Kāpiti Coast District Councillors today voted unanimously to end the Kāpiti Gateway-Te Uruhi project.
Council revisited an original motion moved by Councillor Liz Koh and seconded by Cr Martin Halliday and supported by Crs Glen Cooper, Jocelyn Prvanov, and Nigel Wilson with some amendments.
There was surprisingly little discussion and no debate at the Council table which likely reflected the reality that cost overruns had finally erased opposition.
Cr Koh says the aspirations of the project were worthy and there are options ahead of council but the project had created significant divisions in the community. She told the meeting “…it’s time now to set those divisions aside and to look at how we can achieve those goals for the benefit for our district by working together in a transparent and open way.”
The Gateway project has long been controversial from Council’s original decision to progress it back in March 2021 when the cost was $4.46 million. That estimate has grown by an extra $4 million and in the current economic climate expectations are that cost would continue to climb.
Mayor Janet Holborow told the meeting she backed the motion with a little bit of regret but also with a sense of pragmatism and acceptance.
A long time supporter of the Gateway, Mayor Holborow says “It does seem like a sensible decision not to proceed with this project today.
“It’s always a shame to stop the project before completion but in this case, the cost increase isn’t just about the amount. It’s about the context, in terms of the economic environment we find ourselves in at the moment and the cost of living crisis that we’re experiencing.”
Mayor Holborow says Council could focus on some existing projects, like the Waikanae Library and the district’s art programme, which people could put a strong cultural lens on.
Cr Halliday noted the huge contribution made by former Councillors and the public who battled to have the project stopped.
“In particular I thank Sharon and Darren Hunter, Vicki and Glen Cooper, Bernie Randall and Jocelyn Prvanov, Karl Webber, and former Cr Gwynn Compton who has been very supportive since leaving council and battled hard over this issue for the last three years,” says Cr Halliday.
During public speaking time Mr Compton, referencing the cost blow outs and the inevitable demise of the project echoed the sentiment of many when he told council “I told you so.”