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18 Apr: Toxic algae warning for Waikanae River at old SH1. For updates see Recreational water quality

Mayoral Musings 3 April – Kāpiti Mayor Janet Holborow

4 Apr 2024, 12:32 PM

The fine weather on the weekend saw bumper crowds at the Easter markets in Waikanae and Ōtaki.  In Waikanae on Saturday, elected members and staff took the opportunity to talk about the Long-term plan consultation document.  The document was only approved on Thursday, so staff had run off some temporary copies to share with the public.

This is the sixth long-term plan I’ve been involved with as an elected member, and it’s definitely been the most challenging.  Increasing costs are also being seen by every council across the country (as outlined in previous columns) as well as households and businesses.

With wash-ups from delaying paying off debt through Covid and the promised water reforms, we find ourselves in a difficult position which has resulted in a rates rise none of us want to see. 

Unlike some other councils we haven’t proposed service cuts like reductions to library and pool opening hours, as we still believe the well-being of our community is paramount.  When we’ve previously proposed cuts to services, we’ve heard a resounding “no” from the community. 

Councillor Prvanov, Mayor Holborow, Councillor Wilson, and Waikanae Community Board members Michelle Lewis and Michael Moore

Left to right: Councillor Prvanov, Mayor Holborow, Councillor Wilson, and Waikanae Community Board members Michelle Lewis and Michael Moore at the Waikanae Easter Market in Mahara Place on Saturday 30 March. See larger image

We have proposed an alternative option where we reduce rates in the first year by using some debt to pay for our day-to-day activities, so let us know if you think we should consider that further.

At the moment, that option isn’t preferred, as we’re also suggesting reducing debt over the coming years.  This would allow us to reduce interest costs, and allow for flexibility to deal with growth and any unexpected events. We are open to feedback on that and anything else in the coming weeks.

One of the other issues we’re asking for feedback on is the future of our older persons’ housing.  A review carried out last year showed that we are running at a loss, and that moving thie activity to another provider would allow external funding which council can’t access.

This year, Council set up an affordable housing entity, and that could be one option if the proposal goes ahead.  Councillors and staff have been visiting residents over the past few weeks to explain the proposal, and assure them that their situation will remain unchanged.

Please take the time to have a look through the consultation document, available online or at our service centres and libraries, and let us know your thoughts or suggestions.

On another note, I exted my heartfelt thanks to June Davis who has retired as council’s Kuia.  Alongside Koro Don Te Maipi, she has presided over countless early morning blessings and official events, including welcoming hundreds of new citizens at our citizenship ceremonies.

 At last week’s Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti meeting, staff, iwi representatives and elected members took the opportunity to thank her and present her with a beautiful kete crafted by renowned weaver Adrienne Spratt, using natural materials and kiwi feathers from Kāpiti Island.  Her support and graceful presence will be missed by us all.