can’t have one without the other. A further factor is the likelihood of it earning at some point at least the trust and confidence of Kāpiti residents.”

The Gateway doesn’t get to second base.

It fails to pass the practicality and good

financial sense test; not even close.

Mr Powell says the Gateway controversy highlights the importance of this approach.

“It also requires its retrospective application to a decision already made. The aspirations and values behind the Gateway decision appealed to me, particularly biosecurity and the opportunity to further promote the significant Māori contribution to the Coast’s history and culture. Big ticks for me.

“But unfortunately the Gateway doesn’t get to second base. It fails to pass the practicality and good financial sense test; not even close. Some of its underlying premises simply were not well-thought out. If a proposal is not well-thought out it will fail regardless of the aspirations and values behind it.

“As nice as the notion of a gateway to the Island is, the belief that this would bring in large numbers of tourists was badly misplaced. KCDC does not control the number of visitors to Kāpiti Island; the Department of Conservation does and, for good environmental reasons, imposes limits.”

Mr Powell says the building of a hotel at Paraparaumu Beach will do much more for attracting tourists and other visitors to the Coast, especially given our current accommodation shortages.

He says cleaning and tidying up the stream was understandable; but widening it thereby increasing the volume of sea water entering and the consequential damage that followed was a huge mistake.

“A project as big as the Gateway also requires the trust and confidence of the public, regardless of the worthiness of its aspirations. It is a self-evident truth that the Gateway falls well short of meeting this threshold.”

Mr Powell says KCDC’s infrastructure investment should be more modest, focussing on improving the lives of Kāpiti residents and the vibrance of the district. He says this isn’t just the different appealing towns and villages which make up Kāpiti. It is also the inter-connectiveness between them; Kāpiti needs to be more than just the sum of its parts.

“KCDC should continue to engage with Māori over opportunities for further promoting their huge contribution to the Coast’s history and culture. But the Gateway is a too blunt and costly means of doing this. A more modest approach could be more effective.

“If I were elected a district-wide councillor, at the earliest opportunity I would propose (or support if initiated by another councillor) putting on hold any further Gateway work or processes and then reviewing the previous Gateway decision,” says Mr Powell.

“I’m not a betting person but I believe the likelihood of Ian Foster coaching the All Blacks to the World Cup next year (or even much after next weekend) is much greater than the Gateway continuing.”