A crash course in Council
Local elections will be held around New Zealand in October and you’ll get to have your say on who will govern our district for the next three years. Did you know one of the most common reasons people give for not voting is that they don’t see the work of Council as relevant to them?
Every day, your local Council works to deliver the infrastructure and services that keeps your community ticking – so we’re taking you on a crash course of what we do and why we do it.
Why? Because your vote matters and you might be surprised by how much our work impacts your daily life.
You might know the inspirational quote ‘It's not the destination, it's the journey’ from Nana’s toilet wall, but for our Roading team, the focus is on both.
We maintain all public roads and footpaths in our district, except State Highway 1. Our job is to make sure you have safe infrastructure and access to get where you need to go, and help our communities to be connected.
Our maintenance work – that’s tar sealing, chip sealing, obstructions, road markings, sumps, sweeping and unsealed road grading – is a constant balancing act of competing priorities and budget.
Our water system includes the three waters – drinking water (water supply), wastewater, and stormwater, and the assets and services supporting each of these.
We're responsible for supplying safe water to approximately 20,000 connections across our district, and managing 350 kilometres of sewers to take it away again. Our network can manage 4,700 million litres of wastewater per year.
We also manage water run-off from our urban areas to protect our waterways, ensure water quality and reduce flooding.
Central Government is transforming how the three waters are delivered in Aotearoa New Zealand as part of its Three Waters Reform Programme. This is a big deal as it will significantly change the way critical water infrastructure and services are delivered in our district from July 2024.
We make sure accessible, effective and efficient waste management options are available to our community, deliver waste minimisation education and provide closed landfill management.
In Kāpiti, kerbside household rubbish and recycling collection is not covered by your rates. You may choose to arrange and pay for your own collection with an independent collector, or manage your own rubbish and recycling by reducing waste, composting or going to the transfer stations.
Your choice means you only pay for the rubbish you produce.
Waste is a part of our daily lives, but if we minimise waste it’ll cost us less for collection, and our landfill sites will last longer and produce fewer greenhouse gases.
We help educate our community about waste minimisation, and manage grants to increase the range, scale and number of waste minimisation projects across our district.
A major ongoing focus for our community is how to respond to the effects of rising sea levels and storm intensity.
Our goal is sustainable management of our coastal environment, which means maintaining Council-owned seawalls and rock revetments as long as practicable, and facilitating beach protection project.
One of the best things about living in Kāpiti is our beautiful parks, and the walking trails, cycleways and bridleways that showcase our beaches and dunes, leafy river tracks and coastal forests.
The wide range of parks, reserves and open spaces we look after for our community includes 16 parks with field markings for winter and summer sports, used by sports clubs and recreational users.
We're also very fortunate to have more than 40 playgrounds in our district, which helps build community connectedness and keeps our tamariki active.
All parks and reserves are looked after by Council staff. This means regular mowing and tree trimming, planting, and renewals and upgrades of things like paths, bridges and amenities.
We also manage a great network – more than 100 kilometres – of cycling, walking and bridleway trails.
It’s a big job keeping our open spaces safe and accessible for people of all ages and levels of fitness.
We provide recreation and leisure facilities, services and programmes for the health and wellbeing of our community.
If you’re craving a dip, we have three aquatic facilities (two indoor and one outdoor), and two splash pads. We run range of classes, events and swimming lessons to help build fitness and confidence in the water. In total there were 317,197 pool visits over the 2020/21 financial year.
If a cosy corner and a good book is more your style, we operate libraries in Ōtaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Paekākāriki. We also provide online access to library services, resources and the arts.
To support the arts, we deliver the Kāpiti Coast Art Trail and Creative Communities grants annually.
Our vision for Kāpiti
Is a thriving environment, a vibrant economy and strong communities.
Council's contribution is to deliver efficient, reliable services, facilities and infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing community. We act on important issues while managing how we pay for services and fund our community's development.
Economic development is more than just a snazzy way of saying we support our business community. When our local economy thrives, our community thrives thanks to more jobs, better wages, new innovation and more community investment.
So, what does Council do to in this space? We have a strategy focused on growing skills and capability, supporting our key sectors, seizing new opportunities and positioning Kāpiti as a destination to visit, work from, and play in. We also grant funding to support major events and Māori economic development.
We provide facilities and services to support to a healthy, active and involved community. We have community centres, memorial halls, a rural hall, sporting pavilions and meeting rooms for groups to use for leisure, recreation, sport, cultural, social, and educational activities.
We provide housing for qualifying older persons and have 118 units in 10 locations throughout Kāpiti.
We work with Kāpiti community groups and support community-based projects, programmes and events that contribute to positive social outcomes and community wellbeing and development for our people.
We recognise the individuals, groups and organisations that help make Kāpiti a great place to live through our annual Civic and Community Awards.
We shape Kāpiti’s development through rules and guidelines in our District Plan that ensure sustainable management of our natural and physical resources. The District Plan outlines how land can be used and subdivided in Kāpiti, and our desired environmental outcomes. We review it every 10 years.
We face significant district planning costs in the future, largely because central government has amended legislation and issued new national policy statements, which require us to review our District Plan.
We value our partnership with iwi, and aim to embed tangata whenua values and aspirations into the sustainable management of our district. Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti, a partnership between Council and mana whenua, is one of the longest lasting partnerships between tangata whenua and local government in Aotearoa.
We provide regulatory services to ensure Kāpiti is a safe, healthy environment and a great place to live, work and play.
While we often don’t make the rules, it’s our job to administer, enforce and record processes and regulations set out in legislation on behalf of government. This includes things like building control, environmental health, food safety, alcohol harm reduction, animal management, noise management, trade waste licensing, resource consents, designations and compliance.
Not only does this make us pretty popular at barbecues and parties, it keeps us pretty busy. Our teams responded to 13,035 regulatory-related service requests in the 2020/21 financial year.
We processed 1,193 building consents and carried out 8,546 building inspections. The Compliance Team carried out 422 three-yearly residential swimming pool barrier inspections, with 239 follow-up inspections.
There were 8,356 known dogs in Kāpiti in the 2020/21 financial year. But it’s not just doggos that keep our Animal Management team busy seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Roosters, horses, cattle, goats, pigs, peacocks (and peahens!) – if it’s wandering or causing a nuisance or hazard, our team is ready to respond.
The future is now. And it’s also 10, 20 and 30 years from now.
To guide our mahi and ensure we manage our budget and ratepayers’ money responsibly, we work to detailed plans. Our Long-term Plan sets our direction, our financial and infrastructure strategies, and our budget for the next 20 years, with a detailed focus on the first three years.
All councils develop a long-term plan every three years, and an annual plan in the intervening two years. Our Annual Plan is directly informed by the long-term plan.
We are a member of the Wellington Region Emergency Management Group that coordinates Civil Defence and Emergency Management services for the nine councils in the Wellington Region.
During a local emergency, we can activate our Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The EOC is manned by Council staff who gather intelligence; undertake planning, operations and logistics; support welfare responses; and keep our community informed.
While we’re here to support our community and help with recovery, your immediate resources in an emergency are your community and the preparations you’ve made before the event.
Shaping the Kāpiti we want for the future needs all of us to get involved and have our say.
We’re keen to hear from our communities on a range of projects, strategies and bylaws – but these opportunities won’t all look the same. At times we’ll be after your thoughts or ideas to help shape our work as we develop options or progress work; at other times we’ll invite more formal consultation on draft documents and proposals.
Community input drives so much of what we do, and we hear from residents in lots of different ways – surveys, formal consultation, service requests and of course through your elected representatives – it all goes in the mix.
Sometimes it can take a while for plans we’ve gone to the community about to come to fruition. A good example of this is the Maclean Park development plan, which was developed in 2017 and is being rolled out in stages. It would be great to be able to build things when plans are fresh in the mind, but the realities of funding and planning make delivering these things a longer process.
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