The Kāpiti Coast District Council’s long-term vision for the region fails to incentivise economic growth or prioritise the unprecedented opportunities for businesses on the Kāpiti Coast.
The Council is consulting on its proposed Long-Term Plan, a blueprint for the community between 2018 and 2038. The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce believes the plan is short-sighted, restrictive and sends the wrong message to potential and new businesses.
Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce, believes the Council’s plan does not adequately address the needs of a growing population, or support the commercial growth required to develop an economically sustainable district where people choose to live, work and play.
“Support for a strong local economy should be a top priority for Council – prioritising town centre development, maximising visitor attraction and driving growth. However, we have a plan intent on businesses subsidising residential rates and makes assumptions about our prospects based on data from an 11-year-old report.
“At a strategic level, the Chamber supports commercial rates, but believes the option put forward does not tell the whole story, particularly about how much businesses will be liable for in the future. If commercial rates are to be introduced, we believe the Council needs to transparently report how this money will be spent, and what they’re doing to maximise economic development. To date, this detail is absent”.
The Chamber also disagrees with the Council’s plan to reduce the budget for upgrading town centres and extending the timeframe to do so.
“Kāpiti is at a critical stage for future development. Pushing town centre upgrades out over a longer period will negatively affect businesses, many of whom are already trying to catch up – on their own – following reduced traffic flows. We need to do more to support them.
“We believe the Council’s Economic Development Team should investigate establishing a role to promote local businesses and encourage growth specifically in Pāekākāriki, Rāumati, Paraparaumu Beach, Waikanae and Otāki town centres”.
Many existing and prospective business owners in Kāpiti have told the Chamber they still find it difficult to get things done with the Council, despite their motto of being Open for Business.
“KCDC needs to develop user-defined targets, measure their performance against them, and communicate its progress on achieving them to our business community. We also need action and targets around visitor attraction. Tourists spent a combined $230 million in the Otāki electoral region in the year to December 2016. The time has come to move beyond talking about doing things, to making it happen”, says Heather Hutchings.
Hearings on the Long-Term plan will begin from 14 May 2018. The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce will make a verbal submission to the Council.
The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce exists to advance the economy by creating wealth and employment and solve local business issues by providing a collective voice for business in Kāpiti. Over 300 members in Kāpiti belong to the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce to stay connected, network and gain knowledge and support from our local membership.
For more information, please contact:
Jacinda Thorn, Public Relations | 027 3970616 | [email protected]neythorn.com
Heather Hutchings, Kāpiti Chamber Chair | 021 0696 143 | [email protected]āpitichamber.org.nz
Julene Hope, Chair, Chamber Advocacy Committee | 021 500709