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Sunday, 24 March 2019 11:15 pm

Four-lane bypass raises temperature as Kapiti Coast prepares to vote

main road council 025

MOTORWAY MADNESS: divided opinion to the planned expressway route through the area could decide who Kapiti Coasters vote for.

THE SH1 expressway could be the single issue on which Kapiti Coasters decide who they vote for in the local body elections.

Anger about the new four-lane road, approved by transport officials, brought 400 residents to a Waikanae meeting last month and prompted Marie O’Sullivan, among others, to stand for the council for the first time.

marie osullivan1The road, bypassing Paraparaumu, Waikanae and Otaki retail centres, will increase congestion and pollution, downgrade the environment and effectively cut off  beach communities, says Waikanae ward candidate Ms O’Sullivan (left), a lecturer in public policy and health.

Incumbent mayor Jenny Rowan says the Government decided on the expressway route between MacKays Crossing and Peka Peka, despite council’s alternative solution, and the challenge will be to reduce the impact on communities.

First-time candidate Jonny Best, standing for the Paraparaumu/Raumati Community Board, says the expressway will have a positive impact on the district and drive future development.

Candidates are largely promising to keep rates down, saying ratepayers can no longer fund a “wish list” and council spending must be both accountable and sustainable.Tony Jack1

Incumbent district-wide councillor Tony Jack (right) believes the council has gone too far trying to be all things to all people at huge cost to the ratepayer.

Ms Rowan says if rates are cut then the council cannot deliver what the community wants.

Mayoral candidate Chris Turver says it is a question of affordability. The new council needs to assess what projects can be scaled down, deferred or cancelled, but admits it will be a challenge to lower rates because of council debt.

He says his priority will be to push economic development to attract more businesses to the coast and create more jobs.

A number of candidates say a lack of transparency and genuine community consultation over council spending decisions is an issue.

Mr Jack says key spending projects are decided by small minorities and there needs to be more ratepayer referenda on key issues.

Waikanae river

WATER ISSUE: a sustainable water solution will be decided by the new council.

Ms Rowan says the process already exists and is well used by the people to make submissions to the annual and long term council community plans.

The council is copping candidate criticism for being “divisive”.

Roger Booth, Paraparaumu/Raumati Community Board member standing for district-wide council, says once decisions have been made the new council must work as a team.

The vote to keep water fluoridated deeply divided the council earlier this year.

A solution to the decades-long issue of a sustainable water supply has also been recommended but is still to be signed off.

Water metering may be a hotly debated topic as incumbent Paraparaumu ward councillor Peter Daniel and newcomer Marilyn Stephens, running for the same seat, have both stated they will oppose meters.

There are looming issues of parking and road congestion with the Waikanae railway station development, and the planned Paraparaumu town and airport upgrades to be agreed.

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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