Penny’s Piece February 2016

Penny Gaylor Otaki's KCDC councillor
Penny Gaylor
Otaki’s KCDC councillor

Welcome to 2016. I hope that in between the showers you have had time to enjoy some rest time, some fun time, and are feeling recharged in preparation for the busy year ahead.

2005 flew past. It was the year in the local government cycle where councils produce their respective Long Term Plans. It was the year our advocacy achieved a three year extension to the Capital Connection train service enabling Ōtaki commuters to ride public transport in to the Wellington CBD.

I’m hopeful that 2016 will be the year that our community’s years of advocacy for improved bus transport will bear fruit. To date there has been no lack of promises, but there has been a blundering lack of delivering on the promises made by Greater Wellington Regional Council.

In October 2014 (17 months ago) we finally secured a political meeting for the Ōtaki Community Board to express our concerns, and request modest and realistic solutions. All constructive on our part.

The response was heartening. The promise was for action, and soon. 17 months later there has been no change, no improvements to our bus route and timetable to better meet the needs of the Ōtaki community.

A year ago the Ōtaki Community Board chair James Cootes was promised more bus shelters. That wasn’t delivered by the promised March 2015, and in fact the Board members note we now find our community has one less bus shelter. Things are going backwards.

The latest meeting with GWRC did restate a commitment to improving the bus services for Ōtaki, but we were stunned to be told that phasing of GWRC schedule alterations would put actual changes out to September this year. That would make it a 2 year lag from when we were promised a quick response.

But rest assured we shall battle on, advocating to GWRC on behalf of Ōtaki.

2016 will also be the year we find out if the Government will include Ōtaki in the rural extension of the UFB project. Government is putting UFB throughout Kapiti Coast, but not north of Waikanae so Ōtaki was overlooked in the first run.

Kapiti Coast District Council put in a business case for Ōtaki last year to Government; we await the outcome of that application.

And of course 2016 will be a year of change with the local government elections on 8 October. As I’ve announced, after an initial term on the Ōtaki Community Board, and then the last 2 terms as the Ōtaki councillor of KCDC, this election I’ll be running for GWRC (you can’t run for 2 different councils).

I could not have loved more the role I have of working in my community as a councillor (and appointed back on to the Ōtaki Community Board), but when I look at what are now the significant stalemates for Kapiti, I see that the GWRC is the place I can best serve the interests and needs of Kapiti.